EVERGREEN, Colo. – No humans were on nearby ground when two bull elk locked antlers Tuesday morning, but watchful eyes were in the skies above.
The sight of bull elk locked in battle will become increasingly common in the upcoming months, as rut season is on the way.
As the temperatures began to cool, the days become shorter and snow starts to fall in the high country, the elk rut -- also known as mating season -- will get underway.
The elk rut usually begins in the fall from mid-September through mid-October, sometimes lasting through November.
The bull elk will move to lower elevations so they can move in among a group of female elk -- called cows -- and calves, called a harem.
Harems are usually smaller than the large cow/calf herds of summer. It also lacks male yearlings because they are often driven off by the mature bulls.
Mature bulls will fight in order to find a female mate. They will bugle and rub trees, shrubs and the ground with their antlers to intimidate other bulls and attract cows. They also wallow in mud to coat themselves with urine “perfume” to attract cows.
Bulls will aggressively guard their harems from other bulls, sometimes fighting to the death.