WATCH: Bull Elk Bugle Cry Perfectly Recorded by Trail Cam

by Josh Lanier
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This bull elk is ready for his close up.

Recently, several elk were filmed gathering around a small pond in Utah. When suddenly a large bull elk walks into the dead center of the frame as if he is hitting his mark, and lets out an ear-piercing bugle cry.

Bradley Blake, who uploaded the footage to Facebook said the film was captured on Sept. 19 in the central mountains of Utah. The elks were at a small watering hole located at above 10,000 feet altitude.

“This guy speaks for himself!” Blake wrote in a Facebook post, according to Yahoo.

Why Do Elk Shriek Like That?

A recent study from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom wanted to find out why elk release such high-pitched bugle cries. They found it was more complex than they originally thought, National Geographic said.

The calls, which researchers say sounds like the Ringwraiths from Lord of the Rings, have unique purposes. They’re part mating call, part status symbol, and part echolocation. That last part is important as elk herds can spread out over more than 15 miles. The high-pitched shrieks allow them to effectively keep track of their locations, researchers said.

During the fall in the peak of mating season, the calls are heard day and night.

“Bugling is basically a way for bull elk to advertise their presence to other bulls and, to a lesser extent, attract females,” said Eric Cole, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Elk Refuge, according to the Associated Press.

One thing scientists still don’t understand is how elk can produce such noises at frequencies too high for animal voice boxes. Elks can produce sounds that reach up to 4,000 hertz. Human hearing cuts out at about 250 hertz, National Geographic said.

“It sounds like a scream or shriek, or several animals vocalizing at the same time,” says David Reby, who is the co-author of the study University of Sussex study, according to National Geographic.

“If I was in the forest at night and heard this sound without knowing what animal it was, I would probably feel terrified.” 

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