Six Fascinating Elk Facts Montana Hunters Perhaps Don’t Know
No matter the time of year, elk are never far from the minds of those passionate about the pursuit of one of Montana's most majestic beasts.
The good folks at Estes Park Colorado have put together a list of interesting facts about elk. While these may not necessarily make you a better hunter, you can delight your hunting companions (or, full disclosure, annoy them) with your expanded knowledge of the species. Depending on your experience, these might be either "a-ha" moments or "everybody knows that" moments. Either way, let's polish up our bugles and call 'em out!
Something just recently discovered about elk: It turns out their anklebones make a unique cracking or popping noise as they walk. Researchers believe elk might actually use this sound to signal their presence to other elk, especially when sneaking up from behind.
GOING GREEN MILLIONS OF YEARS AGO
An elk’s antlers are like solar-powered growth machines! The more sunlight they soak up, the more testosterone they produce, leading to some seriously impressive antler growth. It’s nature’s version of recharging for the rut season.
Elk antlers have been known to grow as much as one inch per day. This rapid pace has led some scientists to suggest that studying elk’s antlers might give us some help in the fight against certain types of cancer in humans.
IS HE A "9" OR A PERFECT "10"?
Researchers have observed some fascinating numbers when the gals are checking out the guys. Given the option between a bull with nine antler points and one with 10, female elk consistently choose the bull with 10. Looks like these majestic creatures are crunching the numbers before making their romantic decisions. And it's pretty hard for a bull elk to photo-shop that kind of thing.
YEEEWWW! OR WOOOO! ?
We might find it disgusting, but the girls just might go wild. The bachelor bull elk commonly displays a quirky mating ritual: He digs a hole, fills it with his own urine, then enjoys a soak in it. He’s hoping the scent will work its magic and attract a mate.
While it may not be a factor in attracting a mate, it might aid in pursuing one. And it can sure come in handy when predators are in the neighborhood. Elk aren’t just majestic creatures, they’re also very athletic, hitting speeds up to 40 mph and leaping up to 8 feet in the air.
GROOVIN' TO THEIR SOUNDTRACK
During the rut, that iconic sound of a bull elk bugling is one of nature's greatest hits. But just how are they making that noise? After all, those bugles reach pitches that are far too high to be produced by an elk’s voice box. Well, recent scientific research says that it turns out there are two forces at work. If you can use your scope or binoculars to really zero in, you’ll see that he is moving both his lips and his nostrils. In other words, he’s roaring and whistling simultaneously. A definite dual-threat musician!
We hope you've enjoyed these insights, and as always, best of luck in the field when you are in pursuit of these incredible critters. May you harvest a perfect "10" next season.
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