Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I Struck Out With the Beavers

I staked out the beaver ponds at dusk on Tuesday.  It's the middle of hunting season for elk, deer, wolf, black bear, mountain lion and just about everything else, so it's important to be careful any time you leave your front door.  Since Sula is in the remote upper end of the Bitterroot Valley, we are seeing a lot of strangers from down valley coming up to hunt the wild country. You see them riding around in trucks with full gun racks, dressed in orange, like militant Syracuse fans.  Most of the folks that live on the East Fork wave when they pass each other on the East Fork Road.  These itinerants don't wave.

Not wanting to get shot at, I dropped by the Sula Country Store and Resort for something orange to wear.
(Here's the resort part of the Sula Store)

The only orange gear they had was a knit orange cap with a little black elk antler design on the front. I could've done without the antlers, but it was only $5.00, so I got it.

About an hour before sundown I drove out to a beaver pond I had seen near the headwaters of the East Fork. Beavers are nocturnal, so the best times to see them are dawn and dusk, but there's no way I'm coming out here at 7 a.m., especially when it's 20 degrees, so dusk will have to do.  It was a balmy 36 in the higher portions of the valley this afternoon, but there was still a fair amount of ice in the pond.

In some places the beavers have made "trails" through the thin ice on the water.

At the head of the pond was a large beaver lodge (lower right).

As dusk approached, it got decidedly colder . . .

but no beavers showed up.

My theory is, since days are now a little shorter than 10 hours, the nocturnal beavers have ample time after dark to get their chores done.  That way they don't need to get out at dusk when the hunters are out itching to kill something. But I'm not a wildlife biologist.


  1. How'd you get all those chin whiskers in that ski it was awfully itchy. Thanks for the "resort" picture...not very resorty, is it? Guess that depends on what part of the country you are in...that must be a resort in Montana.

    Stay warm and stay well!

  2. I know, I know .... Blair Witch .... is that THE look you're tyring to achieve?

  3. Love the orange cap. I was trying to figure out what you would score using the Boone & Crockett method but had a little trouble with the measurements.

  4. Mel says she LOVES the hat!!!!

  5. I don't mind looking ridiculous if it keeps me from getting shot at. There are more of those hats at the Sula Country Store if anybody just has to have one.