We are two weeks into the 2014 hunting season and it has been a little tough out there for area hunters thanks to the opening during a full moon phase.
Most wild game become very active during a full moon and will stay out all night feeding during that time. This sets them up for bedding down during the day and resting from their all night activities.
Hunters facing this dilemma often cannot seem to locate game animals and so get discouraged early on in the season. While some nice elk have been taken, most hunters report a tough season so far.
The elk are in their pre-rut patterns now and I have seen as many as five bulls together still in bachelor groups. They will soon break up and start roaming the mountains looking for cow elk to breed. This will help the hunters as it has been noted that the bull elk will often be awake 22 hours a day during this time making it easier for hunters to locate them.
Bear season also opened September 2 and there seems to be a lot of sign in the forests. This year I personally am rifle hunting a bear and bow-hunting elk. It’s always a quandry as to what to hunt each day. One day I took my rifle and was looking for a bear and a bull elk walked right past me. And I was in plain sight too.
If you have problem bears and are in an area that allows hunting, try and find a local hunter with a tag to take that bear out of the population. This helps the DOW officers as they don't have to keep responding to complaints about a certain bear and is a great use of a resource.
The best thing about hunting early mornings and late evenings is that we get to see the forest come alive with all sorts of animals. Driving down from hunting last week, I turned a corner on a Forest Service road and saw bright eyes in my headlights. Quickly I grabbed my binoculars and much to my surprise a very large mountain lion came walking down the center of the road toward me.
While there is a decent size population in this area, sightings of these animals is rare enough to be considered a treat. The cat was very large and I would estimate it to have been 150 lbs or more. It was the largest one I have ever seen. He continued to walk toward me in the truck and got within 100 feet before casually jumping into the forest.
While I didn’t seem to bother him one bit, the walk into and out of my elk area has an entire new feel to it as I wonder if I’ll see this magnificent creature again --- hopefully in the day time!
Another group of hunters reported recently that they have seen a sight even more rare than a mountain lion: a wolf. Whether he was just passing through or deciding to take up residence is anyone’s guess.
Nonetheless, be alert out there, hunters. And, happy hunting.