Moose and Elk 10 images Created 7 Feb 2015
Elk are members of the deer family and one of the largest mammals in North America. Male elk (bulls) have large antlers that are shed every year at the beginning of spring. The antlers will grow back during the summer encased in “velvet” which provides nutrients for rapid growth. The antlers typically reach full size by the end of August as elk begin their annual rut. Males engage in ritualized mating behaviors during the rut that can include posturing, antler wrestling (sparring), and bugling. Bugling is a loud, shrill vocalization used as a challenge to other males and to attract females. A dominate male elk will gather a harem of females and attempt to defend against challengers. Fall is a great time to visit Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks where you can hear and see the antics of elk as they go through the annual rituals. It is an incredible experience to listen to the sounds of bugling and watch bull elk as they spar for control of a harem.