Your North Carolina Link to the
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
I was lucky to catch this cow just after she had dropped her calf. The cow still showed evidence of the birth on her rump and the calf was very wobbly as it walked. This was in South Dakota, The Smoky Mountains are much closer for us in the Carolinas. Although most of us tend to look for shots of the big bulls when we are in the woods, scenes like this one remind us of the cycle of life and how beautiful it can be.
Nature has its ways of protecting the young elk when they are born. The bulls will lose their antlers in late winter or early spring. Without their tremendous weapons, they become much more docile. Of course, this is also accompanied by a reduction in the mating instinct which is probably the driving force behind a bull elk's hostility. I found this guy near Estes Park, Colorado. The antler may have dropped naturally or it may have been lost in a contest with another bull.
This rather bedraggled looking group of bulls was lounging in Yellowstone National Park. There isn't anything wrong with them, they are just losing their winter coats. Soon after the bulls drop their antlers, they begin to grow back. They have a soft covering called velvet. The velvet remains on the antlers until they mature. Once mature, the bulls will rub the velvet off on tree trunks and they have the appearance that is more familiar to most people.
Won't it be incredible to find scenes like this just a short drive from home?
I encourage you to contact me or one of the chapter committee members so that we may answer your questions.
Russ Morton - North Carolina Volunteer Webmaster 336-463-4555 or e-mail