Close to the fall and hunting season, this is one of my favorite times to be in the mountains. For the next forty or so days the baby wildlife will start appearing. It’s by far my favorite time to be carrying a camera. I seldom get pictures of my favorite baby bird, the chukar, because they are so difficult to find and once you find them you can’t see them. Here is a picture of a baby chukar. I know it’s there, but I can’t find it either.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the little ones scurrying around with mom and suddenly they disappear in the grass. Turkeys are a little bigger and easy to find. You’ll see one in my hand during the video. But the big game animals are easy to get snap shots on, once you find them.
As you’ll notice, many times my dogs are with me. They are much better at finding babies them I am and have never harmed one. Like in the movies, I’ll say, “no animals were harmed in the taking of these pictures.” But I have.
I was walking with my three shorthairs, Tucker, Dakota and Riley, when we came across a cow elk who was acting pretty stand offish. I figured she had a baby close by so I hid in the tall grass, hoping she would show me where her baby was. The dogs were sitting by me and she could see them. As any protective mother would do, she charged the three canines and before I could get out of the prone position she stepped on my knee. The dogs scattered, leaving me to fend for myself. Luckily, the elk left me alone. We never did find that baby but I ended up with a nice gash on the inside of my knee along with a big bruise.
Another incident that could have had a bad outcome for me was on a turkey hunt up north. While walking a old logging road I came upon a baby moose. I could tell it was born just recently and was thinking how cool it was. Suddenly from above the road, mama came barreling down on me. If it hadn’t been for the large pine trees, she would have ate my lunch. I was still quick enough back then to move from tree to tree until she let me go. I wonder if my legs would fail me today.
I know some might be wishing I’d leave the babies alone. I try and make our encounters short and move on. I know mom and baby will soon be reunited. A story from the early 70’s when I was fighting fires for BLM. We were walking the cat line around a fire and mopping up blazes when we found a fawn just outside the cat line. It was hardly breathing and we were convinced it was left to die or mother had been killed. The crew boss called the fish and game and I stayed back with the baby and kept wetting it’s nose with my handkerchief. For two hours I sat with it and it seemed to be barely alive. Suddenly this limp little deer kicked and jumped out of my arms full of energy. Within seconds she was running behind her mom. I never heard a sound but the two of them somehow communicated and got back together.
So, for the next month or so, I’ll be traveling the hills looking for cooperative kids to photo. Of course my boys will be with me and we hope to get some new shots for next year. Meanwhile enjoy this video of past babies. I’m sorry that I have to use “out in the country” for a song again, but I can’t figure out how to download any other songs. I’ll work on that.
We’ll be back to some serious chukar talk soon.