It’s a virtual heat wave this morning at 41-degrees upon sunup for my elk hunt. Worst walk ever. About a mile hike straight up a red cinder road. You talk about noisy!!
I feel like I’m being sent into enemy territory for this elk hunt. A group of hunters have been monitoring and scouting this area. We need to know what they know, so I pulled in at 7am which is the time they leave camp. Otherwise, it is too dark to see tracks, but we have to find a herd so this spot was next. Wish Gary was with me for this hike because of the situation. He should be at camp by 10am this morning, so at least he will be close by just in case the other group of hunters get testy with me.
There is pile after pile of dog and cat scat on this road which is good. Where there are predators, there is prey. All ages of scat, too, which tells me that they have been hanging here for a while. I’ve seen very little predator scat along my other hikes. Some, but not as much as on this road.
Dang it! I heard this thump just before I turned the corner on this crunchy road. He would have been a nice one. I’m going to hang and listen.
Deer and elk act differently when startled. An elk will take off like a race horse out of the gate and end up who knows where. But a deer will dart several yards, stop and turn around to see what/who that was that startled them. Knowing this from Gary and also seeing it happen time and time again, I knew to stand there still, not moving at all and just watch and listen. Didn’t work this time, though. But generally it will. Try it next time, even with our city deer.
My guess is that a bear rolled this log over looking for grub. Other than a human, nothing else would or could, do this in the wilderness.
It happened quite a while ago, though. See the mushroom already coming up from where the log originally lay?
This old blue can caught my eye. This kind of stuff is all over the woods from logging operations. It could be 50 years ago and has laid here since.
But then immediately my eye went to what was behind it. An elk rub. Has my elk hunt taken a turn for the better? Old, but a rub nonetheless. Old because it has already weathered, even in the trees. No woody smell to it, no bark shreds. Again, I’m surprising myself as I write this that I’ve absorbed so much from Gary and my tracking coach, Mark from Lifesong Wilderness Adventures. The feeling of knowing what I see, hear, and smell is empowering.