Monday, October 3, 2016

Rocky Mountain Elk

One of the defining species of Rocky Mountain National Park is the Rocky Mountain Elk. Which is quite ironic because even though they are native to the park the local herd was almost wiped out by market hunters providing meat to the growing population of Denver, Colorado during the hey day of mining. In 1913-1914 through the help of the Estes Valley Improvement Association and the the United States Forest Service forty-nine elk were captured in Yellowstone and shipped to Colorado to rebuild the elk herd of the Estes Valley and the park. It was obviously a success for now the park has an overabundance of elk for the resources the park has to offer. Early in the morning on Sept. 5th we went up into the park to photograph elk. Right after we entered the park we saw a nice bull on the side of the road. What caught my eye though was this young elk calf standing nearby in beautiful light. Further up on Trail Ridge Road we spotted a bull trying to round up his cows in thick timber He was exhausted! He was right next to where "The Drift"a popular trail from the now long gone Hidden Valley Ski area used to cross the road. That was a challenging trail to ski in my youth. Later in the afternoon we went back to Estes Park and I took a nice hike along the shores of Lake Estes where I spotted this elk alternately bugling and then thrashing the willows next to the golf course and the Big Thompson River. It was a nice day seeing the elk. God bless, chris All images were created with my Canon 7D mkII and my damaged Tamron 150-600mm lens. Exposures varied.

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