BENEZETTE — The bugling of elk, brightly-colored leaves on the trees and horse-drawn wagon rides are popular attractions at the Elk Country Visitor Center this time of year.

It’s the “peak” season for both elk sightings and elk tourists, said center Operations Manager Carla Wehler. Some 100,000 guests are expected at the center throughout the month of September. More than 500,000 people visit the center each year.

Elk mating season, or “the rut,” during September and October is the most popular time to visit Benezette, Wehler says.

“At this time, you will see herds gathering as bulls round up cows for mating season,” she said. “Bull elk will spar, or fight, for the right to breed the cows. The bulls can be heard bugling, which is an amazing sound that happens during this season.”

The ECVC also offers horse-drawn, scenic wagon rides June through October, typically on the weekends, Wehler says. Two to six rides are offered per day, depending on the schedules.

“Those trying to get rides during peak season will have more difficulty than those who attempt to ride earlier and later in the season,” Wehler adds.

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The ECVC also offers free, educational programs every Saturday and Sunday. The month of October will offer spooky, Halloween-themed activities, as well as presentations by Penn State DuBois interns.

“The ECVC provides a place for visitors to go to learn about elk and other wildlife, view elk safely and enjoy all the aspects of nature,” Wehler said. “We also provide valuable information for folks visiting the area to allow them to also enjoy other parts of the region.”

For more information, visit www.experienceelkcountry.com or the Facebook page or call 814-787-5167.

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