Early Rut

“Horning of vegetation begins early in the rut and increases in frequency, and probably in intensity, during the rut. Like wallowing, it is an activity largely of older bulls and may occur without visible cause or in response to the advertisements of other bulls. It is a dominance display in which weapons are exercised – at times for the apparent benefit of opponents just prior to a fight. It is a noisy activity, augmenting the advertisement and often leaving a conspicuously peeled pole. When not contacting the tree trunk with his antlers, a bull may scrape the tree with his teeth, sniff, and rub his head against it. Thrashing can be quite variable, apparently depending on the kind of vegetation available. Wallowing, urine spraying, and vegetation horning are part and parcel of the attention-getting activities of rutting bull elk; they are not manifestations of classical territoriality.” – from “Elk of North America; Ecology and Management” by Thomas & Toweill

July 20 – 26, 2010

Another busy week, and a great week for wildlife watching. Saw another pine marten – these guys are fast, but I will get a decent shot this summer, eventually. Plenty of moose and osprey, some elk, deer and yellow-bellied marmots, and enough bear action to keep me happy. I was able to watch a young brown-phase black bear swim across a pond near Grand Lake as I fumbled to prepare my camera and tripod – lesson again learned and hopefully this time remembered, always have your camera ready.