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 70-400G @ 400mm
400mm, ISO640, 1/320sec, f/7.1
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