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Thanks guys and doll .
The elk have been feeding well since spring and they look their best at breeding season- until the males begin their serious competitions- then some of them might get beat up. But those battles are usually just extreme shoving matches- and the losers run away when they realize they have been beaten.
Sometimes composition works out- sometimes not. My lens was a fixed 400mm, I was limited in my ability to move around, and the elk are in constant-but-slow movement.
Why the Roosevelt are bigger? My educated guess is that their winter range is much more food-rich, and has less-severe weather than in the Rockies- figured over a very long time period.
The males being on constant alert for competing males, I was surprised that the dominant males spend so much time bullying the females in their harems. Not smacking them around- but walking towards them in an intimidating way. And when they walk purposefully towards youngsters, the youngsters run like hell- slowly circling back to their mommas.