|For those of you who have never experienced the majestic bugle of a Bull Elk, have a listen…
The shortening of daylight will trigger the elk’s biological clock and the rut will begin. As the light decreases in the fall, glands are stimulated (by the amount of daylight which comes in through the eyes) and these glands will release hormones. The bulls first shed their velvet, their antlers are white. During the rut the antlers will darken, or become stained from dirt, mud, bark, sap, and blood, turning them to various shades of browns to almost black. The bulls will be less and less social with their summer time companions.
These bulls will seek out the cows and if they are not already taken by a larger bull, he will claim possession of them. He will chase off any smaller bulls, usually without having to fight, but with just his massive size and aggressiveness. As the height of the rut passes, the herd bulls will wander off and once again form bachelor groups. At the end of the rut, a bull will have lost roughly 100 pounds and will need to feed heavily to replace the lost stores of fat needed for the upcoming winter months.