Thursday, October 31, 2013

November 2013 Outlook

The weather forecast in early November is a return to seasonably cool days and pretty cold nights. Steaming breath bugles like the one below are possible in this weather.  As I write this we are at peak fall color so visiting photographers will have plenty of subjects to shoot. 

We are still in the 2013 elk rut slowly heading down the slope to the holidays. There will still be bulging for some time and bull fights are possible until mid-month, though they become less likely as the month progresses. 

I have said this many times. A huge percentage of my best bull elk shots are from now until March. There will be bulls "running" herds until the end of December. 

As the rut winds down, all-cow and all-bull herds are formed.  These herds mix with the herds that are still in the rut pattern, but finally there are only gender based herds. 

"Steam This" -- One of my Favorite Pictures
The all-bull herds are generally organized by the size of the bulls.  There are 3 sizes as a rule, the biggest bulls, the second tier bulls, and the little bulls. There is a little mixing but this breakdown holds. They still spar from time to time and these are good pictures.  Don't dismiss this opportunity.

Medium Sized Bull Herd January 2012

Below is a picture I got of the Boxley Stud on November 13 last year.  One fine bull. I did not get a decent picture of him last year until late season.

The Boxley Stud November 2012 by Moore Creek
We are now entering prime time for elk photography. Some imagine that the best is behind, but the best is ahead. If you like big bulls this is the best time of the year to get the wall hangers.

10/31/13 Elk Herd Locations

This morning there were herds visible at Ponca and at the south end by the South Trailhead.  A third herd is hanging around the Old Steam Sawmill near the church. I would hear it, but it was behind the first tree line.

This is a breakthrough compared to recent viewing.

This afternoon the fall color could be amazing. The morning rains are gone by noon according to the radar -- quicker than predicted. I will be out scouting fall color this afternoon in what I consider ideal conditions -- after a fall rain.  Color will be pretty good for at least a week.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fall Color Update 10/30/13

Fall color is at peak or slightly post peak in most popular venues.  There is still plenty of green.  If you are a fall color landscape fan, it is time to get here. This weekend might be the end of the peak color if that is your priority.  Speaking only personally I like fall color best pre-peak and post-peak when I can see more texture and variety in the color.

Fall Color Upstream off Ponca Bridge 10/30/13

10/30/13 Elk Herd Locations & Report

There was a small elk herd down by the Ponca access this morning, but that was about all that was going on.  This is a rainy weather pattern. The elk holed up early and could pop out anytime under these conditions.  The Ponca fields remain the best place to see elk for a few days now.

I did see 5 or 6 scattered bulls heading south in the valley.  One group looked like the "biggest bulls" herd from a distance.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

10/29/13 Elk Herd Locations & Report

Rainy weather had the elk in cover this morning with the exception of a couple of small bulls in the northern most Ponca field. Rain is predicted for the next couple of days, and in some cases the forecast includes thunder storms.  It is hard to predict how the elk will react. They like rain, they don't like thunderstorms, so it is impossible to call until we see how the weather pans out.

Rainy Day Swans

Not much doin' today so I stopped and shot the swans in the rain.  Difficult to get a decent composition with 2 subjects. I usually get them counterpointing as much as possible to break it up.

Rainy Day Trumpeter Swans Boxley Mill Pond

Monday, October 28, 2013

Work on your Landscape Photography Skills in Black and White

In my world black and white is far from dead. When I get a color photo that frustrates me, often I will kick it over to black and white to overcome ishy colors like blue greens. If the photo is any good, often a black and white interpretation will show you what you thought you saw. Some photos are great both in color and black and white, others are not.

I am very pattern oriented. In landscapes I like strong lines and good vanishing points. I work in HDR quite often because I like very long tonal ranges.

So why bother with black and white? One reason is that it can help you strengthen your compositional skills. It forces you to find lines and shapes, and highlights and shadows. This will help you pre-visualize better whether you shoot color or black and white.  Black and white makes you work harder to get a great composition.

Because we are in a digital world now, you can retain your color negative so why not interpret your landscapes as black and white and deconstruct your voice.?  If you look at a few pictures you will see your patterns in your work and perhaps think more deeply about composition.

Looking East from the Ponca Low Water Bridge
The picture above had foreground sharpness giving way to softness at the distant point there the Buffalo River.  There are lines and curves, and implied forms. Fall color is always a plus, but it can be a distraction too.

