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Posts Tagged ‘Elk Mountain’

Guess what was in our horse pasture this morning…

Well. Yah…  I mean besides the horses.

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I counted 23 Bighorn Sheep – all rams. 

We could see them from the house as I was getting ready for work.  Hubby and I grabbed the camera, jumped into the pickup and ‘went on safari’.  There were all sizes of rams several old ones with full curls and even a couple of yearlings.

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We have been seeing Bighorn sheep around here lately but never a group this large.  It was fun to watch how they moved – traveling in a tight pack with an occasional yearling tagging along behind – jumping and kicking up his heels like he was just happy to be out with the big boys. 

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Hubby thought perhaps they stuck so close together because the flies were bothering them.  They weren’t bothered by the pickup as they slowly worked their way along the fence till they got to the spot where they crossed the fence.  With a quick jump they bounced up to the top of the rock and easily stepped over the fence.  It appears the fence is a little low there but then our cows normally don’t climb on rocks!

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What a great way to start the day!

 

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Coming home from work in the evening is usually uneventful.  It’s common to see deer, antelope and turkeys but once in a while you see something that makes you stop and reach for the camera.  That’s what has happened to me the last two evenings.  When I turned down our driveway I saw something I had never seen before in our pasture. 

 Thursday night I didn’t have my camera (believe me – I tore apart the pickup looking) but last night I made sure I had it and this is what I saw.

Elk on Elk Mountain.

We’ve had this group of 24 elk hanging out in our ‘front yard’ for the last 2 days.  I can even sit in the easy chair in the living room and watch them move around.  This is very unusual.  My father-in-law lived here for over 80 years and only saw elk in our pastures once in all that time.  

 Occasionally we will see elk north of here and the turkey hunters have found shed antlers on top of the mountain so we know they are around but elk are shy creatures and they usually don’t stay in the open very long.

This small herd appears to have moved in and I’m not sure why.  Maybe they have decided they like the easy water they can get at the stock tanks or since it’s spring maybe they are just looking for a place to have their babies.  I’m more inclined to think that all the reports of wolves in the area true and the elk have been run out onto the prairie where they can see what’s coming.   

Another reason could be that because of all the snow this winter there has been a lack of feed.  I talked to one rancher in our area who has had a herd of over 200 head of elk hanging out with his cattle for the last month or so.   Every time he feeds his cattle the elk move in and eat too.  It’s impressive to see so many elk but also very expensive to feed them but he’s a nice guy and he puts out extra bales to make sure everyone is fed. 

Elk are impressive animals.  When you see them up close they are huge – the adults are taller and heavier than a horse.  And if you accidentally hit one on the highway your vehicle will be totaled and you’ll be lucky to walk away with your life.  I’ve seen cars that have hit elk and it ain’t pretty. 

In this herd there is a good mixture of animals – there are a few of last years calves along with a few very old animals that you can pick out by the color and rough appearance of their hide.  It’s hard to pick out the bulls as they have lost their horns and from a distance they look a lot like the cows.

As soon as I stopped to take a picture they would turn tail and run but if I kept the pickup moving they would stop and stare at me – the crazy woman hanging out of the window of a moving vehicle snapping photos one-handed and steering with my knee.

Elk must have a sense of humor too.

I tried not to scare them over the fence but they decided to jump it anyway.

I could hear the wires ‘ping’ as they popped staples loose and stretched the wire as they tried to clear the top stand so I’m sure there is a fence to fix now.

But that’s a small price to pay to see something like this when you come home.

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