Rocky Mountain Elk 2007

Rocky Mountain Elk 2011

Male Grazing 2011

Rocky Mountain Elk Yearling 2011

Yearling 2011

Rocky Mountain Elk Cow 2011

Cow 2011

Yellowstone National Park, Obsidian Creek 2007
Blacktai Deer Plateau & Mamomth Hot Springs 2011

They can be found in the western section of the park, and when in rut, roaming the streets of Mammoth Hot Springs. Elk (Cervus elaphus) are the most abundant large mammal found in Yellowstone; paleontological evidence confirms their continuous presence for at least 1,000 years. Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872, when market hunting of all large grazing animals was rampant. Not until after 1886, when the U.S. Army was called in to protect the park and wildlife slaughter was brought under control, did the large animals increase in number.

Bulls grow antlers annually from the time they are nearly one year old.When mature, a bull’s "rack" may have 6 to 8 points or tines on each side and weigh more than 30 pounds. The antlers are usually shed in March or April, and begin regrowing in May, when the bony growth is nourished by blood vessels and covered by furry-looking "velvet." Antler growth ceases each year by August, when the velvet dries up and bulls begin to scrape it off by rubbing against trees, in preparation for the autumn mating season or rut. A bull may gather 20-30 cows into his harem during the mating season, often clashing or locking antlers with another mature male for the privilege of dominating the herd group. By November, mating season ends and elk generally move to their winter ranges. Calves weighing 25-40 pounds are born in late May or early June.

http://www.nps.gov/yell/naturescience/elk.htm

Rocky Mountain Elk Range

Range - Blue

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