You don’t know sh#@

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Got out for a short snowshoe trek this morning. Still fighting this cold so I was pretty slow. Fortunately everything else in the forest is pretty slow as well.

Signs like this seem to have little effect on the intended audience.

At the start of our hike, this sign was hidden back behind some wild roses. Bruce Walter cleared the brush away, I just hope that some of the users of the range stop and read and reflect.

I was prescouting (or maybe just scouting) the route I will do for both the Nicola Naturalist Society and the Young Naturalists that I am taking out on tracking workshops. Consequently I was on the lookout for tracks and sign of all types. The red squirrel can always be counted on for providing lots of tracks, and lots of sign.

He was not impressed with Moss, Bruce, or I.

A cache of Douglas Fir cones at the base of a tree is a good sign that a squirrel is nearby. Did you know that grizzly bears in certain areas rely on the squirrels to gather white pine cones and then, without so much as a by-your-leave they dig in and eat the squirrel’s stash of winter food.

This squirrel has a good stash for binge eating.

We saw a few other tracks: coyote, grouse, weasel and a fair bit of older moose sign.

You can tell a lot from moose droppings. If the droppings have snow on them, then it is probably winter. If the droppings are wet, then it is probably raining. If the droppings are still falling then the moose is probably very close by and you should back up a bit.

Actually there is a lot to be discerned from an animal’s scat and I go into the discussion in a fair amount of detail when I do my workshops. You should join up for one, especially if people say “you don’t know sh$$!” – after one of my workshops you will be able to correct them on that one!

I do know shit – this is moose shit,

2 Responses

  1. Shelly Kerwynn

    Boy, did I have a gooooood laugh, Frank!!! I just got in from a gruelling shift in Whistler’s ER and I opened up your email. …still laughing!
    Here is my sh.t story: I was trail running in the forest up behind the house on the west side of the Whistler valley. In front of me was a huge cottonwood tree and the trail wrapped tightly around it. Well, I got around and who should I bump into? A very unsuspecting bear. I literally ran right into him and the sh.t that was freshly caked to his butt. Needless to say I didn’t stop to say sorry. I couldn’t as he bolted in one direction and me the other, both ultra surprised. …bear poo doesn’t scrape easily off shorts and bare thighs I learned. Nighty night and thanks again for such a delightful read. Shelly Kerwynn

  2. FR@nk

    Thanks Shelly – so glad that you enjoyed the post. I too have had such ‘close-encounters’ with bears and, like you, I often wonder who is more shocked at the encounter. I think Whistler has more human/bear interactions than just about any other location in BC.

    Are you signed up for notifications when new posts come in. It’s been awhile since I have worked with the software and I forget where I had this set up. I am sure (or at least hopeful) that other readers would find this useful as well. Cheers and thanks for the work you do. Frank.

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