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Storm Mountain Animal Sightings

July 30, 2009 BEAR Sighting: I just discovered that a bear has been in my garage (2828 Storm Mountain Drive, Drake, CO)....this morning I think.  Gracey and Red Fred woke me up this morning barking.  When I let them out they chased a black bear from between Nancy and my house back thru our backyards.  This evening I went to the garage and discovered that a window had been broken out of my garage door and another one cracked.  My freezer was open, food was missing and there were muddy foot prints every where!!! BEWARE!!!

July 25, 2009 BEAR Sighting: This may be a frequent or periodic occurence but I thought I'd let you know several of us saw a large brown bear about 2/3 of the way up the access road at about 2:30 Sat PM.

February 3, 2009 MOUNTAIN LIONS:
The Colorado Department of Natural Resources News About Mountain Lions in Colorado is an interesting read or you can print it.

January 19, 2009 MORE ON BEES:
Everyone's e-mails got me thinking.  I was wondering if anyone who has a bee hive in surrounding trees or within their structures with a history of sending out yearly swarms, would be willing to allow me to set up a bait hive on their property.  The purpose of this bait hive is to attract a swarm to move in.  As soon as they do, I would remove it.  I am interested in seeing if the resident mountain bees have a genetic advantage that could help me improve my bee stock.  Carolina Nyarady,

I would like to thank you all for being so kind and taking the time to reply to my previous request regarding bees.  As you all know, the reason it arose is that my husband had a conversation with someone(?) about "bee problems". And as I wasn't there for the conversation, the parts that would have interested me about the bee situation wasn't talked about. Sorry for the LOOOOOONG reply.  But I hope this answers many of the repeat questions I got in the e-mails.

Many of you asked, and yes I am a beekeeper!! and thus a bee lover, so I had to follow up on my curiosity!  I don't keep bees up on the mountain at this time.  Bee keeping now a days, especially organically, as I do, is challenging.  There are a lot of problems that bees face and thus beekeepers.  And adding in the challenges of the longer, colder spells and short bloom season, is yet another challenge.  So my hives mainly reside in the flatlands!  I am planing on moving some hives periodically up the mountain to take advantage of various blooms.  I like varietal honeys for their various flavors! YUM!!!!!.  However I need to get my bear "deterrent" up first, The DOW has been very helpful! I also think that having the hives only there for short periods too, will make it less of an enticement to our resident bears, along with the deterrent.  I don't want to be a problem to bears.  As far as I am concerned it is their home, I am just a guest!

From all the e-mails, It seems that all were having problems with Yellow jackets last summer. I wish I had great suggestions, but I know lots about bees and not so much about yellow jackets. I would suggest that now is the time to remove any old nests, as during the cold they will be inactive! Otherwise they can be aggressive.

I am glad to hear that there is such a healthy feral bee population. And that so many of you expressed you love of bees and concern about the decline in bee populations (along with all other pollinators!) We really need bees as our pollinators! At least 1/3 of the food we eat requires bees for pollination!!!!  Also healthy feral bees and healthy kept bees are our future in terms of bee genetics!

Lots have expressed interest in knowing what to do, if bees or swarms appear. Swarms are the result of a bee colony dividing and proliferating. Swarms are a group of bees that leave with a queen to look for a new home.  Once they leave their nest, they will cluster as a group and send out some scouts to find a new home.  The hope is to do this within a few days, as they don't have much reserves with them, and they can perish if they hang outside too long and the weather changes.  Once they have found a new home, the whole swarm will "Un-clump" and fly as a group to their new home. Unfortunately, many swarms even when they find a home in time, don't make it to the following season! Swarms are therefore USUALLY nice and mellow.  As they don't have anything to defend!!.  If they can't find a home and the weather has been bad, and they start running out of the lunch they packed, then they can get a bit grumpy!!!

As a beekeeper, I love swarms. I collect them quite frequently! This way, I can ensure they make it, as I can give them a head start (food, combs etc). I also am of the firm belief that we must breed bees from the best to deal with some of the problems and NOT medicate them with various chemicals. As well as change some of our agricultural poisoning practices! (that's a whole other topic!) So swarms often times have great genes! Especially when they come from "survivor" colonies that swarm year after year!

Once bees move into a structure, we consider them hives.  This is a whole other matter.  For in order to remove them, there is usually housing structure to be removed and then the whole hive needs to be taken apart. Sections of comb with the bee larvae, as well as most of the adult bees and the QUEEN need to be re-housed.  The interior of the house structure needs to be washed, to get rid of the honey and wax residue.  In part because, now without bees, it will mold, and also it can attract other critters.  Then the house parts need to be put back together and the original crack/cracks needs to be caulked off WELL.  In order to remove hives and not kill off the bee colony, this needs to be done at best by mid summer.  As the bees need time to rebuild and get their stores ready for winter!  Because this is time consuming, people who do hive removals cost more than exterminators, which of course never works out well for the bees!

Although I have been a property owner on the mountain for more years than I can remember.  I still am just dreaming about living up there someday, and am saving my pennies!  (SLOW process!).  So for the time being, I am no help, I am afraid, for those of you who would be interested in my collecting your swarms, or helping with bee hive removals.  Especially since swarms only hang out sometimes for short time periods, so living nearby is a must!.

