Elk viewing is now very good in Boxley Valley. There are two big herds, one just south of the 43/21 intersection, and a second in the field north of Smith Creek. All major elk viewing is in the south end of the valley and the current pattern has been stable for a couple of weeks.
Many bull elk have now scraped the velvet off their antlers. White, ivory-colored antlers are everywhere now in Boxley Valley. If you have never seen freshly-scraped antlers, it is interesting. They are very white at the beginning, then they air dry down to a deep nutmeg brown.
For me this is the first clear marker of the 2012 rut. Some large bull elk have already assumed the "rutting position" hanging around with cow herds and bedding down with them overnight. Most all of these bulls are "second tier" bulls and will be quickly replaced as the rut hits full speed.
Around the third week of September, and often the biggest bulls show up around October 1. As bulls arrive. These big boys are huge, and quickly there is a changing of the guard. Most of them are still hanging around in an all-bull herd of the biggest animals. For now at least, this herd is not visible, but it could show up at any time.
August 24, 2012 Copyright Michael Dougherty 2012