Thursday, September 8, 2011

GREAT Elk Viewing -- Introducing Named Bull "Godzilla"

Elk viewing this weekend should be very good. The weather forecast is about as good as it could with predicted highs in the upper 70's to low 80's. Equally important are the cool nights in the 50's. The slight chance of rain this weekend could provide some cloud cover keeping the sun off the fields for extended viewing.

Today there were 4 herds in the valley -- two were displaying rutting behavior. I only heard a couple of bugles this morning.

Today's big news is the first named bull of the year -- "Godzilla". He has been in the fields south of Cave Mountain Road. It is a little difficult to estimate his rack, it is irregular.

I believe he is either an 8x7 or a 8x6. In any case, he is the largest bull to show up so far this year.  I don't have a great picture of Godzilla yet to be sure about his point count. He definitely is one of the biggest bulls of recent years and he is larger than his current competition.

It will be interesting to see if he can stand up to the test of challenger bulls that will occur over the next few weeks.

Godzilla "running" a cow elk. This is rut behavior
Godzilla will be easy for everyone to ID. His irregular rack has unusual points at the ends of each side. There is some evidence of palmation in his antlers. He has an additional point behind one of his eye guards. Definitely a distinctive animal. There are other bulls in the his herd, but he is clearly the big guy.

Godzilla does not have the huge belly often seen on the final dominant bulls, but he is a very powerful bull elk and will be a capable battler. His body reminds me of the last year's Boxley Stud who ended up being one of the dominant bulls.

Below is the current herd location map. Today there were a lot of elk and my prediction is that this outstanding viewing will carry through to the weekend.

Current Elk Locations in Boxley Valley near Ponca, AR. 


  1. Thanks, Michael. We're headed down to Ponca this weekend with visitors to view the elk... your information makes me feel confident that it won't be in vain. Would you recommend morning or evening viewing?

  2. I think the hormones flow harder in the morning -- that translates to more fights when that finally starts happening in earnest. I think morning viewing can go longer if conditions are right. On cloudy, cool days it can extend to 10. That would be unusual. Elk love rain.

    One huge advantage of the morning is that you can do other natural things once the elk show is over. I recommend taking in Lost Valley. Again, if you are a photographer there are other subjects as the day emerges. Butterflying is good in the morning because butterflies move slowly then.

    It is also nice to take a drive over to Jasper and get a bite to eat.

    If you are a photographer I think morning light is more interesting, but that is my preference. Morning light is blueish, so there are adjustments that need to be made. Evening light is wam and just great, but Boxley is a valley and direct sunlight stops earlier. Once the elk are really bugling strong, you can hear them bugle at night. That is enchanting but a week or two off.

    This is very early in the rut so there are not enough estrous cow elk to drive the competition between bulls. It will happen though very soon. It is very interesting to watch the rut unfold.

    Take good care.


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