March 19, 2021

How to Defend Yourself against Dog Attacks

There is a kind of hostile big German shepherd-mix dog who runs through our woods sometimes. Yes, I know who owns him, and yes, if this were a just world, the dog would feast on his owner's body, but in the meantime . . . 

So I read this article on how to defend youself against dog attacks with interest.

Dog attacks occur all over the world. In Thailand and Cambodia, I’ve locked eyes with the vicious, feral dogs lurking in the alleys. In Haiti, I met what locals called “the Haiti dogs,” that have killed and even eaten humans at night. I don’t know the statistics for bites in those countries, but they can’t be any better than ours. Given the grave damage and high frequency of these incidents, it would behoove us train for these encounters. Some beasts want to bite you. Today, let’s learn how to bite back.
You have two arms, but you could get along with just one, right?

And before you start in with "What caliber for," let's remember that in some times and places, firearms may not be an option, or that using one might get you into a whole 'nother set of problems. So it is good to know your options. (Bear spray has worked for my wife and myself also.)

March 03, 2021

When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It

The director of the Raptor Center called with  a phone number of a man who had an injured juvenal red-tailed hawk at his house "in Florence." But when I called him to get the address, it was some distance out of town, out in the coal fields. 

I did not even know there were private homes in that area; I thought it was a re-claimed open pit mine. I said that I would give him another  call as soon as finished some in-town business and was on the road.

A young woman answered the same cell phone. "Ricky" was outside some place, but yeah, just come up the county road and turn at "that yellow sign at the fork in the road." 

It was the third? fourth? driveway — anyway, if you come to the blue dumpster, you missed it

The overall domestic vibe was heavy on old tires and pitbulls, but the dogs were friendly and so were the people once we made contact. The fiftyish man and the young woman with a cigarette tucked behind her ear had been at a local wetlands "natural area" the day before and found the hawk, weak and unable to fly. They had picked it up. 

"I stopped at the bait shop and bought some worms," he said proudly. "And we gave it some water with a dropper. It's been eating pretty good today." 

Worms — not what I would have thought of, but still better than the woman who fed a great horned owl with oatmeal because she "read it on the internet.  Water was a good idea. (More below)

Something is wrong with those feet.
 
Here was a juvenal red-tail then, sitting on a puffy quilt in a metal dog crate with black shade-cloth clothespinned to the top. Thoughtful!  Not having come from home, where all my own travel crates are stashed, I just loaded Ricky's crate into the Jeep and took off.
 
At the Raptor Center, the director uncrated the bird. Wings good. A bit dehydrated. No obvious burns as from flying into a power line. Los of big burrs on its underside — from when it was grounded? She snipped them out, washing and gently massaging. One foot still seemed limp.
 
Further examination was to come once it was rested and rehydrated. I left for home. I know by now that more than half of the birds that come in are past helping, but I will check back in a couple of days so that I will have news for Ricky when I bring his crate back. 

Update, March 4: The hawk is being treated for botulism, which can cause "flaccid paralysis beginning with feet and legs.”  Waterfowl carry botulism, and the hawk was found in a wetland area, which might mean something — maybe it killed or scavenged an infected duck?

February 23, 2021

Woods Work — The Firewood Scramble

I feel like I was more the grasshopper than the ant this wood-burning season. I blame that on 2020 and on repeated bouts of Influenza B — or whatever it was.

Last spring we got a bonanza of scrap wood, free for the hauling, but really it amounted to only about one cord, good until Christmas or so. The trouble was that I was feeling easily fatigued and lung-congested. The fall season was pretty much of a waste for hunting, wood-cutting, anything.

I got better after the new year, and by then we were about out of wood, so it was time for quick scavenging of Gambel oak, dead junipers, whatever. I located a nice beetle-killed ponderosa pine that I had overlooked, felled it . . . . and while the tip section was dry, the butt section was still too moist to burn. 

A smaller pine lasted ten days through the mid-February cold snap, when the lowest temperature was -16° F. — warmer than out on the High Plains, though.

And then I remembered a larger Douglas fir that was back in an oak thicket, another windstorm casualty. It had lots of forearm-size branches that make for that perfect intermediate size log to transition from kindling to big chunks. 

It might get us through March, and then April is anyone's guess.


Here is the butt section (about 16 inches diameter) of a Douglas fir that toppled
in a windstorm several years ago.
When I started splitting, it was primo — perfectly dried.
The little dirt road up back is too muddy for driving on,
so the load comes down one wheelbarrow at a time.

