Montana Outdoors

July 26, 2013

Today’s visitor

Filed under: Animals, Elk — Tags: — montucky @ 11:35 pm

When we first acquired the little piece of Montana that we call home we decided to forever leave everything in a small draw to the west of the house in its completely natural state. It’s only about an acre in size but the brush is very thick and it is well protected on all sides. It is a sanctuary for birds and there is often a whitetail or two bedded down in its upper end. Today this fine looking lady elk stopped by for a visit and a meal of browse and berries.

Cow elk

Cow elk

Cow elk

Cow elk

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47 Comments »

  1. What a beauty! Great photos as always !
    Is it a difference between your Elk and a Moose ? Or is it just different names for the same animal…
    I just wonder because she look a little bit different than our swedish female moose … Here in Sweden, her head is larger, her muzzle is wider and her fur has longer hair … // Maria 🙂

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    Comment by mariayarri — July 27, 2013 @ 2:50 am

    • Thanks Maria! Yes, the elk and moose are completely different species. I think the moose you have in Sweden is the same as the one here. The elk is in size right between the moose and the deer. Here is a post from a year ago of a bull elk so you can see the antlers.

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      Comment by montucky — July 27, 2013 @ 10:51 pm

    • The photos of the bull elk looks like the red deers we have in Sweden . Thanks for telling me about the difference between elk and moose, i´ve guessed that there was a difference but i wasn´t sure. // Maria 🙂

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      Comment by mariayarri — July 28, 2013 @ 9:48 am

  2. What a wonderful bit of treasure for the day. She certainly was obliging for the camera. How fun to think of babies with her next spring.

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    Comment by Homestead Ramblings — July 27, 2013 @ 5:49 am

    • I loved her visit. There are quite a few elk just a few miles up the mountain just to the north of us, but the seldom come down this far into the valley. She may have had a calf with her but I saw no sign of one. We did have a pair of twin fawns visit the yard that morning though. They are still very small and just as cute as can be!

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      Comment by montucky — July 27, 2013 @ 10:54 pm

  3. She sure knows how to pose.

    Malcolm

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    Comment by knightofswords — July 27, 2013 @ 6:49 am

    • She sure did, didn’t she. Seemed quite comfortable there in the draw and that pleased me very much.

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      Comment by montucky — July 27, 2013 @ 11:00 pm

  4. Wow-I don’t think I’ve ever seen an elk photo on a blog before. I hope she likes the area enough to stick around!

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    Comment by New Hampshire Gardener — July 27, 2013 @ 7:21 am

    • I’m sure she won’t stick around here, but she probably lives further up on the mountain. I wonder though what brought her down. I may hike up there in a few days and see if perhaps a wolf pack has come into the area. That will move the elk around. I see elk frequently across the river from us. There is an open ridge there above the river and the elk used to calve there every spring.

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      Comment by montucky — July 27, 2013 @ 11:03 pm

  5. Looks like your place is perfect for your elk friend :-).

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    Comment by winsomebella — July 27, 2013 @ 7:45 am

    • It is a good short-term sanctuary for wildlife. Many birds live there and lots of other animals stop over upon occasion.

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      Comment by montucky — July 27, 2013 @ 11:05 pm

  6. Oh my heavens! She’s beautiful … her silky coat and the light… Great photos.

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    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — July 27, 2013 @ 8:28 am

    • Yes, she’s a beautiful example of the species and her visit was very welcome. I seldom have a good chance to photograph elk although I see quite a few.

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      Comment by montucky — July 27, 2013 @ 11:12 pm

  7. She is a gorgeous big thank you for leaving nature natural. What kind of berries are growing there that she likes?

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    Comment by bearyweather — July 27, 2013 @ 8:30 am

    • We have left as much as we could in its natural state after creating a fire-defensible area around the house. It is used very much by birds and wildlife. One of the hard winters a dozen years ago we even had a whitetail doe that slept every night right up next to our house on the east side where there was shelter from wind and snow.

