Habits of Successful Species: Coyotes Reconsidered

THE ONLY PICTURES I have of coyotes are carcasses, left in the pasture after they got a little too close to the herd where our three guard dogs schooled them as to boundaries. In over 10 years of running a herd of about 300 ewes and nannies with three Great Pyrenees guard dogs — who …

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Robins decide to winter in Steamboat Springs

Brief by Allen Best

Wildlife – February 2009 – Colorado Central Magazine

Robins usually disappear from Steamboat Springs during the winter. Not so this one. A bird count in December revealed 110 robins, compared to 4 the previous year.

“I’ve never seen a winter like this. We’re really scratching our heads on this one,” the Yampa Valley Birding Club’s Tom Literall said.

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Guys doing what guys do best: butting heads

Brief by Allen Best

Wildlife – February 2009 – Colorado Central Magazine

You’ve heard the cliché about locked horns?

Cindy Cohagen had a rare opportunity to observe that phenomenon while walking her dog recently in the countryside near Eagle. Two deer bucks were smashing their an

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Prison technology used to prevent roadkill

Brief by Allen Best

Wildlife – November 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

For decades wildlife researchers have been trying to figure out the roadkill equivalent of a better mousetrap. They’ve tried tall fences to keep deer and elk off highways, and they’ve tried signs to warn motorists to slow down.

So far, nothing short of very expensive wildlife overpasses works very well in keeping apart car hoods and deer hooves. And despite what you may have heard, there’s no scientific studies to back up the claims of those sonic deer-whistles you could buy at Wal-Mart.

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Prison technology used to prevent roadkill

Brief by Allen Best

Wildlife – November 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

For decades wildlife researchers have been trying to figure out the roadkill equivalent of a better mousetrap. They’ve tried tall fences to keep deer and elk off highways, and they’ve tried signs to warn motorists to slow down.

So far, nothing short of very expensive wildlife overpasses works very well in keeping apart car hoods and deer hooves. And despite what you may have heard, there’s no scientific studies to back up the claims of those sonic deer-whistles you could buy at Wal-Mart.

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Not even the privileged can deter a porcupine

Essay by Judy Miller

Wildlife – October 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

WHEN FOLKS BUILD HOMES (or mansions) next to wilderness, they are often shocked to learn that the wilderness is, in fact, wild. Critters they once thought of as cute and charming are suddenly villainous and voracious, devouring flower beds, tunneling under irrigation systems, even munching on pricey trees dropped into the landscape by crane. And one of the most determined predators is the porcupine.

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Lynx survive but don’t breed in past 2 years

Brief by Central Staff

Wildlife – August 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Tomcats have a certain reputation, but it appears that they’re not living up to it in Colorado — at least if they’re lynx.

Closely related to bobcats, lynx have tufted ears and bigger feet, which enable them to get around better in the snow for their favorite prey, snowshoe hares. Alaskan and Canadian lynx were re-introduced into the state in 1999 through 2006, and have established a fairly stable population.

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Love takes the less-traveled road

Essay by Randy Udall

Wildlife – July 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

THE COPS SHOT A COUGAR in Chicago this spring. DNA tests suggested the young male may have begun his journey in the Black Hills of South Dakota, 1,000 miles away. If so, he roamed across three big states, looking for love.

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Boars favor golf course, sows prefer the ski area

Brief by Allen Best

Wildlife – May 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

A bear expert from Whistler, British Columbia, reports a perhaps surprising compatibility of bears and people there. The population reaches up to 120 bears in some years, owing to the resort’s three golf courses and its ski area, Whistler-Blackcomb, according to Michael Allen, a bear researcher.

