Elk NetworkDo cows ever court bulls?

Conservation | December 20, 2017

Why yes, sometimes the ladies do go after the guys. Besides, it’s a hard time of year for a bull. With spectacular rutting displays, he expends massive amounts of energy. All that bugling, patrolling, wallowing and then actually mating can wear him out. Every once in a while he needs a little encouragement.

Eminent elk biologist Valerius Geist observed numerous female cervids in estrous demonstrating courtship. Elk, red deer, mule deer and Sitka deer all have been observed trying to woo their male counterparts. A cow will often pursue only the large males and sometimes chase off the unattractive yearling bull. Universally, Geist notes, the cow’s pursuit uses aggression and flight tactics, or charging and then dancing away, to excite a bull. The courting cow works to arouse a bull by licking, rubbing against and butting him. In “coquette runs” the cow will prance around her desired, then move away, pause and look back at him, twitching her hindquarters. We’ll let you draw your own parallels from that one.