July 8, 1999

Some Unusual Scratches

Trapper Steve drove. Cliff came along. Nice sunny day. Fast trip. Steve only had a total of five hours to spend, including travel time.

They wanted to see Joe sites 3 & 4. Met their approval. Got warm walking.

Joe site 4 only had 4 clicks in the last two weeks. Pulled it. Both said site looked good. Trail looked used, but no hoofed tracks. Elk leg bones gone from up at the road turn off. Ribs still there.

Upper site had eight clicks. Pulled the film and reset the camera. They both liked that site too.

There was a noise at Joe site 3. This was the shadow and three call site. I borrowed Steve's 44 and went into the brush. Steve looked north from the hump and Cliff scanned south. They said nothing came out, but that something was moving in front of me. Deer?

On the cedar tree with the smeared on raccoon scent, there were light scratches from about 3' - 10'. They were about 2" - 3" apart and " wide. They were very light and not penetrating, like something was sampling the scent.

Steve Kiley at Joe site 3. Big Bottom, Clackamas River.
Scented tree near I-R camera. Scratches start about his
waist and go to a little above where stick is pointing. (7/08/99)

Steve could almost reach the top of the scratches with an outstretched arm. The scratches did not go below the 3' line, nor above the 10' (prox) area. Very peculiar.

When we got back and I was unpacking, I found that I had left my tree beating club at Joe site 4, the far one in the forest green place. Dumb.

Steve took the films down to the one hour place. At the far green place, a good shot of me way out there at about 110' plus - the I-R sensor is only supposed to work to about 60'. The eight shots from Joe site 3 included one of me setting up and then a series of seven with only trees. Nothing else, just the trees in front of the camera. Keep this thought for later.

Later, we compared notes and thought that for a total of eight camera weeks on the sites, that no animal pics. were strange business. We knew the majority of the animals should have moved up by now, but why the clicks and nothing. Where were the deer? Why were both of the trails dirt bare with use and didn't have deer or elk tracks. Was the soil too puffy to hold a print in the dry weather?

The baits at Joe site 3 hadn't been disturbed. By now, the Spam or the jack mackerel should have been eaten by something. Triple strange.

Today was also Dad's open heart surgery day. He made it out of the operating room ok. The trip took my mind off of it. I think that was one reason that Cliff and Steve wanted to go up the hill.

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