Color is never the whole game. There are lines, textures, rhythms, and so on. Maybe looking at the landscape that has frustrated you for years will be more understandable in black and white.  Try deconstructing your photos by removing color. It can provide a lot of insight.

Old Barn by 43/21 Intersection

I don't know how many photos I have of this old barn, but it might be 100+.  It is fascinating to take pictures of old buildings across the seasons and with all the variations in light.  In this case it is early color, fog and sunrise light.  It is a very detailed photo, tough to sharpen correctly for web scale.

Animal photography is my priority, then there are wildflowers, and old buildings. I love how the fog adds mood to early morning photos.  Sunrise light is warm and it offers a lot of dynamic range making 3D looking photos.  If there were no elk in the valley, a day could be spent just on the many old buildings that are there.  This is one of the best, but there are many.  I took this as a "time out" from shooting elk that were in the field opposite the old barn. Not a bad break.

The Old Barn at 43/21 Intersection

10/28/13 Sparring in the River

This isn't much of a shot, but I am showing it.  I hand held this from the Ponca low water bridge in a light fog.  That would qualify as an impossible shot. This is a crop and took me a long time to pull some detail out of it.  Worth showing so you get the idea -- the Ponca low water bridge is a great place for photos. When the elk are in the north most Ponca field, they often come to drink at the crossed trees.

Painterly: Meaning Foggy, Bad Focus, Noise & Color Casts

Definition of a pro photographer: Someone who only shows his good photos.

10/28/13 Elk Herd Location Map & Report

There were 2 herds in the Ponca fields this morning, and a 3rd small one in the south end by the Upper Wilderness Trailhead. Lots of bugling. I thought a fight might happen but it did not. The table is set for one, and it should be a few days. Lots of energy.  The more active herd was jammed right into the cane line on the north end, and they did head to the river for a few shots for the photographers present.

The small herd on the south end is very different and kind of placid. Still, if you have not seen elk, they were quite visible and perfect for elk watching.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Fall Color Report 10/27/13

Current fall color at the Ponca Mill Pond just west of Lost Valley Canoe.  This was a dark, overcast morning. Often that jacks up saturation and all kinds of color casts. As you can see, at least for these trees, peak fall color is still a few days off, but not many.

Fall Color on a Cloudy Morning in Ponca

10/27/13 Elk Herd Location Map & Report

This morning there were no herds, only a handful of straggler elk the length of the valley. Bugling could be heard up by the Ponca Access. It is quite possible that herd could show up for evening viewing tonight.

If you visit, be sure and check the whole valley. Today is the last day of muzzle loader season and how the elk will move is anyone's guess.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Droopy and Backhooks -- The "Ugly Rack Society"

This is the year for oddball bulls.  I saw Droopy and Backhooks when they were in velvet and thought these weird guys deserve one another. They were always together.  The "Ugly Rack Society".  So odd.

Droopy and Backhooks -- The "Ugly Rack Society"

Yet Another Otter Picture

Still digging through my October 11 shoot on the Ponca Low Water bridge and finding pictures I need to process.  This is a pretty good picture of an otter eating a goggle eye.  I interpreted it this time as a 12x6 and sharpened it with FocusMagic. FocusMagic is worth checking out if you have not tried it.

Just as a reminder.  Always check the Ponca low water bridge both up and downstream for otter.  Look for surface disturbances.  You can get close to these animals without disturbing them if you keep quiet and move carefully. They are not afraid of people.

12x6 Interpretation of Otter eating a Goggle Eye

Don't Forget Our Trumpeter Swans -- A Few Tips and Examples

People forget that we have plenty of other animals to photograph besides the elk herd. High on that list are the trumpeter swans on the Boxley Mill Pond.  They often are pretty close to the road and allow close-ups like these photographers are getting.

I have seen these trumpeters on the road looking for crumbs.  A handful of people are feeding them. This places them in harms way. Please don't feed them. It is unhealthy besides getting them up on the road where they can be run down.

Photographers Photographing Trumpeter Swans
If you hang around the mill pond shooting trumpeters there will be times when you get unexpected shots.  Below is an example of one such shot.  I took it after getting skunked by the elk.  This is more of a landscape trumpeter shot.

