Hoofing It

I just noticed my WordPress dashboard is indicating I passed a milestone of such.  Apparently a couple of posts ago I hit my 200th blog post.  Seems like yesterday when I started this whole blog thingy, but in reality it’s the middle of the third year.  Yeah, it has been work at times, but it gives me a change to show off some of my photos along with things that happen to catch my attention.  I definitely appreciate you taking the time to peruse my ramblings and offer up comments from time to time.

Apparently, Linda and I have been poisoned by the Par-A-Dice deli tonight.  My money is on the cheese fries, but the jury is still out – well, the stomach jury has definitely provided a verdict.  While waiting for this to pass, I figured a bonus post was in order.  This one will close out the large mammals from the Yellowstone trip last June.  Still trying get caught up in preparation for the upcoming vacation, this should leave me with some bird shots and a collection of water themed snaps that stood out while reviewing the vacation portfolio.  Ironically, Linda and went out on a shoot yesterday and now we have about 10 more blog topics… guess there is really no such thing as catching up.

This is a miscellaneous set and not all tack sharp by any means.  Let’s start with an Elk.

These animals are simply majestic to look at.  Although not the largest rack of the ones spotted on this trip, it was definitely up there based on size and weight.  Not being an expert on antlers, it is hard to tell how mature this one was.  The antlers were still covered with velvet and for all I know still growing.  According to the guide, they can grow 5′ long.  Oh, and they can run 35mph.  They are also called Wapiti which is Shawnee for Pale Deer.  Come for the pictures, leave a little smarter 8^).  Amazingly, these beasts were not bothered by us and generally just focused on grazing.  This buck happened to look over resulting in a perfect pose.

If you caught the previous Bison post, you know there are plenty of them out there.  Another plentiful animal is the Pronghorn.  By the time we got to South Dakota you couldn’t go 5 miles without seeing them off the side of the road.

Not one of my better pictures, but for some reason I didn’t take any other photos of them.  This is a buck per the short black mane.  Contrasting that with the elk, the male pronghorn antlers only reach about 6″ (with a extra 9″ sheath that is shed in the winter).  Although slightly slower than the elk, these guys can run 30mph for 15 miles with bursts up to 70mph making them a tough prey.  Another interesting piece of information is, thanks to conservation, they are more abundant than they were in the 1900s.  By the way, they are part of the antelope family if you were wondering.

Go ahead and hit the jump, there are two other specimens for your viewing pleasure

If the recollection is correct, this next animal was digitally shot as we were leaving Yellowstone National Park or the Tetons.  We passed by them and it took a while to convince myself of what I saw.  Part of the difficulty was the shade they were sitting in.

The guide was very sparse on details about these deer.  Guessing by the spotted fur they are juveniles with the farther one obviously being a buck.  The short nubs is another indicator they are probably young.  I can’t imagine the ribbing they must get from the other animals about their elongated ears.  As a coyote/wolf food chain element, they probably gladly take that ribbing in favor of the enhanced hearing capabilities.  I had to walk back about 200ft to get the shots.  For the most part neither one of them really cared what I was doing.  Of course, they probably heard me coming a mile away hehehe.  Eventually the distance was closed to about 50ft which did get the attention of the buck.

This was close enough to get a good shot with the long glass and I really did not want to intrude on their little siesta.  In truth, it is really their home and we just get the privilege to experience the wonderful sights and sounds in their backyard.

Now time for Where’s Waldo.

This shot was taken of the facing cliff at a Yellowstone Canyon overlook.  It was also shot at the very extent of the 200m glass which means it was quite a distance away.  Did you find anything interesting in it?   Want me to bring it in a bit? .. okay

Turns out this is the ONLY one of this type of animal we saw the entire trip.  I know this because it was on my checklist and it stood there staring at me the whole time until I lucked out with this shot.  It was one of those scenes that just kept bugging me because something looked out of place.  I am not sure if it was the slightly lighter coloring or the fact it was a perfect place to take a nap in the shade.  If I remember correctly, Linda and I debated if it was an animal or not finally calling in the camera LCD zoom to verify it.  It is hard to say for sure, but based on the limited information in the guide and a “possibly” assessment from Linda, we are going with a young Bighorn Sheep.  The mountain goats are generally whiter and their young are just as cute as can be.  This one, no so much.  The white butt is the best indicator at this point, but the floor is open if ayone would like to debate that.

Well, that pretty much closes the book on the Yellowstone trip hoofed animals.  I hope you enjoyed!

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