August 21, 2013 | LXXIII, No. 21

Turtles, moose and bear, Oh my!

Living in Coulee Country can surprise you sometimes. During the last few weeks I was reminded that we do live in the country. Maybe not extreme rural America, but we do have the luxury of seeing some wild critters in our back yards, or if we take a little drive and keep our eyes open we can see some real special creatures.

Since hunting season is just around the corner, I have been doing some driving around to see what kind of deer are roaming around. On one of these trips Karrie and I came across what we thought at first was a lone wild turkey. Since they are prevalent here in Coulee area it was not a big deal, but as I kept my eyes on it I realized its head was not the right shape and we stopped to get a better look. It was an owl, sitting under the only tree for miles in this area. With further investigation we decided it was a Barred Owl, which usually likes forested areas. We determined with the recent storms he probably got blown this way from across the river. Or swam (right Karrie?).

The next day I was out watering our plants and noticed the cats (Nova, Camaro, and Chevelle) stalking something in the yard. It was a turtle. A large Painted Turtle. So if any of you watch Animal Planet you know it was time for “Live Action.” Karrie got her camera and I got a plastic storage bin and we did our best imitation of the Turtle Man. (The video will not be shown do to a cowardly act from one individual that was present during filming.) We later learned that the turtles commonly leave the Cresent Bay area looking for places to lay eggs. We relocated L.A. (Live Action) back to the water and he/she seemed more than happy to be wet again.

Later that week we went on a huckleberry expedition and found more critters than we did purple gold nuggets. As a side note, the yellow jackets are just as aggressive in the mountains. We watched a cow moose for about 20 minutes on the way up the mountain. Along with a long legged jack rabbit and a few grouse. On the way down, we saw a very blond bear cub and a great grey owl. Not to mention, the moose was back in her swampy area and did not seem to mind us this time.

Of course there were a lot of deer sitings during the scouting trips. I will say this about that: There are a lot of big, two-point bucks out there this year. I mean big bucks. They just won’t be legal unless they grow more points. On one more side note, I did get my first coyote, and I called him in. It was pretty cool.

Sometimes I am just in awe of our area, and I think we take it for granted sometimes. Whether your a hunter, photographer, or just a nature lover, we have an abundance of critters out there. There are few places in the world where you can drive less than a hundred miles round trip and see such a variety. From elk to bear, wolves to coyotes, eagles to owls and lots, lots more. Sometimes in our back yard, sometimes on the road. This truly is a paradise to live in when we adjust our eyes the right way. If you adjust your eyes just right you might even see Bigfoot. I’m just saying.

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