Symphony of Nature: Thanks For Walking With Me

Jerry_Tate_Last_In_The_Series.jpgPhoto Credit JT's Guide Service

Symphony of Nature: Thanks For Walking With Me
By Jerry Tate
JT s Guide Service

An Early Summer Morning

As I walk away from the truck, consciously I get my senses heightened sight, smell, hearing, and feeling plus the inner awakening, sometimes called the sixth sense.

The sun is starting to filter through the clouds; the crows are leaving their roost heading for the feeding grounds. The first hundred yards of the walk I am trying to be very quiet, which is virtually impossible because of the dry conditions that we are faced with. Up on top of this plateau, the grass is dry, and there is no evidence of rain in the past month or so.

Spotting fresh tracks is difficult for most people as they can not see the disturbance of the soil and vegetation. Within the first 15 minutes, I have spotted fresh elk track, and they are all heading in the same direction. I proceed in the direction the elk are traveling; it is flat with small draws and open meadows. I am one mile into my walk, and I have come upon an intersection elk tracks that are going in a different direction, and one possible bear track.

Food For All Wildlife

I decide to cut down into a draw containing green vegetation, which is food for all wildlife including the grasshopper, butterflies, bees, insects of all nature. Immediately, elk and deer tracks, as well as signs of turkey flying down from their roost, are everywhere.

The squirrels are starting to chirp. In the distance I hear a falcon calling. The forest is awakening. From all of these observations, immediately I realize that I need to drop to a lower elevation into the canyons. As I go down the trail the first 100 yards, I spot various vegetation being consumed by the animals, fresh droppings and rocks being turned over by the bear. Continuing down into the canyon I come within 20 yards of the bottom, and I sense something behind me.

Lo and behold, I see six elk, 25 yards from me, and they are coming down the same trail I did. The elk stop they have sensed something, but do not fear anything. At this time, I realize that I am projecting no fear so I am not a threat to them. They turn parallel to me, heading to their bedding ground away from me in the more dense timber in the canyon.

Tracks At The Water s Edge

Continuing on down to the stream, I stand at the edge. I see green vegetation everywhere; the water is alive with all types of aquatic wildlife. I look up into the trees a distance away; the osprey that nested last spring have vacated the nest. Walking upstream, I observe many tracks at the water s edge, and the vegetation of all types are nipped on and consumed by various wildlife.

To get a good degree of information of the wildlife in the area, I continue to walk upstream one mile. I slowly start to walk out of the canyon by using a draw that leads into the canyon, and again I notice the vegetation, trees and bark from the aspens are eaten.

To me, it appears that the winter here has not been severe because the animals have not foraged on the small pine trees. Getting near to the top of the canyon, I notice rocks are turned over and bear droppings are prevalent. Also, turkey tracks and feathers are scattered here and there. Deer tracks are visible throughout the area near the top.

So, what does this all tell me? Being the weather is so dry, the wildlife have moved to the canyon to survive where the food and water are plentiful. Now I am on top, cutting across open meadows and scattered pine trees and heading to the next canyon. I notice that the trees are becoming very dense.

Moving as quietly as possible, I walk down into the canyon, immediately spotting two elk. I continue looking at the wildlife tracks, and I notice that everything in the last canyon is prevalent in this canyon with one exception the water is sparse but available. Within three quarters of a mile I see bear, elk, turkey and deer tracks; they are in all the same areas as in the previous canyon.

Lessons Learned

What have I learned? These areas would be the spot for any outdoorsman to observe all species of wildlife in the woods under drought conditions. Now, to confirm this, I am going to travel 15 miles away and go for another short walk.

All the same signs are here; I even spot elk and turkey. Remember that the conditions from this season s drought will change the animal s locations. The rains are later this year.

With the rain from the monsoons when they come, the wildlife will migrate up onto the plains and let the vegetation in the canyon grow once again to consume later in the season. They are managing their food supply. Keep in mind that all wildlife need food, water, shelter and space.

The information in this series is just the tip of the iceberg; all aspects of nature can not possibly be written in five articles. Thanks for walking with me on the symphony of nature.

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