A Big Local Boy – Devastating wildfires and relocation of big game
After the 2017 elephant hill wildfire near Cache Creek BC, I remember hearing a news report about how some of the elk herds were driven further east by the flames. I don’t remember the source but it seems to make sense because up until this year I hadn’t seen any elk around Kamloops. This year I have had several sightings within 30 minutes of the city of Kamloops. I was out in an area I have been to many times before and I saw several bulls and many cows.
I have been doing a lot of research about stalking large game. I find the process of finding and getting close enough to photograph larger game very similar to the techniques used by hunters. I have become a big fan of Meat Eater and the techniques Steven Rinella employs to find game. Using features of the land for cover, staying down wind, being observant and looking for the signs. Today I put all of that into use and it payed off nicely.
I had stalked this guy for about 4 hours. It started with a quick sighting at about 750m before he went into some thicker trees. He was in hot pursuit of a few cows. Then a few bugles and I saw him at about 400. I lost him after the wind switched and he caught my scent, running off higher into the thicker underbrush. I continued to where I though he had ran. I wandered around for a few hours being as quiet as I could in the dry grass.
Feeling defeated I sat for a bite to eat. I scanned over the area, looking for any movement or white behinds but saw nothing. It was seeming that with the heat of the day they had all bedded down. It wasn’t 15 minutes after I started to move again a saw antlers moving through the bush and he was close, only about 50m away. I quickly dropped behind a log and starting taking shots. To my surprise he keep coming closer, completely unaware I was there. Finally, at about 10m I sat up to reveal myself convinced he would have walked right up to me otherwise.
Of course he took a few strides back and then stopped to see what I was. That is when I got this shot. He continued off into the forest and I sat for a few minutes and revelled in the whole experience.
Bull Elk Photograph EXIF: ISO 1000 | f8.0 | 150 mm | 1/800 sec
There is a certain level of excitement that’s comes with wildlife photography and today that level was a solid 10/10.