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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Coyotes, bobcats, lions, and a bear video!

After finding the slaughtered coyote a couple of weeks ago, I believed that we had only two left in our territory. Indeed, for those weeks, I never saw more than two at a time in wildlife camera photos. However, last night, a trio appeared! Either we actually had more than three living in the area prior to the killing or a new coyote has already migrated into this rich home range.
In an abundance of good luck, a bobcat visited the most prominent scent post in the area just the other night. In the photo below, the scent post sits at the base of the boulder. If you compare the two photos, you can see that the bobcat would barely reach my knees in height.
And, here's the feline walking briskly toward it, checking who's been visiting lately.
Today, I took the pair of Labradors with me on my hike. I finally feel confident that I could hold them both on leash if the need arose. My neck is getting stronger every day, now more than 2 months post-surgery. I no longer feel so afraid that I might literally "break my neck" due to an inconsequential fall or yank on a leash.

As usual, we started by practicing recalls. K's enthusiasm sizzled.
It sizzled so hot that she sunk too deeply into the snow on her stride and struck an odd pose.
R followed close on her heels looking jet black against the snow-covered terrain.
Soon after some frolicking and training, we found mountain lion tracks on the same hillside as where we found a freshly killed deer guarded by a lion in early January. Each track measured 4" long and across. The gait was purposeful, walking deliberately in a straight line and usually in thick cover.
Needless to say, I rapidly attached leashes to the dogs.
Interestingly, although the predominant direction was uphill, the mountain lion backtracked a couple of times leaving opposing tracks in very close proximity. I've read that this technique completely confuses scent hounds chasing lions. They run in circles unable to figure out which way the lion went.
As we approached the top of the hill, we stood in a grove of leafless aspens, and a pair of runners with their dog passed on a trail 20 yards away. To my utter amazement, they were so consumed by their running and conversation, they didn't see us as we stood in the paw prints of a lion. Imagine how easily a lion could be overlooked given that he doesn't wear bright colors or bells on his collar.

Once we crested the hill, we hit a sun-baked south-facing slope, and we lost the lion tracks. I kept the dogs on leash for a little while before letting them burn off some more energy.
We climbed to the top of Hug Hill, and both dogs, including R, stood tall for a photo. I'm biased - but I love their lean builds.
And, their cute faces.
Near the top, we found a shallow hollow in a boulder, where the water had been frozen solid all winter long. Today, it had melted. Not for good but for at least a day.
Tomorrow, a big snow storm is forecasted to hit, dropping 1-2' of heavy spring snow. I'll smile and enjoy it. That snow is our ticket to a beautiful wildflower season!
After hiking and PT today, I worked on collating a couple of more clips of our bear pair. Enjoy the video! Several people asked about the flashes of light in the video. The camera that's shooting still photos is flashing infrared light for each photo. It seems obnoxious for the bears so I may turn off the still photo function when I next visit the den.

And, Stella asked about why I'm worried about the dermatitis on the sow's face. The reason is that a study showed that it's usually mange, and a fairly bad form of mange. Most bears recover from it but an occasional bear dies from it. That's why I felt worried when I saw its progression on my last visit. I think that the yearling's tan colored face is not mange but simply tan fur. I have a good idea of who the yearling's dad is, based on my wildlife camera footage from last year. He's a huge chocolate colored boar - by far the biggest bear in our forest. I'll include a photo of him sometime in the near future.


  1. So, just another boring day in paradise?

    How cool on ALL accounts!

    OH MY!

  2. That footage is remarkable! Khyra is right, all you need is Tigers and it will be like the land of Oz out there in Colorado.

    I thought the bears would move much slower than they did. I can definitely see what you're talking about on the sow's face and even body - I had no idea that bears get mange. I always thought of it as a domestic animal problem, for some reason. Learn something new every day!

  3. I know how hard it is to get rid of mange on a dog, and I can only wonder how the bears get rid of it.

    How are the Ely bears doing? It stays colder longer up there so I suspect they might be denned up longer too.

    Jo and Stella

  4. the labradou are quite stunning!
    and i took a double take with the melting snow! a perfect silhouette of a lab!
    2 months have passed since your surgery?! wow, that much closer to riding your bike!
    love the bear footage and looking forward to the pic of the big male!
    a peaceful weekend to you!

  5. Great reflection photo. How long will it be before the bears come out of hibernation? Will you have to change your route with the labraduo?

  6. I love the pictures of K and R together! They are stunningly beautiful and should be proud of how fit they are!

    *snicker* I was thinking lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Perhaps you need a pair of ruby hiking boots! It really is so cool to see all the great wildlife shots you get!

  7. You have some really wonderful pictures of the dogs this outting, but the "joy" photo of K really takes the cake! Just love to see dogs that happy!

  8. LOL@ Khyra! I was just thinking what a full day it was. I have to tell you that the pic of them posed on the stump is just brilliant. Great capture!

  9. Great photos, especially the puddle reflection. Bravo!

  10. Okay, not certain about what I'm about to say, but I think you can treat the mange on the bear. Because the mange treatment is so potent and is most effective orally, perhaps a vet can advise you on the right dosage for a "bear treat".

  11. Such a handsome pair of pups! I must be the only person in MN that actually misses the snow. Glad I get to come here and at least look.

  12. Amazing to the third power. Just can't believe what you find up there! And stunning that you can even figure out who the yearling's dad is! Can't wait to see HIM!!! Wowzers - so much to see and absorb - hope YOU are well though - and the dogs!
    Big Hugs xo

  13. Amazing to the third power. Just can't believe what you find up there! And stunning that you can even figure out who the yearling's dad is! Can't wait to see HIM!!! Wowzers - so much to see and absorb - hope YOU are well though - and the dogs!
    Big Hugs xo

  14. Hi KB,
    GROAN - all day snow here in Denver! I know I should be glad for the flowers but...
    The photos of K and R on the stump and with faces together are great. I enjoyed watching the bears get some fresh air. They're probably snug in that den tonight!

  15. Oh so beautiful!!! And you may be biased about K and R, but you are SO right - they are just gorgeous in those two shots on the top of Hug Hill. Thanks for more video fun with the bears. Hoping it isn't mange.

    Woos - Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara


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