"They have to be within 200 yards now," I whispered softly to my son as the thick forest below our sagebrush knob blew up with elk bugles and the mews of cows trying to control the chaos. At least two bulls screamed at each other in throat-stinging threats. If I'd been dropped into the site without a clue, I'd have bet the September rut was in full swing. But I'd have been wrong. It was October.