Photos and text copyright Romping and Rolling in the Rockies 2009-2017.

All photographs and text within this blog are copyrighted.

You may not copy or repost any photos or text without specific permission from the author of this blog. When in doubt, please ask.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Life in the Forest - Bones, Dogs, Bears, and Bobcats

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!
Recently, Shyla noticed an elk leg that someone else had hung in a tree right next to a trail that we use regularly. In fact, Shyla was standing on her hind legs trying to reach the leg - a first for her. When I checked what she was up to, even I could smell the elk leg. It was very fresh.

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.

His departure...

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.
Since then, I've placed a video trail camera pointed at the elk leg, hoping to get a better view of the bobcat actually leaping. Unfortunately, no animals have tried to investigate the elk leg since then.

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!
I hope you're enjoying your weekend. I've had a really big setback with my neck with the worst pain I've had in a long time. If I don't post on any day in the near future, it's just because I can't handle being on the computer. I'm still holding out hope that it will ease up on its own.


  1. Oh wow! Look at that bobcat hanging from the tree! So neat! I'm glad he didn't hurt himself, too! I love seeing the various wildlife on your cams!

    I hope you feel better soon! I'm so sorry about your neck! :(

  2. The bobcat was amazing. thanks for sharing it. Hope your neck is better soon.

  3. That is amazing!! I have never seen a kitty so big. I hope you feel better real soon.

  4. Those were great photos and such a good story too, We sure hope you neck feels better super soon.

  5. Does heat help your neck? Its my "go to" for pain!

    I don't worry about cats or critters getting hurt climbing, etc. They are doing what comes naturally to them. Am I wrong?


    Jo and the Petz

  6. It is fun to see the bear and the bobcat eyeing that bone.

    We are so very sorry to hear about your neck. We hope things improve for you. Do take care. Hugs.

  7. You're pictures are amazing. I am learning so much. I am currently seeing a doctor at Brigham and Woman's Hospital in Boston for my neck pain. I have an MRI in two weeks and another appointment for a shot for my neck. If you have any questions about my treatment you can email me at

  8. shyla looks gorgeous in those leaves and light. sorry about your neck. enjoyed the bobcat series!

  9. KB,
    I'm so sorry your neck is acting up( my hubby has disc disease in his and he has constant pain). I can imagine how scary it would be if your pups were blending in the colors. Takes for the input about mountain dogs drinking from lakes and streams. Also, we moved here from Sonoma County, it's a small world. Have a wonderful day tomorrow.

  10. I have a feeling it was very smelly!

  11. Pain, that relentless constant reminder of a spine, a disc, or a nerve in trouble. How I feel for you right now, as we have mostly pain free days. A miracle for sure. Love that bobcat, and huge Elk legs, do you have a ladder when you hang them so high? Pity the cartage was so expensive for sending firewood over, I had to laugh at the actual quote of $22,000 plus in NZ dollars.

  12. We can only imagine how sharp that bobcat's claws are! We hope your neck feels better soon, KB.

  13. Easy only read elk legs and looks for the next flight now... I have some doubts that he can climb like a bear :o)
    Please feel better soon, I hope the pains go away, that's awful to have a weekend full of pains... hugs to you...

  14. First, I hope you feel better soon! And that bobcat is gorgeous!

  15. We hope that neck gets better! Interesting about the elk leg. We probably would not have figured that out.

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  16. I rarely see bones on our trails. They would certainly be a dog and critter magnet. I'll be thinking of you, hoping as you rest your neck pain will ease.

  17. This is just incredible. What genius to put the leg in a tree with a camera on it. I loved the whole post - except the very end. I'm so sorry you're hurting so much. Take good care of yourself.

  18. I agree, that was a great idea putting the leg in a tree with the camera pointing towards it.

    I sure hope your neck gets better soon.

  19. I love seeing and reading your posts! Take care of yourself! :-)

  20. Great snaps! I zoomed the picture of the bobcat in the tree way up to see the spotted tummy better, and there's a very nice view of the face as well. :)


If you are a Blogger registered user, you can skip the step asking you to verify that you are not a spammer. For posts older than 5 days, I have comment moderation turned on.

Thanks for your comments!!!!!