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      Comment by montucky — July 27, 2013 @ 11:16 pm

  8. What a surprise that must have been, seeing her there. Good thing you never go anywhere without your camera. She’s got a pretty good coat on her and no ribs sticking out, so she must have had a good winter.

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    Comment by wordsfromanneli — July 27, 2013 @ 8:31 am

    • Last winter was quite mild and obviously she had no problems then. She is in prime condition. It’s rather rare for an elk to be here, but we’ve seen them before. Also moose and bighorn sheep, black bear, cougar, wolf and coyote have paid us visits over the years.

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      Comment by montucky — July 27, 2013 @ 11:18 pm

  9. Hi Montucky, How absolutely wonderful that this cow Elk has visited your place. It’s a rare and good thing for her and wildlife in general, that you left that area natural. Nice photographs, too! Have a splendid day and a good Sunday tomorrow!

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    Comment by wildlifewatcher — July 27, 2013 @ 8:57 am

    • We left as much as we could in its natural state and have been very well paid for doing so with many visits from wildlife. Hardly a day ever goes by without a visit from some species or other.

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      Comment by montucky — July 27, 2013 @ 11:21 pm

  10. What a beauty! Nice to have a “wild patch” for the local birds and wildlife! Have you heard any elk bugling? The cows around Flag have been!

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    Comment by twoscamps — July 27, 2013 @ 10:28 am

    • Haven’t heard any bugling yet, but we don’t hear it from the house ever. Just a few miles to the west though you can but I haven’t checked lately. FOr the rest of the summer I plan to be out in the mountains a lot more and will hopefully hear the bugles. That reminds me: I need to put my elk call in my pack before I head out next week. I do enjoy having conversations with them. I remember a few camping trips in northern Arizona up in the Chevelon Canyon area back in the days when CB radios were popular when a friend and I would create a feedback squeal with the CB that would cause the elk to bugle. One night we were getting responses to it and we tracked a bull on our map that came about two miles toward us during our conversation with him.

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      Comment by montucky — July 27, 2013 @ 11:29 pm

  11. We left an acre of woods do what ever nature intended at our old home. The diversity of wildlife there was wonderful to watch. It must be pretty neat to have elk in the back yard!

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    Comment by dhphotosite — July 27, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

    • That’s really rewarding, isn’t it! I’m so glad that we have done it. My only intervention there is when a cougar comes around and I make sure that he doesn’t stay long to ruin the sanctuary.

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      Comment by montucky — July 27, 2013 @ 11:32 pm

  12. I think she was on to you.

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    Comment by jomegat — July 27, 2013 @ 12:46 pm

    • She could certainly smell me, but didn’t recognize me by sight. She was not disturbed. In my experience I’ve found that elk are probably the best equipped of all wild animals in their sensory perception. If I remember it correctly, the old saying about elk is that they can see an elk hunter when he leaves his house in the morning, hear him close the door of his truck when he stops at his hunting area and smell him when he starts up the mountain.

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      Comment by montucky — July 27, 2013 @ 11:38 pm

  13. I have never seen an elk before. A real beauty!

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    Comment by roberta — July 27, 2013 @ 2:36 pm

    • They are magnificent animals. They have a very strong herd instinct and it’s quite rare to see a single cow.

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      Comment by montucky — July 27, 2013 @ 11:48 pm

  14. ooh, she looks fat and sassy. There must be good eating in your woods. Lovely photos!

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    Comment by Sue — July 27, 2013 @ 4:16 pm

    • Yes, this time of year it is a paradise for wildlife here. She was eating both berries and leaves and the wild grasses were up to her belly.

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      Comment by montucky — July 27, 2013 @ 11:50 pm

  15. She’s gorgeous. How totally cool that you have your own little nature preserve on your property as well as constant subjects for photo ops.

