Deck out your device with 15% off smartphone cases & laptop skins. Use code DEVICE15.

It’s that time of year again. The alpine tundra is turning red. Aspen leaves are turning gold. The weather is getting cooler. And the elk are starting their rut.

But the rut is slow this year in RMNP. I’m seeing very few elk (the fact that RMNP “culled” – a euphemism for slaughtered – 1,400 elk this year could have something to do with that) so far this Fall. I’ve seen lots of bulls but few with harems, and the harems are pretty skimpy.

To make matters even worse, RMNP has put up fences over what seems like every square foot of the park – a measure designed to protect the aspen from the elk, but one that intrudes aesthetically on major area of the park.

And the elk haven’t been very active so far this rut. I’ve seen some decent sized bull practicing their sparring, but no big engagements between rival bulls. Maybe this cold front coming through will give them the boost they need to make things interesting.

Anyway, this big bull had a small harem near the trees on the south side of Moraine Park. Despite his pose, I heard no bugling from him that day – disappointing as I always enjoy elk sounds – the bugling of the bulls and mewing of the cows and calves.

Rocky Mountain national Park, CO
Sony a700
Sony 70-400G @ 400mm
Puffin Pad

400mm, ISO640, 1/320sec, f/7.1

You can find more images on my web site

All Products

bull elk, colorado, fall, rmnp, rut, wildlife

I’m primarily a nature photographer, usually wildlife, and I have lots of access to wildlife in Colorado. My main goal is to capture some of the individual personality of each of the animals I photograph – to document not just a fox, for instance, but to show something of that specific fox, something unique about that individual animal.

View Full Profile


  • Beve Brown-Clark
    Beve Brown-Clarkabout 4 years ago

    Awesome capture…what a beaut!

  • Christina Backus
    Christina Backusabout 4 years ago

    What a great shot! A rather sad tale though – I’m glad this fellow has a small harem.

  • Dave & Trena Puckett
    Dave & Trena P...about 4 years ago

    Simply Stunning! Superb details, clarity, and D0F!! Amazing capture! So beautiful

  • Arla M. Ruggles
    Arla M. Rugglesabout 4 years ago

    An excellent image – naturally.

    Interesting to know that RMNP is taking measures ..
    to protect Nature from itself?

  • Tim Denny
    Tim Dennyabout 4 years ago

    Nice shot Jay, this looks like a big old boy

  • He’s a bigg’un

    – Jay Ryser

  • Robert Elliott
    Robert Elliottabout 4 years ago

    wonderful capture Jay

  • Thanks Robert

    – Jay Ryser

  • Wayne Wood
    Wayne Woodabout 4 years ago

    awesome capture Jay, how close were you to this Bull.

  • He started out about 50 yards away, down in a creek bed, and then came in my direction to collect some cows that had wandered off – about 20 yards away at this point – with a big boulder and a tree I was using to keep us separated.

    – Jay Ryser

  • Lois  Bryan
    Lois Bryanabout 4 years ago

    oh JAY!!!! Another beautiful, amazing capture!!!!!

  • Thanks Lois

    – Jay Ryser

  • lorilee
    lorileeabout 4 years ago

    A spectacular capture . . . beautiful!!!

  • Thanks Lorilee

    – Jay Ryser

  • MischaC
    MischaCabout 4 years ago

    Wonderful capture! That rack looks lethal!

  • You do NOT want to be on the business end of that rack

    – Jay Ryser

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

10%off for joining

the Redbubble mailing list

Receive exclusive deals and awesome artist news and content right to your inbox. Free for your convenience.