An incredible morning…

So… Out in the prairie land of eastern Alberta last Saturday morning, roaming the coulees of the Red Deer River system looking for big mule deer. It had been a pretty quiet morning, other than the very nice Muley buck that I bumped out of his early morning hide-out before light as I walked in to my spot – along with a younger cousin and their two girlfriends. Now, the main reason for the title of this post is primarily because the subject of the post is pretty much unheard of – at least up until this year – in the part of Alberta I was in. But, there he was… At first all I saw was a bump on the horizon that wasn’t there just minutes before. Looking closer thru the binoculars all I saw was a head and antlers – BIG antlers… This was no mule deer! Sure enough, there was a decent bull elk standing at the top of the coulee, browsing as he chose his path from feed source back to cover for the day. What a sight in the first light of the day…

I had the wind in my favor, as he was pretty much directly upwind of me, and I was in good cover. Over the next 30 minutes or so, he slowly made his way into the coulee, slowly enough in fact to make me wonder at one point if he had bedded down for the morning on the other side of the coulee. As Murphy would have it, about the time I gave up on him and decided to make my way along the coulee to pursue my original quarry, there he was – 200 yards away and looking more or less right at me. Still in good cover, I froze and waited him out, and he eventually continued along his path until I lost him behind the brush on the far bank of the creek.

The dance continued for the next 30 minutes or so until he came out of the brush and to the creek – 30 yards away – to get a drink after his night of feeding in the fields. At one point, when I thought he had moved off to the west and decided to follow him, we surprised the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of each other when he decided to reverse course and pop back out of the cover at about 20 yards. Suddenly he knew something was very wrong! (1st image) He quickly ran off about 40 yards and then stopped to “check in“ and I managed to get some pretty good captures of his departure… (2nd image)

WTH??!! (click to enlarge)

I am outta here!! (click to enlarge)

 The fact that the wind was in my face the entire time no doubt prolonged our encounter as I was lucky enough to spend the next 45 minutes or so with him at less than 40 yards. If he had been able to get wind of me and identify me as something potentially threatening, he would nave made for the next county in no time I am very sure!

Please check in on the website at  “Bucks and Bulls” to see more of the images I have posted from this and other encounters I have had in the field with some of these majestic animals… This gallery comes more from my “sporting side” than my artistic side, tho’ I hope you will agree that there are some images in the gallery that hit both targets… I am hoping to add more images to the gallery over the next few days and weeks as I sort thru some images I have been planning to add to this gallery for a while now, so will keep you updated as there are changes…

Snow falling here as I write this tonight… I guess fall really is here. Bring it on – My favorite season of the year!!

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~ by Kerry Statham on October 2, 2012.

4 Responses to “An incredible morning…”

  1. Sooooo exciting these encounters……. sends the blood pumping and the heart racing…… What a beauty ….. please you got this time with this handsome fella 🙂

  2. Tasty…. but great pictures… 😀

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