Backwoods Thanksgiving I--Elk Trouble

Backwoods Thanksgiving I--Elk Trouble
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.59

     challenging words:    bleating-coming, canny, dog-like, flaky, gorse, over-sized, salary, snag, sound-a, traditional, skilled, logging, uphill, caretaker, unsuccessful, daybreak
     content words:    Thanksgiving Day, Now Dad

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     Spanish: Día de Acción de Gracias en las Regiones Apartadas I-Problema del Alce

Backwoods Thanksgiving I--Elk Trouble
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     The snowshoes made a creaky "swoosh, swoosh" sound as Dylan hiked up the ridge. It was early winter in the Rockies. On the lower slopes, the snow was a good two feet deep. Last night's storm had put a few inches of flaky powder on top. The new snow was great for 'shoeing. It would be ideal for tracking.
2     He could see where the rounded hooves of elk had passed through the new snow earlier in the morning. A mature cow and a calf had headed uphill to the gorse bushes atop the ridge. The brushy trees were a favorite winter food of the elk. Good! The elk were in the area. That meant his traditional Thanksgiving Day hunt could be a great success. Maybe he could bag his elk and get it packed out, all before Thanksgiving dinner!
3     Now that he thought about it, he was already hungry. He was sure he could smell good things cooking even though he was six miles or so from home. He walked on, dreaming of food. Suddenly, he noticed a different track in the snow. Overlaying the elk tracks now were the prints of an over-sized dog-like paw. The elk were being trailed by a large wolf. This was not a good sign.
4     Dylan stopped, considering. It was just past daybreak. The tracks couldn't be more than an hour old. The boy studied the prints. All of them continued up the slope. The wolf had stopped here and there, keeping pace, careful not to alarm his prey. A skilled hunter. Dylan admired that. He just wished the wolf had chosen somewhere else to hunt. "I should put up a sign," the boy thought glumly, hefting his rifle and gear. "Dylan's hunting ground. No other predators allowed."
5     The only sounds in the early morning forest were his footsteps and his breathing, heavier now as he neared the top of the rise. The boy reveled in the stillness around him. He had hunted this mountainside now for four years. First, his dad had taken him hunting. Dylan had learned to find and trail game. He'd learned to shoot carefully and responsibly. He'd learned to take care of himself in the woods. He'd loved hunting with his dad. Together they'd brought home the game that had fed his family.

Paragraphs 6 to 11:
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