February 09, 2021

120 Colorado Bears Killed Last Year, Mostly over Human Trash

This bear's ear tags, caught in an infrared photograph show that it was trapped
and relocated before. "Two strikes and you're out. (My scout camera photo, 2014.)

Some 120 bears were "euthanized" (often with a state-issued .308 rifle, I think that means) in 2020, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife reports.

This number refers to killing judged necesary by game wardens, not by hunters during the fall season, which is tallied separately.

Another 89 were trapped and relocated.  

“Unfortunately I would classify 2020 as a fairly ‘normal’ year for bear activity,” said Area 8 Wildlife Manager Matt Yamashita. “‘Unfortunate’ is in reference to the still substantial number of conflict bear calls across the state. Compared to 2019 statistics it appears that human-bear conflict numbers have decreased and the situation is improving. However, wildlife managers are hesitant to draw conclusions from a comparison between two years.

Often you will find a sow bear being killed and its cubs sent to our neighbors the wildlife  rehabilitators. I have hauled a lot of donated food for those cubs and helped get them loaded up for return to the wild. I know the rehabbers do their very best for them. But it's still not real life, so to speak.

A skinny black bear mom and her cub.
(My scout camera photo, 2020.)

"CPW responded to almost five thousand bear reports in 2020. Of those, a third had trash documented. Bird feeders (411 reports), unsecured chicken coops (254) and livestock (391), among others, are all pieces of the puzzle wildlife officials document when tracing conflicts.

"Trash and bird feeders are typically a bear’s first association with people. It is their first step that leads them to becoming habituated, or losing their natural fear of humans. After learning this house or neighborhood has easy calories available to them in those forms, the next place they may look to for more is in an open garage, or pet food on your deck, or even break into your car for a treat it can smell.

"Being rewarded with food over time makes a bear willing to take greater risks to get the calories it needs. The next and most dangerous step they may take is to break into a home. In 2020, CPW documented 362 reports that had bears breaking into homes, cabins, dwellings and garages (forcible entry into a garage, not walking into one left open)."

This is CPW's "Be Bear Aware" page, and its advicce works outside Colorado too. 

It helps to remember this part: "With a nose that’s 100 times more sensitive than ours, a bear can literally smell food five miles away."

February 07, 2021

'Firewood Warms You Twice' — Another Cruel Lie

You cut the tree — now how many times will you lift it?

I heat with wood, mostly. There is a propane furnace to keep the house at 55° F, and my wife and I make judicious use of electric heaters, like in the bathroom when showering, but when we want to raise the overall temperature from "not-freezing" to "cozy," we burn wood. 

And there is lots of wood around: the natural self-coppicing of Gambel oak, elderly junipers, and thanks to the mountain pine beetle and its associated fungus, occasional dead ponderosa pine trees.

Tell people you heat with wood, and they will present you with their Great Wisdom(TM): Firewood warms you twice. My normal response is this mental picture (right), not for wood-cutting but for skull-slicing

Who gets the blame? Henry Thoreau drops this particular Great Wisdom (TM) in Walden (1854): "As my driver prophesied when I was plowing, [these stumps] warmed me twice—once while I was splitting them, and again when they were on the fire, so that no fuel could give out more heat."

So he admits he was just recycling some existing New Englander Great Wisdom (TM).

Yet there are earlier printed references going back as far as 1808. I will come to one in a minute.

But that's not half of it. Sometimes wood-cutting reminds of coal-mining, back when it was done with picks and shovels, only without working bent over in the half-darknesss for a ten-hour shift.

I cut a medium-sized dead pine yesterday, limbed and bucked it, and moved the rounds down to a little dirt road that runs up behind the house.

There was no way to bring my utility trailer near the tree, and if I had come as close as possible, I would still have been carrying all the rounds uphill to the trailer.

So I opted to roll them downhill, sort of a two-handed bowling. They roll a few yards, then fetch up against a pine truck or a cluster of oak brush. I pick them up and "bowl" them again. Eventually they go where they are supposed to — except for the occasional escapee that has to be tracked down.

By that point I have lifted the weight of the entire tree at least four times. That is when I start thinking about the old-time miner shoveling tons of coal.

