Living With Wildlife

Local Mountain Lion

November 1st, 2015

From Lacey Story

Erich was blessed to have a close encounter with our neighborhood mountain lion last night at 2:30 AM.
Our elegant, sleek, dark, and rather large friend was on the porch and skulked off to the woodpile, silently and softly, ninja-like.

Remember head lamps or flashlights when going out at night here.

Lacey and Erich


More Bear stuff

July 10th, 2015

From Pam Sherman

We just talked with Kristin Cannon, district manager for Dept. of Parks and Wildlife, about bears (she came here).

She said she’d heard about other  bear issues; some folks have called her and some haven’t. She’d love it if people who haven’t talked with her would  tell her first hand about their bear encounters so she can put it into the overall picture of what’s going on here.

She did say the right thing to do is be assertive like Michele was when the bears came after her hives. Actively get them to go away or they’ll think it’s fine to come back. Passively, too–she said don’t bait the electric fences you put up; that’s actually illegal–the bears can feel the electricity and don’t like it and will stay away without any baiting needed. She said the worst thing to do is gawk and take photos and don’t do anything.

Her email is:
P: 303 291 7117
C: 303 877 6094

Benjamin Kilham on deterring “nuisance” bears around the home:

We read a book about bear behavior this winter,  Out on a Limb, by bear cub rehabilitator, bear researcher, and “nuisance bear” first responder Benjamin Kilham, who writes:

“…how can humans deter bears [as effectively as] other bears do?” 

“It is known that punishment or classical conditioning needs to be applied within 1.2 seconds of the act. With this in mind, I have observed and documented how black bears communicate aggression to each other, and I have mimicked this behavior with backyard “nuisance” bears. I refer to the resulting technique–essentially a human-dominance method–as “working a bear” or”walking a bear out.”  I have used it successfully in many instances where I am called upon to respond to nuisance bears. ”

“The most difficult part of this method is building up the courage to try it. But other first responders who attempt it will likely find the results come quickly and easily. The more experience  you get, the more effective you become at making bears leave an area. First responders on bear calls usually carry a gun, and those trying this technique might still want to do so for added protection. Soon enough, if done correctly, you will discover that it is not needed.”

“I learned this method from Squirty, the bear I raised as a cub and followed in the wild.  When she has young cubs to protect, she always lets me know when I should leave her area, and with one of her early litters of cubs I experienced one of her most forthright methods for persuading me to go. She locked her eyes on me with a hard stare while walking slowly and steadily towards me. That message was unforgettable.”

“So, when I mimic this technique on a nuisance-bear call, I lock eyes with the bear and walk slowly and steadily toward it. Locking your eyes on the bear identifies it as your subject, and walking toward it not only demonstrates intent. It is interpreted as a very aggressive and dominant action. Residential bears, knowing they are in my territory, will usually turn to flee on my first step. The message can be enhanced by walking stiffly and pursuing the bear until it trees or snorts and runs off.  The longer the pursuit, the more effective the action. Generally, it is not necessary to pursue a bear for more than 100 or 200 yards before they snort and take off. Bears are persistent; they may try to sneak back in for the food. If they do, wait for the bear and walk after it again. They will get the message and be reluctant to return…”

“In effect, when you put this method into practice, you become the dominant animal. This is a role routinely played by police and conservation officers: they wear a uniform and present themselves as the dominant figure when dealing with [human suspects.]”

“The value of this human-dominance method for first responders is that they will feel more confident about working with bears; and they will be able to get the bears they can see to leave the area immediately and, sometimes, forever. Another advantage of this method is that it doesn’t cost any additional money to apply… Ultimately, though, the food attractants that caused the problems have to be addressed.” [p.168-170]

Kilham says many bear moms are killed at beehives or chicken coops, trying to get high quality protein [birds or bee larvae] for their kids.

Like many other people, he says such tragedies can be avoided by: “surrounding the [chicken coop] or hive with an electric fence and routinely applying peanut butter, bacon grease, or another strong-smelling, sticky food to the wire with a sponge. You could also drape a piece of bacon over the wire or modify a sardine tin to hold a small amount of food and hang it from the wire. Bears check out all new smells with their tongues, and once zapped they have no more interest in what is on the other side of the fence.”[p.173]

Just contributing information to the discussion, not recommending anything– I’m no bear expert.



Your Neighbor’s Car after the bear

September 25th, 2009

This is your neighbor’s car after a visit by the bear.   Lock your car doors.   The bears can open unlocked doors.

Front Seat

Front Seat

Back Seat

Back Seat


Living with Wildlife

July 21st, 2009

Here in Gold Hill we are blessed with a great variety of wildlife.  However, as human populations grow and homes are built in or near wildlands, many wild animal habitats are reduced and/or fragmented.  This can lead to an increase in human-wildlife encounters, many of them potentially dangerous.  Pets at large can provide easy prey for mountain lions, and “food at large” such as unsecured trash, compost, and bird feeders can provide easy pickings for bears.  If mountain lions or bears learn that people’s homes are a source of food, then the likelihood of property damage, a dead pet, or someone getting hurt increases.  In these cases, there is usually no choice for wildlife officials other than to hunt down and kill the animal.

Here is the basic rule: Don’t feed wildlife. Don’t be responsible for the death of an innocent wild animal!  If you want more information about how to live safely with wildlife, please check out the extensive information provided by the Colorado Division of Wildlife.