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Rocky Mountain Mammals, by David M. Armstrong

Review by Ed Quillen

Wildlife – March 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Rocky Mountain Mammals A Handbook of Mammals of Rocky Mountain National Park and Vicinity
Third Edition
by David M. Armstrong
Published in 2008 by University Press of Colorado with the Rocky Mountain Nature Association
ISBN: 978-0-87081-882-0

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Hank, the non-cow dog

Essay by Joe Barnhart

Wildlife – March 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

A story in my local Montana paper, the Missoulian, described the growing problem of family pets harassing wildlife and livestock. It seems that the expansion of urban life into the wild is taking its toll on deer, elk, cattle and all kinds of burrowing creatures. The story really hit home as my dog Hank, aka “Where the heck did the dog run off to now?” is breaking us in.

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Plumber encounters mountain lion

Brief by Allen Best

Wildlife – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Crawling under a rural cabin to look at some frozen pipes, plumber Josh Pierce decided he wasn’t getting paid nearly enough. After crawling about 20 feet into a two-foot high space, with not even a wrench in his hand, he encountered what he quickly realized was a young mountain lion.

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Dancing Bear

Letter from Slim Wolfe

Wildlife – January 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Editors:

We’ve got problem bears roaming the high country, and now there’s a problem teddy-bear named Mohammed who caused a major problem for a schoolteacher in Khartoum, but let’s remember the fable of the dancing bear:

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Lots of ways for bears to die in Durango area

Brief by Allen Best

Wildlife – January 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

With most bears in Colorado now removed to their dens for winter, this year’s death toll can now be reckoned.

Across the state, 59 bears were “put down,” to use the common euphemism for the killing of bears by state wildlife officials.

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Bears in the ‘Burbs

Essay by Monique Cole

Wildlife – January 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

A RECENT LOCKDOWN at my daughters’ elementary school in Boulder brought horrific images to mind. But it was no big deal: merely a bear seen near the playground. Ironically, an outdoors program was under way, complete with kayak pool, climbing wall and mountain-bike course. The lockdown is typical of how wildlife interactions can so often become over-reactions.

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Activists defend feeding of bears

Brief by Allen Best

Wildlife – December 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

It’s been a bad, bad year for bears in the Lake Tahoe Basin. A record 75 bears have been struck and killed by vehicles, bears have snuck into homes, and in one case a police officer shot a bear as he was being charged.

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A Dose of Reality

Column by Hal Walter

Wildlife – November 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

THIS MORNING, while I was disposing of the first cup of coffee off the back deck, I heard the pitiful trumpeting alarm of a deer in distress. I walked around the side of the house in my boxer shorts to see what the commotion was about. Usually this sort of noise is the result of a doe and fawn having been separated by my fence, which previous owners unfortunately built with woven wire.

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Cutthroat Confusion

Brief by Central Staff

Wildlife – October 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

While the Colorado Division of Wildlife was stocking 264 high-mountain lakes with cutthroat trout fingerlings in August and September, genetic researchers at the University of Colorado announced that the cutthroats appear to be the wrong variety.

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Just add ammonia to discourage bears

Brief by Central Staff

Wildlife – October 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

While Aspen and many other mountain towns continue to fret about how to make their garbage less available and hence attractive to bears, Salida resident Julia Litz says she believes she has the solution.

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Saguache Mosquito Hunt may be re-instated

Letter from Asa Watcher

Wildlife – August 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

Saguache Mosquito Hunt may be reinstated by DOW since numbers are up in ’07

Dear Ed;

With an almost back-to-normal amount of rain up here on the Saguache this spring, the Division of Wildlife is reconsidering its ban on mosquito hunting this coming winter. Get ready, guys, it might be time to make a place over the mantel for that big mosquito buck mount I know you’ve been wanting this for too long now.

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Bighorns and Christo’s “Over the River”

Article by Allen Best

Wildlife – August 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

FOR DRIVERS with eyes peeled wide open, the canyon of the Arkansas River between Salida and Cañon City usually has bighorn sheep. They’re not like the sheep along Interstate 70 near Georgetown, which at times graze nearly to pavement’s edge. But the sheep are there, little patches of white against the morning sun, coming down amid the rocks to the river to drink.

