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Hear Fall Bugling and Enjoy Elk Calves at Land Between the Lakes’ Elk and Bison Prairie


Land Between the LakesGolden Pond, KY – Land Between The Lakes (LBL) National Recreation Area invites everyone to experience the annual magic of elk bugling in the Elk & Bison Prairie.  The bugle, which actually sounds more like a loud squeal, is the mating call of the mature bull elk.

“We’ve already heard a few bugles,” stated Curtis Fowler, LBL’s Range and Wildlife Technician.  “The best is yet to come!  The peak of bugling season usually occurs from mid-September to mid-October; this is one of the most exciting times to drive through the prairie.”

Since elk were introduced into the 700-acre prairie in February 1996, biologists eagerly anticipate the start of “bugling season” each fall.  The prairie is home to 41 elk, including 16 bulls, 20 cows, and the newest additions, 5 healthy elk calves.

“Visit the prairie in late afternoon for the best chance to hear the unusual bugling sound and see the elk calves,” explains Fowler.  “Take some time to stop at the prairie’s interpretive stops or along the road, turn off your vehicle engine, and listen for 15-20 minutes for the sounds of elk and other wildlife while remaining in your vehicle.”

It is important to remember elk and bison are wild animals–they should not be approached and should be given plenty of space if they begin to approach your vehicle.  If large animals are nearby, remain inside your vehicle.  Please do not attempt to feed them or coax them to come close to you.  Also, do not leave your vehicle to take a closer look at the animals–this is very dangerous and causes the elk to run out of view, spoiling the experience for other visitors.  Please observe the Elk & Bison Prairie rules so that everyone can enjoy a safe visit!

LBLs’ herd started in 1996 with wild elk received from Elk Island National Park in Alberta, Canada. Over the years, the thriving elk population has been closely monitored for diseases while maintaining the animal’s wild identity so that they can be reintroduced into the wild.  Since February 2001, 90 elk from LBL have been used for elk reintroduction in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee.

The Elk & Bison Prairie is open seven days a week, from dawn to dusk. The prairie features a 3.5-mile paved loop road and interactive interpretive stops from which visitors can view wildlife and learn more about this native habitat.  Prairie passes cost $5.00 per vehicle and are available at the Elk & Bison Prairie entrance or any LBL facility.

Come Outside and Play at Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area.  Managed by the Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Land Between The Lakes provides outdoor recreation, lake access, and environmental education for the public to enjoy.

Visitors are encouraged to review LBL’s official website at often for Calendar of Events, updates on programs and policies, safety information, maps, temporary trail and road closures, and additional LBL information, or call 800.LBL.7077 or 270.924.2000.

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