The Bears and the Bucks

13th January 2016
It's a New Year! Happy 2016. As usual I have failed to post as often as I should.
This year I'm not making any promises or resolutions. I guess I will get around to posting sooner or later.

I'm going to combine our fall trip in October and our short trip on New Years to Cades Cove and just hit the highlights of each. October was beautiful as usual in the Smokies with lots of autumn foliage. We usually see lots of bucks in the cove getting ready for the rut, but fall 2015 was all about the bears! No disappointments there. With so many spring cubs and a shortage of acorns, bears were very active eating the walnut crop and getting ready for winter.
The rangers did a fantastic job roping off some of the trees where feeding was taking place, but they were also generous to give those lucky enough to park off the road a chance to stay a safe distance and still get photos.

The spring cubs had grown since we were there in May but they were still adorable. A mama and two cubs fed by the road not to far from the entrance every day we were there. One afternoon late we were there shooting and another female approached. Everyone wondered what would happen, but all went well. After a while a huge male came up the horse pasture on the opposite side of the road. Everyone was tense. The lady ranger said, "I've never seen anything like this". I may have to send everyone to their cars...No worries, he ate walnuts on the opposite side of the road and all was peaceful. October 2015 and the bears were an experience I will always remember.

New Years 2016

We usually try to take a quick trip to the cove on New Years to wind down from the holidays.
This year we drove up on New Years day and came back on Jan. 2. Unfortunately I ended up with a stomach bug the morning we left but we still had a good time. The frosty morning on Sparks Lane was beautiful and we saw lots of bucks winding down from the rut.

There were four or five whitetails in the first field each day. Word was they were there every day for several weeks. The highlight of the trip was on the second day when we ran into a buck affectionately named YOYO beside the turn to the Primitive Baptist church. He fed by the road and everyone had opportunity to "shoot" him until he finally wandered off into the woods.

A short but memorable trip..hope to get back in March or April for the wildflowers!!