Wyoming Hunters to Hold Anti-Wolf Rally

A handful of outfitters will rally Saturday in Jackson to protest wolves, a predator they say has impacted their livelihood and their heritage by reducing elk populations in some segments of the Jackson Elk Herd.

Conservation groups counter by saying that the Jackson Elk Herd, and the majority of elk herds around the state, are over the population objectives set by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Further, they say that wolves have restored perhaps the only intact ecosystem in the lower 48 states and their presence benefits numerous other species by keeping elk in check.

Click here to read the story

March 1-14, 2010

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, leaving little time for daily trip reports. I’ve been enjoying the slow arrival of Spring in the outdoors with camera in hand, here are some photo highlights from recent outings:

Colorado Panoramas

I’ve recently finished my first large-scale landscape panoramas consisting of multiple images merged together – I’m not entirely happy with the results, but it’s a start! Click on the photos below to view the panoramas at full size.

Roxborough State Park panorama
Roxborough State Park, CO panorama
Deer Creek Panorama
Deer Creek, CO panorama

Sunday, Feb. 28th 2010

Spent the evening in Cherry Creek S.P. – plenty of wildlife around including a red-tailed hawk (very close, but too many branches in the way), two far-off bald eagles, several coyotes and whitetail deer, but the muted winter light was just horrible for photography. I’m really ready for the spring to bring some sunshine, blue skies and color back to these grey and brown foothills.

Saturday, Feb. 27th 2010

Spent another nice afternoon at Chatfield with my wife – hiked in to the trees to look for the owl, after a half hour of searching I found it roosting about 20 feet up. The light was less than optimum, and there were too many branches in the way to get great shots. Spotted a ton of hawks, but other than that is was an uneventful yet still incredibly enjoyable evening.

Friday, Feb. 26th 2010

Another 6-coyote day at Chatfield – from the Highline Canal to Fox Run, the song dogs were out in full force. One of the Plum Creek yearlings made an appearance, as well as the alphas and an unknown yote. The Catfish Flats female took down another goose, this time alone, just west of Kingfisher.

The male was about a half mile south of her, hunting voles on the far side of a row of trees, unaware of the entire thing. We watched her for a while, then finished the day with a couple of close hawks at Massey Draw.

Thursday, Feb. 25th 2010

Spent the late afternoon taking pictures of mule deer at Deer Creek, then Dan and I headed to Chatfield for sunset coyotes. Found the Plum Creek’s (male and female alphas, not sure where the 2 yearlings were) at their usual spot, in sight but way out of camera range in the blowing snow, so we hit the west side of the park. Caught the beautiful Catfish Flats couple (see Valentine’s Day trip report) out in the snow. These two are excellent hunters, this is the first time I’ve ever seen coyotes succeed at hunting geese. My coyote luck seems to be getting a little better, finally – spotted 6 of them today.

Saturday, Feb. 20th 2010

Attempted to drive up to the Rampart Range area with Dan, but turned around due to the snow storm. Spent the rest of the evening at Chatfield, trying our best to get shots of the only subjects readily available, red-tailed hawks in terribly low light. Saw a coyote, some whitetails, and the usual porcupine – all too far away to get decent shots. Another rough winter day…

Thursday, Feb. 18th 2010

Dan and I went to Daniels Park for bison, snow moved in and shots were horrible so we moved east to avoid the storm. Scouted around Castlewood Canyon S.P. and surrounding areas – saw a herd of elk (all bulls, too far away for any decent shots), a red fox and various hawks.

Kathie Lynch: Druid wolf pack likely to fade away

Down to one wolf. I guess that means the end of the wolf pack. The Druid Peak wolf pack was formed in the release enclosure back in 1996. Most of the wolves came from the same pack in British Columbia, but not all. For example the big alpha male came from another pack. The Druids immediately set about trying, and then finally succeeding to dominate the Lamar Valley. It was a good 14 years with hundreds of thousands of people seeing them.

Click here to read the story

Hunting Wolves : Saving Wolves on PBS

Last year the Obama Administration removed federal protection from some of the wolves that had been restored to the northern Rockies under the Endangered Species Act. The move paved the way for controversial state-regulated wolf hunts.

NOW, with David Brancaccio, takes a comprehensive look at all sides of the wolf issue.

Show airs on PBS on February 26th at 8:30 PM (MST)
click here to view the program online

Sunday, Feb. 14th 2010

I couldn’t have asked for a nicer Valentine’s Day! My wonderful wife packed a picnic lunch, we left the house for Chatfield and were hiking along Plum Creek by 2:00. Right off the bat we were treated to a great horned owl, which we followed for a bit and were able to photograph at close range in three different trees.

We had lunch and decided to hike out to check for the porcupine in his usual area. I soon spotted him on the ground near his tree, Shina got a real kick out of watching me waddle down the snowy hill after the waddling porcupine.

We spent some time with the porcupine, then made a long loop through the flooded, now mostly frozen area of South Plum Creek, back to the truck. We decided to head home and drove out the west side of the park instead of going south, sure glad we did. As soon as we reached Catfish Flats we spotted two coyotes on the east side of the road. We soon realized that this was a male and female, and we were able to watch them hunting voles for the next half hour. They put on quite a show – at one point the male came to within 15 feet of the truck, crossed the road to check for prey in a culvert, then crossed back and followed alongside the truck for about half a mile. He caught a vole for the female coyote and presented it to her, which she gladly accepted, but when he tried to help himself to one that she had caught he was harshly scolded. The sun was setting as the couple retreated to the trees, a great end to a perfect day in the field!

Saturday, Feb. 13th 2010

Left the house around 1:00, picked up Dan and headed to Roxborough State Park. Most of the mulies were grazing up high on the hogback, way out of my camera range. No sign of the bald eagle that’s been out on the lake lately – hopefully it’s still in the area, I haven’t had the chance to get any decent shots of it yet. Left Roxy and headed to Deer Creek Canyon Park, found the main deer herd at their usual spot. The mule deer bucks, unlike their whitetail cousins, have yet to drop their antlers. Got a couple close shots of a yearling, waited for the big bucks to get up and move toward us but gave up after an hour.

Exited the Deer Creek area and headed to Chatfield. Plenty of red-tailed hawks at Chatty, just out of my range – still working toward that 500mm lens! Spent a little while shooting the mallards and goldeneyes at the flooded Plum Creek area, really beautiful birds. We’ve been having better luck with coyotes on the west side of the park lately, so we headed that way around 4:30. No canines around so we spent a half hour or so shooting canada goose close-ups – there’s got to be around 500 of them taking a break from their migration to refuel at the park. We decide to call it a day and started to head home, but just as we reached the entrance road we spotted a coyote mousing near the shoulder. Spent the rest of the sunset hour with the yote, got some shots but the light was less than perfect – still a great way to end the day!

Tuesday, Feb. 9th 2010

Spent a couple of hours this afternoon at Chatfield State Park, saw 4 coyotes travelling together (took me forever to figure out that it was the same family unit that I had spent so much time around this summer, they look different in their winter coats!), several whitetails, two large groups of mule deer and a porcupine.