Elk on the March

Mar 15, 2011 | 0 comments

Elk in the Meadow

     We have an agreement with our neighbor, Carol, that we will call one another if there is something unusual going on out by the bay.  Usually it’s the elk herd on the march and usually we’re the ones who see them, about 5:00 in the morning, heading south toward her house.
     Yesterday, however, it was Carol who made the call.  The herd, about 40 of them, were headed our way.  It was the civilized hour of 8:00 a.m. so we headed south to have a look.  By the time we walked past the church, they were approaching the “little meadow” across from the red cottage, grazing as they walked our way.
     They were far enough from us that my little digital camera couldn’t get a very clear picture of them, even on zoom, but I was nervous about approaching them.  Elk are big – one of the biggest deer species in the world, according to Wikipedia.  (Only the moose is larger.)  And, I have seen theose elk run.  Fast!
     Besides all that, from their behavior yesterday (some mounting going on), they appeared to be in rut, and I definitely didn’t want any of those big bulls taking exception to little old me.  I vividly recall the story of my friend Scott Jarvis who was driving over White Pass years ago and had to stop while an elk herd crossed the highway.
     One of the bulls, thinking Scott’s car was a threat, charged it, broke the windshield, and scared the occupants of the car mightily.  It was snowing and their drive back to Olympia was cold, wet, and miserable.  When the windshield was replaced, Scott had the piece of antler which had broken off, mounted on a small plaque – quite a trophy!
     All of that flashed through my mind as I argued with myself about walking just a few feet closer to the herd.  But, before I managed to gather my courage, the elk herd (as one) all lifted their heads, looked at me, and reversed directions.  If they were heading north to Leadbetter, which is where they usually hang out, they chose another route – inland rather than along the bay.  They never did come by our house yesterday.

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