Tag Archives: roosevelt elk

Nursing Elk

From a distance, in a herd of elk, it is sometimes hard to distinguish the yearlings from the newest calves after they’ve lost their spots.  But there is one time when it is obvious.

Click/tap to watch the video here:  Roosevelt Elk nursing her calf

Roosevelt Elk nursing her calf
Roosevelt Elk nursing her calf

Oregon Coast Elk

The elk keep their newborns hidden for a month or so but we finally saw this herd’s 2 calves today.  To see the video, click or tap on the photo or this link:  https://youtu.be/AvWTXqUX4dA

elk calf
Fences are not as easy for calves to cross as their parents

This herd has a wide variety of ages.

elk herd
Only 2 new calves so far this summer (far left)

Here is a yearling bull just starting to grow his antlers.  They are just nubs this summer.  Next summer he’ll have a set of spikes.

yearling bull with antler nubs
Yearling bull (left) with antler nubs showing

This one looks pretty sickly.  You can see her ribs and she doesn’t have much hair.

Sickly-looking cow elk
Sickly-looking cow elk

The rancher’s cows want to chat with the elk but she’s having none of it.

elk and cows have conversation
They are so stupid…they think I sat in white paint and dipped my head in black paint

This bull has some interesting antlers.

bull elk with crooked antler
Crooked antler

This is a nice looking bull.  Looks like 9 points to me; unless I don’t know which ones count.

9 point bull elk
9 points?

Little one asks mom for dinner.

Elk calf with mama
Elk calf with mama

3 Elk Calves

There were 3 elk calves in this small Roosevelt Elk herd today.  I read that a calf is fully weaned by the end of the summer…about 2 months old.  And a calf will gain 250-300 pounds in the first year.  As quickly as they gain weight, maybe these 2 calves are only a couple weeks apart?  I’ve got more questions than answers!

Calves find Mom by smell
How do calves and moms find each other again?

The calves don’t stick right next to mom all day so do they find each other again by smell or voice or sight?  I’ve seen the calf get close to a couple cows who chase it away before she finds the one she can nurse.

elk cow and calf
Cow not happy with calf

At least once during the summer I’ll see a yearling nursing and wonder if the mom had and lost a calf and her last year’s calf is just opportunistic?

Elk Yearling Nursing
Elk Yearling Nursing

They’re beautiful animals without a doubt.

elk calf sizes
Big size difference between calves

The Roosevelt Elk calves will mostly lose their spots by winter.  But the yearlings still act like kids; jumping, running and playing with each other.  Here’s one of the little calves trying to figure out the purpose of a scarecrow.  To watch this YouTube video in a larger window, click on the play arrow and then on the YouTube icon in the lower right corner.

Lost elk calves

I guess they’re not “lost”, just misplaced.

I heard a calf crying for 20-30 minutes before I saw it behind the fence.  It sounded like it was coming down to get to the road along the fenceline.  There were no adults around and the calf was running back and forth on the road, clearly lost.  Mama wasn’t calling to calm it down either.  Then a few adult elk came into view in the field and the calf quieted down a little.  It was still bothered that it couldn’t get close to mama though.  The cows seem so nonchalant about their calves.  They wander off and just leave them crying.  Animal behavior is interesting…sometimes it is similar to human behavior.

Anyway, then I saw 2 calves on the other side of the fence.  At the end of the couple hours, both adults and calves were going in the same direction albeit with a fence in between.  I’m sure there is a place the elk can jump the fence to get back to their calves.

2 elk calves separated from their moms
2 elk calves separated from their moms

Here’s a video of an older elk sibling taking advantage of the situation.  You can barely see the 2 little calves moving behind the tall grass and fence near the top of the screen; one behind the first cow and the other passes behind the 2nd cow elk.

Click on YouTube (bottom-right of video) for a better view.

[youtube https://youtu.be/K2PhyADPAD4]

Yearling elk getting their antlers

I got out early today to see if the elk were still hanging around where I saw them bedded down last evening.  I didn’t find any newborn calves but there were a couple yearlings showing their new antlers.

elk's first antlers
First antlers on elk calf still in winter coat

Most of the elk have lost their winter coats by now but this calf seems to be lagging behind.  I’ve noticed an adult keeps their coat a little longer than the others too.  I can’t remember if it is a cow or a bull though.  If I see him/her I’ll now know who this little guy belongs to.

tagged elk alllie
Who’s playing peek-a-boo behind ALLLIE?

There are about 35 elk in this herd.  I wonder how many can call Alllie Mom?

elk mom with yearling son
Stand still! I’m still your mother.  There, now you’re ready for your photo.

 Mom keeps an eye on the growth of her son.

male yearling with new antlers
This little bull has shed his winter coat and starting to grow antlers