As we drove further north, we began to see elk in action. This was a bull elk with his harem of cow elk and calves around him.
Despite the lack of competition (other bull elk), he was very attentive to his harem. Look to the far left of the photo and you'll see a calf nursing from his mother. It's an odd time of year with calves still dependent on their mothers but the rut takes place anyway.
Our next stop was for a vociferous bull elk who was very upset about a young bull with "spike" antlers who had taken one of his ladies.
The bull elk bugled incessantly while chasing around the rest of his harem. He's wet from wallowing in a mud puddle that books say he probably urinated in. Yuck - but I guess the cow elk like it!
Here's a very short video that I took of this bull elk bugling. It's amazing what a high pitched sound is made by such a huge elk!
Despite the bull's best efforts, he never got his wayward cow elk back again. The big bull could scare off the young bull but the female kept choosing the young bull over him. The big bull looked toward them in disbelief.
It was a super fun day of watching elk and all the dramas of elk life!
After the rut, the elk come to our neck of the woods to spend the winter. We already have a few here but the bulk of the herd is still on their way.