One of the signature sounds along the South Rim during autumn is the nocturnal bugling of the male elk. Their plaintive “whistles” attract female attention during the mating season (or “rut” as its known), and serve as a warning to would-be challengers. On rare occasions, one can even witness these titans clashing antler-to-antler in the forest that rings Grand Canyon Village and beyond.
The elk aren’t the only love struck herbivores on the prowl; the mule deer and desert bighorn sheep have roughly the same timing to their mating season, though they seem to go about their courtships with much less fanfare.
It’s a general rule in the park to view animals at a safe distance. The rangers even have a rule of thumb for interacting with wildlife. If you can’t block your entire view of an animal with the thumb of your outstretched arm, then you’re too close. This is sage advice for one and all, especially during September and October when these amorous critters have little patience for camera-wielding tourists.
Read more about appropriate behavior around wildlife in the park by following this link, Keeping Wildlife Wild.