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Monday, May 21, 2018

Drama within the elk herd

When we first moved here, an old-timer told us that we'd "get sick of the elk" within a few years. That has never happened.
Oftentimes, we'll hop in the car to go see the elk when they're hanging out and grazing nearby. We usually don't need to drive because they're less than a half mile away. However, we've learned that they are spooked far more easily by people on foot than people in vehicles.

When we're in a vehicle, they often stand and stare at us impassively, with apparently no worries about us.
It always makes me laugh when we have an "elk traffic jam". When the entire huge herd is present, it can take a long time for them to cross the road, which makes for a humorous excuse for being late someplace.

The other evening, they were crossing in twos and threes. These two started across the road together.

Then, the front one turned around to look at the the other one. Notice at how their ears are back, suggesting that they weren't entirely on good terms.

Then they both reared up onto their hind legs, looking each other in the eyes.

Soon, their front hooves started flying toward each other. Look at how flattened backwards their ears are.

They continued taking swipes toward each other. I was amazed by how long they could balance on their hind legs.

None of their blows appeared to hurt the other. I think that their hooves might have touched during this spat but that was all. Like so many animal behaviors, I suspect it was ritualistic, with neither elk wanting to cause injury.

Then, they both returned to their normal four-legged lives.

During their spat, they forgot that they'd been trying to go from right to left across the road. They walked back to the side of the road that they'd started on.
For the occupants of the two vehicles stopped by the elk crossing, it had been intriguing to watch the mini-drama between two cow elk.

Nope, I don't think that we'll ever be "sick of the elk"! Instead, we'll probably always go watch them when they are hanging out near our house.


  1. Some people go out for ice cream and walk the dogs.
    You are the lucky one who goes to watch the elk cross the road.
    The fact that you share with us city dweller's makes us
    lucky we are your friend.

    xo Astro

  2. We can understand wanting to see what they are up to, very cool!

  3. Oh cool, that would have been fun to see. I would never tire of them. The elk were still hanging around near by when we went to Teton. We rarely get to see them, but there were thousands of those scraggly things.

  4. Oh, no. I could never get sick of seeing those beauties!
    When we go to the bird refuges, I often use our vehicle as a blind - either staying in it with the motor off or "hiding" behind it. Like your Elk, the birds are less bothered by a vehicle than by a person. Especially one pointing something (camera) at them!

  5. Hari OM
    Never. Ever. Get sick of seeing elk - and sharing them with us! What a wonderfurs display to have witnessed. YAM xx

  6. I never get sick of your elk pics and stories and smiled all the way through this one, reminded me of me, forgetting which way I was going... I would like to see and elk jam

  7. Oh I would never tire of seeing the wildlife in your area either. Oh my word who know they had spats and took swipes at one another. Definitely drama
    Hugs Madi and mom

  8. This was " The Show" just for you, maybe trying to find which was the winner. So glad they walked safely back and no big rig traffic came along. What a wonderful time to be there.

    1. They probably partly like this road because there isn't much traffic (no big rigs!). It was a "show"!

  9. They are such beautiful animals!

    1. We agree although the shedding detracts a bit. They need a furmerator!

  10. Maybe the "discussion" was about whether or not to cross the road! :)

  11. Without your commentary we might have thought the two elk were engaged in a dance:) We think it is just hilarious that they never actually crossed the road.

  12. Wow...what an opportunity to see something incredible. And thank you for sharing it with us. Incredible!

  13. Nope, we never get sick of them either and usually stop to watch them too!!

  14. They are funny! When Mom lived in Bavaria, Germany, sometimes there would be cows on the road and they would hold up the traffic for a long time!

  15. Oh, wow—I love this! We don't have any large wildlife here in Curaçao, and I can't even remember the last time I saw a deer, but I *know* I've never seen an elk. How lucky you are to live where you can observe them :)
    Guilie @ Life In Dogs

  16. I'd far rather say I was late for something because I got stuck in an elk traffic jam, than that I got stuck behind some slow truck. :)
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  17. I think it looked like the Elk were dancing too!!
    And we would never tire of looking at them!


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