Turn on the sound for the full effect!
Rutting season is upon us, and the bull elk are strutting their stuff and defending their turf no matter where they happen to be.
Case in point: this cool video captured by Erik Geyer, Chatfield Farms Arborist. Two bull elk spar with each other right in the greater metro area's backyard! You can see traffic behind them as they go after each other in the newly fallen snow. Elk are somewhat common in the Chatfield area and farther west, though having them so close to town is truly a unique sight for many.
Make sure to turn your volume on to hear them lock antlers as they tussle.
The videographer definitely did the right thing by keeping his distance. Bull elk are particularly aggressive during the mating season (cow elk are particularly aggressive when they have calves), and it's best to give them their space at all times. The video shows that they can really show up anywhere, and especially with so many people out and hiking this time of year, it's good to know what to expect if you run into a herd.
Rutting season generally peaks from mid-September to the end of October, and the elk are ready to mingle. The males will battle it out, bugle, and chase females around, literally. Of course, at the end of the mating dance, nature takes it course, and another crop of elk calves are conceived.
It's best to give these majestic animals tons of space and privacy during rutting. Bulls can be aggressive toward anything in their territory right now, whether another elk or a ill-informed tourist trying to get a close-up picture. Stay away from them—far, far, away—and enjoy watching the mating dance from a distance. It's truly an experience worth seeing.
Where is your favorite spot in Colorado to catch the rut? Have you seen elk in your area? Let us know in the comments!