Category Archive 'Wyoming'
30 Dec 2020
A ski run in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where legendary skier Doug Coombs once skied. Photo by Bob Woodall.
11 Apr 2020
A nine-year study of cougars in the Yellowstone National Park has found that nearly half of the big cats they tracked were infected with the plague-carrying bacteria Yersinia pestis at some point, according to a paper published last month in Environmental Conservation.
The Y. pestis bacteria is behind the Black Death, the mid-1300s epidemic of bubonic plague that in five years killed over 20 million people in Europe. These days, only about seven people catch Y. pestis each year in the United States. The bacteria lives in the soil, gets picked up by fleas living on rodents, and infects other creatures on its way up the food chain. The new evidence in cougars, also known as pumas and mountain lions, shows how flexible and dangerous the pathogen is in different hosts.
The study was conducted on cougars in the southern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, specifically in Jackson Hole, the valley east of the Grand Teton mountain range and south of Yellowstone National Park. â€œYou start to get a clear picture of how hard it is to be a mountain lion in Jackson Hole,â€ biologist and co-author Howard Quiqley tells Mike Koshmrl of Wyoming News. â€œIf you get to be an adult mountain lion in Jackson Hole, youâ€™re a survivor.â€
I guess it’s not really surprising. Black Plague is known to be endemic to rodent populations pretty much all over The West.
20 Sep 2018
see bottom story from New Mexico.
Hiker found dead on Mount Hood was likely killed by cougar. (ABC News 9/12):
The hiker who went missing on Mount Hood in late August and was found dead at the bottom of a ravine Monday was likely killed by a cougar, authorities said — a shocking twist in the missing persons case.
The body of Diana Bober, 55, was found Monday at the bottom of a 200-foot embankment on the famous Oregon mountain’s Hunchback Trail, the Clackamas County Sheriffâ€™s Office said Tuesday.
Bober was last seen on Aug. 29 when she went for a hike on the trail. Her backpack was found by two hikers on the following day and her car was left in a parking lot at the base of the mountain.
Ginseng hunter killed by black bear in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, bear still at large. (wbir 9/12):
The body of 30-year-old William Lee Hill Jr. of Louisville, Tennessee, was found Tuesday afternoon two miles north of Cades Cove off Rich Mountain Road, according to a news release from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Park officials began searching for Hill when they were notified on Sunday that Hill was missing. He and a close friend had gone to the park on Friday to look for ginseng and were separated during the day, and Hill had not been heard from since. …
An adult male bear remained in the area where Hill’s body was found and showed aggressive behaviors for multiple hours as rangers recovered Hill’s body throughout Tuesday evening, the release said. Evidence of wildlife scavenging of Hill’s remains was visible.
Wildlife biologists reportedly came to the area, trapped the bear and recovered human DNA from it, the release explained. At that point, park officials said they decided to humanely euthanize the bear out of concern for public safety — but on Friday it was revealed the bear had not, in fact, been euthanized yet and was fitted with a GPS tracker.
Wyoming grizzlies kill hunting guide, maul client. (Jackson Hole Daily 9/16)
The grizzly bears suspected of fatally mauling outfitter Mark Uptain were trapped and killed early Sunday near the elk carcass that caused conflict on Terrace Mountain.
â€œWe killed two grizzly bears up there a little bit ago, and we have every reason to believe they are the offending bears,â€ Wyoming Game and Fish Department Jackson Regional Supervisor Brad Hovinga said around 10:45 a.m. Sunday. â€œThey fit the description.â€ …
[W]ildlife managers are not releasing all the details about what they believe occurred when Uptain and his bow-hunting client, Corey Chubon, were aggressively attacked by the pair of bruins Friday afternoon.
Hovinga surmised that the bears involved were a sow and its grown cub.
â€œThe behavior exhibited by these bears is abnormal behavior for a family group,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s not typically how we would see family groups behave.â€
Chubon, who was airlifted out of the Teton Wildness with leg, chest and arm injuries, reported to investigators that of the two grizzlies involved, only one was the aggressor. The Florida resident, who flew back home Saturday, told authorities that he was unable to fire a shot from a handgun he retrieved during the attack, but he threw the firearm to Uptain before departing the scene.
Late Saturday, Hovinga declined to discuss evidence collected at the scene, but he did say that bear-deterrent pepper spray was among the things the guide and client possessed. He said he â€œdidnâ€™t knowâ€ if the handgun was with Uptainâ€™s remains. The gun was not recovered immediately around where the attack took place, at the site of an elk Chubon had struck with an arrow Thursday. The guide and client did not locate and start to retrieve the elk until early the next afternoon.
