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***