Add it up what is left to do:

  1. Stack the rounds (that's a lift)
  2. Split them (that's more handling, another lift or two). It would be the same even with a power splitter.
  3. Load the splits into a trailer or for smaller runs, a wheelbarrow (it's a lift either way)
  4. Dump them at the house, then carry them up to the porch to the woodbox (a lift)
  5. Carry them as needed inside to the stove (a lift)

So now I have picked up that tree nine times. Warms you twice

One source for the proverb seems to be the mountainous French department of Jura. According to an 1819 text,

The peasant who sets out for that purpose [to collect fuel] of a winter's morning from his house in the valley, begins by ascending some neighboring mountain, and having there made up the pieces he has cut into the form of a rude sledge, and secured them together properly on the brink of the declivity, he takes his station on the load, so that he can touch the ground at pleasure with his feet, and committing himself to a narrow, winding, slippery path, and frequently of beaten snow, and generally bordered from place to place by precipices, he gets back to his family with almost aerial velocity. Others again, who live on the top of some naked hill, and who cannot find a declivity suitably gentle to admit of their using a sledge on the mountain where wood is to be obtained, are obliged to throw it down the precipice, at the bottom of which they afterwards collect and carry it home on their shoulders. The proverb of the country is, that wood warms a man twice.

A firewood sled. I think I tried that once with with an Army-surplus pulk. But "throwing it down the precipice"—been there, done that. Five stars, will do again.

February 04, 2021

Cañon City Is a 'Mountain Town'? Who Knew?

If you can see mountains, are you in a "mountain town"?
I am guessing this is Otero County, but you get the idea.

A website called OutThere Colorado offers a combination of clickbait headlines, barely rewritten government news releases, and possibly some original reporting.

This is clickbait: "Up to 25 inches of snow possible as second storm is set to roll through Colorado."

Unfortunately, writer Breanna Sneeringer left out the decimal point. Here in the so-called Wet Mountains, we got two-point-five inches. I don't know who got the 25 inches.

It's good for LOLs though. My latest hit was on the death of a rare albino buck mule deer in the southern Colorado town of Cañon City.

Wait, Cañon City is a "mountain town"??

Sitting in a valley known as as the "Cañon City embayment," with a landscape of rocks, cholla cactus, barbed wire, and more rocks? With an elevation about the same as Denver? 

With its primary employer being the Colorado Department of Corrections? 

With more cultural connections to Pueblo than to say Aspen, Telluride, or Crested Butter? 

If I lived in Fairplay or Leadville or Breckenridge, I would protest!

Is OutThere Colorado being written by digital drones in Bangalore?  Or do the writers just need to get out more and see the places they are "creating content" (I won't say "writing") about.

Will This Be the Next Extreme Winter Sport?

A winter trek in southern Poland (credit
Notes from Poland.com)
Do you think you're tough? I mean, Polish-winter-near-nude-hiking tough.

Poland has its own subculture of winter-swimming. Some of these  "extreme swimmers" have decided to take their game onto the land.

Growing numbers of Poles participate in chilly outdoor dips, with several winter swimming clubs opening up. An annual four-day gathering of winter swimmers in the coastal town of Mielno last year was attended by 6,000, up from 5,000 in 2019. The next edition is planned for 14 February this year. . .

The group has now also begun organising mountain treks for members dressed in shorts. “This year they have become extremely popular,” says Guzy, though he warns that they are not for novices. One should build up some experience of winter swimming before embarking on the treks, he advises.

At the start of the year the club organised a winter trek – with most of the club’s members showing up shirtless – on Kozia Góra (Stefanka) hill in southern Poland. Today, the group climbed Klimczok (1,117m), and it is soon planning a trek up Babia Góra (1,725m) on the border with Slovakia.

Asked why he does it, Guzy claims that such practices help boost immunity. He works in a coal mine and says that, despite the mass outbreaks of the coronavirus among miners last year, he has repeatedly tested negative for the virus, while other club members have also remained healthy, reports Gazeta Wyborcza.

I see one major barrier to topless hiking catching on in the Rocky Mountains. How is our vibrant outdoor recreation industry going to market it when it's all about wearing less?

January 01, 2021

Blog Stew — Best Eaten in Your Sleeping Bag

 



• Now it will be CabelasBassProShopsSportsmansWarehouse.  There is an interesting angle as to what happens to the Remington firearms brand in this merger. Maybe it becomes a sort of house brand?

An obviously incomplete "history of sleeping bags." But check out the two men repairing their reindeer skin (?) bags. Those are Teddy Evans and Tom Crean, members  of Robert Scott's last expedition to the South Pole. They survived because they were cut from the final group that "dashed" for the Pole.

• There is a new herd of genetically pure (more or less) bison in Bent County, part of Colorado State University's research herd. The site is the 25,000-acre Heartland Ranch Nature Preserve.

