This is George – at least that’s what we call him. My friend Judy and I first met him last year. About 10 in the morning we spotted him laying down in the grass by the creek in the meadow. We left to grab breakfast and returned about an hour later to find him still lying down.
Secretly I wondered if he was OK, he was the only elk we had gotten very close to that morning so I hoped I was just a worrywart. We scouted the rest of the valley, took some snaps and decided to check on him before we headed home. To our surprise, he was up and eating. Perhaps he was just lazy and decided to sleep in.
We noticed he was a bit odd looking, his rack didn’t have the same bold shape, he was noticeably sway-backed, and he was even knocked-kneed. He did seem pretty unaffected by our presence and looked up at us several times. He was kind of like that sad ugly puppy at the pound, everything about him was wrong, but I kinda wanted to take him home.
Let me state for the record that I am no expert in elk development, George could have just been at that awkward stage, maybe going through puberty. I just don’t know. It does seem to me that he was off alone and didn’t carry himself like the other young bulls.
This year when I went to the valley for the first time I told Judy that I had seen George. She didn’t believe me until she saw my photos of him. He was in the same meadow eating in the same spot as though he hadn’t moved in almost a year. He might have another spike or two on his rack, but he was still our George.
This week we saw our old friend again in the same meadow – he had moved about 100 yards north because it appeared that a farmer had mowed his favorite spot. We found him up early, grazing near the mist over the creek.
I worked my way around the edge of the meadow for a better shot, maybe something that would show off part of the old barn in the background when I saw that George was not alone…
George is almost always alone in the meadow, unlike the other bachelors he doesn’t seem to have a pal to hang out with. His friend in the trees seems to be taking a keen interest in George.
Of course his interest may have been purely in the trees. I wonder what kind of trees those are?
George and his neighbor got back to the business of grazing…
Grazing and watching…
I kind of liked the idea that the big guy stayed in the distance and let George take center stage.
George fascinates me. He’s not so majestic or graceful, he’s kind of crooked – kind of like me. Maybe that’s his appeal – in a species that’s so extraordinary, he’s not. He’s just George and that’s pretty special.
Well, now I will worry a bit about George. I do that too much sometimes. Is the other one there to make fun of him? 🙂 I’ve not ever seen an elk around here, but we do have deer that come to the pasture just behind our house. Just the other evening we saw 5 grazing back there. They didn’t seem to bothered by us or the goats or chickens.
I thought maybe the big fella might be watching over him – or it could be that they both prefer the unmowed section of the meadow:) I love photographing deer too – there is a huge herd on the mountain where I live, there are a few who are accustomed to me. There is a group that sleeps out behind my shop – they graze at night when my dogs come in – they will come right up to the house. I think I’m living in their space.
Cool captures – thanks for sharing!
Of course it’s the odd ones that get our attention.
It so true. I always want to stop and see if he’s ok.
Wonderful series of photos.
How lucky you are to get so close to George (& his kind) in the wild.
He does look kinda sad though.
Thanks – you should see some of the lenses out there in the early mornings – mine seems like a macro in comparison. I have to get pretty close to keep up:)
George seems pretty content with his lot in life.
What beautiful pictures of an incredible man. But “George”? Is he going to invade the next meadow?
Thanks – I’m sure he’s planning on staying put as long as there is grass to eat:)