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Bear-proof Dumpster a danger to humans?

Brief by Allen Best

Wildlife – August 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

If Vail’s new wildlife law isn’t a threat to human life, it’s at least a threat to limbs. So says one of the town’s councilmen, Farrow Hitt.

Earlier this year, Hitt voted for the law that mandates bear-proof Dumpsters and other trash containers. But in his duties as the manager of a condominium complex, he sees significant problems.

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Of mice and rattlesnakes

Brief by Central Staff

Wildlife – August 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

The security system at Central World Headquarters — that is, a mutt named Bodie — was bit by a rattlesnake on July 11 near Cleora. He’d been vaccinated with snakebite anti-venom, and he got to the vet quickly, so he was soon good as new.

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Rainbows turn a profit

Brief by Central Staff

Wildlife – July 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

The rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) is not native to Colorado, but it is a popular sport fish. According to a recent study conducted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, it’s also a valuable part of our economy.

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Some suckers deserve an even break

Article by Shanna Lewis

Wildlife – May 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

THERE ISN’T ONE BORN every minute, but things are looking up for a few suckers in the San Luis Valley — the Rio Grande Sucker fish. Once abundant, the numbers of these little brown Colorado native fish deteriorated so much, they were placed on the state endangered species list in 1993.

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Bears awaken early this year

Brief by Central Staff

Wildlife – May 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

Blame it on happenstance, global warming, or the development of an “early to rise” work ethic. Whatever the cause, it appears that Colorado’s black bears are getting up earlier this year.

Often they don’t emerge from their dens until late in April, but in early March, they were raiding trash receptacles in Crested Butte, and state wildlife officials say they have received reports of early sightings from many mountain towns.

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That bear story

Letter from Clay Warren

Wildlife – March 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

Editors:

Ordinarilly I wouldn’t a paid a bit o’ heed to any bear story told by a cop. However, as soon as ah see’d thet the government was doin’ hits best to discredit not one, but two actual qualified observers, ah knew in an instant what was goin’ on here: we’re talking Coverup! Ah’m jist suprised thet them two hunters wasn’t accused o’ mistaken a sow and two half growed cubs at 60 yards fer a weather balloon. Ah mean two guys with thet kind o’ combined experience around bears? Why hell, if they can’t tell the difference between a black and a grizz, they’d already be in jail for poachin’ an thet’s a fact.

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Grizzly or not? The bear question from Independence Pass

Article by Allen Best

Wildlife – February 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

TWICE IN HIS 42 YEARS Brad Phelps has seen the strange sight of crickets above timberline, hundreds of thousands of them, so thick that several were squashed with every step. The first time he observed this spectacle was in the 1980s when he was archery hunting in the La Garita Wilderness Area between Saguache and Creede.

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The strange diet of deer

Letter from Dave Clark Wildlife – February 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine Dear Ed and Martha, We just want to tell you how much we enjoy Colorado Central. It was interesting to read in Hal Walter’s recent article on cutting a Christmas tree about the deer eating all the needles off of the tree he …

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Watching with wonder a parliament of snowy owls

Essay by Charles Finn

Wildlife – January 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

ONE BY ONE as the afternoon shadows stretched across the winter fields north of Pablo, in the Flathead Valley of western Montana, a parliament of snowy owls began to fly up to sit on the neighboring fence posts.

Along the dirt roads circling the fields, cars were pulled over and spotting scopes set up; thermoses of coffee balanced on hoods like ornaments and bird guides felt the familiar ruffle of thumbs. That afternoon I had driven 100 miles to see the owls because I know beauty like this can make you catch your breath. It can break your heart. It can hurt so badly, sting so sweetly, that it becomes addictive.