A Stretching Trumpeter in Morning Fog

Here's another trumpeter picture, same deal, no elk so I kept grinding.  I consider this a lifetime shot as a wildlife photographer.  This is a trumpeter "bowing up" and threatening a coon that wanted to cross a beaver dam.

Trumpeter Hissing at Coon Approaching Beaver Dam in Mill Pond
Here's are a couple of challenging trumpeter shots.  Taking off and landing.

Trumpter Swans Taking Off

Trumpeter Swans Landing
Tip:  Trumpeters will bob their heads and honk before taking off.  If you see this, hang around. 

Tip #2:  If you see them flying around, nearly always they will land back at the pond.  They will fly the whole length of the valley and you can watch them come back to the pond to land.  Understand this, and you can get the landing shot above. 

These shots are possible year round.  If you see trumpeters flying around, get in your car, get to the pond, and see if you can catch them landing, it is a great shot. 

10/26/13 Elk Herd Locations & Report

Elk viewing was pretty good this morning, but you had to be out early.  The Ponca herd was out, but it went back to the river by 8:30, in contrast to yesterday's extended viewing.  I expect they will be back in the fields for viewing tonight.  This herd had quite a few satellite bulls and the herd bull bugled a lot.

In the south end, the elk herd was out by the Upper Trailhead but also seemed to be heading for cover relatively early.  Again a few satellite bulls.

There were a handful of bulls at the 43/21 intersection fields.

I would say the rut pattern has now shifted to more normal conditions.  We have gone from 1 herd to 2, and the number of satellite bulls has increased.  In the past there have been as many as 5 herds at once during this period.  Perhaps now we are on that road.

Fall color is getting good now.  This morning the trumpeter swans were also close to the road putting on a show for many photographers.  Please don't feed them, it is like sentencing them to death.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Photographers in the Fog at 43/21 Field

2 of a very large group of photographers who were shooting the sparring elk in the last entry.  There was a nice group today considering the cold and the fog. 

Photographers Shooting in the Fog by 43/21

Morning Sparring in Fog, 12/2/13

2 middle sized bulls spent some time sparring today down by 43/21 intersection in some pretty thick fog.  A lot of people filmed these guys.

I have taken a lot of sparring and fighting pictures.  I think getting at least one set of eyes in the picture matters a lot.  There are exceptions with great movement, meaning big twists and turns.  These guys did a little of that.

Second Tier Bull Elk Sparring in the Morning Fog

Boxley Mill Pond from the South in Fog

Foggy weather is a great time to experiment with soft focus as given by nature. Under the right conditions you can create images that are very dimensional and moody.

This is the Boxley Mill Pond shot from the south end with my 400 mm lens. To my eye, it is painterly, and if I painted I would be going for this now and then. This morning Boxley Valley offered up some amazing landscape possibilities.

Boxley Valley Mill Pond from the South

After the Elk Shoot

After the elk shoot, photographer heads back to his car. This is just north of the intersection of highways 43 and 21.

Boxley Valley Morning -- Foggy Sunrise

The light this morning was over-the-top beautiful. It is mornings like today when I take landscapes because they are all about light values to me.  Foggy light provides great tonal ranges, a nice glow, and painterly shadows.

Old Barn by 43/21 Intersection 10/25/13

The Old Historic Mill is Open This Weekend for Tours

Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm each day the historic Boxley Valley Mill will be open to visitors.  It is located just north of the mill pond.  Look for the signs.

Inside the mill are great displays of the old machinery.  The mill is a turbine mill rather than a waterwheel mill that is much more common.

Park Ranger Linda Bishop does interpretive presentations of the history of the mill and items of interest.

This is a perfect complement to your visit to Boxley Valley to see the elk.  Usually by 10 am the herds have left the fields and they return at 5 pm or so as the sunlight begins to fade.

10/25/13 Elk Herd Location Map & Report

Absolutely beautiful morning in Boxley Valley.  As the fog lifted there were photographers all over the valley shooting elk, trumpeter swans, and landscapes of the old barns.  Very nice crowds all week as elk and fall color brought them in.

This morning very early the Ponca field was vacated and the elk moved up behind the bible camp on private property. They will be back, maybe tonight.

The best shows this morning was near the highway 43/21 intersection, and down at the deep south end by the upper wilderness trailhead.  The small bull herd was at 43/21 and did some posing by the old barn there then moved all around the field to the delight of a nice crowd.

