And Critters of That Ilk

After a delightful hot springs soak, WC and Mrs. WC wandered up the Middle Fork of the Payette River, past Crouch, Idaho, looking for birds, mammals and critters of that ilk. Birding was a little slow, although we did see a small flock of Clark’s Nutcrackers. But the most notable success was elk.

Elk are intensively managed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Idaho’s 288,000 licensed hunters would seemingly all like to bag an elk each year. Since there are only about 120,000 elk statewide, the competition is fierce. And the hunting rules are byzantine in their complexity. Still, there are some city elk – elk that hang around developed areas – that are accessible for, to use the official phrase, non-consumptive users like WC and his camera.

Elsewhere in the state, elk are fed during the winter and seeing and photographing elk is just a matter of buying a ticket for the sleigh – in low snow years, the wagon – to see the elk fed. But WC and Mrs. WC prefer a bit more natural experience. The road up the Middle Fork of the Payette River goes by Elk Springs Ranch, where elk are grown for meat. WC drove past that without stopping, too.

Near a resort, hot springs and golf course, alongside the winding road, we found a few elk browsing on the vegetation. Photos were taken.

WC isn’t opposed to hunting, but it’s just a little sad that such wonderful critters are doomed to end up in someone’s freezer.