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…
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…
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.