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Coyotes, Mountain Lions, and Bears, Oh My!

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“Adoration is as alien to wild nature as blasphemy. Nature transcends love, goodness, malevolence or evil. It is simply a primordial force – shining, aloof and brooding, a vast sweep of power too awful to be imbued with human emotions, virtues or mischiefs. It is presumptuous to adore nature as it is to kick a redwood”.

John Madson, Stories From Under the Sky, 1998.

 

A closeup photograph of the eyes of a mountain lion
Things That Go Bump in the Night

 

August, 2012

Many of our followers are aware that I have done a lot of security work over the years, and I still do. I’ve spent many sleepless nights on one type of patrol or another, and I’ve learned to notice many things that most people miss in the world all around them.

Last night I missed a chance to see a big mountain lion moving just a short distance from my solitary post. It was reported to me by an excited and breathless observer, who apparently had some trouble believing his own eyes. He just had to tell somebody, and I’m glad it was me.

The sighting took place on the black top and concrete of a two-track bridge over a cold, clear river in western Colorado, not far from the unfenced yards of several exclusive homes and the manicured grounds of a large country club and golf course. It seemed an unlikely spot to find such a magnificent predator, or so he thought. For his part, the tawny beast was no doubt chagrined to find himself caught in such an exposed and vulnerable position.

The lion enjoys good company as he hunts. Coyote, the all-seeing trickster grows more bold and opportunistic with each passing year, having learned long ago to take advantage of the nonchalance of the family pet. He may have learned it from the big cat. Likewise, encounters with black bears are increasing, as are people and bear conflicts. As a result we receive many complaints about coyotes and bears on the property that I roam, and it looks like it may become particularly bad in this time of terrible drought.

After all, we are surrounded by the rocky mountain west, with national forest and other undeveloped lands close at hand. Still, a mountain lion report is big and electrifying news which will surely surge throughout the small community by morning. This creature rules by stealth, and it is no surprise that most people have never seen one outside of a zoo or animal park.

I have been quite fortunate to study them several times in my adventures and wilderness travels. I’ve spied them without them seeing me, and I’ve noted their reaction when they realize they haven’t seen me first. I’ve hunted them several times, and have found myself standing with the bawling hounds under the killing tree, with an angry and snarling cougar above. I’ve followed their distinctive paw prints over hill and dale, and on more than one occasion found their tracks following me. I love to watch them under any circumstance, and to see them do their thing for any amount of time is an awe-inspiring experience that marks an indelible impression. I can see a stalking cat right now, in my mind.

What I don’t like is this long-tailed ghost watching me, particularly when I don’t know it. I have absolutely no doubt that it’s happened, countless times, at close range and but a primordial fang away. I’d take a bet that it’s happened to you too, if you have spent any significant amount of time in puma country. Fates can change quickly, as the tip of a cat’s tail twitches, measuring what to do. But of course, we will never really know, and it only adds to the mystery and magic of it all.

 

A trail sign describing what to do when confronted by a mountain lion
Follow The Signs

 

I would have explained this to my wide-eyed mountain lion man, if I could have gotten a word in edgewise. There are some noteworthy visitors out there in the black night, just out of reach of headlight beams or human consciousness.

Think about that the next time you enjoy a hike on a shadowy mountain trail in a quaking aspen grove, and the hair on the back of your neck stands up for some unknown reason. You may wish to honor that sense. It’s there for a purpose.

Keep it in the back of your mind the next time you go out at night to check on your chickens or other animals in your backyard or back forty. Catch a breath, and take a second to wonder about what just made a nearly silent footfall, behind or above.

The possibility of a lion nearby reminds us of the wilds at the edges, and grounds us in the realities of the natural world. It’s an unsettling thought for some, and one that many of us have to live with when we spend time in the places that we love. Still, I would rather live where I live knowing that a mountain lion lives here too, rather than in a place known to have no mountain lions, and wishing that it did.

It’s a reality I am happy to accept, in the hope of but a quick glimpse, in the corner of an eye.

Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

a nighttime trail camera photograph of a mountain lion
Things That Go Bump In The Night

 

*Update August 27, 2013

There is not a week goes by that someone does not ask if we have had any puma reports, and I must say, I’m a bit anxious myself. The leaves in the high county are beginning to turn color already, far too early it would seem, and it won’t be long before the early snows are as high as an elk’s belly and the mule deer are headed for the lower valleys along the river. The big cats are sure to follow, and it is then that there is a fair chance to record them on a well placed trail camera. We hope that the hunting is good this season, for us, and for mountain lions everywhere.

