Tule Elk Herd

April 16, 2018 at 5:00 am (California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Wildlife) (, )

A herd of tule elk grazed peacefully in a field along Mission Road, Fort Hunter Liggett, California on Saturday, back-dropped by blue and valley oak. Tule elk are the smallest of the three elk sub-species found in California.

“Tule elk are endemic to California and the most specialized elk in North America, given that they live in open country under semi-desert conditions, whereas the species as a whole typically occupies temperate climates and utilizes heavy cover at least seasonally.” — From California Dept. of Fish & Wildlife.

Two calves have already been born to this herd.

The bull is growing his new set of antlers, but is no less the boss of his harem of 10 cows and one that looks like a spike male. Annoyed by the photographer, he slowly gets his herd moving, nudging one cow and tapping on the rear end of a calf hidden in the grass. The two calves cavort as the herd slowly moves to another grazing area. See it in the video.

I’m not sure how old these calves are, but they do have white spots like deer fawns.

These elk are commonly seen along the post’s public roads, and I can’t wait until there are more calves and the bull has a full rack on display as the season goes on.

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

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Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

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Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com



  1. Jet Eliot said,

    Such a treat to watch this herd of tule elk, Cindy. I have watched tule elk a lot at Pt. Reyes up here in the Bay Area, but have never seen a rackless male leading the harem, which I find very interesting. And I have never seen such a little calf before, wow, they are adorable. I love it when a calf or deer fawn still have the white spots. Good to see there are still some spots of green in the field, too. Fantastic and special, thank you.

  2. Tule Elk at Their Finest | Cindy McIntyre's Blog said,

    […] To see a herd like this one in April, when the bull was just regrowing his anglers, see my earlier blog post. […]

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