Golden Hour Bull
This is one of the bull elk I watched during the September elk rut in Yellowstone National Park. During this particular observation, I was watching the bull and his harem from about 100 yards when a cow started to come directly towards me, moving just behind me at the last second. She did not see me, as I was concealed by a downed tree, but when she moved behind me, she smelled me and ran off. As she had made her way towards me, the bull followed her, but instead of moving behind me like the cow, the bull walked in front of me, setting up a photo opportunity. He did not spook like the cow did, but rather stopped about 10 meters from me and raked the ground with his antlers and urinated on his neck and face. Such behavior is territorial, as well as masculine in elk language. Photographed in Yellowstone National Park.
The elk or wapiti is one of the largest species within the deer family, Cervidae, in the world, and one of the largest land mammals in North America and Eastern Asia. This animal should not be confused with the still larger moose to which the name "elk" applies in British English and in reference to populations in Eurasia.
Elk range in forest and forest-edge habitat, feeding on grasses, plants, leaves, and bark. Male elk have large antlers which are shed each year. Males also engage in.. more