Visitors 40
Modified 9-Jan-16
Created 11-Nov-15
50 photos

Rocky Mountain National Park Elk
- Tundra near the Alpine Visitor Center
- West Horseshoe Park
- Moraine Park

These photographs were taken over a 3-day period in September during the Elk rut. The bulls are impressive; they can weigh 800+ pounds. Their massive antlers weigh about 40 pounds. Elk sense of smell and hearing are excellent. Maintaining a safe distance while photographing them is imperative; you do not want to find yourself in a situation where a bull may suddenly charge to defend his territory or his herd of cows and their calves; with a top speed of about 35 mph, you are not going to out run them!

Bull Elk bugling (audio clip at that site) is a particularly eerie sound to experience. It typically signaled that this is his domain. Potential intruders, including photographers for that matter, were duly warned.

At one point while photographing a large bull in West Horseshoe Park, he apparently decided that his harem of approximately 15 cows and 2 calves was wandering a bit too close to the photographers and other park visitors lining the roadside. It was somewhat unnerving to experience just how agile 800+ pounds of muscle and antlers could charge directly towards us for a few hundred feet until, perhaps only 100 feet away from us, the bull quickly and expertly herded the cows and calves into a sharp 180 degree U-turn to keep them well away from us!

A bull in Moraine Park (see photos) decided that sparring was the way to settle a dispute with a bull that was apparently perceived as challenging the rights to his territory and/or his harem.

For additional information about elk and the rut:
http://rockymountainnationalpark.com/things-do/wildlife-watching/elk
http://www.nps.gov/romo/elk_bugles.htm

http://www.rmef.org/ElkFacts.aspx

Photography: Stephen Talabac
Post Processing: Diana Talabac

Click on the first thumbnail to view larger images
© 2015 Stephen & Diana Talabac. All Rights Reserved.
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Categories & Keywords
Category:Animals
Subcategory:Wildlife
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:Colorado, Elk, Horseshoe, Park, RMPN, Rocky Mountain National Park, rut, bull,, West Horseshoe Park, antlers, autumn, calf, cow, fall, wildllife


Guestbook for RMNP Elk Rut
Donna Wadsley(non-registered)
Stunning captures! I can imagine the adrenaline running while shooting them. LOVE the Elk staring you down, what an impressive rack!
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