It’s official, the rut has started. Over the next month or so you will see male elk looking to mate with female elk, also known as cows.
All year Elk stay in same–sex groups, but during the rut they form groups called harems. Harems consist of one dominant bull elk and a large group of female elk. During this time, the bull elk becomes very aggressive towards other male elk and is very protective of his harem. During the rut he will have little time to eat and can lose up to 20 percent of his body weight.
The male elk also become more aggressive towards each other because their goal is to establish dominance and win over a mate. It isn’t uncommon to see elk sparring during the rut, meaning they lock antlers with each other and fight over territory and harems.
Bull elk make very distinct noises(bugling) during the rut. Bugling is the bull elk’s mating call, the bugle starts off as a high-pitched cry then transitions to a low groaning sound. Bugling is the bulls way of alerting female elk that a potential mate is nearby, and also can be a deterrent to other male elk.
Bull Elk Bugling Video