By Derek Stoner, Education Program Assistant and Sheila Vincent, Group Programs Coordinator
Once again our DNS van navigated the steep hills above the village of Benezette to arrive at the legendary Winslow Hill wildlife viewing area. A long procession of vehicles and camera-toting tourists soon signaled our quarry’s presence.
Caught up in frenzy of the mating season, this bull was drooling and showing the whites of his eyes. He raked bushes with his antlers, pawed the ground, and orbited the herd, checking on the status of his cows.
The distant bugle of another bull captured the attention of the 6X6 and riveted the dozens of viewers along the field edge. From the valley below, the interloper emerged.
Amazingly, the new arrival sported an even-larger rack (7X7) and larger body. The two bulls postured and bugled, slowly approaching each other. With the moment of truth arriving, the viewer’s held their collective breath. Would they clash and lock antlers?
Heads turned sideways to guage each others size, the bulls circled round like a couple of heavyweights unwilling to fight. The more-energetic 6X6 would make short charges towards the interloper, who did not seem to have much aggressive drive. The showdown lasted nearly an hour. As dusk fell, the 7X7 finally backed off and left the scene.
Our group felt priveleged to witness such a display of nature’s wild side. While difficult to fully convey the feeling of the moment, this compilation of video clips from the bull encounter may give you an idea of the power of this experience: http://animoto.com/play/PDFHo3NjExcdCm1y0DC0sw?autostart=true (Click on “Full Screen” for best viewing)