You can see a short video of our night-time visitor here.

 

 

Update: October 17, 2012

Game trail cameras are an invaluable tool for those wishing to document the comings and goings of our wild neighbors, particularly in those magic hours between dusk and dawn. Strategically placed, they can capture a delightful display of animal movements not otherwise observed. It’s great entertainment, with the promise of true surprise within easy reach. My anticipation of the next photo or the next video can barely be contained. You never really know what you’re gonna get…

We use several cameras scattered about the property, which we move on a regular basis. Our main interest lies in the activities of the creatures with two legs. We watch for trespass, intrusion, and foul play. That, of course, is a story for another time. Animal sightings are the bonus feature to the main event.

Today’s review of the image collection was no exception. They held the usual cast of characters. Marmots, foxes, and inquisitive raccoons. Wandering pets, and the occasional biker. One frame held the faint outline of a bear in the shadows, and another the up close face of a young mule deer.

And as you may have guessed by now, one camera captured a video segment of a mature lion on the prowl. At first there was nothing but the wide emptiness of the night, then the world lit up as the beams of infrared caught the ghostly figure like the flashes from an electronic campfire.

He was big and long and solidly built, with well-defined muscles that rippled on his bones as he padded easily back to who knows where. No doubt he had used this route before.

A house loomed large here too, just out of camera range. I know, because I set the camera there myself.

My reaction was sharp, and visceral. It’s one thing to hear someone else talk excitedly about their sighting and personal experience. You want to believe, yet, there’s always a little room for doubt in undocumented reports. It’s quite another matter when you actually see a lion for yourself, or have indisputable evidence in hand.

Real is real, and but a moment away from memory. It is undefinable proof of the untamed mystery of our realm, accessible to all just inches from the comforts of our daily routines.

I shall do my best to stay out of the big cat’s path and unseen wanderings, yearning, for his eventual return.

Hunt well, my friend.

Michael Patrick McCarty

Food Freedom, and Guns Too!

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Comments? Tell us about your Mountain Lion experience.

https://steemit.com/nature/@huntbook/coyotes-mountain-lions-and-bears-oh-my

Tarantulas, and Other Gun Grabbing Monsters

Poecilotheria rajaei, a tarantula and new species of Indian Tiger Spider discovered in Sri Lanka
How Nightmares Are Made

Photo credit: Ranil Nanayakkara

Recently, scientists have been stunned to discover what is most likely a new species of venomous, giant tarantula in a remote corner of northern Sri Lanka. It has caused quite a buzz.

Apparently, this gentleman is not slow and lumbering like most others of its kind, but lightning fast and extremely potent. It belongs to the genus of “tiger spiders”, and prefers to dwell in the trees and branches of old growth forests. It is distinctly colored and as wide as a person’s head. A quick tap from one of these guy’s is generally a “medically significant” event, at best.

It is rare to find such an imposing creature at the edges of our probing awareness, yet they were crawling about the canopy all along. It is thought that they have been on the move and hence more visible as they have become increasingly disturbed and displaced due to habitat loss. It must be quite unsettling to walk through such a forest, knowing what lies above.

Similarly agitated, American gun owners have been shaken from their drugged-up stupor of denial, only to find a small army of government agents and enemy sympathizers eagerly marching to take their weapons. It is not a dream, and the approaching forces of gun grabbers will not melt back into obscurity without a fight.

The Sign Says Warning We Don't Call 911 Enter At Your Own Risk. With Graphic of Revolver in the Hand
Any Questions?

New animal species are discovered all the time. Tyrants and the enablers of authority, on the other hand, are nothing new. They have been lurking around since the beginnings of mankind, always watching and waiting and dying to strike. The venom drips ominously from their fangs, and they can feel the death-blow coming.

Well, not so fast, I say to those so eager to disarm us. Do not mistake our measured restraint for weakness, for our patience is wearing thin at the edges.

We pray that you will come to your senses and cease your diabolical advance, though we know that you can no more change your course than a leopard can change its spots.

