May 2008

grizz_resizeMore wildlife conflicts here at the ranch, which is sad and a sign of stress, due to the prolonged drought and exceptionally long, cold winter.

A grizzly came to the garbage outside our house one night; we were alerted by the dogs barking and could see it in the moonlight, trying to find something edible. It was back again the following night; this time the bear left quite quickly, but not before we observed an impressive charge towards the dog kennel! Unfortunately, the next morning we discovered the mayhem it had caused in our old milkshed. The doors had been ripped apart like matchsticks, seed oats were scattered ankle deep on the floor and the grain bin lid was open. At this point we called the Wyoming Game and Fish. We had stallions in pens, weanlings and in-foal mares scattered about the vicinity. They came immediately and set a culvert trap, with a road-killed deer leg for bait. The next night it was the same story with the grain. The following day the Game and Fish biologists installed an electric fence around the milkshed and set a snare attached to a stout tree, since this bear was obviously wise to traps. In the morning he was caught; a magnificent 720 lb male!

trap_resizeHe was tranquilized, and with all of us pushing and pulling was loaded into the trap. It was a relief to see the last of him, although we are grateful he fixated on garbage and grain and did not molest the livestock at all. We now have a new summer project for the maintenance man: bearproofing all our feed stores. We had become too complacent and feel guilty for inadvertently luring this beautiful animal away from his natural habitat.