It started early this morning as Dennis and I were on our way to RMNP for our daily devotions. We noticed cars pulled over to the side of the road. In Estes Park this can only mean one thing. . . WILDLIFE. Somewhere nearby is an elk, bear or other member of the animal kingdom in a Kodak moment. This is why I try to never leave home without it. My camera that is.
As soon as I saw the objects of the traffic jam, I grabbed my trusty Olympus while Dennis executed a U-turn for a better camera angle. Once positioned, I snapped a photo of two butting bulls, right in front of us.
Now the thing that's really interesting about these particular butting bulls is that they are not fighting. I know, I know, it looks like they are fighting, but trust me. . . they aren't. What they are doing is more like sparring. The bull on the right is gently pushing the bull on the left across the highway. Slowly. Very slowly. And the bull on the left is obliging. He's not putting up a fight at all. When we first saw the pair, they were in the grassy area on the far right of the photo, engaged in what appeared to be practice butting. Turning their heads to the left, then to the right. Gingerly locking and unlocking their racks. No signs of aggression.
Here's something else that's interesting. Lefty has lost one of his antlers. You probably can't see it in the photo, but his left antler is gone. At some point in time, he lost an antler to a stronger bull. But I don't think it was this one. My theory is that Lefty got clobbered in a fight, found his buddy on the right, whom I shall refer to as "Bud", and told him what happened. Now Bud, being the outstanding friend that he is, takes Lefty aside and teaches him the art of self-defense. Lefty will be better prepared for the rut next year.