December 27, 2020

Arizona Ponders Ban on Hunters' Scout Cameras

Two "bear boxes" partway through painting and another vintage camera wrapped in UCP camouflage tape.

Earlier this month the Arizona Game and Fish Commission voted to adopt this rule governing the use scout (game, trail) cameras:

R12-4-303: A person shall not use a trail camera, or images from a trail camera, for the purpose of taking or aiding in the take of wildlife, or locating wildlife for the purpose of taking or aiding in the take of wildlife.

The commissioners listed several reasons for the proposed new regulation, according to the website GoHunt.com:

  • Concerns over the use of trail cameras as it relates to Fair Chase. Commission Policy on Fair Chase includes: “…new or evolving technologies and practices that provide hunters or anglers with an improper or unfair advantage in the pursuit and taking of wildlife, or may create a public perception of an improper or unfair advantage…” This applies to areas where water is primarily point source water and game cannot escape detection.
  • Concerns that the use of trail cameras has become an increasing source of conflict between and amongst hunters, including the sense of ownership over a water source and hunting area.
  • Concerns that frequent visits to set/check trail cameras are creating a significant disturbance to wildlife during extended dry periods of the year.
  • Concerns among some livestock operators that frequent visits to set/check trail cameras are negatively affecting livestock operations.
  • Concerns over the potential biological effects of setting/checking trail cameras on point source waters, especially during the ongoing drought.
  • Concerns stemming from photos being taken of other people in the field by trail cameras.
  • Complaints about the high numbers of trail cameras on the landscape and water sources, and concerns over the high number of trail cameras that may be on the landscape in the future as the population in Arizona continues to grow rapidly, technology continues to improve, prices go down, and availability increases.
  • Complaints about damage to and theft of trail cameras.

Information on where to submit comments during January 2021 is here (scroll down). 

I am conflicted, I will admit. Is this another case of Something is OK when a few people do it, but a disaster when a whole mob of people do it

I rarely see a scout camera, and when I do, it has more often been on private land, where I was hunting with permission but the landowner had given someone else permission to hang a camera. OK, no problem. You don't have to be this guy:

Whenever I come across a game cam in the woods I give them a "full moon"  :)

 I have two up all summer on public land, one BLM and one national forest, but I take them down in advance of (rifle) big-game seasons. One was found by a bowhunter once—he told me about it when I met him while dog-walking, and I knew it was mine by the description. 

The problem is, how do you differentiate between general wildlife study and hunting? I like getting pictures of animals that I do not hunt, but I will admit that at times I have seen some buck mule deer, for example, and drawn conclusions about hunting in that area.

One more exchange from the comments at GoHunt.com:

I urge Commissioners to vote for a total ban. The trail camera has help create a class of hunters that have little skills and knowledge about game. Spent some time in the field scouting and truly learn about the animals you are hunting, the country where the live. Head out before first light and learn how to read signs, weather patterns, game movement, and how to read a map and use a compass. Thank you, Mark S

followed by

Hi Mark, I was harvesting big animals before trail cams. Not all of us that run cams are bad hunters! If fact most are good hunters but enjoy the Treasure hunt. If we must have a cam season so be it.
But here is the cold hard facts. There will always be Trail cams on public land. Anybody without a hunting license (birdwatcher and sierra club member or family member) or a tag can put up a cam as long as they are not taking or aiding in the taking of wildlife.
Why would any hunter want another freedom taken away?

and this

I have no problem with a cam near a whitetail stand back East but in AZ at least, outfitters canvas an area with cams and target specific animals for clients. It's not one hunter and a few cams. It's no longer fair chase.
Um, yeah. The concern about cameras concentrated at water sources, however, could applied anywhere in the southern Rockies. Don't think that New Mexico and Colorado will not be paying attention.

December 20, 2020

Blog Stew with Spikes

• Colorado's Most Dangerous Trails! Yes, Death-Defying Dangerous —  and Search & Rescue Will Come *For Free* Because They Are Crazed Adrenaline Junkies

Here's the list. It's kind of an ad for shoe spikes, compasses, etc.

The list is based on the number of rescues conducted and emergency GPS signals near those trails. . . .

Shane Leva, general manager of Mountain Chalet, a hiking outfitter in downtown Colorado Springs, said he agrees with the selection of the four trails on the list.

