Thursday, February 26, 2015

Whole Lotta Poopin' Goin' On

UPDATE 3/4/15: Mary Katherine Ray of Trapfree New Mexico thinks the berry-laden scats are from coyotes. She said coyotes eat a lot of juniper berries in the winter. Ms. Ray is New Mexico's leading advocate for banning traps on public lands. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help support her efforts.

It was about 20 miles south of Silver City, New Mexico on highway 90 that I chanced upon the Continental Divide Trail trailhead. I stopped at the part in the Burro Mountains in the Carson National Forest between Silver City and Lordsburg. The small blue symbol in the lower right of the image below is the "brand."

It was heavily littered with scats. I'm not an authority, but judging from the formative remains, I'm surmisaling they're bear...small bear, but bear nonetheless.

And while I'm demonstrating the manly quality of conjecture, I'll further postulate that this one (below) is cat. 

I like to think the frequency was the animals' way of teasing the hikers. It certainly put me on alert.

And it went on for over half a mile. As Jerry Lee Lewis was wont to say, "A whole lotta poopin' goin' on!"

Friday, February 20, 2015

Spring on the Rio Grande

I surmise this road's only been here a couple of decades. There're dead trees on the sides of the hills that look as if they may have been drowned; and what's here looks less than twenty years old. 

The hill I took the picture from looks like a sand bar left over from before the day when El Paso won their water suit. It was then that Elephant Butte Lake went from delusions-of-grandeur to just another southwestern puddle. A BIG plus was most of the power-boaters went away.

The Shy Bees 

There's a whisper of green that disappears if you look straight at it, but it was the droning of the bees swarming o'er the tender buds proved it. And the coyotes were feelin' so fine they sang again at noon. It's Spring!!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Backpack on Wheels

I enjoyed hitch-hiking and backpacking in my youth but was, on occasion, stymied by distances into the wilds where water was scarce. 

By retirement, the solution had appeared...a backpack on wheels. And although my choice is more a matter of aesthetic, when I read this article I had to nod in agreement. 


Outstanding in His Field!!

1999 Chevrolet Metro 3 cylinder five-speed. 217,256 miles. With street tires mileage varied from 43.7 - 51.2 mpg depending on load and prevailing winds. Now, at max GVW and with snow tires (much better traction) he gets a rock-solid 40.0.  

Lately, I've gotten even MORE a.r. (anal retentive) and began using the Ferrari method for warmup: let run for one minute; switch off for one minute then idle to operating temp. His latest set of shoes, Cooper Weathermaster ST/2, have been the best so far.

Demise: On or around May 2, 2016 I made my first mistake in over 45 years when I turned in front of an oncoming Dodge RAM 2500. We were in a residential neighborhood going slow so no one was hurt, but Eggbert's right side was crushed beyond repair. After driving him back to Albuquerque, I donated him to the Make a Wish Foundation. The proceeds of his sale will benefit the New Mexico Chapter.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Coyote Killing Contests - New Mexico Leads the Nation

FINALLY!!! New Mexico Senator Mark Moores & Representative Jeff Steinborn introduced a bill to outlaw coyote killing contests (more info here)The Southwest Environmental Center (SWEC) in Las Cruces, New Mexico sent a notice prompting the following email to my contacts...

On Sat, Jan 31, 2015 at 1:55 PM, Wahnfried wrote:

My apologies to any of you who may be annoyed by yet another societal entreaty.

Killing contests, contrary to what one might think, have little impact on coyote populations. They ARE however, an obscenity and affront to human dignity. Do you know anyone who would stand and proudly announce their participation in this activity? And the days when wanton killing in the name of sport can be tacitly condoned by the state are long past. 

As you probably know, I've spent much of the last five years travelling throughout the west. It isn't a new activity and in the '80s and early '90s it was common to hear coyotes, especially in the single-digit hours before dawn and again around sunset. Now however, it's a rare treat. Most of the blame can be laid on cattle ranchers and the focused removal of any animal that competes with cattle forage including the billions of mice that are the mainstay of a coyote's diet.

The predations of cattle ranching are far removed from coyote and other wildlife-killing contests, but the contests are often "sold" as a nuisance abatement and public service...for ranchers. Regardless of who or what's to blame for the dawn and dusk silences, this legislation is a no-brainer. And, contrary to the implications in the paragraph that begins "If you live in New Mexico....." I think hearing from you out-of-staters might give them REAL pause for thought.  After all, tourists are a large part of our economy. That said, I find it incredible that we're a leader in contests to kill what is probably our most beloved icon.

Happy New Year!!


One of the folks I sent the above to wrote back...

If I'm gonna kill something, it'll be something that is causing harm to someone else in the way of life threatening shit... I have killed animals, but it ain't my deal. If something was endangering someone or something I would. 

My father is the "great white hunter". He, in fact, roped a mountain lion and brought it in to town alive to collect on bets, and then killed it for the bounty. I thought it was a big kitty and wanted to pet it.

This is not the same one. There were A LOT of them. Well, it IS my dad. There is only ONE of HIM.


Yeah, that's me and dad with a stinky dead lion.

I (MFH) hadn't thought about this for many years, but while looking at the above picture I recognized his grin from my teen years in the South. It was a common sight on (white) peoples' faces as they egged on the police in the race-riots of the '60s. They thought the police were performing a public service.

Update 6:29 p.m.  2/4/15
I pulled this excerpt from an online post about recent developments. “These coyote-calling contests are a management tool,” said Phil Bidegain, a rancher from eastern New Mexico. “I think God did give us dominion over the animals.”

It's not clear if Rancher Bidegain advocates killing coyotes or just calling them. But I, Wahnfried der Nomad, disagree with him. And while I respect his right to his opinion, be it calling or killing, it's time we stopped "letting" God take the responsibility for behavior that the majority of mere mortals deems no longer acceptable.

Remember Horton & the Who's!!

Trap Free New Mexico works to enact legislation banning trapping on public lands. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution in support of their efforts.