Keep in mind that I will talk your ear off about "THE girls". And yes, the bulk of the bees in the hive are girls. The queen and all worker bees are Girls. There are a few males from time to time, which are called drones. The drones don't have stingers, and they don't work. They beg the girls to be fed, and their job is to go out and try to mate with a virgin queen. If they are successful, they die in the act! So those boys that return home are virgins, and if they are still alive in the fall, they get kicked out of the hive to freeze to death. As the girls don't want to feed them over the winter (all you men reading this-keep reading!). The queen will raise new males the following spring! It's tough being a bee (boy or girl) all around!!!!! Aside from the queen, bees only live ~5 wks in the summer. They work themselves to death! So the girls aren't living the easy life either!

I will kept you all posted IF I have a SPECIAL mountain honey blend this upcoming year.  Otherwise, all the honey I sell is Mixed flowers/wildflowers from the flatlands! Thank you all again, Carolina Nyarady,

Roger spoke Friday night with the owner of the wolf hybrids of late last spring and was assured that all the puppies were off the mountain on January 3rd. This means the incident on the 13th could not have been one of his. This means we either have some other dogs on the mountain that are hybrids and not properly contained on their own property - OR - wolves have actually made it here in their own from the Yellowstone pack. This is NOT an unreasonable assumption. Five or six years ago a she-wolf with a Yellowstone collar was found dead on I-70 near Idaho Springs. PLEASE BE CAREFUL when children and pets are outside to watch for their safety. If you are interested in learning more about wolves and wolf hybrid dogs check out Can You Turn A Wolf Into A Dog?

January 16, 2009 MORE ON WOLVES:
This is a re-telling of an incident from late last spring...a young woman and her dog were accosted near Spruce Mtn Dr and Chipmunk Pl. They called and were told they were the third call that week.  That is why they sent an officer up here (not to mention the wolf attacked the dog).  At that time the two adult hybrids were put down and the verbal agreement was made that the puppies were to be sent to a rescue within the week.  Obviously the puppies were never sent to a shelter.  They followed up with animal control at that time and were told there was no record of this agreement.  So the puppies are now grown and causing the same problems their parents did.  There were four - it looks like only two now.  We need to call animal control EVERYTIME these wolf hybrids get loose, that's the only way anything will be done about it.  The animal control officers were very honest in telling us that the regular Humane Society really doesn't know what to do with these hybrids, they can't be put in a regular dog population.  Most the time it means they have to be put down, but as we all know they pose a danger to our housepets and livestock if their owner does not keep them properly contained.  Animal Control needs to be kept aware that this is an ongoing probelm and the frequency of their escapes before something tragic happens.  No one says they will only attack dogs, I saw how they were circling my friend that day, and a small child would be in great danger.  Thanks! J. V.

January 13, 2009 WOLF HYBRID INCIDENT :
This morning I let my dog, Lucky, out to use the restroom. Since I've been seeing more of the bobcat lately I figured I'd be near her in case something happened. Thank God I was out there, because one of those wolf dogs charged her and jumped on top of her snarling and digging it's claws in.  I yelled at it and ran toward it, scaring it enough to stop and see what was coming it's way.  I know this isn't the first time these dogs have gotten lose, nor is it the first time they've threatened another persons animals. Ben Johnson of Spruce Mountain Drive.

January 3, 2009 MOUNTAIN LION SIGHTING:Mountain Lion Track
Karen Debenham was in her home and saw, through the window only feet away, a medium-size mountain lion. This was the middle of the day! He walked right past the house. Went down below the deck and enjoyed a moment of eye contact with Roger then sauntered off (west). We compared this animals body size to a good sized Lab. That very same day we learned of other recent sightings by Cedar Springs lake.


Older sightings no longer identified by year:

Friday evening June 2
200?- My wife and I were walking on Storm Mountain Drive, towards Aspen drive. A cow moose and calf were standing in the road. She was very defensive. We moved over to a cabin and sat on the steps and let her and the calf mosey by. They walked on down Storm Mountain drive towards Storm mountain. Sorry we didn't get pictures, didn't take the camera with us. Any way, want you to be aware that the moose and calf are up there and has anyone else seen her? Max Hastings, 160 Aspen Drive

ATTENTION: Protect your pets from recent suspected mountain lion visits! Reported as follows: Twice now I have had a LARGE animal on my deck at night, I couldn't see it clearly but I'm thinking it might be a mountain lion. I rescued one of my cats that I didn't realize was outdoors at 3:30 this morning. My cat has been in fights before but this was different; it was a fight for his life and was VERY shook up after I brought him in. I wanted to share to alert everyone. Lynn, 75 Wren Pl

Dennis Simmons - I just had to answer your email from today. On July 4th weekend this year my wife Sue and I saw three wolves in the Bear Gulch area. We were coming back from Nelson Spring at about 4:30 pm. I was driving my ATV with my wife seated behind me. We saw the first wolf trotting through the timber. It looked right at us - never stopped and continued out of sight. I stopped and we discussed what we just saw. A large animal, very big head, longer than a dog, tall, thin, and when it ran it just glided through the woods. It was like its legs moved but its back was stiff, tail down and low. We started driving again and about 1/4 mile from the fork in the road above Bear Gulch, we saw 3 animals run away; they just scattered. I drove just a few feet and there was a

Bobcats Sighted: Two bobcats went strolling past Karen Dilka's living room windows on October 21. See picture on the Stories Page.

Bear Sightings! August 26 - Young male ambling along the edge of the woods behind Chris Brock's under construction house at 240 Wolf Drive.
August 30 - Just a heads-up for those among us who get complacent last night at about 6:30, we saw a large sow bear with 2 big cubs on the hillside opposite our house on Sage Hen, and this morning the large, black male was in the field across from our house. Just a subtle reminder to keep food off the decks. John Miltenberger

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Drake, CO 80515

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