Because of the trim appearance and swift flight, the pintail is referred to as the "greyhound of the air."
Puddle ducks, also known as dabblers, are in a group that tips up the tail when feeding.
They also have large, powerful wings for vertical take-off, and their legs are positioned near the center of the body for easier movement on land. A colored wing patch, usually iridescent and called a speculum, is also unique to the puddle duck.
An area referred to as the Prairie Pothole region is a prime breeding area for ducks. The region is 1,000 miles long and about 300 miles wide extending from South Dakota northward to Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Tule Elk (Cervus)
The tule elk, which is also known as the California or dwarf elk, is the smallest elk in North America. Tule elk coloration tends to be light brown to tan. The rump patch is light beige. The legs and neck are often darker than the body. Tule elk average 6 feet in length. Mature males have large antlers that sweep back toward its rump.
Average Weight Range
Mature tule elk weigh 350 to 500 pounds.
Elk breeding season occurs about mid-September with the onset of bull vocalization, or bugling, beginning the latter part of August. Soon after bugling begins, the herds break up and bulls will begin collecting harems of five to 15 adult females.
The average gestation period of elk is about eight and a half months. The main calving period extends from about the middle of May to the middle of June. The number of young is usually one. At one month of age, elk calves eat grass and other vegetation. Weaning does not take place until October or even after the rutting season. Sexual maturity in females is usually reached in the second year. Bulls do not enter actively into the rut until they are about three years old.
The food elk consume varies with season and location. Generally, elk are grazers and eat grass and forbs (low-growing, soft-stemmed plants). An elk must eat about three pounds of food per day for every 100 pounds it weighs.
Tule elk are indigenous to California and once lived in large numbers in California's San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys. It is now a protected population in California in Owens Valley and at Point Reyes National Seashore. Elk from these reserves have been successfully transplanted and have established a few free roaming herds in other areas of California.
The Tule elk is found in the semi-desert. According to experts, civilization has pushed the elk into the Tule marshes once found along streams and lagoons that lead into San Francisco Bay.
Common Hunting Methods
Tule elk are a protected population in California and a very limited amount of hunting is allowed.
Elk have an excellent sense of smell and should be stalked upwind. Scent can also be covered using a scent eliminator spray.
Elk can be harvested using archery equipment, a high-powered rifle, a muzzleloader or a pistol. Archery success among elk hunters is low. Elk can be called into range with a wide variety of calls. Bull calls include the bugle and the squeal. The cow call can be most effective in drawing out a bull. Elk are also hunted by the spot and stalk method.
The wilderness areas where the elk are located and the size of the animal can be intimidating and awe-inspiring for the first-time hunter. Elk meat is nutritious and low in fat. Hunters proudly display the elk's majestic antlers. The thrill of hearing an elk bugling early in the fall is something that cannot be described; it should be experienced.
Elk can run long distances at 28 to 29 miles per hour and for short bursts can reach speeds between 35 to 45 miles per hour.
There can be up to 14 feet between one track and the next of the same footing by a speeding elk.
Bulls, cows and calves are all excellent swimmers.