Bull Elk

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 1 John 3:1-2

I was fortunate to capture a picture of this bull elk with my trail camera in mid-summer. I had gotten a lot of partial pictures of the elk for several weeks, but this time I finally got the whole animal.

Antlers on male elk and other members of the deer family are just one of many remarkable features of these animals. In my part of the world, the male elk shed their antlers in the spring, usually around March or April. New growth starts almost immediately, although it is not visible for a while. As day-length increases, acceleration of changes in certain hormones takes place and the animal grows new antlers at a remarkable rate. I have read where an elk can gain up to an inch a day of antler growth if he is in prime condition.

The size and growth rate of the antler depends on many factors, including nutrition, age, and genetics. Even the condition of the mother and the timing of the fawn’s birth can play a role in determining the size and condition of the elk or deer, and subsequent antler development.

The outside of the antler’s new growth, or velvet, is actually a mesh of very blood-rich vessels. These vessels are vulnerable to dings or injuries during this time of development, and antlers can become deformed. That deformity usually does not carry over to next year’s new set of antlers.

About September, blood supply to the velvet is cut off and the antler has reached full size and shape. The velvet dries and falls off quickly, sometimes within twenty-four hours. Often the elk or deer will rub his antlers on a tree or shrub to speed this process along.

In the above photo it looks like Mr. Elk has a fine set of antlers growing on him thus far into the summer. Both sides still look pretty symmetrical. But he has a lot of living to do for the next few months before the velvet dries and falls off. The final form of what he will look like has not yet been revealed, as he still has a ways to go.

For those who believe what the Bible says about people who believe in Christ becoming the children of God and what they will look like – the final picture has not yet been revealed. But we know we shall see Him as He is, and will be like Him.

And I think that’s a very, very good thing.

Have a great day.

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