Category Archives: Colorado Outdoors

Outdoor news from Colorado.

Animal’s Daily Big Cat News

Mountain lions are causing some problems in the Colorado ski town of Edwards.  Excerpt:

Colorado wildlife officials issued a warning for the residents of Edwards this week after discovering a pride of 8 to 10 lions has been “roaming” neighborhoods in the area.

In recent days, residents have stumbled upon several animal carcasses and at least two attacks on dogs have been reported. The recent increase in mountain lion sightings prompted officials with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to alert the Edwards-area to be on high alert.

“This is a troubling situation and we are very concerned for the safety and welfare of the people in this area,” CPW Northwest Regional Manager JT Romatzke said in an online statement Thursday. “We ask everyone to take this warning seriously.”

The CPW encouraged locals who spot a big cat in a residential area to alert them immediately and to keep a safe distance.

“We urge residents to be extremely cautious because lions are large, powerful predators and can be very dangerous if they’ve lost their natural fear of people,” CPW District Wildlife Manager Matt Yamashita added in a statement. “We are monitoring the situation very closely.”

Based on information they’ve recieved so far, officials believe there are two female lions that are each traveling with a litter of 3 to 4 juvenile lions — though the young lions are “nearly full grown, as large or possibly larger than their mother,” the CPW said.

First of all, this isn’t a “pride.”  Mountain lions are solitary creatures, excepting when a mother lion still has kittens with her.  This is two female cats with almost-grown kittens who happen to have overlapping ranges, which isn’t unusual.  These are also the least likely lions to cause trouble with humans, being smaller and less aggressive than the big toms, who have larger ranges and tend to stay away from humans.

But it’s still concerning.  Small children and most pets are well within the prey size range of a 100-pound female lion, and like most apex predators, lions see other animals as either a threat or potential prey.  In most of Colorado, lions aren’t threatened by humans.

In all my years of woods-bumming in Colorado, I’ve encountered black bears several times but have only laid eyes on two lions, both at a distance, although I’ve tracked a couple for a ways before being “made” by the lion.  The answer for the boonies is simple; carry a sidearm.  Shooting an overly aggressive lion or bear isn’t often necessary.  Especially in the case of a lion, the noise of a major-caliber pistol fired into the ground will most often see them off.

The best answer, though, is for the Colorado Division of Wildlife to loosen restrictions on the hunting of lions.  As noted above, apex predators see other animals as either a threat or potential prey.  Historically, mountain lions aren’t a threat to humans when they see humans as a potential threat.  Hunting the lions will have that effect.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Mountain lions don’t attack humans often, but they do sometimes.  And it frequently ends up bad for the human.  But not in this case.  Excerpt:

A Colorado jogger fought off a mountain lion in the foothills of Horsetooth Mountain on Monday, suffering severe bites before he killed the wild animal in self-defense, authorities said.

The man, who was not identified, was jogging on a trail on the West Ridge of the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, a mountain park about 66 miles northwest of Denver.

The mountain lion attacked him from behind, biting and clawing the man’s face, back, legs and arms, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Larimer County Department of Natural Resources said in a joint release, late on Monday.

However, it was not disclosed exactly how the jogger managed to kill the animal, and no one from the CPW or the Larimer DNR was available for comment early Tuesday.

Responding to a question on Twitter about whether the jogger had used any kind of weapon against the create, the CPW confirmed that he had not. 

Instead, he fought the animal off using just his bare hands.

This was a lucky jogger, for a couple of reasons.

A mature lion.

First, the lion was a juvenile.  So smaller, and inexperienced.  Experienced lions kill by ambushing their prey and delivering a precise bite at the nape of the neck, severing the spinal cord and killing instantly.  If this had been a 180-pound, three or four-year old tom instead of a yearling, this guy would have been dead before he knew what hit him.

