We had a great time following elk trails. The weather was pleasantly sunny, which allowed our pants to stay dry but made for tough trailing substrate.
Day one we followed an older trail of a lone-bull elk moving across the landscape towards an area with fresh grass growing. Day two we cut fresh sign of an elk feeding in a clear cut. Most of the day we followed this bull’s trail as he fed uphill and bedded to chew cud. It was difficult tracking with all the old sign. On the third and final day we sorted through another maze of feeding and bedding sign.
Along the trail we observed how elk move across the landscape, what plants they eat, how a lay used for chewing cud differs from a security bed used for cover, we analyzed the aging process of elk droppings, and looked at scent marking sign.
Everyone’s ability to see tracks, age sign, know when there were no tracks, and most importantly move along the trail improved over the 3 days. It was a fun weekend and we are looking forward to trailing hogs and bears in future classes!
We saw lots of other animal spoor during the long days including tracks of a female puma with her kitten walking down the dirt road, black bear tracks and feeding sign, chipmunk and Douglas squirrel tracks in the mud, and quail.
Humboldt County, CA
We also had a great group of people learning and working the trails. It's very satisfying to watch someone develop the confidence and experience to trail an animal. There was a good mix of experience in the group, and everyone did well, improving over the days. It's good to get out and push our edges, and we all did.
I'm looking forward to the next one.
I'm so pleased to work with people who are passionate about keeping animal tracking alive, and who are willing to put in the dirt time to learn and grow in this ancient skill.