One question I hear often when photographing moose, deer and elk is regarding their antlers. “How come we never see males in the winter or spring?” Well you do, but it isn’t simple to identify them unless you know that males lose their antlers each winter and grow new ones each year. The difference between moose, deer and elk vs. Pronghorn Antelope and Bighorn Sheep is they have horns, like cows. Each year the horn continues to grow and don’t fall off. Each year antler will grow while covered in “velvet” then near the beginning of the mating season or “rut”, the velvet drops off revealing beautiful antlers. Males battle rivals to earn the title of dominant bull and mate with the females in the area, or with elk, the harem. Antlers can grow at almost an inch each day with large bull elk.
This young bull has lost one of his antlers and the other isn’t too far off from falling off as well. When the antler drops, it is rich in calcium and will provide nourishment for carnivores and rodents. The size of the antlers are determined by age, genetics and the amount of proper nourishment the male gets as they grow.
Tamron SP 150-600mm Di VC USD lens on a Nikon D-500, Manual Exposure mode, f8, ISO 1600, shutter speed 1/500th of a second, handheld utilizing the Vibration Compensation, VC, feature of the lens in Mode 1, processed in Lightroom CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronImageMasters, #SiruiPro

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