Have you seen a bear or mt lion in the Colorado backcountry?

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Have you ever seen a bear or mountain lion in the Colorado backcountry?

Yes, I've seen both
Yes, I've seen a bear
Yes, I've seen a mountain lion
No, I've seen neither one
Total votes: 347
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Jim Davies
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Have you seen a bear or mt lion in the Colorado backcountry?

Postby Jim Davies » Wed Apr 11, 2007 1:20 pm

Inspired by the thread about bear/lion encounters, I'm curious how many of you have actually encountered either a bear or mountain lion while hiking, backpacking, fishing, etc. Not in town, not from your car, not in campgrounds, not just tracks or scat, not in Alaska, but the actual animal, in this state and while away from civilization.
Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall — it's great when you stop. -- Chris Darwin
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Bear Sighting

Postby Greenhouseguy » Wed Apr 11, 2007 3:45 pm

I saw a black bear at White Ranch Open Space Park near Golden several years ago. It was munching chokecherries and wild plums along a small creek. The situation was more dangerous than some because the trees and shrubs were higher than my head, which limited my visibility. I could have startled it, and the outcome would have been very different. It heard me coming long before I knew it was there, and started to move off. It looked cautiously over it's shoulder as it walked away. JeffCo Open Space rangers like to compile information about bear encounters, so fill out a form if you see one in their jurisdiction.

The trail maps don't tell you why, but most of the trails on the northern part of the ranch are closed to preserve the bear habitat. If they just wrote BEARS in big bold letters on the map, wouldn't that be enough to keep you away?

Oddly enough, there are bear warning signs on the west ridge of Bear Peak in Boulder Mountain Park. A 7-year-old kid was attacked by a mountain lion in the same park last year.

I've seen big kitty footprints up at Brainard Lake, and there are mountain lion warning signs on the Mitchell Lake Trail. A lion killed a deer or elk right in the middle of the trail a couple of years ago. I suppose that there could be lynx up there as well. I've never seen a big cat in the wild, but maybe this will be the year.

Below is some bear scat that I saw in the middle of a trail near Caribou in Boulder County last fall. Sharing is caring!

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Postby Doug Shaw » Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:03 pm

Black bear, five or six years ago when hiking alone W of Stanley Reservoir. It bolted when it saw me, but listening to him crash down the hillside as he ran away made me paranoid about every little sound I heard during the long long hour or so back to Stanley Reservoir.

GHG: Nice sh*t picture.
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Postby thebeave7 » Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:44 pm

Being from California I've seen way too many black bears. Invading trash cans, lumbering along trails, wandering through campsites. Even had one perched on my picnic table in Yose while I slept 10ft away(a little freaky).
Bear in Tetons
Bear on the John Muir Trail
Never actually seen a mountain lion though, just tracks.
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Postby Jim Davies » Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:28 am

I've never seen either one while hiking, but have seen five bears while driving, and I've seen tracks and scat a number of times. My favorite "scat" encounter happened about ten years ago; we were hiking to the overlook off the Section 16 trail in the Springs, and I came upon an enormous pile of bear scat among the scrub oaks, maybe five pounds of chewed-up acorns in matrix. I decided to make this a "teaching moment", and called my son over and asked him what animal left it. His guess: "squirrel?"
Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall — it's great when you stop. -- Chris Darwin
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Postby Doug Shaw » Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:38 am

Jim Davies wrote:I decided to make this a "teaching moment", and called my son over and asked him what animal left it. His guess: "squirrel?"

I hope you employed the appropriate and nearly-mandatory Jackie Gleason response for situations like this: "There is NO WAY you came from my genes!!"
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Postby grizz » Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:31 am

I've seen black bears every year for about 5 years now.

I've see either a bobcat or a mountain lion once. Not sure which. It was a cat. I got a very quick glimpse in the dark.
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Postby swturner » Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:51 am

I saw a bear while doing Sneffels last year. He was crossing a snow field and climbed up a ridge and out of sight. I wasn't close but it was cool to see regardless.

Last edited by swturner on Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Oman » Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:51 am

Where I've seen bears:
* west end of RMNP near Adams Falls. Sow and her cub and a human family with two kids in-between. Luckily, the bears were as scared as the family and ran like hell. (I was with our three kids down below)
* Ranch Creek Valley near Tabernash. A black lab chased a cub up a tree. Then you could almost see the lightbulb go off in the cub's mind: "Hey, I'm a bear and that's just a dog." The bear turned tail down the tree and chased the dog across the hay meadow and back home. No blood drawn.
* Monarch Pass, across from the ski lodge, at dawn in May.
* In Snowmass Village, dumpster diving.
* Sewemup Mesa west of Gateway in an April snowstorm. Weird (for me, at least) to see a bear in the p-j above red-rock country.

Bears are always memorable sights.

No mountain lions anywhere, though.
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Postby lordhelmut » Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:54 am

Whatever that road is right near that pass on rt.14 outside of poudre canyon, I think its called long draw rd (it leads to a reservoir, sorry i've been to the area many times, just not in a while). Anyways, that dirt road has tons of wildlife, I've been there 4 times and all 4 I've seen a couple Moose, a bear (from afar), elk all over the place and then to add to it, a great view of the northern range of the park at the reservoir.
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Postby rlynn » Thu Apr 12, 2007 11:07 am

I haven't seen any in CO but did see a couple while in Wyoming. We saw what looked like a Grizzly across a river (too far away to really be sure) in Yellowstone. Then I was trail running in the Tetons and came across a mother black bear and two cubs. The cubs saw my sister and I, and luckily the mother had her head down munching on some berries and never saw us. The way we were situated was not good because it was a very obtuse triangle between us, the mother, and the cubs. We were about 15-20 yards from them. After we escaped without being seen, those were the fastest two miles I've ever run in my life.

It's funny, the park ranger told us not to do a certain trail, because there was a "bear sighting" the day before that. So she recommended the other one, which was pretty stupid because when we got there, it was VERY remote, as opposed to populated like the one we wanted to do. After we saw the bears, we picked up some sticks (more like logs) for protection in case we needed it and we came across a guide and some group hikers. The ranger told us we couldn't take the sticks out of the park, which we had no intention to do. When we reported the bear sighting, the ranger said the other ranger was pretty much retarded for recommending that trail. They also asked if the bear had a tag, how much it weighed, what its eating habits were. It's too bad we didn't pay attention to any of that (seriously, who would????), because we thought they were going to ask if it had any plans for the evening.
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Postby highaltmama » Fri Apr 13, 2007 2:13 am

I have bear show up at my house every year and I've been in Idledale for 6 years. Between the bear, elk and deer, I have to replace my bird feeders every year! Especially with the major snowstorms this winter, the elk knocked down the feeders and broke them open to get food.

A neighbor saw a mountain lion behind his house a couple of weeks ago! I have yet to actually see a mountain lion, though I know they are here where I live.
It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness...Eleanor Roosevelt

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