It's still autumn here in Colorado but that could change any time now. We are hustling to fit in all our favorite things before it becomes truly winter.
In autumn while they're still higher in the mountains, they have their mating season. It is really fun to watch the behavior of the elk during this tension-filled season. We usually drive to Rocky Mountain National Park to elk-watch during their rut.
This activity has become more popular with lots of people so we try hard to time our visit when it won't be too crowded. This year, it started to rain as we drove. It was still raining hard when we saw the first huge bull elk with his harem of females and calves. Each dominant bull gathers a harem at the start of mating season and defends them from other bulls for the duration of the season.
Here was the first bull elk, with tremendous antlers. He had just let out a piercing "bugle", a sound that bull elk make only during mating season.
Here was the big guy, watching the younger guy. If the younger one survives a few more years, he'll have a good chance of having his own harem.
He was moving his harem around. First they headed to our right. The photo has only a fraction of the 15-20 cows and calves in his harem.
Not Shyla - she takes life as it comes... and I think she adores every season!