As September closes, we have to be pleased with the start of the 2011 elk rut. At times there have been as many as 7 small herds with bulls, but most of the time there have been less.
The 2011 rut got underway early with the first rutting bull showing up the first week of the month. By mid-month, it felt like the rut was starting earlier than most years. The last week of September things hit another gear with many more cow elk coming into estrous. New big bulls showed up at the end of the month.
Bull fights will be common now but only occasionally visible. Fights happen in the woods, along the rivers, and at night. It is a bit hard to predict when they might occur. The key is context, meaning that herds near one another, and the presence of many satellite bulls, increase the odds of a fight greatly. For at least the month of September, the field down by Smith Creek on the south end of Boxley Valley has been the very best viewing location and the most likely place for a fight. That field holds the Boxley Beast, a very dominant bull elk. Only in the last part of the month has a herd shown up in the Ponca Fields.
On the great news front, this year Boxley Valley has a bull in the super trophy class. Prince is an 8x8 symmetrical atypical bull. His twin drop tines with twin spikes on each one, has to be as fine a rack as has been seen in Arkansas. Today he has started moving north in Boxley Valley, away from the south field he has occupied for at least 2 weeks. Visitors will want to see this bull.
Starting tomorrow, I will post a brand new October calendar. The dates are too crowded to do the whole season on one calendar. I will post the September calendar right under the new October calendar for reference until after the first couple of weeks.