Calving Season for Elk
June is peak calving season for elk in the Central Rockies, and many of the ranch staff have noticed small groups of cows splitting off on their own to find a safe place to bring their newborns into the world. Although newborn elk are pretty spry, they are still a little unsteady on their feet for the first few days of their new lives, and they rely heavily on camouflage and a lack of scent to protect them from predators.
This young calf was seen shortly after he was born a couple of days ago, so he is only a few days old in this photo. As soon as its mother spotted our truck approaching, she quickly “stashed” him in these shrubs as she tried to lead the intruders away. We managed to grab a few photos before quickly departing, so as not to disturb the pair too much.
Their natural instinct at this age is hold perfectly still so as to not attract attention. Good for photographers, as he let us slowly get close enough to snap a close-up with a telephoto lens.
Elk begin calving in mid-May, and the season will continue through the month of June. The new calves will be able to run quite well after a few days, and will lose their spots by the end of the summer.