Category Archives: Manly Arts

Animal’s Daily Fur, Fish & Game News

Today’s outdoor magazines all seem to look alike these days.  Some of these mags I had subscribed to since the early Seventies, but have dropped in the last few years for a number of reasons.  I dumped Sports Afield after they went all-in for “assault weapon” bans.  I lost interest in Outdoor Life after they became Craig Boddington Takes Yet Another Expensive Guided Exotics Hunt to Advertise Guns and Gear I’m Not Interested In Buying.  Add to that the fact that most of these slick, shiny rags are more advertisement than content; even the content is selling something.

But there’s one good outdoor journal for the Regular Guys among us still on the market.

I’m referring to a little magazine (available in digital format too) named Fur, Fish & Game.  I can’t say much more to describe them than they do themselves:

Since 1925, FUR-FISH-GAME has been highly acclaimed as the magazine for practical outdoorsmen. We cover a wider variety of outdoor pursuits than any other magazine. And we are the only national outdoor magazine that still publishes a new issue each and every month of the year. All because we know that when you truly love the great outdoors, there is no such thing as an off-season.

Bear in mind that I’m not advertising for Fur, Fish & Game.  Well, I sort of am, but I’m not receiving anything in return other than the satisfaction of spreading the word about a publication I enjoy a great deal.

A big part of what I enjoy about them is that they aren’t aiming for the high-dollar, guided hunt market.  They’re providing good info on hunting, fishing and, yes, trapping for regular folks.  The current (February) issue includes tips on hunting hares in rough country, trapping desert ringtails, hunting javelina in Arizona and catching big catfish at ice-out.  Regular stories for regular folks, lots of good information, and what ads they do run are ads for quality outdoor clothing and equipment – no Viagra or hair-restoration ads.

If you’re an outdoor guy, check them out.  They’re the only outdoor magazine worth paying for these days.

Rule Five Goodbye 2021 Friday

Well, it’s certainly been an eventful year.  January saw us gifted with another grandson, a 10-1/2 pound chunk that his parents call “Moose.”  This makes grandchild number six, three of each sort.  All of our offspring are doing just great, and the family’s happy progress through the year was  marred only the loss of one of my sisters to cancer.

When 2021 dawned, Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. were still residents of ever-more-loony Colorado, which is fast transitioning to California East.  But we had already purchased our new home in Alaska, and before the first month of 2021 was out we were officially residents of the Great Land.  We have to wait twelve months for resident hunting and fishing licenses and Permanent Fund eligibility, but believe me, it’s worth it.  This next year we expect to reap full benefit of Alaska’s wondrous hunting, fishing and other outdoor opportunities.

Just the bird hunting alone should keep us well-fed.  Right in our area we have spruce grouse and a few ruffed grouse; the limit is 15 per day, with 30 in possession, from which data we can conclude that there are shitloads of birds about, and our observations to date have supported that assessment.

Of our move, which we have worked towards and planned for twenty years or more, I can only say this:  Both of us are delighted with the transition, and agree that this was the best move – and perhaps the most timely move – that we have ever made in our life together.

Now, you ask, why would I add that ‘most timely’ remark?  Well, I’m a-gonna tell you.

I mentioned the ever-more-loony Colorado.  Well, with a few exceptions, most of the lower 48 went a little bit nuts this year.  The Kung Flu Panic is now in its second year, and the power-mad at various levels of government and corporate leadership show little signs of loosening things up, despite the ineffectiveness of their largely illegal actions to date.  A whole bunch of our major cities are seeing big spikes in violent crime, with several breaking all previous records on the murder rate, and local DAs and city pols seem unwilling to take any real action; indeed, they are in some cases actively encouraging it.

But up here in the Great Land, things are pretty quiet.  The Moo Goo Gai Panic has largely blown over, at least outside of Anchorage.  Some of our local friends have contracted the bug, but everyone we know suffered mild symptoms, stayed home for a week or two, and got over it, gaining some nice natural immunity in the process.  The only time we’ve seen masks is when we’ve had to go to Anchorage for some things; that city supposedly has a mask rule, but it’s widely ignored.  The exception to that is in the summer, where the presence of masks makes it easier to spot the tourists.