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Signs aimed at reducing roadkill

Brief by Allen Best

Wildlife – December 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Nearly every year more roadkill in Grand Teton National Park is recorded. Last year, 145 animals were hit, a figure more than double that from the year 2000, reports the Jackson Hole News & Guide.

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Hunters question plan for elk reduction in national park

Brief by Allen Best

Wildlife – December 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Rocky Mountain National Park has become a refuge for a large and growing number of elk. That’s probably because no wildlife hunting is allowed within the park, as specified by Congress in 1915 and reaffirmed in 1929. And while mountain lions remain, the wolves that once kept elk numbers down have long since been extirpated.

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Bear accused of purse-snatching

Brief by Allen Best

Wildlife – December 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

A bear in Vail is being accused of being a purse-snatcher. The Vail Daily reports that a house was being remodeled, and the bear broke through the plastic and snatched the purse, which had a breakfast cereal box inside. Also taken by the bear was a takeout box from a restaurant.

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That’s really a croc

Brief by Central Staff

Wildlife – November 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Given the promotional talents of the reptile farm near Mosca, just about everybody knows there are alligators in the San Luis Valley. And now a crocodile has been found in the Rio Grande — but nowhere near here.

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Some of our goats will go to South Dakota

Brief by Central Staff

Wildlife – November 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Some mountain goats will be moving from Central Colorado to the Black Hills of South Dakota this month, as that state tries to restore its herd, which has been shrinking since 2000.

The plan is to capture up to 40 goats from “a wilderness area near Leadville”and transport them to the Black Hills. There, the population has fallen to about 100 animals.

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Watch out for hijackers in our national parks

Essay by Alan Kesselheim

Wildlife – September 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, spring last year. Marypat and I have stopped for a picnic break on our annual April ride through Yellowstone. We prop the bikes against a bridge railing, take our sandwiches and stroll to a grassy patch near a creek. It is quiet and tranquil in a way it never is during tourist season. The sun is warm. A herd of bison grazes in the distance.

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What to do if you see a bear

Sidebar by Lynda La Rocca

Wildlife – August 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Close encounters of the black bear kind:

Experts agree that people crossing paths with black bears should expect the unexpected.

Most bears know we’re there long before we’re aware of them. And those not conditioned to humans and human food will simply leave the area at the first glimpse of us.

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Bears in myth and legend

Sidebar by Lynda La Rocca

Wildlife – August 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Bears have been revered and respected throughout human history.

The Pawnee of the Plains venerate White Bear Medicine Woman, born with a bear’s spirit after her father killed a bear while she was in her mother’s womb, and known for her healing powers.

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Living in Bear Country

Article by Lynda La Rocca

Wildlife – August 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

TO THE UNINITIATED, it certainly looked like breaking and entering. But to my husband Steve and me, the splintered wood on the door of our detached garage meant one thing: The bear was back in town.

Granted, we’d never actually seen this burgling bruin. In fact, our only bear encounter during five years of living in Twin Lakes had occurred just weeks earlier, when a cub came around the corner of the garage as we were taking our dog Twink for her morning walk.

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The story behind the sign

Brief by Central Staff

Wildlife – March 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

The Colorado Division of Wildlife wants you to wash your gear after you’ve been in the river. The purpose is not sanitation, but preventing the spread of an alien invertebrate — the New Zealand mud snail.

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Time to Decide

Poem by Stewart S. Warrren

Wildlife – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Time To Decide

You’ve been here before:

the animal runs in front of your vehicle

and no amount of dodging or dancing

changes the certainty of bumper and thud.

I went back for her,

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Three bears stroll through Aspen

Brief by Allen Best

Wildlife – February 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Three bears were roaming Aspen in early January, and wildlife biologists told The Aspen Times bears occasionally come out of hibernation during winter.

One roamed in Silverthorne last year, and avalanche blasting at Steamboat has occasionally flushed groggy bears from the three dens found at the ski area. Wildlife officials do not suspect warmer temperatures or that hunger aroused the bears in Aspen.

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