Tag Archives: elk

My time with the Michigan Elk

The Native American people call Elk,  “Wapiti”, or “light colored deer”.
Photography Prints

I had the pleasure to spend a day with a large Michigan Elk herd near Gaylord, Michigan in May. I found the entire herd to be very accepting of my human form and camera. I was careful not to get too close and risk a possible charge. The Elk are very large (350 to 900 lbs) animals with their backs well over my shoulder and with a full set of antlers I would say they would be 7-9ft off of the ground. If they decided to charge I could not out run them, so I was happy to see that they accepted me with only mild curiosity.

If I approached too close, I was given the nervous lick, that let me know that I had stepped into the danger zone, at that point I slowly backed up till the licking of the lips stopped.

I did not get to see the full set of antlers on the bull (Male) elk, as the elk lose their antlers each March and start to grow them back in May. By late summer they will grow full size antlers (up to 4ft above the head), in time for the late summer breeding season. I did see a few of the bull elk that had a fresh set of sprouting horns covered in new velvet.

I was honored several times with some of the bull elks lifting their heads to bugle.  The sound is surprisingly loud. It definitely gets the attention of his females in the harem.

All of the elk currently in Michigan, are the result of repopulation. Michigan’s native elk disappeared around 1875. Today it is estimated that Michigan has 900+ elks in the wild, and managed with a limited number of hunting permits.

One of the greatest honors as a photographer is being accepted by a wild animal and being able to photograph them in their native environment.  This was one of the great moments in the May photo adventure.
Photography Prints

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