The annual elk rut kicked off in most regions across the United States as early as last month and since then, male bulls have been on the hunt for mating partners. As we know, love, or even lust, makes a person do some pretty unusual things, and a new video of a Rocky Mountain Elk proves the same goes for our country’s wildlife. Check out the following clip as a dozing bull elk perks right up when he hears the mating call of a nearby cow.
The camera remains focused on the bull elk as it appears to doze off beneath a tree, lazily grinding down a mouthful of grass. Suddenly, the antlered creature’s eyes begin to close and his head droops near the ground.
He appears more than ready for a nap when, all of a sudden, a distant female elk call catches his attention. The she-elk calls a second time and immediately, the bull elk’s ears perk right up and his eyes widen in awareness. He turns his head toward the sound, more slowly munching on his snack, before letting out an answering call of his own.
Unfortunately for the elk in rut, the female doesn’t let out another call and he seems to turn his attention back to his nap.
The footage of the bull elk above was originally shared online by the National Park Service.
Get to Know the Rocky Mountain Bull Elk
Hysterical sightings like the one above are definitely a treat as many of us don’t get to experience these wondrous creatures up close. According to Zenger News, the Rocky Mountain bull elk is a subspecies of elk that populate the Rocky Mountains out west. The outlet states they range from the northernmost part of North America down through the mountains of the Southwestern United States.
Per Newsweek, the Rocky Mountain elk boasts the largest set of antlers among the species, shedding and growing a new set every year. Incredibly, their crown of antlers can weigh as much as 40 pounds. They’re also the biggest species among the deer family and one of the biggest land mammals on the continent, next to grazers like bison, popular in Yellowstone National Park. There are currently about one million elk that populate North America.
During the rut each year, “Bull elk bugle to announce themselves to nearby bulls, to attract mates, or to keep track of their harem,” a group of female elk.
As humorous as the clip above appears, don’t let the elk’s sleepy gaze fool you. Bull elk are known for becoming extremely aggressive and territorial at this time of the year so now especially, it is important for humans to maintain a safe distance from these powerful beasts.