Carolina Bull Elk bulk up for impending Rut…

Bull elk foraging, Oconaluftee, NC, Bob Grytten image

It’s August 10 and elk near the Oconaluftee section of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park graze and forage low hanging leaves. A calm before the storm. Yearling and new calves romp and play. About a month or less from now, there will be battles. Sharp polished antlers will take the place of the soft velvet. Who will win out as dominant Bull.

Intermittent drizzle, a constant nemesis of our photo equipment is becoming more regular now. The herd seems more directed, moving with more vigor, and I sense an opportunity to catch them crossing the river. One doe has already moved into the woods. Then I spot another doe and fawn already foraging near the bank. I set the tripod and wait. How lucky could I get.

About ten minutes and the first doe is chest deep against the swift current. Then another, then a yearling, almost hesitant…

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