Elk Bulls rub their antlers against trees, shrubs and the ground to impress cows or show dominance during the Rut. Prior to the rut like here, this behavior is exhibited as bulls shed the drying velvet from their antlers. This process can even become bloody as the still-living felt is torn away from the antler beneath. The damage caused to the tree is called a "rub", while the process is often called "polishing". These Bulls seemed to be combining their velvet rubs with some sparring practice for the Elk Rut here.
Even in the end of January, these energetic Elk Bulls may break out into sparring or play to practice and grow for the next rutting season. Here is a good example of elk bull vocalizations during these workouts that are usually louder during play than an all out fight. We observed many Elk Bulls today and it was very pleasing to see all of them look so healthy this time of year.
These two Elk Bulls put on a bit of a "show battle" for us during the Elk Rut today. It was a very unusual evening as the smoke blowing in from the South filled the air at dusk and Seven Bulls, including the "Sheriff" were in this open area along with about 20 Cows. We suspect these Satellite Bulls had tired the Sheriff out earlier in the day, which offered some time for Play! They were a little too far away to pick up any rack sounds, but we hope you enjoy watching these young fella's Spar during the Elk Rut as much as we do!
Shortly after the Elk rutting season, males form bachelor groups that stay together through the cold Canadian winter months. A group of Bull Elk like this becomes a formidable force for any potential predators like Wolves or Mountain Lions. Here are some well equipped young males working on their fighting skills.
It's the tail End of Elk Rutting Season in Canada's Rockies and Bulls are beginning to form their Brotherhood Bonds for the Winter, but Hormones are Still High and Fights Break Out Easily Yet.
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