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Matchetts' little slice of the Wisconsin Northwoods

A day in the life of a Northwoods Moth Trapper...
I thought I would share an amazing day at work that I had yesterday(August 11,2010).
Many of you know about my summer employment in the battle against the Gypsy Moth in these here parts. Most of you know I also try to have my good camera with me all the time just in case I come across any interesting critters in the woods. Yesterday was different.
Early yesterday morning on my misguided adventure through the Chequamegon National Forest in search of the Evil Moth, I was traveling on Forest Road 174 by the West Fork of the Chippewa River taking in the scenery along my route, when what do I find trotting down the road ahead of me but a little rag-horn bull elk. They released Elk in Wisconsin quite a few years ago.
As he strolls off the road and I pull up to have a closer look, I find a bunch of cows and young bulls feeding in the forest.
The reason he and the others in the picture are so hard to see(yep there were a few others in the frame) is because the absent minded Moth Trapper of Northern Sawyer County was using a damned camera built into an old cell phone, while the high dollar equipment was left setting on his desk at home. Now anyone who has spent any time around me knows that I am thoroughly pissed at myself right about now, but I also am excited and very fortunate to have seen part of the WI Elk Herd. I watched for a few minutes and left them eating with out spooking them at all.
Two hours pass as I zig-zag my way through my territory. I have gotten over not having the camera and am feeling awful lucky to have had my encounter with those elk cows and young bulls. It's about 10:00 AM and I'm running my trap line on a remote dead end two-track near Ghost Lake, looking for a place to turn around after checking the trap near the end and I run into these guys...
I realize it looks like a couple brown specks in the picture but I swear they are only 60-70 yards ahead of the truck. They were absolutely huge racked elk for this herd! These are by far the biggest bulls I have seen up here to date. Have I mentioned I hate camera phones!!!
So now I put the sneak on, in a 6000lbs truck and get to less than 20 yards from them...
I wish the pictures did them justice. They were two magnificent animals with the biggest being a 6x6 and the other a 5x6, if I counted right. If I'd had the real camera equipment along, you could have counted the points for yourself they were so close and in the open.
Desolate piece of the Northwoods... Bulls up close looking at me... Plenty of camera light... (this is when the photographer is supposed to say, "It don't git NO betta dan dis!") and I've got no friggen equipment!
Still it was just an amazing day for seeing wildlife. I also came across two decent bucks, numerous does and little fawns. I saw two eagles close up, a fox, sand hill cranes and even a porcupine. There are days when I am lucky if I catch a glimpse of a squirrel, and then there are days like yesterday! I'm not exactly sure why everything in the woods seemed to be moving yesterday, but I believe, they somehow knew I left my real camera equipment at home!

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