October brought Indian Summer. Temperatures reached the sixties with cold nights. The air carried a sense of warmth and the whisper of winter. The month was quite pleasant. Animals migrate. Morning frost covers the meadows. Off season descends on the valley.
After a cold September, the month of October brought time to play, time to finish outdoor projects, time to enjoy warm afternoons and a quiet feel to town. I am sure all the herbivores or plant eaters enjoyed the month as much as we did. If you are preparing for a long winter without much food, a month of sun and plenty of vegetation makes life a bit easier. I can imagine the deer, elk, moose, big horn sheep, pronghorn and the bears dancing the happy dance. Fall in the Rocky Mountains can be very unpredictable so we all enjoyed the recent pleasant weather.
Lots going on in Jackson Hole. Wolves will be hunted into December. Grand Teton Park approved a Fall hunt which means elk will be hunted within park boundaries. A local resident walked to a mountain lake to kill a beaver who was protecting its’ territory. Half price dinners began to support local residents and valley non-profits.
Wolves are again hunted in Wyoming. The unfolding of this story has two distinct sides and seems to be forever in the court system tied up in lawsuits. From my biological prospective, it’s a good thing for the wolf to be protected and having predator and prey relationships is important to balance an ecosystem.
Wyoming manages animal populations with hunting. For wolves, there is a managed “trophy game” area around the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and 44 wolves can hunted through the end of this year. Currently, 32 wolves have been taken and the area near the Gros Ventre River and south in Jackson Hole is closed now to hunting. Quota in these areas has been met. Being managed by a quota means once the maximum number of animals are harvested, the hunt area closes. The season will close December 31 regardless if the quota is met but my guess is 44 total wolves will be taken. (Jackson Hole News and Guide, October 30)
This summer beaver were seen at Crater Lake. This is a small lake at the base of Mount Glory. Mt. Glory is located in the southern end of the Tetons and the lake exists at the bottom on its’ avalanche path. It is about 1000 feet above the town of Wilson, WY.
I am most impressed that beavers went to the lake to establish a territory. It must have been quite a climb to reach that lake. Beavers travel over land to find new territories. One of the beavers bit a dog who was swimming in the lake. A Wyoming resident got a permit and shot it. It’s a tough one. If anything, we should allow it to live in this lake since it travelled quite a distance to get there. Looking for new territories is what animals do so I am sure more beaver will find that lake suitable. Co-habitation matters to me. I vote for the beaver.
Protecting nature should matter. It is time to remember. Time to wake up and realize that we want clean air and water for future generations. Weather is weird with raging storms, fires, floods. When will we wake up? I saw an article that the Monarchs are running out of time by not migrating back to Mexico where they winter (Jackson Hole News and Guide, October 27). They seem to be stuck north as far as Canada. It’s October and they should be in Texas by now. Crazy! Consensus is the warm weather and strong winds have kept them from migrating. Let’s remember Chief Seattle’s wise words, “Man does not weave this web of life. He is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” We can be wise creatures. Let’s make positive changes. Each of us can help. It matters. Let’s do it for the children.
November begins with a winter storm. Enjoy this quiet time and take advantage of fine meals at a fine price. Let it snow.
What’s in the woods
10/2- fresh snow reaches valley floor
10/11- granite creek- great horned owl calling
10/12-granite creek, herd of mule deer
10/13- fresh snow to the valley floor
10/18- warm and sunny
10/18- highway 22- red tail hawk on power pole
10/20- snow in forecast
10/21-wilson, wy- two female moose calves/ seem too young to be without mom
10/22- highway 22- bottom Teton Pass- cow and calf moose
10/28- blue bird day with temperatures in the fifties
10/29- Death Canyon- big horn sheep- herd of six females and calves
10/29- highway 22- red tail hawk on power pole
10/30- Jackson- two Trumpeter swans flying over town
Two days ago trails were dry and now I look out my window to fresh snow. Play as weather allows. Have a good book and enjoy the animal migration throughout the valley. Fresh snow means animals move so be extra careful on the roads. Bike paths always good since they dry fast and are not muddy. Ski conditions will be better higher in elevation but be careful. Snow science, good route finding, sound decisions and proper preparation is key to a successful day. Maybe take advantage of one of the local avalanche courses. I am heading south for a while.