The Rut Stuff: Rutting Season brings wildlife sightings
The rutting season of deer, sheep, elk, moose, caribou, goats, pronghorn, ibex, and African antelope was the namesake for the 50k and 12k ultramarathon last weekend at Big Sky Resort. Much like the race, rutting season involves sparring and wallowing in the mud, and unlike the race, rutting involves males rubbing their antlers on trees often resulting in the death of the tree. For those of us up at Big Sky Resort, rutting season means a chance to see males and females grazing together or, more exciting yet, a chance to see males spar.
In Montana, the Whitetail deer rut helps Bow hunters' chances of getting big game as the deer let down their guard, according to Montana Fish and Wildlife. Even though I am not a hunter, I understand the drive hunters have to get that big buck. The closest I've come to hunting is the practice archery range at Big Sky Resort, shooting arrows into hay bales requires more skill than you might think. And shooting at a moving target requires great skill, which I haven't acquired yet but respect about hunters. I may not have the desire (or skill) to shoot an elk, moose or buck, but I continually desire to see wildlife. No matter how many times I see a moose or a bear on Silverknife or a yellow warbler at Lake Levinsky, the excitement of spotting wild animals never fades. Patience is the key to wildlife viewing and hunting, a patience not unlike waiting for the first snow to fall. The difference between the two types of patience is one requires stillness while the other requires distractions such as The Rut 50k/12k or archery practice (if distracting oneself can be considered being patient).
As rutting season gets into full swing, I wish the best of luck to all the hunters out there, and for laypersons like me, I hope we're frequently spotting wildlife for a chance to see the rut in action.