Each Fall, the elk that have been reintroduced to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park undergo a dramatic mating ritual, known as the “rut.” To impress cows and challenge other bulls, male elk bugle, and then spar with each other. Toward the end of the rut season, dominant bulls gather and breed with harems of up to 20 cows. The dramatic bugling and sparring rituals can usually be seen in the Cataloochee Valley through October.

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