As I was walking into my research spot to continue my new approach, I spotted this 14 inch print in a ravine. There was another faint print a little farther away about 5 feet going up. In the past I have spotted several similar 14 inch prints. This is the game trail I now use. It is harder to get to and more remote. I took this as a good sign that they are using the same game trail as me. They have been very careful so far this year about leaving prints. This is a lucky find.
I have for 2 weeks now used my new approach. The results are mixed and what I expected. I have seen signs of them around me. Their knocks and clacks indicate they are watching. I am still trying to find the perfect spot. The first 2 places were OK but I felt that they were not perfect for what I am wanting to do. I am hoping this weekend to find it. A secluded, open spot for me with enough cover/foliage in close enough for them. The first spot was good but not remote enough and the other was too open. I will keep looking. I may go over closer to where I had glimpses of them last year.
This endeavor will be what I consider the tortoise and the hare story. I will be patient. I know this will take time. They are shy, elusive and naturally suspicious of humans. This will not happen over night or in a matter of days. The 2 positive things going for me is that I am female and a known person. What I have to do is to get them to cross that divide and risk what their instincts are telling them not to do. Their humanity and primate sides will have to be reached by making it irresistible. In other words I am banking on their curiosity.
So my friends onward I go.