Tracking Invisible Animals: Elk & Bear Trails

Just outside Linnton, near Forest Park is an area literally covered with Elk sign. There is also considerable bear movement in the Northern part of Forest Park and in the area where we will be tracking.

 

This is a unique opportunity for a small group to get deep into elk and bear country without leaving the city and still get home in time to watch NCIS.

 

This 1-inch + diameter scat found near Forest Park was left behind by either a Lineman from the San Diego Chargers, or my guess, a Black Bear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it comes to behavior, Black Bear and Elk may have more in common than other species more closely related. They're big and create noticeable spoor, but are also masters of invisibility and live right under our noses. They both like to stay hidden in the thicket and when it comes to terrain, the steeper the better.

The best way to understand this behavior and recognize their sign is to experience it in person. I've located a solid bear trail that is used often, elk beds, and other significant sign.

Antler rubs from Elk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We'll also cover:

  • Deer vs. Elk Tracks
  • Characteristics of Bear Tracks & other sign
  • General Behavior
  • Foot Morphology
  • Possible Bird Language in the Thicket

This meetup will be more physically strenuous. A quick mile hike will take us to where we'll go off trail. Then we enter the thicket where there is some extreme terrain with walls of blackberries, sharp Salmonberry stalks. We probably won't travel the steepest terrain but I have been on all fours crawling up steep drainages. We also may be forced to go on all fours to get through thick brush. I'm usually pretty beat after this type of bushwhacking.

 

I recommend, long pants, water, food, notepad, a low-profile day pack like a camelback, and sturdy tennis shoes.

 

***It's unlikely that we'll meet an elk or bear face-to-face, but venturing into the thicket is always a risk***

 

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  • Samantha

    This goofy thing lets me rate the day but no longer allows comments.....? I'll foil them - hah! Comment: great to get back to the group after a brief respite. Alex always attracts a dedicated bunch which serves to heighten the overall enjoyment.

    October 14, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Tomorrow will be really great. In addition to the elk and bear sign there are numerous scats on our trail and a bird kill that we can analyze. We'll do some quick background stuff at my place then make the short drive. Here's my number if anyone has trouble finding the place. [masked]

    October 13, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    We'll meet at my house, then it's just a short drive to the spot. With driving and hiking time I'm estimating that we'll be back around 3 or 3:30.

    October 12, 2012

  • Samantha

    I'm happy to take up to three passengers - either meet at my house in deepest, darkest SW Portland or pick up enroute.
    Alex, was it your intent to gather at your house first? Or meet in/around Linnton?

    October 6, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    For the folks I just entered in if you could update through paypal that would be cool. I can fit 5 in my car. Can someone else help carpool? It's not far from North Portland.

    October 6, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Also, I may have made it sound more strenuous than it will be. I found an easier route to the elk/bear trails. There will be some bushwhacking, though.

    October 4, 2012

    • Samantha

      I simply *must* break at least one nail to get my money's worth. ;-)

      October 4, 2012

  • Nathan

    I'd love to, but I'm doing a six mile mud run the day before. Don't think I'll have enough left to do this as well.

    October 4, 2012

    • Samantha

      awh.....yer good for it!

      October 4, 2012

    • Nathan

      Ok fine. I joined the wait list.

      1 · October 4, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    It's a good spot and really close to pdx so I'm sure we'll return soon.

    October 4, 2012

  • Gloria

    I WOULD have loved going but have a prior commitment, a maybe you will do it again.

    October 4, 2012

5 went

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Rafaël

We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

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