When is the best time to hear bugling?

Discussion in 'Elk Chat' started by Ben, Aug 1, 2011.


  1. Ben New Member

    I'm planning a backpacking trip this fall, and I want to try to time so that I catch some bugling. I looked around online and haven't had any luck finding an answer to this question. I know it's dependent on weather and other factors, but if I could get it narrowed down to a period of a few weeks, that would help.

    Also, my first thought was to start near Medix Run and hike east on the Northern Loop of the Quehanna Trail, using connectors and side trails to cut south and then back west to make a loop - I don't have time this trip to hike the whole Quehanna. The Elk Trail north of Benezette also looks interesting, so I'm considering hiking that instead, using some logging roads and the Thunder Mountain Horse Trails to create a loop. Any suggestions on which might be a better choice for seeing elk?
  2. Spike Sofranko New Member

    The last weekend of September through the first weekend of October have always been a great time for me to hear the bugling. Best time is through the week and when there is a light drizzle of rain....
    Joe likes this.
  3. Joe Site Founder

    If you are going to be there a limited period of time I would be there mid to late October which is a very vocal time for them. You have to fight a lot of road traffic, but not too much trail traffic. As far as where to hike I am most familiar with the Elk Trail so that would be where I suggest since I have seen elk there frequently. If you have some time for a couple day hikes head over to Porcupine Rd and head up the access roads there. Even though they are not designated hiking areas there are plenty of trails and woods to explore that are also full of elk.
  4. Joe Site Founder

    As a follow up to my post about when to hear them bugle, I went back through my photos and the week of 10/16 last year I photographed more bulls bugling that week then at any other time. I would think that if you get there any week from late sept - october you should have good luck hearing them.
  5. Karen New Member

    I think another point would be what temperature range is good for them to be active. The other topic says that in warmer temps they're aren't very active.. does that mean you won't see them as much as well as hear them?

    For backpacking I would suggest the Elk Trail. If you start at the Dents Run parking lot you'll encounter 2 fields where they graze and u can set up camp. (There could be more areas but these are the 2 I know of. If you camp in the woods, like 1 person I talked to, he only saw 1 or two elk). The first field is when you get to the logging road make a right then walk for a few minutes. The field is on your right. The second(& third) field is right after Shaffer Draft. The trail walks right through the fields so you can't miss it.

    Last year I camped there and the elk were out grazing and bugling. The following week, I believe, I backpacked part of the Quehanna trail and hoped to see/hear more elk but was disappointed because I got nothing.

    Here are photos I took from the Backpacking Pennsylvania: 37 Great Hikes, by Jeff Mitchell book.
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