The elk carcass was â€œundisturbedâ€ when it was located by Uptain and Chubon, which suggests that the bear was not necessarily food guarding â€” a common behavior that often leads to conflicts with humans, especially hunters.
New Mexico hunting guide kills attacking bear with Glock, deceased bear remains attached to his leg. (All Outdoor 9/14):
When a New Mexico hunting guide reportedly found himself the target of a bear, he dropped his phone and reached for his pistol. It would turn out to be one of the best decisions he ever made. An earlier decision, though, threatened to cost him his life.
Heâ€™d been working out his dogs in preparation for the upcoming hunting season when theyâ€™d struck a bearâ€™s trail. The only way to put an end to that was to catch up with his dogs, so he pursued, with family members following. As he approached the fight, he grabbed his not-fully-loaded pistol as he left his UTV.
As an afterthought, he took the GLOCK 20 10mm pistol from his vehicle and shoved it in his waistband behind his cowboy belt. It was loaded with 175 grain Hornady Critical Duty FlexLock loads. The magazine only had 10-12 rounds in it. A few months earlier, he had heard the theory of â€œspring setâ€ and decided not to keep the magazine fully loaded.
He approached the melee, expecting the bear to run at the sight of him. And when he spotted the bruin, he grabbed his phone to take some video of its unusual cinnamon coloration. But the bear had other ideas.
Bridgerâ€™s first thought was to get video. It would be an incredible image. Big cinnamon bears arenâ€™t common. The bear would run at any moment, once he saw or smelled the man. Bridger grabbed his phone.
That bear never read the rulebook. It didnâ€™t run. The bear saw Bridger, turned toward him, and flattened its ears back along its head. Its eyes had locked on Bridger. Heâ€™d watched hundreds of bears in similar situations and he knew heâ€™d been targeted. He dropped the phone and snatched the GLOCK from his belt.
A lot happened very fast, but for Bridger, everything slowed down as he went into tachypsychia. Itâ€™s a common occurrence in high stress life-or-death situations. The mind speeds up and events appear to be happening in slow motion. In reality, the person is acting faster than they ever have before.
The bear was coming for him. Bridger elected not to aim for the head. He didnâ€™t want to hit one of his dogs. He triggered two or three shots aimed at the bearâ€™s body. The bear started to spin, snapping at the wounds, about six feet away.
Bridger decided to retreat. He turned and hopped to the next boulder, then the next. He was mid air to the third when he saw dogs moving past him.
In his fast mind-state, he realized this was bad. As he landed and turned, the big GLOCK in his hand, and saw the bear coming at him like an over-sized NFL linebacker with claws and big, pointy teeth.
Before he could fire again, the bear hit him. They went over the edge of the shelf together, tumbling down a steep, rocky slope in mortal combat.
Although he has no memory of shooting as they fell, empty shells were later found along the path of their descent.
Bear and man stopped downslope, wedged into brush and boulders. Bridger could feel the bear and frantically attempted to disentangle. The bear reared erect, jaws ready to strike. Bridger shot him again, in the front of his chest before falling/sliding further down the slope. The bear pursued him. He screamed at Janelle to stay away.
Bridger tried to kick the bear away from him as it tried to get at his upper body. He couldnâ€™t shoot for fear of hitting his own legs.
The bear dodged a kick, and grabbed Bridgerâ€™s right inner thigh in its jaws, lifting him like a dog lifting a rabbit. Bridger shoved the muzzle of the GLOCK against the bears neck, trying to shatter its spine and shut the bear down. He fired.
The bear released his lower thigh, then grabbed his calf, just below the knee. The shot missed the spine. Man and bear are still moving fast, but in Bridgerâ€™s hyper-aware state, time slowed. He saw an opportunity for a headshot and pressed the trigger on the GLOCK.
Later, Bridger found bear hair between the guide rod and the slide of the G20 pistol. The hair prevented the slide from returning into battery. Bridger knew he should still have ammunition left in the magazine, so he racked the slide and saw a live round eject in slow motion.
Fractions of a second later, another opportunity for a head shot presented itself. The bear ripped at his leg. As the bear tried to tear off his calf muscle, Bridger saw his chance and pressed the trigger.
Man and bear went down together, rolling and sliding a bit further down the slope.
Although the bear was dead, its teeth were still hopelessly tangled in Bridgerâ€™s calf muscle. When rescue personnel arrived â€” quickly, thanks to his familyâ€™s close proximity at the time of the attack â€” they struggled and failed to free the meat from the fangs. Only after cutting the bearâ€™s head off with a pocket knife could they transport Bridger and his now-gray leg muscle.
