The Herd at Elk Flats Ranch

Is that a Herd of Cows?

I’d just reached the open land of Elk Flat Ranch when I spotted a herd of something. The dark spots were scattered across the landscape. At first I thought they were cows, after all this is cow country. A lone car was pulled over while the driver scanned the horizon. Maybe there was more there than meets the eye so I stopped too. Good thing I did. I was about to see 3 of the major herd animals all in one place. The black spots I thought were cows were actually bison!

Bison and Elk at Elk Flats Ranch

B is not just for bears

Not just for bears, B can be for Buffalo or more correctly Bison. Those dark spots I was watching turned out to be bison. As I watched them I saw some other movement in the herd that didn’t seem to flow with the bison. I’d forgotten to pack my binoculars so I grabbed the camera. Not as much magnification as I’d have with binoculars but better than my naked eyes. Right in the middle of the Bison herd was a small herd of Elk.

Elk on the run

Elk & Bison herd

The elk herd consisted of several females and at least 2 bulls. The bulls were a mismatched pair, one set of antlers much larger than the other. The bigger bull seemed to be bullying the smaller one. Both were running circles around the females. It was like watching a National Geographic wildlife special for real! But wait, there’s something else moving in that herd and it’s not a bison or an elk.

Prong Horn Antelope too

On the outskirts of the combined Bison/Elk herd I spotted two moving objects that were much lighter in color and moved very differently than the lumbering buffalo or the elegant elk. It’s a pair of prong horn antelope. Could this be where the “deer and antelope play”? The prong horns seemed to beĀ  with the herd and yet apart as they bounced around the fringes. Soon they would be joining other prong horns to start their annual migration.

Prong horn join the mixed herd

From zero to 4 in 30 minutes

From no animals to 4 different species in about 30 minutes! Bears, bison, elk & prong horn. Not bad for the afternoon! But I still have about 50 miles to go to get back to the Teton Club. Maybe there’s more in store.

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