Arkansas Wildlife Blog and Gallery
Buffalo National River and NW Arkansas
Notes to Entry:
These pictures are from 2010 of the Arkansas Elk Herd
BNR Elk Gallery #3, The 2010 Rut
To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
An eternity in an hour.
Pretty Boy, the first rutting bull elk in Boxley Valley in the 2010 rut. He is a fine 6x6 bull with nearly perfect symmetry. Like many first rutting bulls, the question will be if he can hold his herd. The very biggest bull elk have not yet moved to the cows because not enough of them are estrous -- it is still a bit early, before peak. My guess is that he is not yet quite large enough to hold off challengers. We shall see. He and his herd have been holed up around the Ponca Access now for over a week.
Below Pretty Boy (on the left) loses out to the Bubba Stud, Brother of the Boxley Stud, a huge dominant bull who arrived at the 2010 elk rut on September 20. Pretty Boy was outgunned and he put up little resistance as the Stud took cows from him one by one.
This is a typical scenario in the annual rut. The very first bulls with the cow elk are generally a bit smaller than the final herd bulls. These bulls look large until the big boys arrive.
The very biggest bulls can be identified by their huge, mature racks, and much thicker bodies. Often they have pot bellies. These heavyweights have a huge advantage in fighting. Elk fights are more like wrestling matches than sword fights. Size matters.
Pictured above is the Bubba Stud, collared brother of the Boxley Stud, taken on September 21. He has shifted roles now, from challenger to herd bull. He is a 7x6 and shares the distinctive drop tine on his left antler.
The Boxley Stud moved his herd down by the Buffalo at the south end of Boxley Valley.
Big bulls protect their territories by both fighting and spacing them away from other bulls. Below is a rare picture of the Boxley Stud in Beech Creek. He is an 8x7. His brother, the Bubba Stud, is a 7x6, and in late September has stayed close to the fields just south of the Observation Pullout.
The Boxley Stud was on the cover of Arkansas Wildlife Magazine las fall. He is a very photogenic animal.
"Hacksaw" Crosses Buffalo National River While Bugling, Late September 2010 September 28, 2010