Elk viewing was good today. There was only one herd of any significance in Boxley Valley and it was in the south end down by Smith Creek. That field has been hands down the best field for the last six months. It is not worked and is fallow. The elk seem to love it with its abundant grass and river right behind the field.
This herd still has a major bull working it. He showed some "running" gestures this morning, a surprise this late after the rut.
This morning I got a picture of Prince sparring. Computer problems have prevented me from posting it today, but I was re-assured to see this magnificent national class bull today. He is the rarest of the rare.
There were some bulls sprinkled here and there, but mostly except for this one herd, the valley was vacant. Often the valley is completely vacation. The diet of an elk is only about 50% grass according to biologists, so they spend a lot of time eating along roadsides and in the woods.
It is difficult to understand how so few elk can be considered a problem by those dedicated to hollering that they are a nuisance. When weighed against the extraordinary tourist traffic and revenues generated by elk viewing, expanding and now in all seasons, surely any talk of hunting in Boxley Valley is self-defeating madness.
There must be no elk hunting of any sort in Boxley Valley. There are plenty of places to hunt, but to foul a multi-state tourism magnet is plain foolish. It is also not safe, but that is not the point. The point is tourism, and badly needed tourism that must be protected in a down economy that continues to deteriorate. We need to wake up people in authority and kill any proposal for hunting in Boxley Valley permanently. It is misguided and self-defeating when we need tourism revenues.
Let's remedy the farmer complaints by paying them for damages and grazing competition.
Our leaders should not lose sight of the fact that Missouri has started an elk herd. Missouri wants our elk tourism. We should not make it easy for Missouri to take our elk tourists by hunting in Boxley Valley.