Mountain Lion Photography Workshop Results
Daren O'Brien, a recent Mountain Lion Photography Workshop participant, writes:
As wildlife photography is my passion and hobby, I have spent many hours in the backcountry capturing photos of wild animals in their natural settings, and the biggest challenge has been mountain lions.
Realizing there could be many days, months and years spent hiking in mountain lion country and I would never see one, so I started looking at other options. I discovered a mountain lion workshop that David Neils was teaching at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch in Loveland CO, so I joined the course and spent a day with David and our group hiking up the local canyon. As we hiked along, David taught us a great deal about mountain lions as he has an amazing wealth of knowledge. He showed us a lion scrape, showed us how to read the terrain and what to look for in ridge lines, topographic pinch spots, water holes and creek beds; and he talked about the importance of wind and weather and how it all relates to lion behavior and patterns.
After the course I sent David a Google Earth shot of some areas in the foothills, a place David has never seen. In one particular area he drew a line and dropped some pins along a ridge and said to check that location for lion activity. So I surveyed the ridge and set up cams at a location where I found a potential scrape site and within one week got fantastic footage of a two mountain lions. Unbelievable! Without meeting David and taking his course, I would have never known as much as I do now about mountain lions, what to look for and how to get the mountain lion footage as I did. David has also been more than willing to give advice, provide direction and listen to my lion adventures moving forward.
Thanks to David for sharing his knowledge as well as all of his great videos and events.
Wheat Ridge Colorado
Black Bear Habitat Planting Project
The calorie requirements of a black bear jump from 8,000 to 15,000-20,000 calories per day as the end of August nears and they prepare to den up later in the fall. This can result in bears becoming habituated and put down, typically because of human laziness and/or ignorance. To avoid this scenario, we set up an opportunity for 44 volunteers to plant 1,000 chokecherry and wild plum seedlings in Sulzer Gulch at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch. We also had many donate to pay for the seedlings, from as far away as Florida.
The plants are doing very well and the effort from many will make a difference for black bears for decades to come. Thanks to everyone who made this possible!
David Neils - Conservation Projects Director
Mountain Lion Scrapes - key research findings
I spent four years studying male mountain lion scrapes, with the intent of learning the factors that would aid in finding scrapes and document scrape activity with camera traps. Thirty five scrape sites were documented and the findings helped predict male lion activity in other areas.
Finding an active mountain lion scrape is not easy but once you find one there is a good chance multiple lions will be back to check it out. I found one earlier this winter and it has been visited over a dozen times in three months. Here’s a clip of lion activity during a four week period in April and early May, 2019.