Second, because it was a juvenile, it was likely wandering and looking for a territory, and therefore probably not in very good condition.  Plenty of young lions die of starvation or disease while looking for a territory, and it’s not unusual for young lions to take on prey outside their normal range.  Like people.

At any rate, this anonymous jogger did good; he kept his wits about him and fought back, which is recommended in lion attacks.  Fortunately he’ll come out of it with no more than some scars worth bragging about, and a great story to tell.  I for one would gladly buy him a beer just to hear that story.

Animal’s Daily Hunters For The Hungry News

I reckon most of today’s news coverage, commentary and bloggery will concern the election.  Since all you True Believers will face an embarrassment of riches on election news, I figure I’ll bring you something different; namely, Georgia deer hunters feeding hungry folks.  Excerpt:

One in seven Georgians struggles with hunger, according to Feeding America. More than 500,000 of them are children.

Food banks supply Georgia’s 1.6 million hungry residents with canned goods, dried grains and other pantry staples, but they rarely offer high-protein options, like meat.

Georgia Hunters for the Hungry aims to bridge that gap.

Venison is an ideal option to nourish the food insecure, because it’s high in protein and low in fat, Stowe said.

“We have the food banks calling us wanting more, wanting more every year,” he said.

Stowe coordinates with about 20 meat processors throughout the state who accept donations on behalf of the organization. He’s spent years recruiting more hunters and meat processors to help to fill Georgia’s ever-growing need for protein.

Resources are limited, though.

The Georgia Wildlife Federation reimburses processors $1.50 for each pound of meat they butcher. Once the meat is ground up and packaged, it’s delivered to the Georgia Food Bank Association, which distributes the venison to communities across the state.

Incidentally, you can read about my 2018 deer hunt here (my family and I eating all of our venison, though.)

It’s important to note that hunters donating game meat to food banks and homeless shelters isn’t a new thing.  None other than Ted Nugent pioneered the practice and helped set up some of the first programs.

And, yes, this is precisely how charity should be done.  Voluntarily, locally, no Imperial interference, much more efficient, much closer to the people in need.  It would be manifestly A Good Thing if more charity programs were similarly designed and carried out.

Rule Five All Politics is Local Friday

This bright morning finds Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. back in sunny Colorado, where moments from now loyal sidekick Rat and I will climb into the inestimable Rojito and go afield to do battle with antlered ungulates.  As mentioned earlier, watch for some more Teutonic totty as placeholders whilst we are afield; normal news posts should resume a week from today.

But for now, here’s some Colorado news.  We have a gubernatorial election this year, and as is often the case, the Democrat candidate, one Jared Polis, is having trouble explaining how he would pay for his ambitious agenda for our fair state.  Excerpt:

Republican state Treasurer Walker Stapleton’s clear goal was to call U.S. Rep. Jared Polis “radical and extreme” as many times as possible in their hour-long gubernatorial debate Monday night at Colorado State University-Pueblo.

Polis, the Boulder Democrat, didn’t bristle at the steady barrage from Stapleton, but neither did he answer it with what the GOP candidate demanded— details on how Polis intends to pay for an ambitious agenda that includes affordable health care, free pre-school and kindergarten classes.

Polis, who is a multi-millionaire from starting and selling companies, said he would work as governor to lower prescription drug prices, find other solutions in providing better care and could even work with President Trump.

“The time for name-calling is passed,” he told Stapleton, who clearly didn’t think so.

“If you will tell these people how you will pay for it, I’ll stop calling you a radical,” Stapleton shot back.

Polis denied he was either radical or extreme, saying Oklahoma provides free pre-school to students “And if Oklahoma can do it, we can do it.”

Now, to be fair, Colorado has changed politically in the thirty years I’ve lived here, but it hasn’t been Californicated to the point (yet) where a Ocasio-Cortez or Pelosi could be elected to statewide office.  Our current governor, John Hickenlooper, is as close to a moderate Democrat as you’ll find these days.  And, while I’d prefer to see Walker Stapleton win this fall, smart money in our increasingly-purple state tells me we’ll probably be dealing with Jared Polis for the next four to eight years.

