More Bobcats

I mentioned bobcats the other day, and embedded a video showing their angry side.  Here’s a pretty awesome bobcat video showing their maternal side.

Here’s the story per the email I received.

A mother bobcat found a secluded intersecting roof line area on the top of a house in Cave Creek, AZ where she gave birth to two kits. The house had a skylight, so the owners could watch the cats on the roof. When the owners noticed that one kit was missing, they originally assumed that it had been taken by a hawk or owl – until the owner remembered there was an open column off of the roof.  He drilled an opening in the column open so the kit could crawl out.  The kit came out and promptly fell im the swimming pool.

Mountain Lion Hunting: Who’s the [Kitty] Here?

Let’s start with a few facts.  I’m from the rural south.  I love to hunt, mostly birds, and I eat what I kill.  In fact, I don’t duck hunt much because I don’t like the way ducks taste.  I shoot skeet or sporting clays every chance I get.  I drive a pickup truck.  I have a beard, etc.  So even though I’d probably disagree with the typical good ol’ boy on a lot of social and political issues, I’ve been mistaken for a good ol’ boy more than a few times.  I am not some animal rights extremist.  I have crapped all over PETA here and on Twitter for years for being so absurdly extremist that it has completely lost the power to convince.

Oh, and one last fact: the next to last fistfight I got in was after I called some guy a [synonym for kitty] for going to Africa and shooting lions and elephants and whatnot.  It was a long time ago after a few beers and one too many great white hunter story.  I proved to be a little tougher adversary than some oblivious lion a hundred or so yards away.

image So, while I generally identify with the hunter/camper/outdoorsman culture, I draw a very bright line between those animals that are OK to hunt and those that are not.  Dove, ducks and deer are one one side of that line.  Lions, elephants and bears are on the other.  So it really bummed me out today when I saw some dude on a hunting blog I read proudly retelling how some other dudes killed a mountain lion in central Texas.  If I saw a mountain lion that wasn’t about to eat me or my family, I would be really excited.  Honored, actually.  What I wouldn’t be is inclined to shoot it.

I understand the argument that mountain lions adversely affect the deer population. Well, guess what- so do humans, and I imagine there are a lot more humans out there killing deer than there are mountain lions.  I love deer meat and eat it all the time, but I certainly wouldn’t kill a mountain lion just to ensure a few more pounds of deer sausage in my refrigerator.  And let’s not overlook the fact that the only reason most of these folks want to keep the deer from being killed by a mountain lion is so they can kill them themselves.

I have heard- and rejected- the argument that mountain lions are dangerous.  The fact is that mountain lion attacks are rare.  Dogs kill far more people annually than mountain lions do in a century.

And I understand, even if I don’t completely believe, the argument that the mountain lion population is growing, with the decline of pesticides and goat and sheep farming.  What I also understand is that in Texas mountain lions are not classified as a game animal, which means anyone can kill as many of them as they can find, any time and without limit.  That’s messed up.  There are only 30,000 mountain lions in the western United States.  There are 30 million deer in the United States, with deer population control becoming a major concern in numerous states.  So I’m not buying the argument that there aren’t enough deer to feed a few mountain lions.

So unless there is evidence that this mountain lion was an immediate danger to persons or expensive property and could not be trapped and relocated despite diligent attempts to do so, those dudes should have let that cat go.

If you are interested in learning about mountain lions- as opposed to just killing them, here’s an informative article on their population, age distribution and mortality rates.

One More Reason Not to Like

What passes for country music these days.

According to Reuters, Troy Gentry, of the country act Montgomery Gentry, has been charged with killing a tame bear named Cubby and then faking a video to make it look like a hunting trophy.

According to Reuters:

“After using a bow and arrow to kill the animal inside its pen, Gentry and the owner of the preserve tagged the bear and registered it with the state as if it had been killed in the wild. A videotape was edited to make it appear that Gentry had hunted down the bear.”

What kind of dude (I’ll resist using the P word) do you have to be to want to shoot a tame, caged bear and dummy up a video to make it look like a hunt?

What’s next, a big game hunting trip to the zoo?

I wonder how many more seconds the “Humane Society Approved” logo will be on the Minnesota Wildlife Connection‘s web site?

I grew up listening to country music, but to my knowledge I have never heard a Montgomery Gentry song. The stuff coming out of Nashville these days sounds more like recycled Dan Fogelberg than Merle Haggard or George Jones.

If he really did this, maybe he’ll have prison in common with Merle Haggard. That would be about it.

Black Squirrels

blacksquirrelThe BBC has an article about a rare black squirrel that regularly visits a garden in England.

I saw a black squirrel when I was a kid. One afternoon, after school, my mom and I were driving from my hometown to my mom’s hometown a couple of hours away. The route leads through a lot of pine forests. Somehow my mom noticed the squirrel foraging around near the edge of the woods beside the road. She stopped the car and backed up along the shoulder. We slipped out of the car and watched the squirrel for a few minutes.

I hadn’t thought about that squirrel in a long time until the other day when Cassidy asked me if there were red or black squirrels. I told her there were and that I had seen a black one one time. Then a few days later I see a link to this story on Robert Gale’s web site.

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Friday's Link: Botswana WildCam

Here’s a really cool combination of technology and the great outdoors. National Geographic has a live webcam at a watering hole in Botswana. Unlike 99.99% of the webcams in the world, this one actually works.

It pans around the watering hole and seems to zoom in when the computer detects movement.

I’ve seen quite a few animals over the past few days- wildebeests, some sort of an antelope looking animal and a bunch of birds. And that’s after only about 15 minutes of total watching time. There is a long list of animals that have been spotted at the watering hole.

Very cool deal!

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