Elk Hunters: Did we hear a ticked off Elk?


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Marlin60Man
November 10, 2011, 05:58 PM
Friend of mine and I went up to this local public shooting range yesterday. It's a popular spot for elk hunters too, and it's located in this little valley area along a rural road. Well, there's about 100 yards of field from the pull-off area to the tree line, and then about 100 yards of woods before the hill.

Anyway, yesterday when we went out shooting someone had left some pumpkins out there. One that was at 75 yards was practically untouched and I wanted to try some 100 yard shots with my new .22, so I grabbed it and walked across the field to the tree line and mounted the pumpkin on a branch sticking up off some dead-fall.

As I was walking through the field I noticed a lot of what I figure was elk scat--about three or four fresh piles. They were pellets about 1 1/2" to 2" diameter, and looked pretty fresh so I started to become a little more careful of my surroundings.

Well, we shot quite a bit at the pumpkin, and I told my friend to go out and check to see if we were hitting as I reloaded some. I heard an odd noise... I could only really describe it as kind of a "clicking" or "thudding", kind of a soft click. Honestly I thought it was a squirrel nearby, but then I look up and my friend is frozen in his tracks about 10 yards from the tree line right before a slight trench that separates it from the rest of the field.

He comes back and says, "I swear I heard something growl at me, hard to describe," and I said, "Yeah, I kind of heard something too." It felt kind of silly, but we didn't walk back to the pumpkin without the .22 on us--'cause that'll stop an elk. :P

Anyway, were we in any real danger from the wildlife? There's been an elk hide out in the field ( along with its legs ) for about a week and a half too. Any chance that could attract predators? There are cougars in the area, but I would think with so much elk they wouldn't bother with human. Plus I don't know if a hide really has enough meat on it to attract any scavengers.

So my thought is that there was an elk in the brush and that maybe it was giving a distress call or something from the noise we were making. Do elk have any kind of warning call like, "Don't come any further or I'll charge?"

Neither my friend and I hunt, but I don't want to get attacked by an elk or something next time we go out there. I'm hoping it was just our imagination that got the best of us, because I've never heard of elk to be the type of animal that would hang around in woods 100 yard from humans target shooting. I would just like to know for sure whether there is any real danger, other than being out in large animals' territory.

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CoRoMo
November 10, 2011, 06:10 PM
...pellets about 1 1/2" to 2" diameter...
Those are not pellets. Those are... um... turds. Honestly, neither me nor my big male dog can squeeze out a 2" diameter... uh... well, you get the point. Elk pellets are nowhere near 1.5" in diameter.


Did we hear a ticked off Elk?
I seriously doubt it with every fiber of my being.
Anyway, were we in any real danger from the wildlife?
REAL danger? Very doubtful.
Any chance that could attract predators?
Of course, carcasses always attract predators who also have an inclination to scavenge.
Do elk have any kind of warning call like, "Don't come any further or I'll charge?"
Never heard of anything like that, ever. The "wild" elk found in National Parks will occasionally stomp a silly tourist who gets too close, and I'm sure they do nothing other than posture then charge. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmU7ZI5MQy4

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
November 10, 2011, 07:06 PM
As CoRoMo stated, well Ill simplify it further, NOPE, Nadda, UhUh, No Way, and NOOOOO. That in no way had anything to do with an Elk in the area. 99.9999% of the time, an Elk will be in the next zip code as soon as your car door closed. Let alone after the .22 went bang. Furthermore, no, Elk do NOT give, have, possess, utilize, vocalize, or warn of a charge. If a rutting bull is in the area and you snuck up on him and frightened him, then yes you could be in danger of getting gored. Other than that, no you were not being threatened by any Elk.

A predator on the other hand, could very well been what was on you. With having absolutely no clue where you were at, I.E. what state and locality you were in, I, nor anyone else for that matter, could give you any idea other than complete conjecture as to what you were experiencing.

Marlin60Man
November 10, 2011, 07:40 PM
Oh, whoops, forgot to mention that. This place is in Yakima County, WA about 5 miles outside Snoqualmie National Forest and a town called Cowiche.

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
November 10, 2011, 08:09 PM
Sounds like a possible black bear. Kind of find this highly doubtful with the shooting going on but it is plausible. If it was used to shooting and humanized (used to humans and their noises) then it very well could have stuck around and just gave some warning grunts.

Marlin60Man
November 10, 2011, 08:29 PM
Well, I was trying to think of what else could make scat that large with my friend and he mentioned horses. There are some property owners a little bit before and after this spot on the road, so maybe they take their horses in their to graze. There's also lots of holes out there dug too, and I hear horses do that sometimes.

