Elk Rut #1, YellowstoneA bull elk appproaches a cow during the September rut in Yellowstone
It's September. As we sit around the campfire with a million stars above you can hear the elk bugling off in the distance. September is the rut or mating season here in Yellowstone. As soon as the sun goes down they start and continue until morning. This bull has a harem of at least six cows that I can see and about four yearlings.
Elk Rut #2, YellowstoneA bull elk gets close to a female during the rut in Yellowstone
The bulls bugle to challenge other bulls for the females and then engage in battle for dominance. The stronger bull gains access to the females while the loser wanders off usually only hurting his pride. Calves are born in the spring, usually May and June, and are walking within an hour.
Young Elk Eating GrassesA young female elk with her winter coat eating grasses in Yellowstone Rocky Mountains in the spring
During the summer there are between 10,000 and 20,000 elk in Yellowstone but less than 5,000 in winter. Because snowfall and colder temperatures make food scarce the elk migrate to lower elevations to find better food sources.
Bull Elk, Cow And Yearlings, YellowstoneA bull elk watches as 3 yearlings run and a cow grazes during the rut in Yellowstone.
The bulls have antlers which start growing in the spring and fall off in March or April. They are usually symmetrical and are the biggest when a bull is between eleven and twelve years old. The bulls with large antlers are one of the most photographed animals in Yellowstone.
Bull Elk In An Autumn Field, YellowstoneA bull elk stands majestically in an autumn field in Yellowstone.
Well, the campfire's out and the stars are fading under the brightness of the moon so I guess I'll leave you with this tip; bring a few extra memory cards and a long, long lens when coming to Yellowstone.
Thanks for taking the time to read my travel blog and I wish you the best!