… we went down to [Deleted] Creek yesterday. The `icebox' was still in effect, preventing us from getting up very far ... forcing retreat to the lower reach. While stopped to watch and photograph several herds of elk ... 100 plus … an old guy on a four-wheeler pulled up and we started chatting. He gave us a mini-history of the area, going back to the 40’s, how all the ranchers went bankrupt during the Carter years, … how the land was bought up for hunting property, and the wolf thing. Only some of the ranchers run cattle anymore. He was interested to learn Id' been hunting up there since I was a little boy. We talked about how the [Deleted] Fire had messed things up, though [Deleted] assured us the deer would come back. He mentioned one of the farmers there had shot/killed/trapped some thirteen or so wolves in the area in recent years. And just then he (the farmer) pulled up and joined the chat. He pointed to a ridge behind which he had taken three wolves recently. Interesting ... he talked about how fast they learn, and how one method will work to kill one wolf, but the survivors are the smarter because of it.
The elk above us were off and on unsettled, circled up, as for protection. They looked to the east, and no doubt down on us (looking up at them). “They hang on those benches so they can avoid the wolves.” The second farmer said they’d hang up there high until dark, and then come down into the farmland.
[Deleted] spoke of [Deleted] Creek ... the condition of the trail, and that he had gotten a couple elk up there. We chatted until the wind picked up, making excuse to `get a move on', as some of the stories started to repeat themselves.
The closest elk were a thousand yards away and, of course, UPHILL. Linda and I strategized how we’d make a sneak and close the distance, if it were a hunt. As we were getting ready to leave, more elk appeared on the very top skyline, some two thousand yards plus, and peered down on us (peering up on them).