In the south end Junk Yard Dog (big 7x7 bull) and his harem showed up in the field, then moved north to the river later in the morning. It is quite possible they will show up in the Smith Creek field this evening.  You definitely will want to see this big bull.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

10/24/13 Elk Herd Locations & Report

This morning there were 2 herds like yesterday and in the same locations.  The Ponca herd continues to be pretty predicable now for many days, and viewing has been good in the morning and evening for a while.

The second herd is an all-bull herd down by the 43/21 intersection. The all bull herd will move around a lot in that field and the next one south.  There are about 8 bulls in it.

Viewing is extended in this cool weather, but early and late viewing is the most reliable. Be sure to check the whole valley on each visit.

There are a lot of whitetail deer moving around because of hunting. Be alert to them on roadsides.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Main Herd Bull in the Ponca Fields

This is one nice herd bull.  He is a 7x6. I have shot him for a few years now. He has characteristic tiny forks right at the end of his antlers. I caught him in a fight once. This morning he took the harem of a larger bull with a broken antler. Note the size of his body, that is a key trait of a herd bull -- body mass.

Herd class bull elk, Ponca, Arkansas

10/23/13 Elk Herd Map & Report, Much Improved Viewing

Elk viewing returned to what would be normal for elk rut viewing.  This morning there were 2 herds in the valley.  The Ponca field held a nice herd of about 30 cows with a herd bull and a satellite.  Dow at the intersection of Highways 43 and 21 there was an all bull herd of second tier bulls, not the biggest bulls, but not the smallest either. Many stragglers elsewhere, mostly bulls.

Lots of viewing and good photography for the many visitors in the valley today.

Sunrise Bulls by Old Steam Mill

Taken this morning as the sun was rising in the field just south of the 43/21 intersection. These are second tier bulls in a bachelor bull herd. Ordinarily this is way too early for these herds.  There were 5 or 6 of these bulls and they ended up in the 43/21 field.

bull elk

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bull Elk Prepare for Next Hunt

A number of bulls have not been seen this year so far. There are many different explanations, but many were seen in velvet and seem to be hiding in the woods, or perhaps they are in disguise. 

Rumor has it that Game and Fish has conducted top secret workshops for certain elk that show particular talent as models for elk tourism. Could this photo be of one of these elk? 

Officials could not be reached for comment on this story. 

Will He Be Recognized?

Fall Color Update Picture

The current status of fall color is just about impossible to describe. This is Steel Creek. Looks like peak color is still ahead perhaps a week. Late this week we will have much cooler weather. Perhaps peak color will be sooner.

Fall Color at Steel Creek 9/22/13

Foggy Morning Elk, Smith Creek Field

This little group seems linked to a larger herd in the river behind the barn, but that is only a guess.  Today it was the only visible herd, but my guess is that more will come out tonight.  If you visit, be sure to check the whole valley before settling in. We are in another transition now that deer hunting is done and the weather has shifted yet again. 

10/22/13 Elk Herd in Smith Creek Field, Stragglers Elsewhere

Another pretty quiet morning in Boxley Valley.  A small herd did show up in the Smith Creek field that seemed to be connected to other animals in the river bed. There were straggler elk elsewhere, including a few bulls.

Big weather change late this week.  Perhaps by then we will return to more typical viewing as we had yesterday in the Ponca fields.  Peak fall color is a few days off.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Think About Landscape Elk Shots, Tell a Story

I think the best wildlife photos seem to express the emotion of animals.  This bull elk is crossing the Hailstone after a night of grazing.  He is in no hurry and seems to be reflecting.  My point is that bull photos can be more than just muscular, they can express a broad range of emotions.  

Maybe expressing this is best done in more of a landscape approach like the photo below.  This perspective places the bull in a broader context, and in that context we interpret his gaze and posture differently. We see what he is focused on, and that he is alone.  A more conventional tight shot would not give us the rest of the story.  This is more of a painting.  

Shoot Elk in Landscape Compositions to Tell a Story 

Unplanned River Pictures

Experienced photographers know that there will be days when your priority subject will just not cooperate. Many of my best pictures came when I just relaxed and waited for what came along, or just kept grinding.  The green heron below came along after an elk river crossing.  I got a few shots and enjoyed watching it feed.  Like old hunters, I guess old photographers are more relaxed about getting the shot, and we collect the shots given. Just being out there is enough. It always was, we just couldn't see it.