14 Nov 2013
Steve Bodio’s tazy (Oriental greyhound) and Harris Hawk (Ataika & Mima) deer watch together out the window of a house while visiting in Wyoming.
They want that deer!
10 Dec 2012
The late Wolf 832F
Jezebel joins the New York Times in mourning the untimely death, this Wyoming hunting season, of fashionista Wolf 832F, widely admired for her successful career as wildlife runway model, her spectacular fur coat, her $4000 tracking collar, and her world-wide fan club.
[T]he New York Times reports that 832F, the very photogenic alpha female of the park’s semi-famous Lamar Canyon, was shot and killed on Thursday beyond the park’s boundaries thanks to state-sanctioned wolf hunts in Wyoming.
The wolf had been fitted with a $4,000 GPS collar as part of the park’s wolf-tracking program. Based on data gathered from the collar, researchers knew that the pack rarely ventured outside the park boundaries, and when they did leave Yellowstone, it was only for very short periods of time. 832F was considered among scientists and photographers to be something akin to a “rock star” in the lupine world (a photo of 832F snapped by wildlife photog Jimmy Jones appears in the current issue of American Scientist), and her sudden death has further stoked a debate about the wisdom of state- and federally-sanctioned wolf hunts in the northern Rockies.
Jezebel aptly proposes commemorating her death by watching CJ on West Wing discuss a similar case (3:10 video). Apparently it was just not possible in time to arrange for Elton John to sing Goodbye, Yellowstone Rose!
10 Nov 2010
It is always a good day for NYM when we are able to add one more dire effect to the Warmlist catalogue.
Julie Cart, at the LA Times, consults the environmental seers who explain that grizzly bear predation on humans in Wyoming and Montana results from Global Warming.
A number of complex factors are believed to be working against grizzlies, including climate change. Milder winters have allowed bark beetles to decimate the white-bark pine, whose nuts are a critical food source for grizzlies. Meanwhile, there has been a slight seasonal shift for plants that grizzlies rely on when they prepare to hibernate and when they emerge in the spring, changing the creatures’ denning habits.
The result, some biologists say, is that bears accustomed to feasting on berries and nuts in remote alpine areas are being pushed into a more meat-dependent diet that puts them on a collision course with the other dominant regional omnivore: humans.
05 Jan 2009
You won’t need to worry about Global Warming if the Yellowstone Caldera decides to erupt.
Hundreds of earthquakes have hit Yellowstone National Park, raising fears of a more powerful volcanic eruption.
The earthquake swarm, the biggest in more than 20 years, is being closely monitored by scientists and emergency authorities.
The series of small quakes included three last Friday which measured stronger than magnitude 3.0. The strongest since this latest swarm of quakes began on December 27 was 3.9.
No damage has yet been reported but scientists say this level of activity – there have been more than 500 tremors in the last week – is highly unusual.
“The earthquake sequence is the most intense in this area for some years,” said the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. Some of the larger earthquakes have been felt by park employees and guests, according to the observatory.
The swarm is occurring beneath the northern part of Yellowstone Lake in the park. Yellowstone sits on the caldera of an ancient supervolcano and continuing geothermal activity can be seen in the picturesque geysers and steam holes, such as Old Faithful.
About 1,000 to 2,000 tremors a year have been recorded since 2004. …
Professor Robert B. Smith, a geophysicist at the University of Utah and one of the leading experts on earthquake and volcanic activity at Yellowstone, said that the swarm was significant.
“It’s not business as usual,” he said. “This is a large earthquake swarm, and we’ve recorded several hundred. We are paying careful attention. This is an important sequence.”
The last full-scale explosion of the Yellowstone Supervolcano, the Lava Creek eruption which happened approximately 640,000 years ago, ejected about 240 cubic miles of rock and dust into the sky.
Geologists have been closely monitoring the rise and fall of the Yellowstone Plateau as an indication of changes in magma chamber pressure.
The Yellowstone caldera floor has risen recently – almost 3in per year for the past three years – a rate more than three times greater than ever observed since such measurements began in 1923.
From mid-summer 2004 through to mid-summer 2008, the land surface within the caldera moved upwards as much as 8in at the White Lake GPS station. The last major earthquake swarm was in 1985 and lasted three months.
USGS Yellowstone Volcano Observatory site
Map of recent earthquakes
06 Jul 2008
a previous Rainbow Family Gathering
The US Forest Service unexpectedly canceled a week-long Boy Scout honor society service project planned since 2004 in favor of a suddenly “spontaneously announced” Rainbow Family “Gathering of the Tribes” at the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Western Wyoming.
