Friday, December 28, 2012

12/28/12 Elk Herd Locations

Elk viewing remains good. The Ponca fields are empty now. It is not clear if that herd has moved to a back field, or simply headed north or south. Elk viewing is concentrated from the mill pond and points south. The best viewing is down by Smith Creek in the south end.

We are now clearly in the post-rut period and all-bull herds have formed. There is one that ducks in and out in the mid-valley area. Today it was not visible, but tomorrow it could be at roadside. A true big bull herd is further south. These big guys offer the very best of bull elk shooting when they are around. Photographers in particular will want to track this blog closely to learn when these big guys appear. This is the best bull elk shooting of the year and it will continue through March.

12/28/12 Elk Herd Locations

Sunday, December 23, 2012

12/23/12 Picture of the Day

From now until April, big bull pictures are easier to get. This picture was taken 12/18. If you want trophy bull elk pictures, this is the season.

The Boxley Stud 12/18/12
The Boxley Stud 12/18/12 

12/23/12 Herd Location Update & Holiday Outlook

Elk herd locations remains pretty stable. Today the big bull herd was not evident, but they are around and can show up any day.

Elk viewing is pretty much all day long now. Looking ahead to the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, if you visit, you will see elk. There are well over 100 in the valley now, varying from 4 to 5 herds depending on the day. The predicted very cold weather makes holiday viewing virtually a lock.

Happy holidays.

12/23/12 Elk Herd Locations

Saturday, December 22, 2012

12/22/12 Picture of the Day & Herd Location Update

Big Bull Elk by Highway 43 3 Miles from Ponca
Bull Elk Just 3 Miles South of Ponca Near HWY 43
The elk herd locations are unchanged. One bit of good news is that the bulls have returned to the middle valley fields just north of the mill pond.

The picture right is one of them that was so close to the road I had to dial back to 200mm for this picture. These are good photo and wildlife watching opportunities.

There are now 5 herds in the valley. Viewing is about as good as it ever gets.

Friday, December 21, 2012

12/21/12 Elk Celebrate End Of World Delay

Elk viewing is very good now. There are 4 herds in Boxley Valley, and one bull in the Ponca Fields on the north end remains in a rutting pattern. Typically there is a bull or two that remain in rut until the first of the year.

The all bull herds were not out this morning. There are at least 2 in the valley now. One of them is the big bull herd, the other is second tier bulls. Catching these bull herds with a camera is the gold standard in bull elk photography. This is now prime time to photograph groups of trophy bulls together. The key is to get to the valley early. There are no guarantees, but when you catch the big bulls it is a real treat.

The 12/21/12 elk herd location map is below:

12/21/12 Elk Herd Locations

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

12/18/12 The Boxley Stud in Frost

Well, here is another picture from today. This is the Boxley Stud, the dominant bull this year in Boxley Valley. This post rut photo is a wall-hanger for me. Ripping sharp in morning frost, this is a typical December, post-rut, bull photo. This is in my top 5 pictures for 2012.

The Boxley Stud, 2012 Monarch of Boxley Valley 

12/18/12 Today's Picture

December remains outstanding for elk photography and this new patter extends all through the winter.  Today's picture is of post-rut sparring. Often it approaches the intensity of full-blown bull fights. The picture below is one such sparring session that took place on the edge of a herd of big bulls. These are pretty nice bulls.

2012 Post-Rut Bull Elk Sparring
Spirited Post-Rut Bull Elk Sparring 12/18/12

12/18/12 Elk Herd Locations

Elk are transitioning now and we are definitely in the post-rut period. All this means is that the last straggling rutting bulls are done for 2012. Elk viewing remains good, but it is different.

Visitors will see gender segregated herds of all bulls or all cows. There are exceptions, but this is the current pattern. There are bulls here and there and all bull herds now. Many bulls have retreated into back fields and put in an appearance now and then. The bull herd identified on the map has been pretty reliable for some time. Elk fights are done, but quality sparring is still going on, and it will continue for months.

The all-cow herds are on the move. The combination of drought and army worms challenges them to find decent forage. While you can generally rely on the herd positions on the map, visitors should survey the entire valley because big moves between fields are quite likely now.

The 12/18 elk herd location map is below:

12/18 Elk Herd Location Map

Friday, December 14, 2012

12/14/12 Elk Map & Weekend Outlook

Elk viewing is very good now and roughly about as good as it gets. I would estimate there are over 100 elk in 4 herds in Boxley Valley now -- a 25% increase over last week.

Weekend viewing should be very good. Elk like rain and cloudy weather. Remember to get out early to see the all-bull herd in mid-valley.

This morning I saw a bald eagle hunting the river down by the Ponca Access. Visitors should be looking for eagles now, especially near the mill pond.

Be careful driving along the stretch of 21 down by Cave Mountain Road. A big herd is there now and it is grazing right on the roadside.

12/14/12 Elk Herd Location Map

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12/12/12 Picture of the Day

Prince by the Old Boxley Mill taken today.  Late season bull photography is far from done.

12/12/12 Elk Herd Locations

The elk herds have returned to the pattern that has been dominant for the last month or so. 

The 4 elk herds are in the Ponca fields, an all bull herd is about mid-valley just north of the Mill Pond, a herd behind the mill pond, and a 4th herd just south of the 43/21 intersection. 

Viewing is pretty much all day now in the cold weather with the exception of the all-bull herd. Most days when the sun is coming up, these big guys are heading for the bedding areas. If you want to see big bulls, you need to get to the valley before sunrise and watch the show until the sun hits the pastures. 

Today's elk herd map is below:

12/12/12 Elk Herd Locations in Boxley Valley

Friday, December 7, 2012

12/7/12 Elk Herd Locations & Report

Elk viewing remains very good. The herds have returned to the pattern that has dominated this fall after a brief break.

Viewing is from the Ponca Fields to just south of the 43/21 intersection.

Bald eagles are now arriving and will make an occasional appearance in Boxley Valley, most often along the mill pond area.

The 12/7/12 map follows:

December 12 Elk Herd Locations

Monday, December 3, 2012

12/3/12 New Month & New Herd Pattern

As I predicted a while back, a decent herd has arrived in the south end. The herd that has been in the Ponca fields has gone south to the mid-valley area, and it remains to be seen if they will head further south. For now, the all bull herd is not visible.

This week marks the end of deer season. I am pretty sure the deer hunters kept the elk pushed forward a bit.

I was pleased to see at least 3 cars watching the elk this morning. Good elk viewing will continue until after the the holidays. It seems like the message is getting out great elk viewing continues until around April 1.

Keep your eyes out for bald eagles. There are not a lot of them in Boxley Valley, but we are in eagle season now. Usually the best place to see them is around the mill pond. It is hard to predict when you might see them. Look for bright white patches in the trees.

Today's map is below:

December 3 2012 Elk Herd Locations