Tule Elk at Their Finest

September 15, 2018 at 2:48 pm (California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Video, Wildlife) (, , )

The biggest herd of elk I’ve ever seen under control of one alpha male was along the Pacific Coast Highway just north of San Simeon, California the first week of September. He ruled over 35 cows and half-grown calves, with 10 other bulls – some with huge racks – grazed peacefully. One scrawny male challenged him while I was there. Take a look.

The first part of the video was in mid-afternoon, so the heat waves interfered with the quality. But I returned an hour before sunset for the best light, and they were closer to the road. A few horses even joined them in grazing.

He spent a lot of time rounding up his harem in a fairly tight bunch, so no interloper could snatch them away.

The testosterone keeps the bulls pretty wound up, and he made a few mating attempts with a cow who seemed receptive. It seems the females also mount the males as well, which could be a sign of affection and desire. Watch the video if you don’t believe me. Read the rest of this entry »

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Elk put on a show at Rocky Mountain National Park

October 5, 2011 at 9:03 pm (Colorado, National Parks, Photography, Wildlife) (, , , )

Bull elk guards harem in tundra country - above 12,000 feet elevation

Rocky Mountain National Park is famous for its craggy vistas, but this time of year, the elk steal the show from even the golden aspens.  Autumn is the season where testosterone rules.  Bulls who have amassed a harem are continually challenged by younger males who want a piece of the action. Females and their calves just go along with whomever manages to snag them, though they often try to sneak back to the herd if they were snatched from it by a cunning interloper. This age-old drama played out nicely today in the tawny fields of Moraine Park, with the story repeating itself over and over. Read the rest of this entry »

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