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    Comment by Candace — July 27, 2013 @ 5:47 pm

    • It has been so rewarding to see the life that comes and goes through that little area and many of them know that it’s a safe area for them. Every summer there is a doe who brings her fawns into our yard and leaves them for several hours while she tends to other business. We feel that is a great compliment.

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      Comment by montucky — July 27, 2013 @ 11:56 pm

  16. such a healthy looking elk! beautiful.

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    Comment by Tammie — July 28, 2013 @ 10:20 am

    • Yes, she is beautiful. I love to see an animal looking that good!

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      Comment by montucky — July 28, 2013 @ 7:53 pm

  17. I’ve still never seen and Elk…but you’ve shared another beautiful image with me/us…and how nice that you would leave that bit of your land as something of a preserve…wonderful for you and all of your neighborhood creatures. 🙂

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    Comment by seekraz — July 28, 2013 @ 10:27 am

    • I hope you will encounter elk on one of your ventures Scott. They are awesome animals.

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      Comment by montucky — July 28, 2013 @ 7:56 pm

      • I hope the same, Terry…I always find the pictures of them to be incredible.

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        Comment by seekraz — July 30, 2013 @ 7:19 pm

        • I spent a lot of time with the elk in northern Arizona over the years where they had more of them than we do here. Amazing animals.

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          Comment by montucky — July 30, 2013 @ 9:18 pm

          • I didn’t venture out much when I lived in Arizona, I’m sad to say…and now just pass through the northern parts when I’m on my way to visit in the cities. Maybe I’ll get to see some down there, my wife and kids actually saw a large bull moose near the Grand Canyon a few years ago, which I found incredible. I had thought they only lived in the northern-most states.

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            Comment by seekraz — July 31, 2013 @ 7:13 am

            • I didn’t see any moose in Arizona, but I suppose they would fit in the Kaibab.

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              Comment by montucky — July 31, 2013 @ 8:30 am

  18. I just laughed at your comment about your conversations with the elk. The one thing I’ve learned to speak is mallard – I have a lot of fun with them, whether it’s reuniting babies with mamas or just befuddling the teenagers. It’s marvelous that you have this place that’s just as it should be for the animals. When we had the place up in the Hill Country, there was a cabin, but that was it. With no hunting on the land, or timber cutting, it stayed very much a sanctuary. The color of this elk is gorgeous. I know the light is bright, but her coat (?) looks glossy and healthy.

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    Comment by shoreacres — July 28, 2013 @ 6:14 pm

    • The times when we are able to interact with wild things are very precious times. It’s an amazing thing to be able to watch them in their own habitat living out their daily lives and not alter their activities in the slightest. Often I will stalk an animal so I can watch from close up. The most difficult part is leaving without causing any alarm.

      This elk is really a prime specimen of what an elk ought to look like. She is well fed and her coat is immaculate. I just stood and watched in admiration.

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      Comment by montucky — July 28, 2013 @ 8:03 pm

  19. She is beautiful. What a treat to spend time watching her as she browsed in the natural draw and to get these great photos too. You’re definitely livin right. Thanks for sharing her with us. It’s always a treat to see these beautiful creatures.

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    Comment by anniespickns — July 29, 2013 @ 7:44 am

    • We love to have the animals visit (with the possible exception of the turkeys which can be a big problem).

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      Comment by montucky — July 29, 2013 @ 7:26 pm

  20. What a lovely sight. She really is quite beautiful.

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    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — July 29, 2013 @ 1:49 pm

    • It makes me feel good to see an animal in superb condition.

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      Comment by montucky — July 29, 2013 @ 7:27 pm

  21. Great shots. I think that You were lucky when seeing them.

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    Comment by Sartenada — August 1, 2013 @ 11:36 pm

    • We rarely have an elk visit, but yesterday there was another. I really do enjoy seeing them!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — August 2, 2013 @ 11:36 pm


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