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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Yellowstone Flashback - Elk Herd

The following is part of a series of posts about the trip Wayne and I took to Yellowstone National Park in 2009.

I told you my next Yellowstone Flashback post would feature wildlife and I'm a gal who tries to keep her promises.  While in Yellowstone we drove from our campground at Fishing Bridge up to the entrance at Gardiner to meet a man about about renting a spotting scope.  We didn't end up renting it, because minutes before our meeting we came upon this scene on the side of the road.

Why pay to "spot" wildlife when they hang out by the side of the road in the middle of the day?  This spot was between the Albright Visitor Center and the Roosevelt Arch at the North Entrance.  Elk are very common in the Mammoth Springs area of the park, coming right in to the populated area and making a nuisance of themselves sometimes.

I had rented a 500mm lens for my camera before our trip and as I stood in the back of the truck with my tripod I got quite a few looks and some brave souls even came over to ask questions.  I don't claim to be an expert by any means, but a cooperative herd and a quality lens means all you have to do is push the button.

A young bull was trying to make a run at the ladies, it was fall after all, but the dominant bull kept a close eye on his harem and ran off the intruder easily.

 Bull elk weigh about 700 pounds, their antlers can weigh as much as 40 pounds alone.  Now that's something to bugle about.

The bull elk's bugle is impressive and we heard it a few times while at Yellowstone that September.  We left the herd alone when they started bedding down in the grass, first one laid down and disappeared, and then another and another.  When we passed by again half an hour later we didn't see a single elk but I'm sure they were there.  It was amazing how easy it was for them to hide from our view in the tall grass and shrubs.


  1. Great pictures. Love the last two especially. They are calendar quality. We camped at Fishing Bridge and hated it but camped at Mammoth and loved it. The elk were all over town most of the time. Such fun to see them so closely. I'd love to be there in the fall. Have to figure out how to do that. Did you get down and into the springs? Wonderful!!