View Full Version : Many Camps

10-03-2009, 11:24 AM
Hello folks, here's a quick story too special to "forget to post", which I usually do...hence no posts here on my blog in a too-long time. I'll try to do better.

Anyway, last week was wonderful for Rambling here on my home turf. No hunting seasons underway, the backcountry pretty much mine to roam. I set up camp one evening and began to notice an elk bugling about 250 paces to the north of my camp, just over the ridge. At dusk I did my usual small game stroll and went over to take a look at the source of the racket. Sure enough, there he was: a big bruiser stalking around a grassy clearing, a dozen or so cows bedded at his feet.

By the time I returned to my camp, at full twilight, the entire valley was alive with bugles. Throughout the evening a wild serenade soared back and forth around my camp. There were five camps in those parts: mine and four elk camps. I'm not sure all the bulls had harems, but all of them stayed exactly in the same location for many hours. One was calling from about 600 paces to my south. Another from something like 700 yards southwest. A third from only 400 or so steps due west. Then the verified harem bull just over the shallow ridge to my north.

It was altogether an outstanding evening! I trust I will never lose my capacity to be awed by Creation. There is perhaps nothing on earth as evocative of wildness than the eerie, piercing call of bull wapiti. And I had the great privilege of listening to a full chorus of these astonishing animals over an entire evening.

I wish everyone a wonderful 2009 Season!

one-eyed Bob
10-03-2009, 04:18 PM
photos, please?

10-03-2009, 04:21 PM
Uh, well there's another of my deficiencies: I never seem to take pix. Sorry Mr. Bob. Besides, you can't see sounds anyhow, right?

10-04-2009, 07:23 PM
I can see them now! You're right, that one sound, above all others, is the best representation of all that is wild and free in the mountains.

10-04-2009, 09:21 PM
Amen! That and a turkey gobble have to be the two best sounds in the world.

10-04-2009, 09:22 PM
Sweet! I can't imagine, but will try my best. I love stories like this over some guy "smoking a shooter!".

10-04-2009, 09:32 PM
Well, when it comes to sounds of the wilderness I think the cry of the loon is most representative of the north country, at least to me, and the honk of the migrating goose is evocative as well (I live right under a secondary flyway).

10-06-2009, 08:38 AM
Ralph, I recall being camped way up in northern Vermont, near the shores of...would it be Lake Champlain?...and hearing a loon cry. You are correct-- the loon sound is, to me, in the same eerie, minor chord register as an elk vocalization. One avian one cervid, very peculiar to the two species, and in the same genre as to personifying wildness. Thanks for reminding me of that great North Country sound-of-the-wild.

10-07-2009, 11:58 AM
Surprisingly, last month was the first time I've been sitting around my campfire, all alone in the darkness of the backcountry, with a sky full of stars, and got to hear the scream of two different bulls within 400-500 yrds of me. One of them was tearing up a tree in between his goose-bump making bugles, only 196 yrds away.

You're right Patrick, nothing like it. A few nearby coyotes began to chime in as well and made for quite the backcountry duet.

10-07-2009, 12:43 PM
That's funny, I was thinking loon as well. However, I have to add one other sound. I know they're hell on an ecosystem in large numbers, but nothing personifies wild to me like hearing wolves at night.

10-07-2009, 12:54 PM

Good stuff, man! I was sitting at my little elk camp last month on a dark evening before the moon rose, staring into the fire. Not a hundred yards from camp, and upwind of it, was an elk "euking" ever so often. Just enough to get me listening (and wishing I'd see it earlier in the light). Then came the coyotes, which are denned up on the hill at around 13K feet, with the constant background rush of the little stream just to the east. Sweet, sweet music.

10-11-2009, 06:54 AM
I've been awakened many a morning by Loons and ADK ponds...it's certainly a treat.

While in Maine with Mr. Clunie an few years back I awoke to a cow and bull Moose calling in the middle of the night. Needless to say it was hard getting back to sleep after...

I look foward to that majical first Elk bugle. I've spent many a hour dreaming of that moment and it alone will make any trip west a 'success' for me.

It sounds like you had quite the evening Patrick. Good for you, thanks for sharing.

10-12-2009, 03:21 PM
Thanks Patrick! Yep, that eerie, neck-hair-raising wapiti music is the essence of the wild Rockies -- Sept/Oct is my favorite time to be up among 'em. Alas this year it's not to be. So thanks for giving me a vicarious dose.

And I'll second the call of the Loon for evoking the great north woods. I have a photo on the wall of a loon calling, on a mirror smooth lake at sunset taken as we slowly slid past in a canoe in the BWCAW in 1998. Magical!

12-23-2009, 04:27 PM
Heard that eerie sound you describe but neither wapiti or loon and until this day I'm not sure what I've heard but have to lean toward a screech owl. It was loud and certainly would get your attention but went back and forth through the darkness quicker than you can imagine. Not quite an enjoyable experience as you had with bugling bulls but a sound and setting that will never be forgotten. Curiosity still wants to know what it could have been. You might be thinking the Jersey devil from the southern Pinelands but this was in Maine. Nice story Patrick and the others are interesting as well!

01-11-2010, 01:35 AM
A full moon and clear sky. Left Everglades City seven days ago in a canoe on my way to Flamingo and ready to get horizontal after a long day. Relaxed by the chirping sounds of insects and the croaking of frogs and allegators it was easy to asleep under the mosquito net. Two o'clock and I am up for the rest of the night, wakened by the scream of a Florida Panther. Sounds like a woman screaming. Man, that will get your blood moving.

02-28-2010, 06:18 PM
Thought u all might enjoy since we are were not there :)