We are very fortunately to live very close to one of North America’s grandest wildlife sanctuaries, namely rocky Mountain National Park. This is a great spot for enjoying our favorite outdoor activities, namely hiking, snowshoeing and wildlife viewing, as well as photography. Especially enjoyable is the opportunity to watch the big game; large herds of elk that freely roam the park.
During the summer they are hard to find, spending most of their time at high altitudes to avoid the heat. In the late fall they descend into the meadows to gather for the purpose of breeding. Then is when they attract large numbers of tourists from all over the globe , often stopping all traffic in both directions. Nobody seems to get upset, because wildlife viewing is one of the chief reasons to come to the park. The park rangers are usually at the scene directing traffic and protecting the elk, and making sure that the excited tourists don’t get in trouble or threaten the elk.
Late fall is also mating season for the elk, and the mating calls of the big bulls echo throughout the valley. Conventional wisdom would lead you to think that such a large animal would make a low pitched rumbling or roaring sound, like a bear. But the call of the big bull elk is a very high-pitched squeal. The reason for this is that this sound carries for great distances, announcing to female elk for miles around that that this big guy is ready willing and able to mate.
My painting portrays a Big Bull elk bugling for a mate. If you look closely, you’ll see the warm air from his bugling combining with the cold fall air and condensing to produce steam. It is indeed an honor and privilege to be able portray these magnificent but gentle creatures.
To see a larger version and learn more Click Here