Weekly Photo Challenge – Quest
Beginning mid-September and running through October is the elk mating season, and prime time for elk-watching in Rocky Mountain National Park. Bull elk jostle with each other for their mates and thousands of us tourists jostle for position to view the majestic animals and hear their unique bugle.
Now about that bugle…Bull elks weigh about 1,000 pounds and are prime at ages 8 to 9. They establish harems of cows with which to breed. There is fierce competition among the bulls during the mating season or rut. The bugling, which generally starts with a crescendo of deep, resonant tones that rise rapidly to a high-pitched squeal before dropping to a series of grunts, is a signal of a bull’s strength. The bigger the bull, the louder and more range the call and the more intimidating, resulting in few antler-to-antler battles.
If you’ve never heard the sound or viewed a harem, it may sound strange that people flock in droves to sit for hours and watch the beautiful animals do their thing, but the Bulls are beautiful and the whole dance is amazing. That said, I decided to include this post in the weekly challenge, the theme this week is Quest, partly because I was on my own quest yesterday for the perfect elk capture, and partly because I witnessed the sheer lunacy and utter peril that other people will put themselves in while on a quest.
With that, I will tell you that the folks at Rocky Mountain National Park provide clear instructions to all tourists on how to remain safe while viewing the elk during mating season (they are also posted throughout the park). So when I saw two people trapped by a 1000 lb Bull ready to protect his harem from a much younger male that didn’t realize he was in over his head, I had a difficult time feeling sorry for them (the first instruction on “how to safe” says stay out of the meadows). I would imagine that while on a quest for capturing “fun” photos of the elk, they somehow landed themselves directly in the midst of a showdown for the highly coveted harem.
I don’t know if they made it out unscathed, or how long they had to wait before they could make their escape, but I hope the quest for a great “elk selfie” was worth putting their lives at risk…
“Manners cost nothing…” unknown