Hook Visits With Folks In Christopher Creek

CHRISTOPHER CREEK

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Christopher Creek is nestled beneath the Mogollon Rim at an elevation of 5,900 feet.

It is known for its cool temperatures, beautiful scenery and abundance of wildlife. Just about everyone who comes up here asks the same question, "Do you have any elk?" And of course we answer, yes.

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Jim Hagen of Christopher Creek feeds a carrot to Hook, the large elk that has made his home in the community.

Just ask Jim and Marlene Hagen of Christopher Creek. About every night around 5 p.m. you can see a few of these magnificent creatures just grazing in Jim's back yard, even lying down and napping.

I went over the other night to see them. The only one there that night was a male elk Jim and Marlene call Hook.

His left antler is crooked and almost covers his left eye --ind of like a hook.

Sam and Bob Conkin, who live down the road, call him Droopy and Dan and Pam Christian call him Englebert Elkerdink. He is the same elk, just named differently by the residents here. He has been around a few years now so everyone has their own name for him.

I followed Jim out to meet Hook. He was waiting by the back gate to see if he was going to get something to eat.

Jim has two dogs and their kennel is right out back, so we walked inside the kennel to have something between Hook and us. Jim fed Hook a carrot, and it was like feeding a pet.

I decided to give him one also. He looked like he was pleased with that.

Jim gives them something to eat because it is winter and he worries about them. Jim said that Hook doesn't like it when other elk come by and he starts to fight with the other ones to go away.

There is a much larger elk Jim calls Buddy Boy, which seems to win over Hook when he comes around. Jim has several pictures of these two sparring.

Jim had quite a few stories to tell of the elk.

One night he was walking his two dogs as he does every night and he heard a sound behind him. When he turned around there was Buddy Boy following them home. He got home put the dogs away and gave Buddy Boy a treat.

Both of these elk have huge racks -- Buddy Boy is a magnificent six by seven. One time Hook had a clothes line tangled up in his rack for several days and Buddy Boy got a tarp tangled up in one of his and he carried it around for about a week.

If you see these big creatures, keep your distance. They are unpredictable.

Well, it's Tuesday evening and I am finishing this column and it is snowing. I figure we have about three or four inches and it continues to come down. It's downright beautiful and we really need the moisture. This will help some in the summer with fire danger and maybe deter those nasty bark beetles.

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