More Snow, Large Mammals and Global Warming

There is a light snow outside. It is cold. The clouds are way low, hugging the landscape like a scared child hugs his/her Mom. This is like the Bozeman winters of old.

For the past two days I have written about some of the mammals I have seen.

Large mammals are the animals I  have seen the most of and these are a few stories-a small portion of the stories. I see deer, 2 species, and US antelope, every time I leave Bozeman, Montana. There is a drainage in the Bob Marshall Wilderness where I saw 2 large Whitetail bucks moving up the drainage, away from me, whistling and  stamping a front hoof as they moved away from me. This was in the early fall.

I saw six mule deer over a three week period in the summer near Philipsburg, Montana. The six were all mature bucks in velvet. I saw these bucks near the roadside when I drove to work each morning at a dock on Georgetown lake.

I  have seen Mountain goats  in ranges throughout Western Montana. I have seen them near the top of Glacier National Park on Mount Siyah. The goats grazed in sparse plants within the scree and when they spotted me they came over to lick my day pack. I have seen Mountain Goats lick packs throughout Glacier National Park.

There was a herd of old bighorn sheep banging heads during the fall rut in Yellowstone National Park. I watched bighorn rams bang heads for about 2 hours a day over a three day period late in the fall. These same rams later died of a pink eye outbreak, many rams did.

I have called in close, rutting bull elk, using cow elk calls in the early fall in Montana and Wyoming for about 9 falls in a row. Next to mule deer and whitetail deer I have observed a lot of elk in the wild. Iam talking about thousands of elk.

I have 4 times almost been run over by mature Bull Moose in Montana and Alaska in summer and in the fall.

I have had close calls with all 3 bears, black-brown and polar, in North America. For example, in Yellowstone, I have had a large grizzly almost bite my belly as he freaked out, trying to escape. I saw fear in the bears eyes, and there was fear in me.

Global climate change, already here, will ipact mammals and birds-negatively. Here is an example

In the short term, over a two decade period, grizzly bears in the Yellowstone Ecosystem will be hugely impacted by global warming as whitebark pine dies out, Army Cutworm Moths die out and Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout  become rare. These lifeforms will die out or become rare as temperatures increase in the Yellowstone Ecosystem.

It may be cold now but this past decade was the warmest decade recorded and we will have more of that.

Matt

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