Crime isn’t an issue here, at least not the same way.  Alaska does have some problems; alcohol and drug abuse is an issue, especially in some of the more remote communities where isolation is a problem.  Some people don’t do well when isolated (although Mrs. Animal and I sort of enjoy it) and that problem is sometimes reflected in behavior.

But other crimes?  The fastest way I can think of to get shot hereabouts would be to kick in someone’s door in the middle of the night.  Almost everyone here has guns, not so much due to worry of home invasions but rather some of our larger, more aggressive wildlife, and that’s a pretty strong deterrent.

Meanwhile, in the Imperial City, we’re saddled with a supposed President who was a bumbling mediocrity throughout his tenures as a Senator and Vice President; now he’s a senile bumbling mediocrity that has to be carefully shielded from questions by an increasingly confused media.

His second-in-command, one 25th Amendment action away from the Presidency, is not even up to the level of a mediocrity; she’s a cackling harpy, one of the dumbest people to ever hold high office, and is only nationally known because of her rise to political prominence in California atop Willie Brown’s penis.

But wait!  There’s more!

One of the few silver linings behind this clusterfuck is that the GOP is looking to score an electoral landslide in the 2022 mid-term elections.  That’s a little encouraging; the Republicans are driving us off the same fiscal cliff, but a little more slowly.   But have you ever known a political party more adept at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory?  And assuming they do win – well, I’ll give the Democrats credit for one thing, when they get power, they use it.  The GOP had complete control from 2017 to 2019.  Where was the Obamacare repeal?  Nationwide CCW reciprocity?  All the other stuff they promised?

Well, we’ll see.

In the meantime – to all you True Believers, who have been reading these virtual pages for the last year and will (one hopes) will continue reading – our fondest, warmest wishes for a happy, safe, healthy, productive and profitable 2022.  This evening, I will hoist one in your honor.  Prost!

Rule Five Who Is John Galt Friday

This is now a few weeks old, but I just stumbled over it and found it interesting; it seems a lot of the folks who are leaving the workplace are the ones who actually make things work.  And the message, although not stated in this article?  “This is John Galt Speaking.”  Excerpt:

The Great Resignation is not just a story of economic policy incentives or Marxist analysis, or even exasperation with rude and difficult customers. It’s not a matter of attitude adjustment, as if Americans were adopting the Chinese practice of tang ping—”lying down,” the new trend of young people giving up trying to achieve or accomplish anything. Quietist philosophy—at least when it comes to professional occupation—is foreign to the American culture of liberty and self-determination.

Solving the mystery of the Great Resignation phenomenon is not difficult. We must pay attention to who is resigning—what kind of workers—and put ourselves in their shoes.

The “laptop class,” John Tierney’s term for college-educated workers whose workday is largely computerized, is not resigning. Graphic designers, software developers, and the assorted cohort of spreadsheet surfers and keyboard warriors have not been the primary driver of unemployment during or after the pandemic. Most companies and employees adapted to remote work, a development that was long overdue given the technology available. Now, the only office employers struggling to fill cubicles are those who still think cubicles are the future.

The workers resigning are those most brutally impacted by policy over the last year and a half. They wear uniforms, or at least boots, and most of their customers are strangers: police officers, airline pilots, healthcare workers, builders, repairmen. We used to call them “frontline heroes” and “essential employees”—now we oppress them with litanies of COVID mandates in their workplace. And don’t forget about the workers in retail and restaurants who have always lived just above the poverty line. At a time of unprecedented economic instability, they don’t see much difference between their paltry wage and welfare, with poverty even being preferable to an exploitative or abusive workplace.

Here’s a primary cause, if not the root cause:

We’ve all walked into a restaurant or grocery store where masks are not required for customers, but “corporate office” wants all employees to wear them. We’ve all had a friend or relative whose job has been threatened by public or private-sector vaccine mandates. We’ve watched the disunity over COVID restrictions split churches and tear school districts apart—so why should we be surprised it demotivates workers? Working in these conditions comes at a price—and for blue-collar jobs especially, that price is not justified by the salary. Workers in these jobs value job security, schedule regularity, and constancy of tasks—a job to be proud of, but not to prioritize over values, free time, or personal dignity.

