Snow day! The announcement draws squeals of joy from students throughout the school district and groans from parents who must scramble to provide care for their kids and face a treacherous commute. But fourth-graders with overdue homework and harried parents aren’t the only ones whose fortunes hang in the balance when new snow blankets the region.
I have been fortunate to see a moose on four different occasions since I’ve moved to the Adirondacks. I’ve only seen one bald eagle. My family jokes that I’m a bald eagle repellent as they seem to see bald eagles as frequently as I see squirrels. That said, if my children tell me there is a bald eagle over the nearby river, if possible, I am in my car hoping to catch a glimpse. I’m in awe of the wildlife experiences I have and am grateful for each one.
I bring my camera everywhere and certainly appreciate anyone else who wants to witness one of the many wonderful wildlife residents of the Adirondack Park. I don’t appreciate when people start treating Adirondack wildlife as if they were zoo animals. » Continue Reading.
Furbearer trapping will begin soon in many parts of New York State, following changes to fisher and marten trapping seasons, as well as changes to some general trapping regulations and expanded hunting for bobcat.
While coyote hunting season began October 1 in much the state, hunting seasons for other furbearers such as bobcat, raccoon, and fox begins October 25. Trappers should be aware of changes to trapping regulations for fisher beginning this fall, including: » Continue Reading.
The distinctively feline tracks through the snow in our woods last winter intrigued me. They would follow the narrow ski trail a ways, then meander into the trees or, sometimes, seem to disappear altogether.
There was no way, I thought, a house kitty was so far from home in the deep of winter, and besides, these tracks were a bit large for your average cat.
Nature Conservancy field technicians this winter are doing wildlife detective work in New York’s Southern Lake Champlain Valley. This in-between zone characterized by farms and forests and crisscrossed with roads may provide a vital “land bridge” for bobcats and other critters to travel to and from large forest blocks in the Adirondacks and Vermont.
Outdoor guide and writer Elizabeth Lee, of Westport, and University of Vermont graduate student Gus Goodwin are working with the Conservancy’s Alissa Rafferty, who is based in Keene Valley. They are collecting records of animal activity that would be impossible to witness in real time. Good old-fashioned tracking skills—finding animal prints left in the snow, measuring their size, assessing the critter’s gait, and piecing together other clues—help them determine if a print belongs to a bobcat or a coyote, a fisher or a fox, a moose or a deer. They also use trail cameras to supplement these records, helping to confirm animal identification, and snapping photos 24/7 no matter the snow conditions. » Continue Reading.
Feeling blue one morning, I headed into the woods and found my thoughts full of bobcats. Listen to what the cats had to teach me in this week’s edition of All Things Natural with Ed Kanze.
The podcast is produced by Mountain Lake PBS’s Josh Clement. “All Things Natural” has been published continuously since 1987 and approaches its one-millionth published word. It currently appears in the Bedford, NY Record-Review. Listen to past episodes by visiting Mountain Lake PBS’s Borderless North webpage at mountainlake.org/bn.
Bobcat hunting and trapping seasons have been expanded under a new set of regulations adopted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
According to a DEC press release: “After careful consideration of the public comments received, DEC adopted rules affecting bobcat hunting and trapping in New York to implement certain aspects of the state’s Five-Year Bobcat Management Plan.” The Bobcat Management Plan drew fire last year and public comments received by the department were overwhelming against the expanded season. » Continue Reading.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has received about 1,200 letters, e-mails, and online comments from people who object to a plan to permit more hunting and trapping of bobcats. Only about 300 people wrote to support the plan.
That works out to 80 percent in opposition, 20 percent in favor. If this were an election, it would be a landslide. But when it comes to public policy, the majority does not always win. DEC will review the comments and may make some changes, but I doubt it will abandon the plan altogether, despite the pleas of animal-rights advocates. The department is expected to finalize the plan later this spring or in the summer. » Continue Reading.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation has proposed a five-year plan for managing bobcats that aims to “provide sustainable use and enjoyment of bobcat by the public.”
How would the department achieve this goal? By allowing the public to kill more bobcats.
I suspect that many people do not agree that the best way to enjoy bobcats is to shoot or trap them. Maybe DEC suspects this, too. In a press release this week, the department buries the news. After boilerplate quotes from DEC officials and a list of the plan’s goals, the press release states: “The plan includes proposals to greatly simplify hunting and trapping season dates by making them consistent throughout much of the state as well as establishing new hunting and trapping opportunities in central and western New York.” » Continue Reading.
I saw it on Route 28 just west of McKeever. It was definitely feline. You could tell by the way it crouched next to the guardrail, looking like it wanted to spring across the road. And it was big.
“A cougar!” I shouted.
By the time my passenger looked, the cat had retreated to the other side of the guardrail and was ambling away from the road.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) says wild cougars (also known as mountain lions, panthers, and pumas) have not lived in the Adirondacks since the nineteenth century. The agency concedes that cougars are spotted on occasion, but it insists that they are released pets. Last week, DEC denounced as a hoax a rumor that a cougar had been struck and killed by a vehicle in Black Brook. » Continue Reading.
There are 54 species of mammals in the Adirondacks, and the Adirondack Ecological Center’s Charlotte Demers offers a “whirlwind tour.” Here are the highlights:
Marsupials – the possum. The Adirondacks is in the upper range of the possum, so you often find them with signs of frostbite, particularly their ears. Amazingly they give birth just 12 1/2 days after mating. Shrews and Moles – There are six different species of what are called “red tooth shrews”. They have an average life span of just a year and eat almost continuously. Our shrews have a toxin in their saliva which paralyzes it’s prey. The pygmy shrew weighs less then a dime making it (arguably) the smallest mammal in the world. The water shrew dives (mostly in streams) for its prey, including frogs and fish. They are often caught in minnow traps. We have two moles – hairy tail (the most common) and the star nose (uglier and aquatic). » Continue Reading.