Big Daddy


Big Daddy, originally uploaded by wind_dancer.

The weather is balmy, it is beautiful. No rain in the foreseeable forecast. Unless there are more announcements, I have nothing to write about. So, instead, I offer my readers, one of the many blessings I am honored to be receive.

One of the many, many treasures I get to experience is the surprise Mother Nature provides. These elk (and note the BIG bull in the middle) are just some of the surprises I find in my “town” trips.

There were over 20 elk in this herd, and if you click on the photo, it will take you to my flickr posting, which has another photo of some of the herd. And here is some information about these elk:

The Tulle Elk can only be found in parts of central California. The Tulle Elk is smaller in size that the other species. An adult bull often tips the scales at 600 pounds or less while a cow typically weighs 300 to 350 pounds. The adult cows average 375-425 lbs (McCullough, 1969). The yearlings (spike bulls) average the same weight as the adult females. The coats are a light buffy beige with a darker brown long haired mane circling the necks of both the males and females. The calves are similar to regular deer calves, with a light brown spotted coat. All animals display a prominent white rump.

They average 7 feet in length and stand 4-5 feet in height at the shoulder. The male yearlings are also known as spikes, during their first year of antler growth they only have one antler that is very thin and spindly compared to the large six point racks that the dominant males demonstrate. The females do not have antlers and the males drop theirs annually which re-grow a little larger with more tines as the yearling ages.

The Tule Elk thrive in the moderate Mediterranean climate and subsequent vegetation type in its native range. The Tule Elk forage on annual grasses such as the red brome and cheatgrass, as well as the perennial forbs like, globe mallow, and wild licorice. In addition, alfalfa is also very important to the herd’s diet.