Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Reefer Creek wildlife update
Since I couldn't find any water to paddle in and was not smart enough to throw the 'rock skis' in the car, the next best thing was to hike around the property looking for shed antlers and seeing just what was out and about in the wildlife category. All signs pointed to a good winter for our deer herd. The logging of the previous year left plenty of aspen tops on the ground for the deer to feed on. Innumerable new aspen stems are about 3' to 4' high, the perfect height for deer browsing. Not only were no winter killed deer found ( a couple years back we found around two dozen), but I saw some of the smallest deer tracks I've ever seen in the spring of the year. Even the small and vulnerable deer made it this year. For the most part, that is. Two wolf kills were found on our walk, both young bucks. Mama doe tends to give the young boys the boot befoere that crucial first winter while allowing the girls to hang around in the matriarchial family group. These young single deer are perfect wolf prey. We found a large eagle feather near one of the kills which indicated some scavenging had been going on as well. Just past the carcass we found a very large bear track, shown next to the GurneyGranny's hand. He must have got tired of hibernating and decided to check out the food situationand discovered the kill, which the wolves had conveniently left in the creek bottom. We also cut bobcat track which is a first in the area. Its always good to see a new species in the mix. The fisher population seemed to have made it throught the winter just fine as well.
We were unable to cross the creek to check the land on the east side. Like the Red River in Fargo that has been causing so much trouble lately, the Reefer is a north flowing stream and the mouth at Lake Superior has a giant ice plug in it. Attempts to bridge it have been an abject failure (sorry boys, the Nada bridge sucks!) but we just need to wait a bit for the ice and snow to melt and the water recede. It seemed like forever since I had been to camp and that's a bad thing. Sometimes a guy needs the rejuvenating power of getting back to the basic, electronic (and electricity) free, elemental lifestyle. Pump some water, start the fire, stoke the sauna, light the propane Humphrey lights, and kick back with a beer and a book. I've always said I'd like to see how long I could stay out there without getting tired of it. Ten days is not enough and I'd like to see if maybe twenty would be. Right now it's one of the great unanswered mysteries of life and I don't know if I'll be in position to answer it any time soon.