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Calling All Challengers

ORIGINAL PAINTING
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Elk (Cervus canadensis)

For most of the year the Elk are seldom seen and the only indication that they’re around will come in the form of fresh “elk chews” on the aspen trunks, or pellet droppings found on the mountain trails. Then, late in the summer, up in the high country of the western United States, things start to change…. the days become shorter and the evenings chill turns the aspens to gold and you can begin to hear the shrill, squealing, mating calls of the Bull Elk echoing through valleys. Their calls are so high and so piercing, it’s hard to imagine that they emanate from such great, majestic animals. The ritual calls will continue throughout the breeding season which generally last through the first snows of the winter. A dominant bull will take on all comers, defending his cows from any interlopers, as well as indiscriminantly challenging other bulls for the cows that they have…..Obviously they are unknowing proponents of the old adage that, “everything is fair, in love and war”.

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