In Russia, Europe and Asia an Elk is a Moose? So let's use the Shawnee Indian name "Wapiti" meaning "White Rump". Michigan has the only wild herd east of the Mississippi. It makes it's home in the Pigeon River Country. You can see it when fly-fishing the Black, Pigeon or Sturgeon rivers. Males are called "Bulls" Females are "Cows" and their offspring is a "Calf". Bulls can weight over a 1100 pounds, best only by the Upper Peninsula Moose.
The Bull Wapiti has some characteristics of the White tail deer and of the Moose . It eats and browses like the Whitetail yet wallows like the Moose. The Wapiti's one unique behavior pattern is referred to as
"Bugling" . The best description of bugling is it sounds like trying to slowly open a rusty old screen door on the cabin. A long, high pitched, squeaky sound interrupted by hic-ups!
The bulls bugle in September. Easy to hear on a cold, calm morning . The call is to challenge a rival bull or announce his dominance over a harem. It is a majestic sound that reverberates through the forest as all other animals stand down. It is during this period that the Wapiti is easy to locate.
The herd is closely managed by the MIDNR but their size can create problems. The Wapiti has been known to wander into Emmet county, crossing I-75, and creating a very dangerous situation. The cows and their young travel together, while the bulls in velvet (covering of their adult antlers) hang out in what are called "Bachelor Groups". When the cooler weather of fall arrives the large Bulls shed their velvet and become solitary and aggressive.
The Elk herd has fared well these last 80 years in Michigan. I hope man's encroachment will not endanger their presence as they are a wilderness wonder.
Sweet Is The Lore That Nature Brings