WATCH: Bull Elk Brutally Lays Into Rival in Battle During Rut

by Samantha Whidden

A nature and hunting photographer experienced quite a sight when he recorded a bull elk brutally laying into a rival in a battle during rut. 

The Instagram account, NatureIsMetal, shared a video from Rafał Łapiński of the bull elk going at it against its rival. “During the rut, it can go down at any moment,” the post’s caption reads. “The list of mammals that participate in this seasonal jousting tournament to determine sexual rights is pretty long and distinguished, but ruminant rutting is definitely up there with the most spectacular of them all.”

It was noted that males of each species have been preparing for this kind of “contest” for months. “Bulking up during August-September so that when October finally rolls around, they can forgo eating and concentrate on either protecting an established harem OR defeating the stag who controls one in a shoving match to claim it as their own.”

Along with preparing for this kind of fight, species get completely “jacked up” on testosterone. “So much so that their behavior becomes much more unpredictable and potentially dangerous, not only to other deer but to humans that might get caught in the fray.”

However, it is noted that those who get to experience this kind of fight should keep a safe distance. 

Wyoming Hunters Watch Bull Elk Throwdown While on a Hunting Trip 

According to Cowboy State Daily, Wyoming hunters had front-row seats for an epic throwdown between a bull elk pair earlier this month. 

While speaking to the media outlet, one of the hunters Seth Lee recalled watching the bull elks go at it. “I’ve never seen anything like those two bulls fighting,” he said. ‘They just wanted to kill each other. 

Lee further recalled watching the two bull elks start challenging each other. This happened right at sunrise. They gradually moved toward each other and started fighting. “We heard them bugling, bugling, bugling, and then ‘wham!’” he explained. “They started going at it. As soon as we heard the crack together, we started sneaking closer.”

The hunter was definitely well aware of what could happen if the bull elk noticed his presence. “They could have stomped on us and not even know it.”

A Wyoming Game and Fish Department further warned about getting close to any elk fights. “Being near two elk locked in a battle could turn into a dangerous situation at any moment.” 

The official then said, “In situations like these, elk are very focused and have been observed going through fences, trees, ponds, or other obstructions that they would ordinarily avoid. If you are in the wrong place, you could be injured or worse.”