The bull elk (Cervus candensis) I photographed one afternoon near Mammoth Hot Springs is seen here bugling, an audible cue and a form of posturing intended for both his harem of females and nearby males, meant to establish his dominance and access rights to the females and warn other males interested in breeding away. In fact, there was another bull with harem only a few hundred yards away. The two bulls bugled back and forth for hours, their sounds echoing over the otherwise quiet hills as evening set in.
Male elk bugling during the fall rut. Large male elk are known as bulls. Male elk have large antlers which are shed each year. Male elk engage in competitive mating behaviors during the rut, including posturing, antler wrestling and bugling, a loud series of screams which is intended to establish dominance over other males and attract females.
Image ID: 19698
Species: Elk, Cervus canadensis
Location: Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA