Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Elk Watch 2011

Last September, I went with a friend, Chad Rexroad, to try and find elk before hunting season started.  We saw six moose, but no elk.This year we went to a different area.  It was quite hazy, so the mountains weren't quite as spectacular, but the view was still nice.

Chad, searching for elk on the far ridge.  He has his elk bugle on his hip.  He blew it several times, but got no responses.  It's really too early for the rut, so too early for bugling.

I spotted the first elk, but it turned out to be a cow.  These federal lands are pretty open for ranchers.  There are cows and a lot of sheep.  What we can't figure out is how they round up these wandering cows.  There are tens of thousands of acres without fences and the cows just meander off wherever they choose.

Finally!  An elk!  He was a bull elk and looked to be about six points on each antler.  The sad part is we think we stood watching us for about three minutes before we spotted him.  The picture kind of stinks, but he was about 200 yards away.

A different view of his rack, and his butt.  It turns out that he is living in part of Utah that would make it unlikely for him to get shot.  This section primarily allows hunters to shoot spike elk, which are the young bucks with only one point.  As long as this guy doesn't venture too far, or run across someone with a lottery permit, he's good to go.  The idea is to maintain a healthy herd by having lots of fertile, happy cows and a few mature, healthy bucks.

I missed Chad's adventure looking for elk last night.  He didn't find an elk, but he brought home a little starving Great Pyrenees puppy.  The herders use them as sheep dogs and this one must have wandered off.  She was thin, hungry and lonely.  She was also one lucky dog.  How would you like to be found by the husband of the woman who runs the area's largest dog adoption facility (Furburbia)?  She will certainly be well cared for and find a wonderful new home.

Hoping to make at least one more elk searching trip this fall.
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