Boxing Elk?

If I told you that I saw two elk boxing, would you believe me?

Bull elk are well known for their sparring and full-blow antler bashing. When the rut is in full swing you are sure to hear bugling and antler clashing. But boxing? What’s that all about?

Well, cows can become agitated just like bulls, especially when protecting their young calves. Obviously they do not have antlers to throw around, but they can use their hooves as weapons. I’ve heard stories of an agitated cow attempting to stomp any animal or human it perceives as a threat to its newborn calf. Those stomping hooves can be just about as dangerous as a bull’s antler.

One day, while photographing a small herd of elk, I was in the right place at the right time. I saw this cow and spike bull disagreeing about something. I am not sure what started it all, but for several minutes these elk stood on their back legs and boxed! That’s right, they used their front feet and hooves as they stood on the hind legs. At first, I couldn’t believe it! When the fight was over, I knew I would have some interesting photos to look at back at my cabin that evening. I didn’t just capture one lucky shot either; I captured a whole series of photographs as these two elk boxed. It was something I knew people wouldn’t believe if they couldn’t see it.

Boxing elk? Yep! And you can see the photo that proves it right here. A photograph of two elk boxing!


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One Response to Boxing Elk?

  1. Willard says:

    Hi Bob,

    Thanks for your positive comments on the Elk Rescue clip.

    I have seen this in elk, but I don’t know if I have filmed or photographed it. I see it frequently with whitetail deer and have missed filming some dramatic sequences. It usually happens and is over with before one can get the camera powered up. I have actually seen one doe knock another flat on the ground, backwards. It started with them doing exactly as the elk are in your photo.

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