Green Heron on the Hailstone

10/21/13 Elk Herd Locations & Report

Elk viewing improved a lot today with a herd near the Ponca Access.  The bull and a few cows even went into the river for a while and provided photographers with some pretty good pictures.  Elsewhere in the valley there were stragglers, but more than in recent days. A couple of bulls sparred for a while down by Moore Creek.  There was some bugling this morning too.

Perhaps we can get  back on track now with normal viewing.  The weather is cool, fall color is peaking and conditions are ideal for the elk herds.

I got a report that the otter are in the Buffalo behind the Steel Creek tent campground.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

10/20/13 Elk Herd Locations Map & Report

Morning elk viewing was nearly impossible this morning due to heavy fog.  I could see no animals except stragglers in my survey of the valley.  If the evening viewing follows the patterns of the last 2 days I would expect there to be pretty good elk viewing in the Ponca fields after 5 or 6 PM.  This has been a little later than usual. I suspect it has to do with the hunting pressure for whitetails. 

I believe the full moon and especially the deer hunting season account for the poor morning viewing. Elk often feed heavily at night under the full moon.  There seem to be a number of deer hunters in Boxley Valley today. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

6 Point Buck by Ponca Low Water Bridge Saturday

A few of us were waiting on the bridge hoping to see otter and this 6pt buck visited for the second day. This time he only went into the river a short distance and returned to cover.  These deer crossings close to the low water bridge are fairly common both up and down stream.

Small 6 Point Buck at Ponca Low Water Bridge

Boxley Valley Photographers Along Highway 43

Photographers along highway 43 shooting elk and landscapes.  Tough fog conditions and distant elk made shooting difficult Friday morning.  We had a nice conversation about local shooting conditions. If my memory serves me correctly they were from Texas and Oklahoma. 

Photographers Along Highway 43

10/19/13 Elk Herd Location Map & Report

Elk viewing was much better this morning with 2 herds visible. The first was a pretty good sized herd that I reported last night in the Ponca Fields. It has 3 bulls, a herd bull and 2 satellites and about 30 cows and calves.  The second herd was a small all bull herd in the elk pullout field. Evening viewing seems to be better the last few days at the Ponca location.

Cold weather seems to be changing the elk viewing pattern for the better. There is deer hunting now and this unsettles the elk. I believe the hunt ends this weekend or in a couple of more days.

Friday, October 18, 2013

10/18/13 Evening Elk Viewing Report -- Ponce Fields Active Evenings

After dinner tonight we drove down to the Ponca fields and there was a nice, normal sized elk herd in front of Big Hollow, about the middle of those fields.  As I had heard, they came out in the evening. There was bugling and an nice crowd in spite of the rain.  I would say the herd was about 30-40 animals with a herd bull and 2 satellites.

Evening viewing has been better than morning viewing for a few days.

10/18/13 Elk Herd Locations & Report

Elk were back this morning.  Other than stragglers, mostly bulls, there were no herds to be seen. From reports I am getting, it appears the evening viewing is better and that is in the Ponca fields.  Part of what impacts the viewing is the nearly full moon. Elk often feed more at night on a full moon.  Deer gun season is underway now and that can spook the herds as well.

My advice to visitors is to tour the entire valley with each visit to see where elk are located. I see evidence of possible herds the whole length of the valley. We are on another weather change with a 50% rain prediction for tonight and temps below 40.  Recent weather has jerked the herds around a bit. With the gun season and the full moon the best course is to check the whole valley.

Deer Crossing at Ponca Low Water Bridge

Pickings were slim this morning, but a small buck crossed the Buffalo right in front of the low water bridge at the Ponca Access as we waited for otter that never came. 

whitetail buck buffalo national river
Whitetail Buck at Ponca Low Water Bridge

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Another Otter Picture

3 of the 4 otter running along the bluff just upstream from the Ponca Access.  From my October 11 shoot.

river otter
River Otter Running Along Bluff

Ponca Elk Education Center's Color Fest This Weekend

If you are going to visit to Friday or Saturday you will want to stop in at the Color Fest at the Ponca Elk Education Center. This year there are 18 artists participating in the show. There are art demonstrations.

Be sure also to visit the Ponca Elk Education Center. They have many exhibits and a gift shop. There are also free educational materials. The center is recipient of national awards and is the largest education center in Arkansas on the basis of attendance.

