Tag Archives: elk

Nature Boy takes a drive

Work sent me across the state to do a project in Idaho Falls. I went in for the morning shift, then hit the road about noon. I wanted to get here before dark and potentially rush hour.

Not that IF is such a frightening place, but I’m not overly familiar with it. I elected to cut across the desert. There is a freeway option, but it’s quite a bit longer.

I saw antelope all around Fairview, which is pretty normal. It’s also big game migration time, and I expected a few deer. The deer didn’t show. What did show was a badger out in a stubble field. He was booking along, trying to get to his burrow somewhere.

I was fairly content with seeing something unusual, but then I got near Sun Valley. My highway crosses the one up into SV. There is a stop sign, and usually quite a bit of traffic.

Drivers were starting to accordion as they approached the intersection, and I may have slowed down a bit too much. I think I irritated the guy behind me. My reasoning was the herd of six elk that just crossed the road. Five cows and a six-point bull directing where they went. I don’t think he even saw them, and they were standing in short grass as we drove by.

I wanted pictures of all this stuff, but the traffic never cooperated with me. I know how to call a badger back up from his hole, and have done it many times. I have some beautiful photos from back in my 35mm days. I just didn’t have 30 minutes to spare. This is a work trip, and I really didn’t want to get here in the dark.

Nature wasn’t finished with me, though. About two miles past the intersection, there were two raccoons grabbing for something out in a stubble field. You don’t normally see them out in broad daylight. I slowed to see if there was a parking area, but there wasn’t. I don’t know if it was grain, or some kind of bug that brought them out, but it was cool to see.

I turned back toward my drive, and a rooster pheasant stepped right in front of the car. It didn’t end well for the pheasant. I heard the thump. I never saw him in my rear-view mirror, so drove to the nearby chain-up area. Once around the car, and no sign of him. This isn’t my truck, it’s a small state vehicle, so I was a bit concerned about cracking a headlight, or damaging the grill. No damage at all.

I cruised through Craters of the Moon, and enjoyed the scenery, but the wildlife had called it a day. Other than one last herd of antelope near Arco, that was it.

It was a fun day, but I didn’t get any pictures. I may have had my best chance with the raccoons, but the pheasant threw me off my game. (Raccoons aren’t known for a rapid retreat.)

I need to surf through a couple of websites, then I may add some new words to my side project. Goodnight everyone.

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Should have gone elk hunting

Today was a rare day for me. My son and I went grouse hunting. Regular readers will know that finding and getting the grouse is the smallest part of days like this. It's the excuse to leave the house and head for the National Forest.

The joy is in a beautiful Autumn day, valuable time with my oldest son, and the chance to step away from my paycheck job and writing.

The grouse were almost absent. We saw one, and my son harvested him for his supper. This was at the very end of the day. (He has to clean his shotgun, I don't. Joke's on him.)

The morning arrived cold and crisp, as it should. We saw a few deer at the lower elevations. Then we spotted a herd of about 40 elk. I keep a small pair of binoculars in my truck, so we checked them out. The old herd bull gathered quite a harem, and he was working awfully hard to keep them happy. You know he was a big one when you can see antlers from three quarters of a mile in the pre-dawn.

Four small satellite bulls stalked the outer fringes of his harem. Whenever the herd bull chose a particular cow to get amorous with, the satellite bulls slipped in and tried to romance the remaining cows. This pissed the old boy off and he ran them into the sagebrush, circled the cows, and it all started over again.

We watched them for a long time. Idaho has a lot of elk, but you don't see a display like that every day. We eventually pulled up to the hunting area and parked. Old What's her Face made us a baggie of Scotch Eggs for breakfast. Our forest is a pine forest, but the underbrush was a riot of Fall colors.

There were elk at every bend in the road. We saw cow/calf pairs, groups of three and four, almost all day long. Grouse were completely absent. Turkeys were everywhere though. We only saw one other guy, and his tent was completely surrounded by turkeys. We laughed at the idea of some Fall turkey hunter, deep in the woods and hunting hard, while the turkeys invaded his camp.

There were more deer too, and one was a small buck. He would normally draw attention, but the elk outclassed him.

Our mule deer will usually stand for a picture. Elk don't. I'd love to post a picture for you, but they were either too far, or disappeared into the forest too fast.

We had some great father/son time too. He's looking forward to the next job site, but today we were both available. We visited my favorite apple tree, but they were all too far to reach. This usually means the deer and bears ate all the ones I could reach. I decided I'm too old and fat to go climbing in trees.

I have a post up over at Story Empire today. I wrote it a week ago and used the scheduler. This one is about working your blog tour. It's aimed toward authors, and some of you may want to check it out.

In a way, this day was provided to me because the scheduler lets me keep fresh content out there. That's a scary thought.

Anyway, today is my grandson's eighth birthday. We're all getting together tonight for some cake and ice cream. Hope all of you had a wonderful day too.

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Meandering

We went for a country drive today. This time we turned the other way at Moran Junction and went over to Dubois. The idea was to get lunch there, but my wife didn't find anyplace that looked clean enough.

We saw buffalo, antelope, and elk in abundance. There were even a few mule deer around. None of them were close enough to photograph, and we didn't take the time for a long stalk. Buffalo can be dangerous too, and an iPhone isn't much protection.

We never saw a moose. They took quite a pounding in the Yellowstone fire from years ago. There have been enough years in between for a reasonable comeback, but something else came back too. I wonder if the wolves impeded the return of the moose.

I've been through Yellowstone many many times. You used to see a moose around every bend in the road. We never got inside Yellowstone, but we saw plenty of decent moose bogs. Not a moose in sight.

My wife is running our stuff through the laundry right now. I'm helping her out by drinking a beer and watching the warmup to the Kentucky Derby.

Tomorrow it's a long drive to get home. It's been a relaxing weekend with no agenda. Most of my trips have scheduled things to do, but not this time. Next week will be crazy at work, but I might be ready for it.

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