Heeler sisters and I finished up the prehunt classifications for area 62 yesterday morning... with a day and a half to spare. The morning route took us along the reservoir, which was refreshingly empty after the Labor Day holiday.
Surprised a couple coyotes out on the sandy beach, one of which briefly trotted down the trail in front of us. Drove the sisters crazy, trying to shove their muzzles out through the windshield.
Fortunately it had rained the night before and, in fact, sprinkled on us several times in the morning, so the top inch or so of the fine sand was wet. Made for good driving.
Took a break along the beach, but the heelers panicked and ran back to the truck.
Really. To them, that much water cannot be a good thing.
Neither one can stand open water... a result, I suspect, of the many, nearly daily baths they got as puppies. Only way to keep them clean once the mother decides they're poopin' too much for her to clean up. Especially since they were living in the dining room.
Either that, or they've been hearing about all the shark attacks this summer.
When we were done with the route, we headed over the Seminoes to check the blue grouse wing barrels.
No wings (no surprise).
A retired game warden did leave me a nice note in one of the barrels a couple years ago, but nothing this year.
My secondary chokecherry stand, which had been chock full of cherries last week, was stripped bare. As in not one chokecherry. Even branches too high for humans to reach.
Still some cherries on my tertial stand, although the vireos were working on them just above my head. Brought home a pint or so, eating them along the drive.
We also stopped in to check the guzzlers on top of the mountains. We installed these to provide remote water sources for bighorn sheep.
The bighorns are mostly gone now, but there was a nearly full curl ram drinking out of the first guzzler. Trotted off with a start, but then stood and watched us for several minutes from only 30-40 meters away. Even stepped a little closer when he saw the heelers.
Beautiful ram, sleek with perfect horns. Could see most of the annular growth rings, and my best guess was five years old.
This guzzler is in the rocks at the top of the cliffs that the sheep used for lambing grounds. Most of the ponderosas nearby have been cut down (it was hard to consent to that part of the project, I tell ya).
Guzzler was fine, and about half full. Surprising, given the drought this summer. Suspect most of it is still left over from snowmelt.
The road into the second guzzler is a booger, and slammed the transfer case skid plate down on a rock. As in bedrock. As in it didn't budge a millimeter, and the truck screamed in pain as we passed over.
Still seems to work okay, though.
Second guzzler was also half full. Recent elk tracks and droppings. Also whitewash from the turkey vultures that nest nearby.
Heeler sisters had fun harassing a northern sagebrush lizard in the burn.
The score? Lizard: 2, Heelers: 0
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