Have no doubts that we see you quite clearly now, as your intentions are plainly obvious and no longer hidden in the shadows. We have felt you coming for centuries, and we are much more prepared than you know. If it is battle that you truly want, then you shall have it

I, like many, are terrified of even the tiniest of spiders. I know that my disproportionate fear of them is largely ungrounded, but that does not put down my overwhelming urge to panic and run at every sighting. You might think that an encounter with such an elegant horror as a giant tarantula would leave me paralyzed and huddled on the floor.

But not today.

Today I am God’s own tarantula tree, immovable and as resolute as any mountain.

A colse-up photo of a .357 magnum revolver, a handgun or pistol for home protection and self defense
A .357 Magnum Hello

Infringe upon my inalienable right to keep and bear arms, and you will conjure up an entirely different beast. I am an elemental force to be reckoned with, as are others so compelled to stand behind a line drawn so simply, yet so boldly, in the sand.

It is time to rip the suffocating arms of tyranny from our upturned faces. The hour is late. We must hold off the hovering monsters from the dark realms, and beat them back to the slithering viper pits and vaporous jungles from which they came.

Give me liberty or give me death, and give me a handgun to reach out and touch those who wish to offer me the latter.

Like our friend the tarantula, we can deliver a most powerful  wallop when provoked.

A photo of the Gadsden Flag, with the Motto Don't Tread on Me, the call to arms of any patriot and free citizen of the united states and a response to those interested in gun control
Fair Warning!

 

By Michael Patrick McCarty

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“Hitler took the guns, Stalin took the guns, Mao took the guns, Fidel Castro took the guns, Hugo Chavez took the guns, and I am here to tell you 1776 will come again if you try and take our firearms…”

Alex Jones, from the now legendary debate with Piers Morgan (which lead to his departure at CNN, by the way).

See the clip of the full debate below:

 

I would also be quick to add – Socialism wants your guns, World Government (like Australia) wants your guns, Diane Feinstein  wants your guns, Bernie Sanders wants your guns…Hillary Clinton wants your guns…

Those are there words, not mine. Any questions…?

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Join and Support the NRA (National Rifle Association) Here. We need your help, because I am the NRA!

Molon Labe!

You May Also Like To Do More Research at The Crime Prevention Research Center Website.

Ted Nugent: America is Dying!

 

 

Florida Sheriff Wayne Ivey Tells It Like It Is

 

Some Basic Mountain Mulemanship

A pack mule poses in front of the colorado peaks, on a elk hunt. View from Red Table Mountain, near Basalt
Mule Over Mountain – A Stunning View From Red Table Mountain in Colorado

There is no better way to hunt elk or mule deer in the high Rocky Mountains than by horseback or mule, yet working with pack animals is fast becoming a lost art. Still, there are still some diehards out there, so hats off to all of you pack-in hunters.

Mountain hunting holds a certain romance and allure all its own, and a large part of the experience depends on how you get there. Some prefer horses, others say that mules may be better. But then again, I think I will stay out of that argument.

Still, from what little I know about mules, they always seem to be playing chess when everyone else is playing checkers. They are definitely smart, and so sure-footed too! As many of you know, that can be particularly comforting when your life literally depends on the careful placement of hooves on stone.

Check out this short video for some basic tips.

 

– Video courtesy of Dave Massender. See Dave’s Youtube Channel Here.

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Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

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Red Rock Sentinels of the Fryingpan

A video clip of a small band of bighorn sheep on the red cliffs above the frying Pan River near Basalt, colorado in bighorn sheep hunting unit S44
Bighorn Sheep Above The Fryingpan River, Basalt, Colorado. Photo courtesy of David Massender.

 

Watch the full video below.

 

  • In the past, some limited resident and nonresident licenses for archery and rifle hunting have been available by lottery in Bighorn Sheep Unit S44 of Colorado.

Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

You Might Also Like To See Some Photos of Bighorn Sheep in The Fryingpan River HERE

A Little Tussle Among Friends

Take a look at this short video of two mule deer bucks doing what young bucks do, although they are probably still new to the game and may not be completely sure exactly what makes them do it. The November rut is a ways off yet, but it helps to get some practice in beforehand. Just getting shed of some nervous energy, I suppose.

The clip is courtesy of Dave Massender of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Dave recorded this little bit of fun from his office window, and the deer were sparring in his backyard. Clicking antlers is a sound not heard near often enough.

Many thanks to Dave. We should all be so lucky to have such an interesting backyard!

Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

You might also like The Promise of Deer, or our story on Our Shrinking Mule Deer Herd Here