What fun it has been for the last two months with the elk herd. They have been coming and going since Christmas. They know my voice now. They are pretty comfortable bedding down here for the night. Champ is curious about them. When I am not looking he will run close to them. He doesn't realize that he might get an ass kicking. Elk can run at top speeds of over 40 mph. Yikes!
They are pretty mellow during the winter. The young bulls are a bit hormonal. Such as Agitated Andy. I have to keep my eye on him especially as pictured above. As soon as he started to do some lip smacking, I moved further off. Elk communicate with their legs, too. They have tiny bones in their ankles that snap and pop when they walk. That is how another elk knows one is coming up behind him.
Andy likes to spar with the older bull in the late afternoons into the dark. I can stand on my porch listening to the babies from last year calling their moms and the males clashing antlers in fun. It won't be in fun during rut season. The BIG bulls have split off from this heard and have been seen locally. They will come back to claim their cows or fight for them come September.
Queenie is the lead cow. The bulls follow where ever the cows wants to go. Love it. LOL
She is collared to set off the elk lights on highway 101 which flash up to a mile away to warn motorists that the elk are close. In other words, slow down! Someone told me female elk have antlers. Female cows do NOT have antlers.
Does this picture make our butts look big? Nothing like having a bulls eye on your you know what's! Lots of youngsters this year.
Sometimes when I come home I have to drive through the herd to get to my driveway. It thrills me overtime. It just doesn't get old. I refuse to fence any of my lower property allowing the elk free range. Plus, they don't respect fences anyway. Elk can jump an 8 foot fence from a standstill. I am living on their trail. It has been their trail for decades. Who am I to argue with that?
Here they are aerating and fertilizing my lawn. My lawn is way too wet to mow since I live on a hill, so the Elk have been doing the mowing. Perfect harmony (unless they get too close to my gardens.)
Then I give them a bit of a shoo.
Black and white of a couple of the boys sparring. I have started searching for antlers. It's a bit early, but i saw a large elk with buds. In the summer they can grow an inch or more to their antlers DAILY. The amount of sun and testosterone has a play into the growth of their antlers.
I wish I could find some fresh antlers. I'd like to train Yoko to search for them.
These bull's antlers by my house are in the "velvet" stage. They are soft and fuzzy looking. Way cool. Later in the summer they will lose the fuzz and become more bone-like.
Here they are next to my house with snow on the Olympic mountains. Paradise!
This is how they look in the spring. Daisies everywhere!
Morning sunrise off my porch. Thank-you Lord. Trust me, I'm grateful.