Follow the Leader
Starting in early September and continuing into October, adult elk take park in the annual rut. Simply put it is mating time for Elk. What comes as a natural part of thier life cycle turns into an amazing display of a complex mating ritual. One of the most obvious is the bugle of the bull. This calls out to any females that he is adding to his harem. It also lets any other competition(Other Bull Elk) know to back off. There there is the gathering of the cows. The bull needs to court her and convince her to be in his gang. This is done through his very off tune and obnoxious bugle along with his impressive antlers and other displays of his masculinity. After enlisting in his harem, they don't always stay. This part can be entertaining as well. The bull will herd his group of cows and if one does try to leave, he will try to chase her down. The whole elk rut is quite the spectacle. This shot is of a bull elk and his harem in Yellowstone National Park. I was just leaving the Mammoth area when I saw this bull in the lead and his harem following. The bull Stopped to bugle with a youngster right in his footsteps.
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