In praise of elk
One of the great calls of the wild is the “bugle” or “whistle” of the elk. The bugle is mainly a male attribute that starts low and rises to a high pitched whistle that carries over long distances. This call is mainly heard during the rut or mating season from September to November.
Next to the moose, the elk or wapiti is the largest of the deer or cervidae family. Elk is British for moose, a name incorrectly applied by early settlers; wapiti originates from the Shawnee. Only the males have antlers, which are shed annually in February or March. They were once primarily plains dwellers but were gradually eliminated to reduce competition with livestock. They are now most abundant in the major parks of western Canada and the U.S. and commercially raised on farms.
Above: “Morning Glory”
Although perhaps not as dangerous as bears or cougars, elk should be given some respect and distance especially during mating and calving seasons. I personally recall a female chasing me when I was trying to get the ideal photo of her and her calf. We played tag around a bush for a few moments then, fortunately, I was able to sprint to my vehicle unscathed!
On another occasion I was photographing elk on the Banff Springs golf course in the autumn when I noticed an avid photographer getting rather close to a cantankerous bull elk. The elk finally charged him. He didn’t have time to turn and run, but stumbled as he frantically backed away. I started running towards the scene, but wasn’t sure what I was going to do when I got there! The elk stood right over the gentleman and I suppose it realized that this prone petrified person was not threatening to take any of his female mates, so the elk ambled off. You wildlife admirers take care out there!
“Morning Glory” was printed by the Federal Ducks Unlimited. The gentleman in Oklahoma who owns the painting has a large collection of art, but he calls this one his favourite. I felt this image would make a great simple statement about the awesome power and beauty of nature and all things wild.
~By Glenn Olson
Glenn is a local artist who has earned numerous awards. He works primarily with acrylics is developing his highly detailed paintings. You can surf up Glenn’s web site at www.glennolson.net.