February 25, 1999

Beginner's Luck - first outing with Trapper Steve

My first outing with Trapper Steve Kiley. It was overcast, gray and cold. Trapper Steve wears wool and his hat. I have to wear gloves or my hands get real cold. From old frostbite problems on farm in Nebraska. He doesn't wear gloves much.

2/99 - Examples of large pile of elk scat near Cliff site 1

We went to Joe Site 2 to look around. Many elk and deer winter in the area. Lots of fresh tracks and double strikes and the like. Dropped Steve down at the washout and drove back up toward the intersection. It is about mile. He wanted to walk up and just get a feel for the country. I start back toward him, round the little curve and here he is waving his arm - come here, come here. What the! Two clear five toed imprints that slid in the mud going up the little slope toward Joe Site 2! Clear as day. Five toed imprints.

They were not double strikes. They were clearly made by a bare, five toed foot. We were both in shock. He took some pictures, I took some pictures. Wouldn't have done much good to cast. Cold and we would have had to make a dam to hold the stuff up in the toes. There were clear imprints in the watery mud going from across the road and up the ditch to where the imprints were found. The stride was long and the lift to get up over the bank without making another track was also long.

We carefully studied the elk tracks in the area. Some of them were within 5 feet of the impressions. None looked like the toed imprints. We didn't talk much about the imprints.

We then went up to Joe Site 1, the one under the old growth canopy. The imprints there were still readily visible and had not weathered much at all. Trapper Steve looked at them carefully and at length. He concluded they were also made by a bare foot with toes. Again, there was much deer and elk track to compare. His tracking ability found other impression connections that my companion and I had missed the last week. Either that or something had come through again. This was near where the Spam had hung.

There was plenty of snow on the ground up there. Trapper Steve found numerous cougar tracks adjacent to the old growth stand. The cougar had been wandering freely and often around the place. Trapper Steve said seeing that many cougar imprints was a rare treat. The cougar imprints did not look like what was under the canopy, although they could have been cougar given lots of circumstances.

There were also two other things we looked at above Joe Site 1 near to the side road. One camper had left his plastic tarp and lots of his camp things, such as little homemade lanterns and other stuff in a manner that suggested a speedy departure. About mile to the west, near to the edge of the stand of big timber, there was another old camp. In that camp, someone had left a sleeping bag. It had been unzipped and opened up. Plain as could be, the occupant had taken a big dump in it. It was old, but clear as to what it was, especially from the placement. Did something scare the person in the bag or did he just get so drunk he couldn't get out of it?

Trapper Steve has not ever trapped marten. Says that area is not quite right. Thinks among other things it might be too low.

We went across the valley and up Oak Grove Fork to Cliff Sites 1 and 2. Trapper S. got a kick out of the lures. No tracks or difficult to explain impressions were found. The lights on all the LED's were still working good. We hung one compact disc lure over by the beaver pond. Trapper Steve was greatly impressed by the size and construction of the beaver pond. Beavers are protected throughout the National Forest, so they were safe. He pointed out their homes in the pond. I had missed them before. One was huge.

He also found a tree that had been virtually torn to pieces by woodpeckers from about the five foot level to about 7 foot plus. Really ripped down to the core. Bright wood, had been recently done.

We put the second compact disc lure up in the second growth at Cliff Site 2. No disturbances there. The cd lures really catch the light.

As we were resting, Trapper Steve hauls out his Bigfoot attractor device. It takes all of my ideas and compacts them into a tight space. What an invention! It needs to be patented! The world's first Bigfoot all inclusive attractor device! Haaahaaahaaaa. Really ingenious it is, very, very good thinking.

We had lots of pics. We went home. It was almost too much of a day.

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