Or, in the words of John Galt:

I am speaking to those who desire to live and to recapture the honor of their soul. Now that you know the truth about your world stop supporting your own destroyers. The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction to give it. Withdraw your sanction. Withdraw your support.

That seems to be what lots of blue-collar (and some white-collar) folks are doing.  Lots of emergency responders, too. And, honestly, why not?  In an environment where we are demonized for being successful, for working hard and taking pride in our work, for not giving in to hypocritical mandates by virtue-signalling bosses?

The linked article concludes:

The American entrepreneur of the future must rally the workers being squeezed by these coercive policies. Their productivity and ingenuity—currently subdued by short-sighted agendas—may be America’s greatest untapped resource.

In other words, let the looter’s state collapse, and build something new, something productive, in the wreckage.  Ayn Rand, while far from the best fiction writer in history, may yet prove to be one of the most prescient.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove, Whores and Ale and  The Other McCain for the Rule Five Links.  And thanks once again to blogger pals over at The Daley Gator for the link.  If you aren’t perusing these blogs daily, you should be!

As anyone who has read these virtual pages for any time knows, I’m a big fan of .45 caliber sidearms.  So it shouldn’t be surprising that I found a recent article on the .45ACP over at Firearms News interesting.  This article asks the question:  Is the .45 Auto as ‘good’ as its reputation?  (Scare quotes in the original, and I’m not sure why.)  Excerpt:

Our own 1911.

The .45 Auto suffers from many of the same limitations and downfalls as the .380 Auto and .38 Special cartridges, chiefly its low velocity. The average 230-grain .45 Auto load will rarely break 900 feet per second, with typical velocities falling between the 825-890 feet per second mark. Keep in mind this is from a 5-inch barrel. These factory 5-inch velocity figures are due to the 1911, with its 5-inch barrel, being the most common handgun found in .45 Auto. Typical barrel lengths on “duty” or “Concealed Carry” handguns fall from 4 to 4.5 inches, meaning the already low velocity of the .45 Auto is further reduced, typically falling 5-10% from advertised muzzle velocities.

With these already low velocities, the threshold in which a typical .45 Auto hollow point will reliably expand is relatively limited. So, the .45 Auto needs to retain as much velocity as possible to consistently perform well, especially through heavy clothing and other light barriers. Even premium offerings, from trusted brands will suffer from this issue. Take the Barnes TAC-XPD, solid copper hollow point offering. This uses the 185-grain, XPD projectile, famously used by premium ammunition manufacturers such as Black Hills, early Cor-Bon and Barnes branded ammunition itself. Advertised at 1,000 feet per second, the actual chronograph results show an 11.85% decrease in velocity, with an average that didn’t even break the 900 feet per second mark, coming in at 894 feet per second from my Heckler and Koch USP V1.

So, it seems the noncommittal answer to the question asked by the title is “…yes, depending on the ammo.”  And that’s a fair answer; ammo has come a long way since 1911.  The classic old 230-grain FMJ load has been supplanted by a wide variety of high-performance defense and hunting loads.  This same technology, by the way, has transformed former pipsqueaks like the .380 APC into decent defensive loads, and have brought the .38 Special and 9mm Parabellum into primary sidearm status.

Here’s the conclusion, though, and it’s well taken:

Whatever you choose for caliber, I recommend researching credible sources for ammunition terminal performance. Then train hard and train often, because in the end shot placement, recoil mitigation, capacity and ability (a marriage between equipment and person) is the ultimate threat stopper, not caliber.

Yes.  Especially the “practice” part.  The most effective defensive weapon is the one with which you can put round on target under adverse conditions.

Even so, I have been and will remain a big fan of .45 caliber sidearms, both in .45ACP and .45 Colt varieties.

Animal’s Daily Neolithic Partying News

Beer – is there anything it can’t do?

