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His Last Winter
Photograph - Photographic Prints
During elk mating season at Rocky Mountain National Park, the rangers must supervise the tourists and photographers to keep them from entering the meadows and interrupting the mating rituals of the elk herds. Long lines of vehicles block the sides of the roads and people leave their cars and radios running as if they are watching television at home.
The day I took this photo I had grown weary of elbowing my way through the crowds and photographers. Remembering the photographers' dictum to look behind to see what is behind the obvious capture, I walked the other direction of the herd. Down the road and around the curve I found this old lone, scarred bull limping up the hill as the first snow of the season was beginning to fall. He was so tired and head so low I fear it was his last winter.
Yet the story doesn't end there. Two years later as I toured the park I spotted this old buck on his own once again in another part of the park. I recognized him by the scars on his side and the same limp. A true tale of tenacity and survival.
May 24th, 2011
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