But moderate (hopefully) though he may be, Jared Polis still has one failing common to Democrats and, to be fair, to plenty of Republican as well – he has a lot of big ideas, but honestly very little idea how much they will cost or how he plans to pay for them.

But here’s the catch:  Colorado’s Constitution demands the state’s budget be balanced.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have something like that at the Imperial level?  Don’t  hold your breath, though, until Congress votes to tighten up those vote-buying purse strings.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!

The weekend just may not have seen the world end, but it did see yr. obdt. flying home to Colorado for a weekend, a pleasant break from the peripatetic nuttiness of Silicon Valley.  Unfortunately Mrs. Animal is in Michigan visiting the two college kids, so I ended up hanging out with our son-in-law.  We went out to his Dad’s place on the eastern plains and burned up a fair amount of ammo.  I checked the zero on Thunder Speaker in anticipation of next month’s deer and elk hunt, and after a comment that he’d never fired a rifle of that power (.338 Win Mag) I let the son-in-law take a couple shots off the bench.

Thunder Speaker on the bench.

Unfortunately he wasn’t used to the stiff recoil that Thunder Speaker delivers, and ended up taking a whack from the eyepiece of the scope.  Oops.  But, as I told him, there are few dedicated shooters of hunting-caliber rifles that haven’t ended up with a case of Kaibab Eye at one point or another.

But the fun part of the day was when the e-e-e-e-e-e-evil AR-15 came out.


Yup.  That was fun.

Animal’s Daily Hunting News

img_0910
Yr. obdt. looking over some Grand County elk country.

Our annual elk hunt, abbreviated as it was by some sudden travel plans, ended with an empty sack.  Note that I do not say “ended sadly,” as any time spent in the great Western outdoors is never cause for anything but happiness.

We had one good shot at filling one of our cow elk tags.  Near the spot shown above, loyal sidekick Rat heard an elk mew softly in the timber.  We split up and stalked into the pines in a pincer movement towards the patch of pines where the sound came from.

Rat overlooking the same country.
Rat overlooking the same country.

As we moved in, through the heavy dark timber I saw a pair of elk legs moving slowly upslope.  I moved up to a large pine, found an opening in the trees, and braced against the tree to place Thunder Speaker’s scope on the opening.  I saw an orange elk butt moving towards the opening from the left at a range of about fifty yards; then I saw in the scope a bit of elk neck, then an ear, then the head…

…then an antler.  It was a young raghorn bull, and we had cow tags.  Oh well.

Anyway, it was a highly enjoyable week.  Photos follow.

Animal’s Daily News

A bit late and a bit short this morning.  Sorry.  Yesterday’s activities involved a quick scouting trip to Grand County, where loyal sidekick Rat and I will be headed tomorrow morning to spend a few days doing battle with antlered ungulates.

img_0879Unfortunately the inestimable Rojito (pictured here) developed a transfer case problem.  It’s in the shop now, having made it back to Denver OK.  Hopefully it will be ready for tomorrow’s departure.  If not, we plan to borrow Mrs. Animal’s Explorer, which will limit us to graveled roads; no muddy jeep trails.  Oh well.  Update:  Rojito’s repairs are complete and Plan A is in effect.

In any case, here are a few photos from yesterday’s adventure.

Not much snow up high, as you can see.  The snowy areas are up on Smith Mesa near Hot Sulphur Springs, at about 8000 feet.  The big body of water is Williams Fork Reservoir, the sage country around which is good for picking up some late-season mulies in a normal year.  This has been a warmer and drier than normal year, so I suspect we’ll be hunting higher than normal for early November.  We’ll see.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!
Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more!

