Watching the elk rut during the fall season in Rocky Mountain National Park is an awesome experience. Large bull elk compete...


Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Watching the elk rut during the fall season in Rocky Mountain National Park is an awesome experience. Large bull elk compete with other males for the female's attention. During the elk rut, bull elk's hormones are raging and they have little tolerence for other elk encroaching on their harems of female elk. This huge bull is bounding full speed across the meadows of Moraine Park to challenge two other large bull elk just outside of the frame. All three bull's refused to back down to each other and continued to challenge each other until they had all backed themselves into the trees and brush along the south lateral Moraine. I could no longer see these bulls once they got deep into the trees above Moraine Park but I could certainly hear them as branches snapped, rocks slid down the hillsides, bushses were thrashed and bugles continued for a good 30 minutes. I've been photographing the elk rut for over 20 years now in Rocky Mountain National Park and I've never seen the intensity matched by these 3 bulls but if you look at this bulls face and nostrils you get an idea. Photo © copyright by Thomas Mangan.

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