The decision to pull the plug on the Boy Scouts in favor of the counterculturalists was made by Mark E. Rey, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment in the Department of Agriculture.
The Boy Scouts’ event was part of a program of 5,000 elite boy scouts donating 250,000 hours of time for construction, repair, and reclamation work in five National Forests. The scout volunteers intended to camp out in Bridger-Teton, build a trail at Teton Pass and remove a quarter of a mile of obsolete sheep fencing as well as three miles of fenced enclosure at an altitude of 8000 feet.
WorldNetDaily reports that the Forest Service booted the scouts in favor of the hippies, rather than go to the trouble and expense of law enforcement.
The conflict arose with the Wyoming location and dates, because Rainbow Family participants announced they would meet in the same general location as the Scouting work was to take place. The Rainbow Family events are not organized, there is no official website, and the makeup of the assemblage varies. Their activities grow to a peak over the July 4th weekend and then taper off, but the cleanup from the estimated 25,000 people expected to invade Wyoming’s Sublette County, population 6,000, is expected to take the time the Scouts otherwise would have been doing repairs.
Mary Cernicek, a spokeswoman for the Bridger-Teton National Forest, told the Casper Star-Tribune federal officials will look for other work in another location to substitute for the Scouts.
“We’re heartbroken, but we’re committed to giving the Boy Scouts a good experience and providing them with the education and leadership skills they’re seeking,” she told the newspaper.
Bousman said it’s fairly simple: The Scouts applied for permission for their project, filled out forms, went through red tape, and got permission. Then came the announcement from Rainbow members they’ve chosen the same location.
Mark Rey, the federal undersecretary supervising the U.S. Forest Service, met with Rainbow Family members recently in Pinedale, and urged them to move their gathering, the Star-Tribune said. They refused.
Rey told WND he thought the decision to move the Scouts to somewhere else and leave the Rainbow Family alone was the best under the circumstances. He said the government allows the Rainbow Family to bypass its regular permit requirements in favor of an “operating plan” but the bottom line was that the government didn’t want to be arresting hundreds or thousands of people.
“They couldn’t be expelled without a fairly significant amount of law enforcement activity.”
But law enforcement activity took place anyway.
The Forest Service, for reasons it won’t divulge so far (probably drugs), made an arrest, a second individual was then arrested as well for interfering with the first arrest, and as the fedral officers led the suspects away, they were attacked with sticks and stones by a crowd of 400. Eventually more than 60 police were required to control the mob, and rubber skugs and “pepper balls,” i.e. paint balls containing pepper spray, were fired at the crowd. Ultimately five people were arrested, and the ACLU is threatening retaliation.
The Casper Star-Tribune blames the police.
20 Mar 2008
Ian Frazier, in the New Yorker, satirizes conspicuous real estate consumption.
Typically, this New Yorker essay ridiculing the super-rich manages to combine with its satire a very characteristic note of complacent self-identification with the supposed target.
I feel sorry for people who still think of their places in terms of square feet. My partner, Scott, and I recently purchased Wyoming, which we are in the process of having renovated, and, yes, I do know the square footage (something like two trillion seven hundred and thirty billion square feet, give or take). But thatâ€™s just not a very practical type of measurement when weâ€™re dealing with all the plumbers and contractors and security staff and reporters and other non-wealthy service personnel we have to give instructions to. …
Basically, we are looking at this purchase as a tear-down. Thereâ€™s really not a lot here youâ€™d want to keep, except one or two of the Wind River Mountains and some old nineteen-twenties Park Service structures in Yellowstone. Scott and I bought for the locationâ€”itâ€™s convenient to anywhere, really, if you think about itâ€”and for the simplicity of line. We wanted someplace rectangular, a much easier configuration from a design point of view, and we wonâ€™t have to fuss with panhandles and changeable riverine property lines where weâ€™re going to get into disputes with the landowner next door. Spare us the headaches, please! Weâ€™ve had plenty already, with the former occupants (thank heavens theyâ€™re gone) and all the junk they left behindâ€”the old broken-down pickup trucks, houses, eyesore water towers, uranium mines, the University of Wyoming, Yellowtail Dam, Casper. Iâ€™m a thrower-outer. I believe we must first clear everything away, then see what weâ€™ve got. Scott is more sentimental. He thinks we should leave the North Platte River, for example, and work around it. I havenâ€™t said yes or no. Iâ€™m secretly hoping he changes his mind.
Read the whole thing.