Elk-Wapiti Rutting Season

The Elk Rut Season

The Active Elk Rut Season Time and Duration

The elk rut season is from late August through October, with some breeding activity continuing into November. Male elk, or elk bulls, are much more aggressive during this time. The peak of the elk rut season is when the most elk breeding activity occurs. During the elk rut season, there is lots of bugling, cow elk communication, and elk movement. During elk rutting season, bull elk may attack anything that comes close to them or their mates, which provides protection for the herd.

The Peak of Elk Rut Season

The peak of elk rut season lasts up to 10 days when a ratio of light and dark, along with a colder snap, causes hormones in cow elk to flow(estrus cycle). Each cow comes into estrus at slightly different times during the elk rut season. While elk cows won't all go into estrus during the peak, it is called the peak of the elk rut season because most will.

Elk Rutting Season Videos

Elk Rut at it's Peak - 5 Bull River Action Bugles »

At he height of the Elk Rut, 5 Elk Bulls try to gain courting access to Cows crossing Athabasca River. The River serves as a territory boundary that is crossed often by both Cows and Bulls during the Rut. The high activity and amount of Bugling is common at the height of the Rut, when many Cows are in Estrus. While some Bulls are still not sure where they rank, you can see the hierarchy in this small location unfold by the end of the video. Finally, the Boss on this particular Day receives acceptance from the cow and calf, granting his request.

Elk Bull Boss Claims Athabasca River »

This Elk Bull Boss answered Bugles from another large Bull on the other side of Athabasca River. He came across and not only claimed the territory, but seemed to increase the size of his Herd as well. During the Elk Rut, Elk will cross this River very often to rest or cover more ground. You can see they are great swimmers, having no problem with this strong current.

Magnificent New Elk Bull Boss »

A Magnificent New Elk Bull Boss arrives and takes over the prime Elk Rut territory. This Elk Bull was quick to dominate the Bugles and Cow Courting in this area, with no rivals sticking around to challenge him.

The Elk Rut »

The Elk Rut is just a couple months away. Elk Bulls are putting on a lot of weight right now as their testosterone increases and they have access to much more nutritious food. Bugles, Battles and Breeding will be taking over this Beautiful area as Bulls fight to claim or hold their territories' throne.

Dominant Bulls During this Past Elk Rut »

The most Dominant Bulls during this past Elk Rut are true Titans with superior genetics. Their Size, Stamina, Knowledge and Experience have all been Proven. We were very lucky to be able to observe them during this past year's epic Elk Rut and look forward to seeing All these Titans at full throttle again very soon!

Elk Rut with Lots of Bugling and Aggressive Bull Guarding his Canadian Rockies Harem »

The early stages of the Elk Rut in Canada's Rockies - Jasper National Park. These Video Clips are fractions of several days of a Wonderful experience. This particular Bull Elk has aggressively defended His harem from Several other Bulls over the last few days, of which is still quite early for the Elk Rutting Season.

Elk Rut Action at it's Peak »

A high ratio of Big Elk Bulls to Cows in a tight area of Nature at the height of the Elk Rut. Elk Bulls came out of everywhere in this short period, and the dynamics were amazing to witness. The Sheriff still had no problem asserting his dominance among all these incredible Bulls, but there were many successes between other Bulls and Cows as well. A lot of energy expenditure on the formation and protection of small herds, both along and in Athabasca River. These couple days were not only filled with fighting, bugling, herding and mating, but also some elk rut behaviors not previously witnessed. We left all the original sound in which offers listening to the intensity of all that we could see, but also that we could only hear. Much of this elk rut footage includes hand held digital zoom at dusk.. thank you for your patience with that.

Largest Bull Meets His Match during the Elk Rut »

Elk Bull Fights are numerous during the Rut in Canada's Rockies, but this one was especially striking. Here is a close look at the Largest Elk Bull in this area.. first, a couple clips over the last month, before today's marathon fight with this younger rival. The younger rival has not been stressed near as much during the height of the rutting season, and clearly had the stamina to outlast one of this areas most dominant bulls today. The Bull that conceded defeat today has been the most dominant elk bull in this area now for years. This well known King has had to battle and run off rival bulls on almost a daily basis over the last month and a half, of which shows athleticism and genetics that are extremely rare. We suspect he decided it was more important to preserve his energy as very few cows remain in estrus. He did sustain some injuries here, but will likely be back to fight another day.

Sheriff brings Cows to a Beautiful Lakeside During the Elk Rut »

The Sheriff brings his Cows to a beautiful Lake During an evening of the Elk Rut. Here, the largest Elk Bull in this area fends off another Bull, Bear, and stress in an amazing Canadian Rockies setting.

The Elk Rut is Coming »

The beginning of the Elk Rut is just a month away. Elk Bull's will soon experience a dramatic increase in testosterone as they battle for claim to their territories' Throne.

Biggest Elk Bull All Fired Up During the Elk Rut - Lots of Bugles »

The Sheriff, still considered the largest Elk Bull in this area, is all fired up around these cows and satellite Elk Bulls during the beginning of the Elk Rut. His Bugles clearly demonstrate the sounds of a dominant Elk Bull, signaling other Bulls that he is not to be messed with.

Magnificent Elk Bull Herding His Cows During the Rut »

One of the Most Magnificent Bulls during this year's Elk Rut. Here he is herding cows in the Sheriff's territory(Dominant Elk Bull). This Bull had several bouts with the Sheriff this year, but still wasn't shy about bugling, chuckling and herding while remaining in the same area.