"For a lot of those, you'll be in fourth- and fifth-class settings, which means you'll be using both your hands and your feet to be scrambling," he said. "Think like low-grade rock climbing, essentially. You'll have hundreds if not thousands of feet under you. You'll need to have some good mountain sense and know how to navigate through that type of terrain

Which remind me that I need to check out the new Mountain Chalet location, but I have not been in Colorado Springs since March, the day before lockdown began, when I went up to see my dentist. 

• How to Photograph the Winter Solstice Jupiter-Saturn Conjunction

Some good advice here  (your tax dollars at work), even if you are just staggering out into the cold night with your smartphone.

And no, this is not the feckin' Star of Bethlehem or the star of anything. Those ancient Zoroastrian astrologer-priests, a/k/a wise men from the East, spent more time looking at the heavens than you do, and they knew the difference between wandering planets and fixed stars. 

If you have been outside recently after it gets dark, you might have noticed a bright pair of “stars” in the sky lying southwest — or left — of where the sun sets.

In reality these are the two giant gas planets, Jupiter, the brighter of the two, and Saturn. Even though they are separated by hundreds of millions of miles in the solar system, they have been moving closer and closer to one another in our sky for quite awhile.

 

• Please don't geo-tag the good places writes Greg McReynolds at Mouthful of Feathers

I can't agree more: 

You can post all the hashtags you want, but please knock it off with the geotagging and mapping bird hunting spots. Social media hotspotting is not cool man. Name a state. Name a region. Name a large city with a good BBQ restaurant. But don’t name spots. I know it’s not just hunters. It happens in fishing and mountain biking, sometimes splashing back on hunting. I’ve lost many a blue grouse hunting spot to user-created mountain bike trails, many of them spurred on by social media stoke. And I’ve given up a lot of spots over the years.

 

December 12, 2020

Black Bears Matter


M. and I  been watching (and hauling food for) this young black bear sow since July, when she was brought to our neighbors' rehab center after having been arrested in the little town of Beulah on a charge of raiding chicken coops and porches for food. Not the most efficient raider, she weighed only about 35 lbs. (16 kg.) at the time— undersize for a yearling.

So she came to the center and occupied a large enclosure alone, being too big to be put in with this spring's group of orphan cubs. She ate. She was bored. They tried to give her some "enrichment" — things to play with etc., most of which she destroyed, being a bear, after all. She smashed a couple of dogloos too —again, not a surprise. (They go through a lot of dogloos.) And she ate.

I saw her on the two weeks ago and was astonished at how she had grown — up to 140 lbs. (63.5 kg.), they said.

Gretchen Holschuh, the district wildlife manager who had trapped her (that's her cranking open the gate) chose the release site, which was on private land this time, with a cooperating landowner. They always wait for all the big-game hunting seasons to be over before releasing bears — by December, bears should know it's time to get serious about hibernation.

Free at last, she ran off into the snow as fast as she could. Considing the summer's drought, she was probably better off in terms of weight than most of the other bears. I hope she stays away from chicken coops this time.

December 01, 2020

To Light a Camp Stove

Jørgen Brønlund was a Greenland-born Inuit and the last to die.

If you read this blog, you probably have read Jack London's famous short story about an Yukon prospector set in the early 1900s, "To Build a Fire." (Actually there were two versions with diffrent endings. The second one is the one most of us have read.)

Only a few years later, the last survivor of a 1906–1908 expedition, sponsored by the Danish government and known formally as the Denmark Expedition to Greenland's Northeast Coast, died after failing to light his kerosene (?) stove in a freezing cave.

His body and his diary were found in 1908, but the stove itself was recovered only in 1973. 

A possible reconstruction of his last hours suggest he might have tried to use a diary page — and other stuff — to help pre-heat the fuel.

November 13, 2020

3D Adobe Printing Could Be an Option for Southwestern Builders

 

Me in my good black shirt at a job site.

Back when I was a college student, I spent a couple of summers laying adobe bricks in Taos, New Mexico. Under the tutelage of the foreman, Phil Rael, I got to be fairly good at spreading the zoquite [local slang, from Nahuatl] and setting the bricks. 

In the project pictures, the bricks were trucked down from San Luis, Colorado, where they were made in some rehabilitation program for junkies, or something similar. They were top-quality, asphalt stabilized, a little larger than the local homemade variety.

They arrived on an old flatbed truck by two middlemen. I was trying to document this project, and those two were a little camera-shy. Here is one of them, Pat W. I kind of think he dealt in more than one kind of bricks. 

But that is so old-school! Now they are using 3D printers with adobe in the San Luis Valley -- at least in one pilot project. Sweet!