Maybe he heard a horse off in the distance? Sound carries really well in this particular valley.

castingdonkey
November 10, 2011, 09:03 PM
I agree with freedom fighter on the elk would not stick around for the shooting. As for being spooky, I haven't found elk to be as spooky as most folks describe but whatever. You were not in danger from an elk. On the other hand, an elk will make similar noise to a buck snort. But it sounds more like a noise you would think a bear would make. A very deep growling bark that will stand the hair up on your neck and make you want mamma. On the other hand most animals will protect their young, cow elk will certainly stomp all over you to protect their's. But that is super rare and they will usually try to get you to chase them in a different direction than their baby (A self sacrafice). Not to mention that there aren't any baby elk anywhere but in the womb. Moose maybe, predator probably.

Marlin60Man
November 11, 2011, 12:14 AM
Well, what about cougars? They're known to be in this general area and I know they have a large range. Never seen or heard one though, would an elk hide bring them in close and would they growl like that?

I've never heard of black bear being in this county except for way up north where it gets greener.

castingdonkey
November 11, 2011, 01:44 AM
Buy a trail cam and set it out there, and find out whats lurking.

Davek1977
November 11, 2011, 05:01 AM
There's also lots of holes out there dug too, and I hear horses do that sometimes.
While I'm sure theres an exception out there somewhere, "digging holes" really isn't typical horse behavior. I was raised among horses, and have never seen one "dig a hole".

tarosean
November 11, 2011, 10:20 AM
Sasquatch, consider yourself lucky.

tarosean
November 11, 2011, 10:25 AM
Seriously thou, Horses digging holes? :confused:

huntsman
November 11, 2011, 10:49 AM
Sasquatch, consider yourself lucky.
+100

wankerjake
November 11, 2011, 02:25 PM
about three or four fresh piles. They were pellets about 1 1/2" to 2" diameter, and looked pretty fresh

Sounds more like a large sasquatch to me, possibly a few of them.They must have had a boys night of chicken wings and beer and that was the aftermath. The growling you heard was probably one of them working on another pile. If only you would have followed the sound with a camera, you were no doubt on the verge of a major discovery.

CoRoMo
November 11, 2011, 05:55 PM
The growling you heard was probably one of them working on another pile.
I know that when I eat a few too many bean burritos, I tend to... ...uh... ...oh nevermind.

Marlin60Man
November 11, 2011, 06:41 PM
wankerjake,

Nah, it wasn't squatch, we play poker every Wednesday so... I'm familiar with that particular call. ;P It means, "I'd give that 45 minutes."

I thought I remembered hearing my uncle complain his horse wouldn't stop digging up holes. Maybe it's a rare kind of thing... I don't know, and here I thought the horse explanation would make so much sense. Maybe the holes are from some other creature, but they were in close proximity to the scat.

How much is a trail cam? I suppose it would be worth it to me to know what's out there. Otherwise I'm kind of wondering what I should do to just make sure whatever is out there keeps its distance.

Larry Ashcraft
November 11, 2011, 07:20 PM
Elk droppings are about 3/4" in diameter, maybe two to three times as large as deer. Their tracks look like a cow's, but a little smaller and not quite as deep. Sounds like what you found are horse apples.

Elk bugling is actually a high pitched squeal. I once had the rare opportunity to hear a lead cow elk "talking" to her herd. If I remember correctly, it was kind of a soft mooing sound. This was almost 40 years ago on the infamous Taylor Ranch near San Luis, Colorado.

115grfmj
November 11, 2011, 08:36 PM
I'm just glad I not the first one to think of Big foot......:evil:

Marlin60Man
November 11, 2011, 09:52 PM
Thanks for the info, Larry. I've been thinking elk scat was deer scat all these years, I see it a lot.

Well, I guess I can rest assured it wasn't elk now. I think I'm gonna google some stuff about cougar and black bear to make sure I don't wind up in some kind of trouble with one of them.

tarosean
November 12, 2011, 12:27 AM
I thought I remembered hearing my uncle complain his horse wouldn't stop digging up holes.


It was probably penned and pacing effectively wearing a hole in the ground... now that is common for horses who have little room...


no they are never going to go out into a field and dig a hole...

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
November 12, 2011, 01:58 AM
no they are never going to go out into a field and dig a hole

Not COMPLETELY correct there. I have seen horses hoof the ground and make some pretty good divots. Just so happened there HAD been a salt lick right where they were hoofing.

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