Friday, August 23, 2013

2013 Elk Rut Season Timetable

I have been watching the elk rut a long time in Arkansas. The following bullet points lay out the rough timetable for the remainder of this year:

  • Bulls Scrape Velvet -- Yes this is not the rut, but it is the sure sign it is just around the corner. Velvet scraping starts roughly about mid August and continues up to the rut starting rougly in mid September.
  • Early Rut -- Very late August to about the second week in September. Remember the rut is a bell shaped curve. The first in can be outliers, way out on the lip of the curve. Twinforks is an early rut bull.
  • Peak Rut -- Biologists object to this term, but there is a time when the rut really heats up, and the prospects for seeing a great bull fight is good. The first bull fights are generally the most violent because they are setting the pecking order.  These fights begin late in the second week in September and extend to about the second week in October.
  • Arrival of Huge Bulls -- Around October 1.  Just about the time you think you are seeing all the big bulls, the really big bulls arrive. Look at their bodies, as well as their antlers. When two of them square off, it is epic.
  • Late Rut -- After about mid-October until around the end of December rutting continues, but the intensity gradually tapers off. Elk viewing remains very good, and the big bulls are evident, but fights are less likely. The latest fight I have ever filmed was around November 9. 
If you want to see a bull fight you will need to visit Boxley Valley often. If you plan to stay or camp, the best percentages are from the 3rd week in September through the second week in October.  If you see a bull fight, you will never forget it.

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