The Color Fest is from 10 to 4:30 each day. The event compliments peak elk viewing hours perfectly that are before and after the event.

10/17/13 Elk Herd Location Map & Report

This morning there was more activity in the valley than yesterday.  The Ponca area is the busiest, but the elk are spread around. There was bugling this morning from a few directions in Ponca.  There was a good bull in the woods by the launch, and more elk around Big Hollow.  Bugling in the woods too.

At 43/21 this morning a bull was close to the road with 3 cows.  When I passed by later they were pushed back probably by viewers. This is one ugly bull with lots of points and broken tines.

Very early this morning there was a bull and harem in the north end of the Smith Creek field.  They retreated across the river. I did not see them, but I have a reliable source.  It is a good idea now to survey the whole valley when looking for elk. This is a transition period after the weather change and they can pop up anywhere.  I did see a few maverick bulls this morning.

2 huge Hereford bulls broke down a fence just north of the Mill Pond and were roaming at the roadside. These are 1,800 pound animals, twice the size of a big bull elk.  Hit one of these with a car and it could easily kill you. Be on the lookout for them.

Buffalo National River is Open

The park is open. Operations should return to normal today.

The park staff are removing barriers today as quickly as they can and reopening facilities.  Cars are already filling the parking lots at the trail heads.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Re-Opening Passed Senate, In House Now, Obama to Sign Immediately Tonight if Possible

We could have government re-opened tonight. The house is now debating the bill, and there should be a vote tonight. Obama has pledged to sign the bill as soon as it is passed by the House.

I think the park re-opens tomorrow if Obama signs the bill tonight.  We shall see.  Obama speech tonight, I won't be watching it.  I think the ordeal of this closing is over.

Update on theTimetable for Re-Opening of Buffalo National River

Capitol Hill Correspondent Kelley O'Donnell has quoted House Speaker Boehner as stating government will re-open tomorrow.

The timetable for the votes is this.  The vote on the compromise bill in the Senate will take place between 5 and 8 PM tonight, the bill will then go House Rules Committee for 1 hour of debate, then taken to the floor for a final vote this evening. It is expected to pass tonight.

Many different sources are confirming the decision to re-open the government will be made tonight.

If remarks from Speaker Boehner are correct, our Buffalo National River might re-open tomorrow or Friday.

I have no way to contact the park and confirm a timetable at this time, but will tomorrow if we have passage tonight as predicted.

Park to Re-Open -- House and Senate On Track for Agreement Today

The government default appears to be resolved and the Buffalo National River should re-open within days.

I don't have any more details at this point, but it is clear the political deal has been struck and should pass today barring any last minute disruption.

There was some concern yesterday that passage of the continuing resolution and extension of the debt ceiling would be blocked by parliamentary maneuvers in congress.   Clearer minds prevailed and the crisis appears to be averted.

How this translates specifically to our Buffalo National River re-opening I don't know.  The NPS website,, is closed due to the shut down.  I don't think it will take very long to get things underway -- hopefully by the weekend.

Details to follow as more information is available.

Beaver by Ponca Low Water Bridge Today

This morning at the Ponca low water bridge in the Ponca Access we saw no otter, but there was a very large beaver there.  He lumbered around for a while and headed up river.  The easy way to see the difference between a beaver and otter is the tail, beaver have flat short tails, otter have long slender tails.  With a little experience it is easy to see that otter have slender and long bodies.  

It was a treat to see this big guy. According to visitors, when they first visited the bridge he was sitting on it. Along the river beaver often live in the banks like otter.  Dams are fairly common in the tributary creeks.  There is a live beaver dam behind and just east the elk education center. 

Big Beaver in the Buffalo National River

Introducing "Hammers"

Most of the time I don't bother naming lesser bulls, and certainly "Hammers" is one of the least lessers. Hammers is short for "Dumb as a Bag of Hammers", and yes, he is on the dumb end of the elk scale. Having said that, he has also made many visits to Boxley Valley worthwhile for our elk watchers who can see him up close.

Hammers is a shag bull and not very timid, he is often found grazing along the roadsides down by the Buffalo River in the south end. Probably more phone pictures are taken of Hammers than any other bull elk. This is his gift to elk tourism.

Maybe Hammers is the Forrest Gump of elk tourism, and he is ours.  Drive slowly in the south end where he lives.

Hammers the Shag Bull