Colorado Division of Wildlife officers were too late to save these dueling elk bulls. Colorado elk are in the middle of their rut, and hormones are raging. Elk bugle to entice cows to come join its harem for mating. Bulls compete for the best cows; this can entail bugling battles or bloody duels. It looks like these two got into it near the fence, and became tangled. Officers suspect the elk died of exhaustion. I hope she was one hot cow!
A symphony of elk bugles played for me every night while I was in RMNP. Chris and I joked if we put someone from Europe in the woods the bugling would cause them to freak out. It was definitely a very cool experience for me to hear them calling, and for them to be so close. If you have not had the opportunity to hear the elk bugle, I recommend you spend a night in the park during the rut.
All joking aside, it does bring up the issue of fencing and its impacts to wildlife. An issue that I am sure surges hot debate in many states. Check out the Post Independent’s article for more information on these dueling elk.