October 24, Mule Deer then Travel Day

Antelope Island Sunrise
Antelope Island Sunrise

Antelope Island

Anxious to get out early and find the mule deer bucks I ran into yesterday morning, I had a little trouble setting my internal alarm and woke up way too early. So I headed back up to Buffalo Point and waited for the sun to come up.

City Lights from Antelope Island
City Lights from Antelope Island

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Morning Hunt for Mule deer Bucks

The Challenge
The Challenge

These images were taken long before the sun came up so the quality is not the best since there was so little light, but I liked some of the action they captured and they will make great painting reference photos.

Mulie Duel
Mulie Duel
Mulie Duel
Mulie Duel

While still dark I had hiked down to the edge of the sagebrush and set up my tripod with my 600mm lens attached. These photos were taken from quite a distance since I did not want to scare these guys off.

Always Alert
Always Alert

Of necessity, these guys are eternally vigilant, and they were aware of my presence, but as long as I didn’t move when their heads were up and looking my way, and I didn’t get too close, they would tolerate my efforts to get some shots.

The Boys Club
The Boys Club
The Boys Club
The Boys Club

I followed as they moved across the meadow and the sun slowly began to illuminate the scene.

The Boys Club
The Boys Club
The Boys Club
The Boys Club
On Alert
On Alert

If you don’t crowd them, they settle in and go about their daily routine, browsing, grooming,

Mulies Sparring
Mulies Sparring
Mulies Sparring
Mulies Sparring

and sparring, just testing each others strength, not really full out fighting.

Mule Deer
Mule Deer

Finally, they were bathed in full morning sunlight, and now I can get some decent shots ……

The End of a Good Thing, Here Comes Joe Point and Shoot
The End of a Good Thing, Here Comes Joe Point and Shoot

but, no such luck. They have been spotted by ” Joe Point and Shoot ” and here he comes crashing down through the sagebrush to get in ” real close ” so he can get the shot of a lifetime, shooting straight into the rising sun, of course. Well, he doesn’t get his shot because he scares them off, and needless to say, neither do I, after 2 hours of carefully stalking these beautiful, but cautious animals, they are out of here !

Sorry to cry and gripe and moan about this, but it happens all too often. You put in the time and effort to get some nice shots and some inconsiderate moron, or perhaps they are just oblivious to what others are trying to accomplish, comes along and chases off your subjects.

Bridger Bay Campsite Visitors

Morning Visitor
Morning Visitor

I get a great kick out of watching the jack rabbits come in early each morning, as I have my cup of coffee. Sometimes it is just one or two individuals, sometimes a dozen.

Coyote Pair
Coyote Pair
Coyote Pair
Coyote Pair

I’m not quite so pleased to see Ma and Pa coyote show up this close however. I imagine they are just doing their morning thing hunting for mice and voles, I doubt they could catch too many of the jack rabbits, but they always seem to show up around the time I am taking the dogs out for their morning constitutional. Sam sees them and wants to go check them out, but I have tried to explain to her that the game they would want to play with her is one she would not enjoy.

Unwelcome Campsite Visitor
Unwelcome Campsite Visitor
Unwelcome Campsite Visitor
Unwelcome Campsite Visitor

These portraits give you an idea of how close in they come, and, yes, the coyote is staring at one of the dogs, probably trying to size up the situation, thinking … one small, probably delicious little four legged morsel, and one very large two legged thing with some black three legged thing in front of him … hmmmm, wonder if it’s worth making a run at it. Any time they come around, I do get the dogs back in the motorhome, just in case.

Antelope Island to Baker, Nevada

After my morning photo shoot, I was back to camp and got everything stowed away and left Bridger Bay Campground around 10:30. Made a quick stop at WalMart on the way back out to I-15, I figured I better stock up on basics since I don’t think there is going to be a lot of opportunities to do so where I am heading.

Drove south on I-15 to I-215 south, battling the always heavy traffic on the interstates throughout the Salt lake City megalopolis. I exited I-215 and got on I-80 west and finally the traffic thinned to tolerable levels. I departed the interstate and headed south on Route 36, through several miles of traffic lights before finally hitting the open road, and no traffic, of the high desert country. Eventually, Route 36 ends and I got on another 2 lane, Route 6 west. More desert, nothing to see, but no traffic to battle, all the way to the Nevada border.

The Border Inn is right on Route 6 and I paid for two nights ( $24.42/ night including tax ) of camping in their flat, unpaved, peastone parking lot. Actually they have a decent, though not terribly attractive, campground directly adjacent to the store/restaurant/bar/casino/convenience store/gas station. Though right on the highway, the lack of night time traffic made for an uninterrupted night’s sleep here. There are full hookups with 50 Amp electric, and the sites are all side by side, close, with no privacy, but there are not a lot of campers here at this time. Verizon signal is a usable 4 bars of 3G and with no trees, satellite reception is fine. All in all, to explore the Great Basin National Park area, I would definitely stay here again.

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