Imperial Harem – Bull Elk and Cows
Limited Edition of 200, 15″ x 29″ – $150.00
Open Edition 7″ x 14″ – $35.00
Only bull elk have antlers. These antlers are shed in February or March, and a new set begins growing in April. The growth is triggered by a rise in testosterone. As antlers grow, they are covered by a spongy skin supplied with blood vessels and nutrients. When elk are in this stage of antler development, they are said to be in velvet. In the fall, the antlers are rubbed clean when the antlers have become fully developed. The antler cycle takes about 130 to 140 days, and when the antlers are mature, they can weigh up to 50 pounds. With the drop of testosterone level in late winter, the heavy antlers drop off. What a relief that must be!
In the composition, “Imperial Harem,” the bull has seven points; therefore, he is known as an imperial stag. Six point bulls are known as royal stags. Young bulls have five or fewer points. The bull, during the rut, is cream coloured contrasting with a dark brown neck and head. Cows are brown with less contrast in her body colour. Seven cows are in the clearing, but a breeding harem could include twenty or more. This imperial stag has some work to do driving away challengers and managing his harem before he rests and replenishes ahead of the onset of winter.