Saturday, 12 July 2014

Grizzly, Elk, Black Bear (20140711) finding a little "elk velvet"

Took the Friday off with Kerri to do a morning run of the always promising seldom delivering 1A. I say that as I rarely get more than one good critter per trip on that road, but there are always a lot of sightings "reported".  I was willing to go as this is a good spot to find elk and my hope was to snag a couple of mature bulls in velvet. Our morning started a little late due to me not being able to calculate the alarm setting properly. But we were on the road just 20 minutes behind schedule.
On the drive out we briefly discussed changing our route, but decided to stick with our initial gut instincts. Our first photo opp was provided by this nice healthy, lone Black Bear.
This bear was in the shade in the ditch and we almost missed it totally, but wer able to spot it and grab some very close shots. These are really tough subjects as the colouration make definition very difficult. But we had a great 7:05 a.m. start to our day. Shot @120mm with no crop:) it is just great to watch them wander around in such a lush spot and feed, it is like they only need to open thier mouth and chew.
We next encountered this nice healthy bull Elk that looks like he will be a 5x5 in the fall. Again we were fortunate to be able to get close and watch as it fed along the trail.
Then it was just great to see him scratching his head and antlers on this tree. It is pretty early for them to be "rubbing" as they usually keep the velvet until mid to late August.
So I was a happy guy and it was only quarter passed eight. Kerri convinced me that we we shouldn't go home just yet and she was right to do so, as if it took much:) We came upon this nice sized Grizzly feeding in the shade. This bear has a particularly noticeable "hump".
After about 10 minutes of watching, this other much larger bear, that looked like a brick house came lumbering out of the woods and put the run on Junior.
And that ended our little viewing of the grizzlies. On our way back through this way we found Junior back out in the field grazing on dandelions once again. I guess Boomer didn't want to waste too much energy on this chow competitor.
Next up was our "Imperial" Elk. Elk are given "rankings" for their antler sizes. A 6x6 (6 points on each side) is called a Royal, a 7x7 an Imperial, and the 8x8's are Monarchs.
Once again people's stupidity just astounded me. People were walking right up to this big fella with their phones and taking images at 6 or 7 feet. I spoke to a number of them telling them that they were too close.  I don't know what they are thinking!!  This lad right here was the "velvet" that I had come looking for. This wrapped up our photo opps for the morning. We worked another area, and as often happens in the heat of summer everything was staying cool and out of sight.
So it turned out to be the right place to be for us on Friday morning. This is the best 1A run I have ever had. Let's hope they keep improving.

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