First up:  Thanks to The Other McCain for linking our Rule Five hunt week posts.  Speaking of which:

The hunting season didn’t end with a big-game kill (grouse, that’s another story) kill, in part due to lousy weather – cold with a lot of rain – but mostly due to an old long-nosed mulie that made chumps out of loyal sidekick Rat and yr. obdt. on four separate days.  We tried varied tactics – pincer movements, ninja approach, bounding overwatch loops through the patch of brush where this canny old animal was hiding in every single case.

That old deer foxed us every time.  We saw a typical white mulie behind bounding off through the brush and heard pounding hoofbeats, but never got a shot.  We kept going back after it, but never got a good line to try a shot with the front-stuffers used in this early season.

Honestly, I’d rather hunt one fine animal like that and have it get away, than have a dumb yearling walk out in the trail fifty yards away and stand broadside, offering a stupidly easy shot (that has happened to me more than once.)

The upside of the hunt:  The grouse hatch was thick this year, and we got a bunch of them.  Photos follow.

Regular posts resume tomorrow!

Rule Five Friday

2015_09_11_Rule Five Friday (1)Housekeeping note:  The bloodwind calls! The Colorado blackpowder elk and deer season starts tomorrow, loyal sidekick Rat and I will be afield next week.  Today’s will be the last regular post until Monday, September 21st; (Saturday Gingermageddons will continue as usual) there will be a daily totty selection from the archives to fill those days.

Moving on:

Here’s a shocker:  A Survey Not Designed to Measure Defensive Gun Use Finds Little of It.  Excerpt:

A study in the latest issue of Preventive Medicine estimates that less than 1 percent of crime victims use guns in self-defense. The authors, Harvard health policy professor David Hemenway and University of Vermont economist Sara Solnick, find that using a gun seems to be effective at reducing property loss but “is not associated with a reduced risk of victim injury.” It will surprise no one familiar with the long-running debate about 2015_09_11_Rule Five Friday (2)defensive gun use (DGU) that the source of the data for this study is the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which consistently generates much lower DGU estimates than other surveys do. At least some of that gap can be plausibly explained by weaknesses in the NCVS that Hemenway and Solnick do not seriously address or, for the most part, even mention.

The biggest strength of the NCVS, which is conducted annually by the U.S. Census Bureau on behalf of the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, is its large, nationally representative sample, which includes 90,000 households and about 160,000 individuals. The survey’s biggest weakness in this context is that it is not designed to measure DGUs, and 2015_09_11_Rule Five Friday (3)there are good reasons to think it misses a lot of them.

There is good reason indeed.  Later in the article:

Hemenway and Solnick predictably argue that Kleck’s numbers are improbably high, and it is tempting to surmise that the truth lies somewhere in between. But while Kleck has responded at length to criticism of his methods and conclusions, Hemenway and Solnick’s article barely alludes to the NCVS weaknesses he highlights. They do mention that the survey includes “no specific questions about self-defense gun use.” That’s a pretty big flaw for a study aimed at measuring self-defense gun use, which the NCVS isn’t.

2015_09_11_Rule Five Friday (4)Brian Doherty has more on the controversy over counting DGUs.

But here’s the larger issue:  My rights (and yours) are not contingent on the usefulness of guns in preventing property loss, or in preventing any other kind of loss.  The Second Amendment states that I (and you) have the right to keep and bear arms, the Supreme Court has upheld that interpretation, and that is that.  Imagine if someone was to claim that the First Amendment was contingent on the efficacy of a certain media in being able to transmit information effectively; would we then place restrictions on pen and 2015_09_11_Rule Five Friday (0)paper, since they are pretty much obsolete?  Or would we restrict bloggers, for being too effective and unregulated into the bargain?

It is a fact that there is a strong correlation between the enactment of concealed-carry liberalization and a reduction in confrontational crime rates.  But the Second Amendment is still the final arbiter; the Constitution is the law of the land, the final be-all and end-all of our nation’s laws.  The Second Amendment says we have the right to keep and bear arms.  There the argument ends.

Have a great week, True Believers!  See you in ten days.

2015_09_11_Rule Five Friday (5)