Interview: Adam Lackner #4

BrushBuck Co-Founder Adam Lackner’s Fourth Interview with Local Radio Station, 96.9 The Mountain

Listen to Brushbuck co-founder Adam Lackner talk to KMTN radio host Fish about a wide range of topics in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, including  Elk mating season and the fascinating behavior associated with it, as well as some of the activities guests can enjoy on their Winter tours of Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.

FISH: Now on Wednesdays, we chat with Adam Lackner from Brushbuck Wildlife Tours. Good morning, Adam!

ADAM: Hey, good mornin’ Fish.

FISH: How are you doing today?

ADAM: Aw, just another day in paradise, you know how it is. We’re coming into my favorite time of the year, which is September, all the colors are turning and the elk are coming into their mating season, which is referred to as the Rut.

FISH: I was just thinking about that, you know last week we talked about making Winter reservations for winter tours, up in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national park, and this week I thought, you know, we kinda jumped over fall, which is also my favorite time of the year. And there’s such a, kind of a, short window on the colors, but up in Yellowstone they kind of happen a little earlier than most, so it’s a good time to get your fall reservations as well.

ADAM: It really is, yeah, yeah. It’s a great time to be in the park, we’re seeing quite a few bears in the berry patches for sure, the service berries have peaked and kind of started to move on, and we’re starting to move more into the peak of choke cherries. But we’re currently in the pre-rut, is what it’s referred to, the breeding season for Elk. They break off from their bachelor herds, the bull elk hang out in bachelor herds most of the year, Now they’re starting to break out, they’ve rubbed the velvet off of their antlers, and they’re starting to cruise around alone looking for small harems of cows, and they move in on these harems of cows and take them over. And they do a vocal territorial marker called a bugle, and so, that bugle is to tell other bulls, ‘hey, this is my area’. So it lights up the whole Rocky Mountain West, is the Elk rut, from Arizona all the way up into Canada, and it’s really quite a [world class] event to come see.

FISH: So when’s the best time to hear bugling elk? Is it towards the morning hours or more towards the dusk hours?

ADAM: You know, this time during the pre-rut, I think really, real late in the dusk and real early in the morning is the best. And when I say late, a lot of times, it’s pretty common in the American West, for people to go out and  listen for bugles, kinda like stargazing or any other outdoor activity, this time of year you go listen for bugles, and that’s about 10 o’clock at night, 9 to about 11 o’clock at night, you can really hear em, and then again really about 4:30 in the morning til about 6 or 7 in the morning. And it’s really awesome to hear several bulls light up the mountain.

FISH:  Yeah, you and I are more of the morning hour guys.

ADAM: Yeah, that’s right, that’s right. We get up early, we gotta get our coffee early.

FISH: I’m talking with Adam from Brushbuck Wildlife Tours, you can call them for more information on their tours, 888-282-5868 or go online to on the website, you’ll also find more information about the tours that they offer outside of the local Jackson Hole area, including Alaska and Africa as well, so check those out. But again, you can also start making reservations for winter tours. You do up to Yellowstone, in the snowcoaches in the Winter?

ADAM: We do, yeah. We head into Old Faithful from the West entrance, and that’s part of our 4 day 3 night trip, and so yeah on that trip we’ll see oftentimes 8,000 elk on the refuge, and go out with the good guys over at Double H Bar, and we head out on an elk sleigh ride with them, and then head on up to Yellowstone and see all the hot springs in the Winter, which is really, I think, the best time to see Yellowstone. And most guides that guide year round agree with me on that, that Winter is the best.

FISH: I agree. Totally. Plus when you see the contrast of the dark waters against the white, it’s awesome. You mentioned the bears? 399 this morning? Where’s the latest sightings been?

ADAM: 399, it’s been a few days since we’ve seen her, they’ve definitely cleaned up the berries along some of the roads. So now, I think we’ve had about 3 days where we haven’t seen her, which is still, you know, pretty good. We’re seeing plenty of black bears. So the bear viewing is still good. And only going to get better as we move on, you get a little bit more snow in the high mountains, it forces the bears to come down. But right now we’ve still got some army cutler moths, and so the bears can be up high feeding on those. So their dispersal causes a little bit of tough viewing at certain times, and cutwear moths are a part of that, the bears kind of disappear to go after those cutler moths in the high mountain bowls. That’s gonna change here in just literally a couple of weeks, and they come lower down here to feed on more berries and more things down here in the lower valley.  

FISH: Yeah, plus storing up for the Winter season. You know, I didn’t even know what you just said, a lot of what you just said. So, this is just kind of the knowledge that can get dropped on you when you do these tours with Brushbuck. All the guides are trained not only in tracking but in a lot of the history of the area, the topography of the area, the obviously mating habits of some of the animals in the area, it’s a very sexy tour, this time of year.

ADAM: [laughing] It is sexy. We’ve been trying to get the Elk to wear bikinis but it’s not working out.

FISH: Not working out. Alright, well, listen, if you need some more information, on the world wide web, you can also dial them up, 888-282-5868, and again, not too early to start thinking about making some plans for Winter tours up in beautiful Yellowstone National Park or Grand Teton National Park. As always, Adam, nice chatting with you, good luck today, happy sighting, and we’ll talk to you next week.  

ADAM: Thank you Fish, have a nice day.

Listen to Adam’s other radio interviews:

Adam Lackner - BrushBuck Wildlife Tour Guide
The backcountry is a place of enjoyment for this outdoorsman. Adam spent five years in the Marine Corps before heading for seasonal guiding positions in Alaska, Montana, Colorado, Idaho, Arizona, Mexico, and now Wyoming. “Being where the mountains are big keeps the complaints small!”