The Sheriff Getting Ready for Date Night »

We are quite a distance away in the evening, but here is the Sheriff getting ready for Elk Rut Season Date Night in Athabasca River. It is still early in the Elk Rutting Season, but this is one Elk Bull that always stays a step ahead. Later this evening, he was confidently herding cows, which we will share shortly. *We are using a fair bit of Digital Zoom at dark here, thank you for your patience with the quality.

First Dominant Elk Bull Moving in to Own His Rutting Territory »

This Dominant Elk Bull was the satellite Bull that was run off in the beginning of our most viewed Elk Rut video back in 2018. Last Year(2020), he began ruling that same territory with his incredibly gifted energy and stamina. This Year, we were lucky to capture him as he arrives to rule the same area once again, looking magnificent!

Bull Behaviors with His Harem During the Elk Rut »

Here is one of several successful Bulls in the Canadian Rockies during this year's Elk Rut the last few weeks, displaying..
- Vocalizations,
- Rubbing antlers against trees, shrubs and the ground to impress cows, show dominance, and mark a territory,
- Licking, Sniffing and tasting,
- Flehmen or lip curls,
and Herding his Harem.

Magnificent Bull During the Elk Rut »

A Beautiful Canadian Rockies Retreat hosted this incredible Bull and Cows on this day during the Elk Rut.

Sheriff Gets back to Business During the Elk Rut »

As expected, the Sheriff never really skipped a beat after being slightly injured during a fight. He does seem to tend to his knees a bit, but is moving really well again as his focus remains on ruling this area during the Elk Rut. There were several other big elk bulls along the perimeter here, but all moved away when the largest bull bugled or started moving in their direction. The Sheriff seems to like the safety and quiet that the Athabasca River offers much of the time as he moves his herd there to rest. Thank you for your patience where the bit of digital zoom came in handy.

The Calm Before the Storm »

A Magnificent Bull Today.. He was one of the most active and dominant bulls during the Elk Rut last year and it looks like he will be topping his form this year. It is fantastic to be able to witness these Athletes in their prime. This Elk Bull will be shedding his velvet in about 1 month. He was one of the first to shed last year.

Elk Rut with the Largest Bull Protecting His Canadian Rockies Harem »

Some clips from the Elk Rut, but mainly here is the largest Bull Elk with his harem of cows in a beautiful area along the Athabasca River. The most competitive territory during the mating or rutting season for elk in this area of Canada's Rockies; other Bulls are almost always touching on the boundaries of what he can protect. He came into the rutting season in very good condition, but is offered very little rest from protecting his harem. This usually causes significant weight loss over about a month and a half. Many satellite bull elk may even sneak in while the larger bulls are bugling and battling over a harem.

Bull battles are very common during the elk rut, which can result in several different bulls managing the same harem for short periods over the course of mating season. It is fairly rare for one bull to have the genetics to hold on to a harem during the entire month and a half of challenges. As the rutting season ends and cows are no longer in estrus, bulls will gradually relax and form bachelor groups over the winter again.

First Elk Bull to Form Herd in the Elk Rut »

The first big Elk Bull to form a herd with his cows and calves is already very active early in the Elk Rut.

Elk Bulls Bugling During the Rut »

Magnificent Elk Bulls bugling during the rutting season in Canada's Rockies.

First Big Elk Bull Forming His Harem - The Rut has Begun! »

This Big Elk Bull has come down from the Valley to form his Harem in a very competitive Elk Rutting location. This Bull is certainly one of the largest seen so far this year, but he will likely have to face some incredible challengers over the next few weeks, as more large Elk Bulls come out to compete in the Rut. The Elk Rut has Begun!

Bigger Bull Steals the Herd Early in the Elk Rut »

A bigger Elk Bull came in and stole the herd from the First Bull that formed this herd. The fight must have been just an hour or so before we observed this new slightly larger bull being very active in his takeover. There were still some cows scattered, but he gradually brought them all together with lots of bugling and herding behavior. It was a perfect cool evening to catch those steamy Elk Bugles.

Very Active Elk Bull with His Harem During the Elk Rut »

A Magnificent Elk Bull being very active during the Rut in the Canadian Rockies. This Elk rut video is part 2 of 2 of this Bull and his harem as aggression and herding instincts are very high.

Young Elk Bull Ramping Up around Cows »

This is the First Elk Bull in the beginning of the Elk Rut that we have witnessed showing true "Elk Rut" behavior. While his Antlers are not very big yet(this year), he has a comparatively big body that will command respect whenever push comes to shove. Usually only the largest of Bulls have fully shed their velvet by now, but he is demonstrating that he wants in on that early advantage now. His confidence is showing and we were glad to be there!

He Lives! "The Sheriff" in Full Velvet Today »

Here is this area's largest and most dominant Bull(the last 5 Years), in full velvet today. We have not previously captured any moments of the "Sheriff" at this stage, as he packs on more weight just before the Elk rut. Wolves managed to bring down a very big Elk Bull not that long ago and we were worried it might have been the "Sheriff", but are so glad to see him here today! Everyone will be Cheering you on again this Year Big Guy.

The Most Successful and Battled Elk Bull in this Territory »

Here are some highlights of the last several years of this areas most famous Elk Bull during the rutting season. He has dominated this area for many years now and while his behavior was more cautious in 2020, his maturity served him well. Just a few days ago, we captured him looking the best he has ever looked at this time of year.. not a broken tine and a strong, healthy gate. The "Sheriff", as many call him now, has proved to be an incredible being with exceptional genetics!

Elk - Wapiti Rutting Season

The Elk Rut
Elk Bulls put on a lot of weight as their testosterone increases and they have access to much more nutritious food. Bugles, Battles and Breeding will be taking over this Beautiful area as Bulls fight to claim or hold their territories' throne
More Elk Rut Encounters:   5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22

The Elk Rut Season