“What IS That? It Sounds Like a Whale Call!”

It was no whale call – but it was a whale of a good time listening to elk bugle in the shadow of the Tetons. Over three Fridays this September, sixty-six participants enjoyed “Evening with the Elk” hosted Graduate Program of Teton Science Schools. Folks came from right here in Jackson and as far away as Florida to take part in this unique twilight experience. The evening started with an interpretive presentation on elk natural history and behavior led by Dr. Shannon Barber-Meyer followed by a delicious family-style dinner in the historic dining lodge. Next, everyone was treated to an educational trip through Grand Teton National Park on the way to prime elk bugling locations. Along the way participants enjoyed wildlife watching coupled with discussions on topics as diverse as predator-prey systems to exotic plants to the importance of fire to early settlers in the valley. One excited couple exclaimed, “We’ve been coming here for six years and this is the first bear we’ve seen!” Ultimate destinations for the evening included elk rutting “hot spots” such as Whitegrass Meadow, Lupine Meadow, the Bradley-Taggart Lakes trailhead and Timbered Island. Upon arrival guests enjoyed a short hike (depending on location) to secure a spot nestled among the trees where they waited in hushed silence for nature’s show to begin. Soon enough, participants were thrilled with elk bugling contests and even on occasions saw bull elk gathering up females for their harems. After a little over an hour of listening to the elk roar (as it is called in Europe) darkness settled in and guests departed for the ride back to the Kelly Campus. The fun didn’t stop there though – on the way home we were often treated to rare glimpses of creatures like the porcupine. Guests expressed their appreciation for the reasonably-priced event (just $30 for adults and $20 for children) and one participant even came back a second time with new friends in tow!Thank you to everyone who recommended this event to their friends and especially to Judy Herman for coordinating the registration. It was a roaring success!

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