Combining indigenous mud-based building materials with 21st century robotics, California-based Rael San Fratello created the oddly beautiful structures of “Casa Covida,” their “proto-architectures” that connect high- and low-tech traditions. Its name is a nod to both the pandemic and the Spanish word for “cohabitation.” The project recently took a virtual bow in an impressive hour-long event hosted by the Architectural League NY. (The video is online.) The partners, Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, spoke from Antonito, in southern Colorado, and took questions about their work and about “the social agency of design" . . . . .
Pat did not like being photographed.

The creators’ overall goal is to prove that low-cost, low-labor construction is possible, efficient and safe. Think of it as the highest of low-tech. Or down-to-earth high tech.

Using clay, water and wheat straw found onsite, the project aims to“push the boundaries of sustainable and ecological construction.”

It's still an early-stage project, not open to the public. 

What I always liked about adove was the plasticity. You want an arch over there? OK, we'll make one. Was that course of bricks a little out-of-plumb? We'll make it up on the next one. Once it's plastered, no one will know the difference.  

But this new approach goes so much farther! Check out the photos and videos here.

November 09, 2020

Pouring Bureaucratic Syrup on the Wolves

Gray wolf (Colorado Parks & Wildlife)
The people have spoken: Coloradans voted by a roughly 1% margin to order Colorado Parks & Wildlife to re-introduce gray wolves.   Or as one site put it: "Urban vote decides for rural Colorado."

As the Grand Junction ABC affiliate reports, roughly 62% of Western Slope voters said no to the measure, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Front Range voter advantage.

Which is usually the way it goes on statewide votes. 

The pro-wolf faction adopted the language of nature:

The Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund, a backer of the proposition, said this is the first time citizens have voted to initiate the restoration of a native species.

“Voters throughout Colorado took politicians out of the picture, choosing to restore natural balance by returning wolves to their rightful place in Colorado,” said Rob Edward, fund president.

 CPW director Dan Prenzlow bowed to the inevitable:

“Our agency consists of some of the best and brightest in the field of wildlife management and conservation. I know our wildlife experts encompass the professionalism, expertise, and scientific focus that is essential in developing a strategic species management plan. CPW is committed to developing a comprehensive plan and in order to do that, we will need input from Coloradans across our state. We are evaluating the best path forward to ensure that all statewide interests are well represented."

So where does the money come from?
(Graphic: University of Maine)

When agency heads start talking about "leadership" and "plans" and "stakeholders" and "statewider interests," and other vague terms, I call it "pouring bureaucratic syrup over a problem." Lots of soothing talk, sort of telling a child who awoke from a bad dream to just go back to sleep, Mommy is here.  Glug-glug-glug.

(I knew one US Forest Service district ranger who absolutely mastered it; I don't know if she accepted Smokey Bear as her personal savior, but she sure could drop twenty buzzwords in one sentence.)

Colorado now has a Wolf Management Website where you can track the process of trying to do what the voters requested while trying to find the money to pay for it. There is good information there on the legalities of "introduced" wolves versus those who wander in on their own, which agency (federal or stte) manages which wolves, and so on.

UPDATE: Newly elected State Senator Bob Rankin, who represents the area that included both self-transplanted wolves and the proposed wolf release, plants to introduce a bill to re-locate an equivalent number of wolves to Boulder and Jefferson counties. (Jefferson includes most of Denver's western suburbs.) 

“I do intend to do that,” Rankin — who won formal election to the state Senate last week — said following his victory. “I’m going to have to admit: it’s more just a protest, more than anything else, to call attention to the fact that the people most affected voted against [Proposition 114].”

 The bill stands no chance, and he knows it. There was a "credible" sighting on the Eastern Slope earlier this year though.

 

 

November 01, 2020

Skinny Mom, a "Cinnamon" Bear

Cubs playing in the little spring — Mom still wearing last year's coat.


About 45 minutes' walk from the house (over a steep ridge) is a tiny spring that is a wildlife magnet.  That is where I have gotten my only scout camera mountain lion pictures, including this one.

Last year the camera photographed a cinnamon-phase black bear that looked skinny and unhealthy. I mean like cigarettes-and-Pepsi-Cola skinny. But she was back this year — with cubs. Wild animals . . .

I hung the camera in early May, and the batteries died on July 15th. What happened after that, I do not know. But here she was, wallowing in the spring that the elk had been stomping through.





It's a hard life being a bear mom in a drought year. I wonder where they are now.