Bull Tule Elk After a Fight

Photo of a bull tule elk after a fight.

Injured Bull Tule Elk, Point Reyes National Seashore

I wrote this post at the same time as the previous one.  The point of this one was going to be to show how the bull in that post looked after an apparent fight.  In looking over the draft of this post I now realize this isn’t the same bull.  This bull’s antlers are “palmated,” especially the right one.  Furthermore, I don’t see any baling twine.  I guess I jumped to the conclusion that it was the same bull because this big bull was returning to the same 8 cows that I saw the previous bull with in the same spot an hour before.   In view of the fact that this is the one returning to the harem, it appears he is the dominant bull in this area.

He was limping very noticeably which seemed to be due to an injured left shoulder.  The area behind his lower left shoulder seems devoid of any hair.   His left flank may also show evidence of a fight.  He was panting heavily for the 10 to 15 minutes I observed him and his mouth was open almost all that time.  I assume this bull was in a fight with the bull in the previous post.  Even though he was showing signs of stress from what I presume was a fight, he still checked out a couple of cows that must have been close to being ready to mate.  Being the dominant bull is a lot of work and leaves the big bulls in a weaker state when winter arrives.  Point Reyes is a pretty safe place though for a weakened bull elk.  It’s a lot tougher in Yellowstone with the low temperatures, the snow and the wolves.

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About Jim Coda

I am a nature photographer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I specialize in photos of birds, mammals, and landscapes.
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4 Responses to Bull Tule Elk After a Fight

  1. John Wall says:

    With all that mud on him it makes me wonder if he got a little stuck in the mud at the pond! Your post makes me want to go back out there and figure out which bull is which, assuming antler differences are easily noticed.

    • Jim Coda says:

      Hi John. After comparing the antlers on the bulls in your photos and mine I don’t think they’re the same bull. I’ve been told that the dominant bull in that area has several challengers. Makes me want to go out there again too! I haven’t witnessed a fight yet.

  2. Charlotte Crackbon says:

    Thanks Jim for all the interesting info that goes along with each photo.

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