11,000 years ago, in what is now Turkey, a group of Neolithic folks gathered to hunt gazelles, feast, and get trashed on beer.  Excerpt:

Southern Anatolia is at the northern end of the Fertile Crescent, a region in the Middle East invigorated by the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, where hunter-gatherers first settled down to farm. Göbekli Tepe was constructed sometime during this lifestyle transition, perhaps by different groups lured together through innate social desires. Exquisite carvings, decorated pillars, and animal-like figurines first suggested to researchers that this was a temple of some sort, intended for worship. Then, in 2012, archaeologists uncovered six large limestone troughs that could have each held up to 42 gallons of liquid. At the bottom of these structures were faint traces of oxalate, a compound which develops during the mashing and fermentation of cereals. To the researchers, this new evidence suggested that site’s previously modest narrative needed a rewrite.

“At the dawn of the Neolithic, hunter-gatherers congregating at Göbekli Tepe created social and ideological cohesion through the carving of decorated pillars, dancing, feasting—and, almost certainly, the drinking of beer made from fermented wild crops,” they wrote.

Whatever “worship” was going on at Göbekli Tepe, it was lively, to say the least.

Indeed, one wonders if beer goggles were already a thing in those days.

Think on this for a moment.  Human behavior, for the most part, doesn’t seem to change much, even over the span of 11,000 years.  I can easily picture these folks – a gazelle on a spit over the fire, a fired-clay jug of some foamy, alcoholic brew in their hands.  Teach them to speak English and they’d fit right in at any pig roast/kegger held in the Allamakee County hills of my youth.

It’s neat to know that people then, just liked people today, liked to unwind after a hard day with a mug of suds – and occasionally to let loose and get hammered.

Now, when did they get around to whiskey?

Animal’s Daily Manly Accessories News

Given the unrest now so common across the country, and given that not all venues allow sidearms, I recently made a purchase; a Cold Steel City Stick.  In fact, even in venues that do allow sidearms, a non-lethal and immediately-to-hand alternative never hurts.

I received mine from MidwayUSA only Monday.

Cold Steel’s City Stick

This is something of a throwback, of course, to the days when any well-turned-out gentleman would carry a stick as a matter of course, in the event one has to deal harshly with a drunken lout, a strong-arm robber or some low masher who offended the honor of a lady.  But nowadays, the prospect of being accosted and beaten for paying insufficient homage to any number of leftist fever dreams should result in a resurgent of this sort of accessorizing.

Cold Steel describes the City Stick thusly:

The Cold Steel City Stick features a glossy black shaft made out of eleven layers of fiberglass which, in impact tests, proved to be virtually unbreakable. The stick is topped with a 6160 Aluminum head that’s been given a mirror polish finish. The head is removable so it can be easily engraved or modified to suit your taste. The base is fitted with thick rubber ferule to keep you from slipping on the mean streets and cracked sidewalks.

President Jackson, after all, beat an attempted assassin damn near to death with his walking stick.

From my few days of handling and using it, I can attest that the City Stick lives up to its intended purpose.  It’s a solid, stout fiberglass shaft with just enough flex to allow for one hell of a blow, and a stout, heavy aluminum head (detachable for engraving!) to administer a well-deserved attitude adjustment to the cranium of a miscreant.

Best of all, few folks will question a man of my age, with a fair amount of visibly gray and, yes, even white hair, will think twice about that man carrying a walking stick.  I most assuredly need no assistance walking, as loyal sidekick Rat will attest after a decade or so of elk hunts; but the casual observer won’t know that, and neither would an AntiProfa thug, until the aluminum knob lends him a concussion.

I suspect I’ll be toting this thing around a lot.

Rule Five FoMoCo Friday

Thanks again to The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!

Ford Motors is slowly doing away with their car lineup in favor of SUVs and pickups.  Excerpt:

Although it has been a while since Ford announced the cancellation of nearly all of its passenger-car models, it turns out that the Fusion sedan is set to die a long, slow death. A Ford spokesperson told C/D that there are still “a couple more years” left for the Fusion, meaning that production at its plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, will continue until sometime in 2021. The company has already begun chopping up the Fusion lineup, however, as the Fusion Sport model (pictured) has been dropped for the 2020 model year.

