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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Strange Thing To Carry

My kids (3, 4 & 6) intercepted and detained a pedestrian passing our house the other evening on the grounds that he was in Public Possession of Dogs, and they needed to subject him to the usual line of questioning: "Names?", "Ages?", "Boys or Girls?", "Do they bite?" etc..

Strangely none of them noticed what I saw immediately, which was the holstered handgun on his hip. I'm sure he had a license to do so, but what he was expecting might happen to him in our Nice Suburban Neighborhood is anyone's guess.

On the other hand one of my wife's co-workers reported a sighting of a mountain lion about two miles southeast of us a couple of years ago. I'm inclined to wonder whether *ahem* alcohol was a factor in that case because we're definitely on the wrong side of the city for that kind of wildlife -- antelope, deer, foxes and the occasional coyote maybe, but how a lion would pass unnoticed around Colorado Springs from the mountains on the west to the plains on the eastern side is a mystery to me.

However the mountains to the west of us aparantly have the highest density of mountain lions throughout the Rockies, which leads to some basic precautions when hiking with the kids -- don't let them straggle or walk too far in front is all it really amounts to. (That link contains other interesting information on bubonic plague, hanta virus, avalanches etc. by the way). Sightings and other less fortunate encounters seem to be pretty common up around Boulder though.

Here's a prime example of the kind of plump, tender morsel that a lion would enjoy most.

It's amazing how fast those legs will carry him if he's told that there's a lion behind him!


At 5:58 PM, Blogger Joel Garry said...

Of course, running from a mountain lion is the worst thing you can do, assuming you don't want to be eaten. You transform yourself from "maybe prey?" to "Wzzhui! Prey!" And they can outrun animals that can outrun you.

One time I was with my friend in a malt shop and noticed every dog hanging around outside was suddenly acting very strange. A fellow walked up with a full grown cougar on a leash. He said he had caught it as a kitten. Pretty sure it was illegal even then (c. 1973).

If you think about it, 100 square mile hunting areas can include a lot of fairly urban settings.

Word verification: Wzzhui

At 1:01 PM, Blogger David Aldridge said...

I remember reading that the best kind of dung for keeping deer away is that of lions, and that was research performed on European red deer whose ancestors haven't seen a lion for thousands of years. I suppose that there are some fears that are wired very deeply into the genome.

That must really have freaked out the dogs.

At 4:48 PM, Blogger Joel Garry said...

That must really have freaked out the dogs.

Yeah, in those days there were usually half-a-dozen or so dogs hanging around sleeping in the sun, they all got up and started whining and pacing. At first we both thought "earthquake coming?"

Last summer I took the family to that place, it had recently been remodeled in a '50s motif. No dogs. It is near where the big fires wiped out the forest where I used to wander around as a small child. Mountain lion population had been decimated at that time. Nowadays... (not to mention all the weirdos out there).

At 5:04 AM, Blogger Pete_S said...

A couple of years ago I looked at buying a house in Canmore, AB - just down the road (about 1 hour) from Rob Vollman. I saw in the local press that grizzlies (mother & 2 cubs) were seen just behind the house last week and a brown bear family on the other side of the hill.


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