Updated: Feb 5
by Lynn Walker
Living in Lion/Bobcat/Lynx/Bear/Moose/Coyote/Fox Country
In the summers when the Colorado Mountain Ranch is full of people and action, wild predator animals only very rarely wander through the Colorado Mountain Ranch. Yet in the off-season when things are much quieter here in the mountains at 8500’ elevation, signs and sightings of Colorado mammals are more common. This year we had a wintertime moose visitor, yet in case anyone is wondering, there has never been a report of a summertime moose visitor.
We believe in education about wild animal behavior and safe human responses. This serves children while at Camp in the mountains and those who may also venture out with other family or friends. We coach staff and campers that if you are quiet when walking or riding horses in the woods, you may be lucky enough to see local mountain animals – deer, elk, rabbits, birds, foxes, or even bears, mountain lions, bobcats, lynx, or moose. Camper Orientation addresses how to behave if you happen to cross trails with one of these wild animals.
Here’s what we say:
There are two scenarios which can become dangerous between people and wild animals. The first is if another animal (a person included) comes between a mother and her baby, then the mother instinctively will do everything she can to protect her baby. The second is if a predator, such as a wild cat or bear, sees or otherwise senses another animal running (people included), the animal may think that the runner is prey and take chase. So, the precaution is to stay alert and move slowly.
Here’s what to do if you ever happen to come across a big wild animal:
Look down and think friendly thoughts. Animals can pick up on your thoughts and vibrations. (Ask Lynn about her amazing mountain lion encounter.)
Never look eye-to-eye with the animal, as this may seem threatening to the animal.
Slowly and quietly, back away out of the animal’s space and keep backing further away.
If the animal at any time does seem aggressive or threatening, keep backing away and make noise by yelling. At the same time, raise your arms to make yourself look big or grab a stick or other object to look even bigger.
Noise should scare off the animal and also bring other people whose sound and presence will also help keep the animal moving away.
POINT OF INTEREST: At the Colorado Mountain Ranch and on outcamp treks, there has never been an injury or even a negative encounter of a person with a wild animal. Our plan is to carry on with caution, education, and good vibes.
Visiting Moose. Late in December, a gigantic moose strolled through the Ranch with the biggest rack of antlers any of us could have imagined possible. He was huge! So Mike named him Ben, as in “Big Ben.” The next morning, Mike found one rack of antlers and the morning after that, Josie found the other. He seemed to be passing through to give the Ranch the best Holiday gifts ever!
Veteran CMR staff members Lauren, CMR head wrangler for many years, and Rachel, Camp Clown since age 7, came by to help Josie, year-round Ranch Walker, show off the size of the moose rack!
Wishing everyone mid-winter cheer as we look ahead to summer,
The Walker Family
Da moose at da Ranch ;)