As you know, we spend lots of time in the forest with our dogs. It's a wild forest, with all sorts of wildlife, including predators. Consequently, we often find parts of prey near trails, where animals have left them after finishing all the meat. Elk legs are the most common find, and an elk leg creates a bothersome distraction every time we pass it with our dogs. So, we and other dog owners tend to hang elk legs in trees so that our dogs can't reach them.
Yes, even sweet Shyla will leave a "heel" to enjoy the company of an elk leg for a while. Don't be fooled by her serious expression!
So, I decided to try an experiment. I hung the stinky elk leg in a secluded clearing where I have trail cameras pointed at a tree.
Within hours, a bear was checking it out. You can barely see the elk leg about 1-2' above the bear's head. This bear was Dot, our youngish sow, and she couldn't reach the leg. That tells me that she's shorter than I am - so she's really not a big bear yet. If she'd wanted to, she could've climbed the tree but she gave up after unsuccessfully stretching to reach the elk leg.
Two days later, a bobcat showed up, very interested.
He sniffed the bone on the ground (this area sometimes seems like a huge bone yard).
Rapidly, his attention was on the elk leg in the tree, which is far fresher than the bone on the ground. He leaped up onto the tree trunk.
I was surprised to see him cling to the tree for an extended period while he checked out the elk leg.
Then he lowered himself to the ground and walked off.
I was worried about having lured him into the tree and whether he'd hurt himself when he jumped down. My first tenet of watching wildlife is not to hurt them in any way! But then I saw another photo of him nearby, walking quickly and very nimbly. I think it was a routine leap for him.
Neither has Shyla. I'm glad for that. We've had some notable interactions with elk legs with every generation of our dogs. Usually, our dog is lying on the ground about 20 yards away gnawing on the elk leg, and I'm freaking out because I can't see where the camouflaged dog is. Acadia, K, and Shyla all did this to me. Now, every interesting animal bone gets hung in a tree!
That way, our dogs can't use their natural coloring to trick us when they're very nearby quietly enjoying a bone!