Introduced for 2017, this higher-performance trim level offered a 325-hp twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V-6 engine and all-wheel drive. It went from zero to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds in our testing. A turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four with 245 horsepower will now be the most powerful engine available in the 2020 Fusion; two less-powerful four-cylinder engines, a hybrid, and a plug-in-hybrid model are also still offered.

What will happen to the Fusion name after production ends in 2021? The current-generation Fusion sedan will certainly reach the end of the road, and the Hermosillo plant will begin building the next-generation Transit Connect van. But Ford has suggested that it may apply existing names to new crossover body styles, and there are rumors that the Fusion nameplate itself may be applied to a Subaru Outback–esque wagon model at some point in the near future.

Full disclosure:  I’ve been a loyal Ford buyer/driver for over forty years.  Mostly trucks, although I’ve had a few cars, including a ’65 Mustang and a 1972 Gran Torino Sport very similar to the one in a certain Clint Eastwood film.  Mrs. Animal and I have only Fords among our three vehicles.  Mrs. A has a 2017 Expedition, I of course have the inestimable Rojito, a 1999 Ranger 4×4, and we have our “company car,” a 2013 Edge.  Most of our kids drive Fords; we’re a Ford family.

That said:  Ford is fucking up here.

It’s not just with the deletion of their coupes/sedans.  Ford is introducing their first all-electric coal-powered car, a small, Escape-sized “crossover” – and calling it a Mustang.  That, friends, is a fuck-up of the first water.  The Mustang has been Ford’s flagship vehicle since the demise of the Thunderbird, and while over the years it has taken many forms, a greenie electric “crossover” has never been one of them, and never should be one of them.  For the love of Pete, Ford, go ahead and introduce your new lettuce-mobile if you want, but call it something else!

I have nothing against crossovers, mind.  I own one; our “company car” that goes on the road for long gigs is the aforementioned 2013 Edge, in the top-shelf Limited trim with the 3.0 liter V-6.  It’s roomy enough for Mrs. A and myself, gives a good view of the road and is peppy enough to be interesting to drive.  I’m normally a truck guy but the Edge works great for this purpose and I’ve grown rather fond of it.

And don’t get me started on the upcoming re-release of the Bronco.  That would be an entire post unto itself.

Ford has always been a truck company, granted.  But eliminating all of their car line is a mistake – a bad one.  The Fusion in particular is a great vehicle.  Three of our four kids have owned them, two still do, and they are big fans.  I’ve had them as rental cars several times in several trims; they are easy to drive, handle well, have decent ergonomics; they’re great.

I hate to see Ford going down this road, especially when they were smart enough to refuse the 2008 Imperial auto-industry bailout.  But going down it they are, and while we’re truck people and so won’t be immediately affected, I’d hate to see Ford lose their market position because of it.

Rule Five Persistence Hunting Friday

It’s something of a shibboleth among some casual students of early humanity that early people were persistence hunters; that is, they ran their prey to ground.  As evidence these folks point out some traits humans have that most mammals don’t, like developed gluteal muscles, long legs with thick Achilles tendons and, not least of all, using sweating instead of panting to cool off during exertion or in hot weather.

But now it turns out that might be utterly wrong.  Excerpt:

The theory that persistence hunting played a crucial part in the evolution of man was first suggested in 1984 by David Carrier, who at the time was a doctoral student at the University of Michigan. Carrier’s idea was based on the observation that man is one of the only mammals that cools itself by sweating. Most four-legged mammals pant to cast off heat, which doesn’t work nearly as well when running. Carrier concluded that if our early human ancestors could chase an animal long enough, the animal would overheat and collapse with heat exhaustion, and the humans could step up and dispatch it easily.

Carrier’s idea was picked up and advanced by the Harvard paleoanthropologist Daniel Lieberman. “As for anatomical, genetic, and paleontological evidence, there are so many derived features of humans that make us good at running and which have no other function, they clearly indicate humans were selected for long distance running,” Lieberman wrote in an email. He has noted that those features — arched feet, short toes, wide shoulders, long Achilles tendons — seem to have originated around 2 million years ago, around the time when the genus Homo evolved and our ancestors began making meat a regular part of their diet. Persistence hunting, he’s argued, might have been the evolutionary driver.

