Where do the animals go when a forest fires smoke is so bad, it burns your lungs and eyes? Does it affect the animals the same way? Do they bust out of there? Or do they suck it up and stay put? What if the smoke is covering an area so big, they can't leave?
I've always received conflicting reports from various people with "1st hand" experience. Just wondering what you guys/gals might have experienced.
The Venatie fire a couple of years ago, "I believe", ruined my moose hunt. I had hunted an area that I had hunted for a couple of years before with good success. Always had critters running around. Moose, bears, wolves, you name it...Its been a very good area. Then one year, when the fire was going 30 miles away, the smoke rolled in to our area and stayed. This smoke cover was huge and spread out for miles and miles in all directions. There wasn't any animal movement, fresh sign or anything that we could tell. We did alot of sitting trying to glass and some walking. We were doing the same things that we have done in the past. The smoke was so bad, we were getting bad headaches and couldn't see. We headed down to the valley/creek bottoms and hunted the timber where the smoke was at its "best" (if you will) and much cooler. Still nothing... After 3 days total, we couldn't take the smoke any longer, and headed out, empty handed. That was a first. (I know, huntings never guaranteed..)
On the other hand and during the very same timeframe, my buddy John was in the same region (35 miles due east) going through the same smokey problems. Yet, he had "some" moose activity and even took a nice bull on the second day. He said that the smoke was horrible and they had a hard time breathing too. Fromthe 6 moose that they observed, those moose didn't move out and the activity appeared normal.
So, for us did the animals just hunker down and sit it out? Did the animals leave our area for awhile? Should we have stayed longer? Should I have tried another tactic? Did John just get lucky? I don't know. I'm always wondering, even to this day, "what if"... Or could we have done anything at all?
Has anybody had any similar experiences? Thanks...