Saturday, October 11, 2008

hoofs and antlers

_IGP8202, originally uploaded by preyingjaws.

This is one of those pictures that you don't want to take on your trip to Yellowstone NP. The Park Rangers warn many a person daily to keep away from the wild life. The Park's literature too tells one to keep a safe distance of no less then 25 yards for most large animals and 100 at least for bears. It also says to give plenty of space to Elk during the Rut (mating season).

I did.

My story goes... one crisp morning before I started my coffee while camping at the Madison Junction Campground I chose to go for a walk along the river's side. I saw a few fly fishermen and pondered if they'd seen the elk herd in the area. As I came around the crest of a river bend I saw them in the field across the way, on the other side of the river. I took a few frames and walked over to a couple of photographers near by. We chatted a moment and moved up the river to get a better shot.

One of the cows (female elk) went rogue and crossed the river about a hundred yards from the bridge. I moved up river to get a picture of the elk fording the water. Still plenty of room for safety, 300 yards or so. The bull (male elk) forded the river to chase her back into his harem. Again, I had plenty of space though the photographers maybe one or three near where they crossed backed up 25 yard or plenty more.

She turned down river. My way. While she trotted, I ran (ran!) along with several others up hill to the trees. Three of us hid behind a big tree as she passed. He came after her. He paused long enough to look at us and shake his head. That big old tree became like a twig & I sucked up to it.

He charged on bent on getting his girl back. This is the image I caught shooting from the hip as he came around but a few yards (I don't recall exactly how far, the EXIF reveals I shot at 80mm zoom). Those two to three hundred yards of safety were eaten up mighty fast in those few seconds of chase.

The next images, after I button hooked it around that twig of a big tree is of the photographer 25 yards behind me with a nervous look on his face. He abandoned his camera on a tripod a moment later. It'd be half an hour before he could retrieve his gear.

The moral of this image.
1) Any distant distance is not safe during the rut.
2) I don't exactly have a point and shoot as many tourist do. If you do and you want a picture of what you see - ask some one with one of those big lens'd cameras on a tripod if they'd send you an image or two. The will if you're cool about it.
3) keep shooting regardless the focus.

If you were there that morning please send me an image or two of the treed three.

Mom, if you read this. This is my only encounter with wild life of this kind - ever! I stay out of and keep out of any harms way. Trust me. Just 'cus an image shows up like this doesn't mean I seek 'em. I'm a story teller & this one is illustrated.

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