National Wildlife Refuge System
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An Autumn Earful

A bull elk looks up from grazing. Bulls’ high-pitched bugling is a hallmark sound of the fall mating season and a popular draw for visitors to Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahom.
A bull elk looks up from grazing. Bulls’ high-pitched bugling is a hallmark sound of the fall mating season and a popular draw for visitors to Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahom.
Credit: Gary Zahm

It's fall mating season at Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma, and there's no mistaking the sound. Bull elk bent on attracting female elk to their harem and scaring off competitors throw back their heads and bugle. That is, they emit long, eerie high-pitched calls.

The annual fall bugling elk tours at Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma are already booked. But you can still hear elk bugling if you take a self-guided drive along the refuge tour route. The best times to go: sunup and sundown now through mid-October.   

Download a map from the refuge web site or pick one up at the visitor center, which opens at 8:00 a.m.

Bring your binoculars and keep a respectful distance away.

For more information on the refuge and the elk, visit http://wichitamountains.fws.gov/ or call 580-429-3222.

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