However:

Henry Bunn, a paleoanthropologist from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has said more than once that a person would have to be “incredibly naïve” to believe the persistence hunting theory. Bunn recalls that he first heard discussion of the theory at a conference in South Africa, and he realized almost immediately that if you are going to chase an animal that is much faster than you, at some point it will run out of sight and you will have to track it. Tracking would require earth soft enough to capture footprints and terrain open enough to give prey little place to hide and disappear.

When he heard of the idea, Bunn had just been in the Great Rift Valley of East Africa, one of the areas where it is thought that Australopithecus, our first upright walking ancestor, evolved into the first of the human genus. He knew the terrain was probably not soft during the time period discussed by the persistence hunting theory. And it was mixed savanna woodland, not open plain. It’s highly unlikely that primitive humans would have been sophisticated enough to track under those conditions, Bunn and his co-author, Travis Pickering, also of the University of Wisconsin, argued in their first paper questioning the persistence hunting theory.

Plus, Bunn had spent time with the Hadza, a modern-day group of people in the Great Rift Valley who are thought to live much like their ancient ancestors did. The only time Bunn ever knew the Hadza to run was when they were fleeing pelting rain, angry bees, or marauding elephants — and maybe occasionally to scavenge.

Speaking as a modern hunter, I can confirm that most modern humans hunt from ambush, or at least, by stealth.  When I was a young man hunting whitetails in the forested hills of northeast Iowa, I generally hunted by ambush; I had a few tree stands scattered across the Old Man’s place, or sometimes I would still-hunt by moving very slowly and quietly through the timber.

Nowadays, in the more open, much wider country I hunt in the Rockies, I generally hunt by spot-and-stalk, although sometimes loyal sidekick Rat and I will take a position along a water source or a low saddle between two big drainages and watch for a while.

The main point is this:  Most predators don’t use any more calories than necessary when hunting, and in that, humans haven’t changed much since the Pleistocene.  Survival in nature is a simple matter of ensuring that, at minimum, calories in equals (or, preferably, exceeds) calories expended.  One of the better ways to do this is to make sure you expend the least amount of calories possible, which means ambush or stealth hunting.

There are a few exceptions (wolves come to mind) but not that many.  And if we can derive any conclusions about human behavior then from human behavior now, I’d suspect Henry Bunn is correct.  Read the entire article and see what you think.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!

Here’s a fun little mental exercise.  Should dueling be legal?  I’m not talking about sparring on Twitter or in the comments section of some news story.  I’m talking honest to gosh, 18th century-style, pistols at ten paces dueling.

Dueling has been illegal everywhere in the United States, indeed in most of the Western world, since the early 19th century at least.  But let’s set aside our ingrained prejudices for a moment and ask ourselves, in a society that honestly and completely exists under the concept of liberty – should it be?

Let’s do a thought experiment.

Two men (or women, or one of each, whatever) have a serious disagreement, one which cannot be reconciled by any normal means.  Courts have been unable to arrive at a settlement acceptable to both.  Counsel has failed.  They are well and truly at loggerheads.

So both of them, as capable, competent, consenting adults, in full possession of their faculties, agree to pistols at sunrise to settle the dispute.  They meet in a field with their seconds, who oversee the loading of the pistols; they take their places, step away from each other on the count and, when indicated, turn and fire.  One is killed, the other emerges the victor.

I’d use these, just for the sake of tradition.

Now – answer me this – what crime has been committed?

Oh, yes, I know there is a statutory crime committed.  But has their been a moral crime?  Both parties went into the affair knowing that death was a likely outcome.  I’ve read that back when the code duello was more commonly practiced, it was considered the gentlemanly thing to do to just pink your opponent in the arm or leg and claim victory without fatality, but fatal injuries were a normal outcome; it even happened to one of the more famous of our Founding Fathers.

But even in the event of a fatality – what qualifies this as a crime?  Both parties agree.  Both parties know the likely outcome.  Both parties are, presumably, competent to make the decision.  If we are truly to be a society that values personal liberty, we must also be a society that allows people to face the likely consequences of that liberty.  Dueling may be an extreme example of that, but it’s no less a valid one.

So.  Should dueling be legalized?  I’m inclined to say yes.

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.