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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Yellowstone National Park in Park County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)
 

Elk Rut

The Sound of Autumn

 
 
Elk Rut Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 29, 2015
1. Elk Rut Marker
Inscription.
As the days grow short and temperatures dip, bull elk feel the nudge of autumn. Instinct and experience guide them. Ready to compete, bulls pierce the air with bugling – their distinctive mating calls.

Gathering and Guarding a Harem
Robust bulls rely on more than muscle to compete in the rut. Herding skills and a spirited attitude are vital, along with a stout pair of antlers. A bull must defend his harem of cows – sometimes to the death – or risk losing them.

While two bulls battle, other bulls sneak in to whisk cows away. Unattended females often wander, only to be herded again. For more than a month, mature bull elk have very little time for food or rest. The rut demands full attention.

Bugle Calls in the Fort
Long before soldiers arrived to protect Yellowstone’s wonders, or built Fort Yellowstone, or graced the parade grounds with bugle calls, bull elk sounded their own bugles.

Elk are wild and unpredictable. They roam freely in the park today, as they did on 1886 when soldiers first marched into Mammoth Hot Springs.

Too Close!
During the rut, bull elk are agitated and extremely dangerous, even when resting. Elk are quick and powerful. Keep your distance.
Stay at least 25 yards (23 m) from elk at all times.

< Second Marker
Elk Rut Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 29, 2015
2. Elk Rut Marker
: >
Calving Season
New Life in the Elk Herd

A Few Minutes Old
Cow elk give birth in May or June. In less than an hour, a newborn calf stands for its first meal.

Motherly Instinct
Newborns cannot keep up with the herd. A cow keeps her calf safe by hiding it, then grazes or rests nearby. Like its mother, the newborn uses instinct, lying still until its mother returns.

Cow elk are very protective of their calves. A cow may charge if you venture near her young, even if you do not see a calf. Stay alert!
 
Erected by National Park Service.
 
Location. 44° 58.588′ N, 110° 42.012′ W. Marker is in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, in Park County. Marker is on N Entrance Road, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is located in the Mammoth Hot Springs Area of Yellowstone National Park, across the street from the Albright Visitor Center. Marker is in this post office area: Yellowstone National Park WY 82190, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Parade Ground (here, next to this marker); Fort Yellowstone     National Historic Landmark (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Yellowstone (within
Calving Season Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 29, 2015
3. Calving Season Marker
shouting distance of this marker); Welcome to Historic Fort Yellowstone (within shouting distance of this marker); Road Builders (within shouting distance of this marker in Montana); a different marker also named Road Builders (within shouting distance of this marker); From Soldier to Ranger (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Drill Field (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Yellowstone National Park.
 
Categories. Animals
 
Calving Season & Elk Rut Markers image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 29, 2015
4. Calving Season & Elk Rut Markers
Markers at Mammoth Hot Springs image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 29, 2015
5. Markers at Mammoth Hot Springs
Elk Cow near the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 29, 2015
6. Elk Cow near the Marker
Bull Elk Preparing for the Rut image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 29, 2015
7. Bull Elk Preparing for the Rut
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 21, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 195 times since then and 52 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on September 21, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.
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