The very best elk viewing continues to be in the field just north of Smith Creek at the south end of Boxley Valley. Lots of bugling.
Viewing has really picked up now. Last night there were 25 cars in the valley. This morning there were more -- perhaps as many as 35-40. The south end field has the biggest herd in the valley, and a second herd. The Boxley Beast has no significant challengers so far. Prince, one of the satellite bulls to this south herd, remains the most visually striking bull seen in the valley in many years -- probably over 10. (See my last post.) A second herd headed by Maverick shares the north end of that south field.
The 2011 elk rut is now in its peak in Boxley Valley. This coupled with perfect viewing weather has extended viewing hours significantly. Yesterday the elk were out at 3:00 in the afternoon. They were still in the fields at 9AM today when I left. These viewing times will compress a lot if the heat returns. I still recommend getting to the valley by daybreak, roughly 7AM for the very best viewing.
As I predicted, a herd now occupies the Ponca fields at the north end of the valley. I looked at the bull this morning and he looks like Pretty Boy. I don't think he can hold his harem as the biggest bulls filter into the 2011 rut, he is still a couple of years away in size.
There is another herd behind a horse field in the mid-valley area.
Currently there are 4 herds worth looking at in Boxley Valley. Bugling is everywhere, but frequent around the south end. Straggler bulls can be observed along the cane lines on their way to joining the rut.
If you plan to visit the rut, the very best time is now and the next two weeks, although it will be very good for at least until the end of October.