I had driven for the past two days with an anxiousness about spending ten days with the old warriors in the Rut along the Madison River in Yellowstone. It was that time of the year when the strongest and wisest bull elks sang love songs across the valley with their bellowinga time for calling the cow elks to come and join him in a romantic journeya month of wild love and flowing waters and autumn colors blessing them.
About an hour from Yellowstone, I heard this bellowing noise, and saw dirt being kicked high into the air. Off in the distance was a huge bull elk, bent over near the trees. He seemed to be very mad at something. He kept kicking the dirt and twisting his body every way he could. I grabbed my camera and ran toward him. I stopped about twenty feet away. He had his antlers caught between two trees, with a branch keeping him from getting loose.
I took one photograph and ran. If he got loose while I was there, he might blame me for his troubles. I drove into Yellowstone, and found two park rangers. I told them the story, and we all went back together to free him. The elk was still mad, and the ground shook as he shook the earth and the trees that held him. His antlers were more than royal.
We tried to get ropes around the trees to spread them open, but his ferociousness scared us. We went back to Yellowstone to bring back a chainsaw. As the tree fell, the blood flowed everywhere, and the elk staggered free. He had been cut by the saw, but it seemed his injuries were not too serious. I hope he lived for another year of romance. Oh yes!