Tag Archives: dogs

Mountain Lion reported in southwest Allen County

Greene County, Indiana, cougar

There is another report of a wild mountain lion or cougar living in Indiana, this time near Fort Wayne.

According to this story in the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, local police officer Bob Girod is convinced that he has seen the big cat in his yard.  Furthermore, one of his German shepherd dogs suffered serious injuries that the veterinarian says are consistent with a large carnivore such as mountain lion.

So far, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources hasn’t pursued the matter, though officer Girod has placed several infrared trial cameras in his yard to convince the DNR.

You might remember that last year, the DNR did confirm a mountain lion sighting in Greene County.

Read more: Is elusive cougar prowling southwest Allen County? | The News-Sentinel – Fort Wayne IN.

OH NO! Coyotes in Carmel?!!??

To quote Marlon Brando from the end of Apocolypse Now, “The horror, the horror.”

The horror of which we speak is the outrage of coyotes eating pets in Carmel.

Yes!  Sound the alarm, raise a hue and cry because mangy members of the wildlife community are snatching up pets for dinner!  Please note the sarcasm oozing from the edges of our keyboard.

Perhaps we’re being too hard on the poor pet owners but according to this story on Indianapolis television station WTHR, the owners are outraged that their pooch was purloined and that no one will do anything about it.  “Unacceptable” is the word they used.

What they have deemed unacceptable is that wildlife officials and local law enforcement won’t do anything to solve their problem.  Essentially they were told, “The coyote was doing what coyotes do.”

Well; Yes, Virginia, welcome to the great circle of life.

While we commiserate with the pet owners who witnessed what was undoubtedly a gruesome attack, the fact remains that wild animals sometimes kill and eat other animals, including our precious pug or cantankerous house cat.

After all, though I am unsure where the victims live, most of Carmel was a farm field even in our limited memory.  Odds are that the coyotes were plying their trade long before suburbanites invaded their territory with basketball goals, crabgrass killer and small, delicious pets.

Of course the trite concern of “What about the children?!!?” was raised.

In case anyone in Carmel happens to read this posting, let me assure you that your own dog poses far more danger to your toddler than coyotes.  This is based upon the the statistics that show approximately three million children are bitten by dogs every year, in the 1990’s about 300 people were killed by domestic dogs while according to one author, there have only been about 30 coyote attacks on people in recorded history.

We were fortunate, several years ago, to live outside of the city limits when a large male coyote/dog mix began stalking our new English setter puppy in the backyard in broad daylight.  On the third day, he recieved a single large-caliber rifle bullet for his trouble.

That too is part of the circle of life.

It’s not “Disneyfied” but that’s how real life works.

Story link:

Family pet killed by coyote in Carmel neighborhood – 13 WTHR.


photo: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Farm Heritage Rail Trail: Clean up after yourself!

We rarely become outraged while outdoors.  Finding initials carved into trees or a historic cabin will send us into a paroxysm of anger but otherwise we try to “live and let live” when rambling in the wild.

However, when we hiked the new Farm Heritage Trail yesterday from the Lebanon trailhead, we couldn’t help becoming furious:

Curb your damn dogs!!

Having hiked and biked on rail-trails throughout the state and nation, I have never seen a larger collection of dog dumplings than in the first half mile of the brand new trail.  Moreover, we’re not talking about a little doggy indescretion along the right-of-way; we can’t believe the enormous amount of poo sitting right in the middle of the trail.

It would appear that nearby residents are using the trail as a daily dog walk.  This is wonderful and increases the number of trail users but why can they not clean up after their pooch fouls the middle of the trail???

The reason is pure and simple laziness.

If you walk your dog in public spaces, always carry a bag and clean up when your  dog uses the middle of a trail as a latrine.  Otherwise, we can only hope you are the one who inadvertently steps into one of the little gifts left behind by another inconsiderate dog owner.

A new sweater………

A frightening blurb from 1997:

What’s that smell?- The Boundary Waters catalog is produced by a Ely, Minnesota company and features all sorts of unique and useful outdoor equipment for the northwards paddler and hiker. Thumbing through the just-arrived fall and holiday edition, I turned past the dogsleds and arrived in the book section.

There, between books covering sauna building and drying food, something caught my attention.  The title of this new tome is Knitting With Dog Hair.   My first thought was this title belonged to a new humorous novel, but no, the book actually outlines the finer points of making garments with canine hair.

The product blurb claims that the book will show you how to collect your pet’s discarded fur and spin it into “luxurious” yarn that can be woven into “soft, warm, frost-repellent garments that you’ll love”.

Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t envision snuggling down on a cold night in a sweater made with ratty clumps of fur gathered from the nasty kennel floor.  We won’t even discuss canine culinary habits or a dog’s natural affinity for rolling in week-old roadkill.

I wonder what happens to a group of happy, dog-fur wearing hikers caught by a rain-shower then seeking shelter under a large tree:

“Well, we are soaked to the bone but we can wait here until the rain stops.”

Sniff, sniff, sniff…

“Ah, Jim, um, could you maybe wait over by that tree?”

Leonard Springs hike

If you’re looking for an interesting ramble through the world of caves and springs without venturing too far from good restaurants and a major limestone-clad university, it’s hard to beat Leonard Springs Nature Park in Bloomington.

The 95-acre park is wrapped around a 100-foot deep canyon that sinks into the swiss-cheese-like bedrock of the southern Indiana stone belt.  There, in the forested land below the water table, several major springs and a few minor caves provide a fascinating glimpse at the subterranean plumbing of the area.

From the turn of the 19th-century into the 1940’s, the bottom lands of the canyon were impounded behind a dam to serve as the growing city’s water supply.  Unfortunately, the caves that funnel water towards the area also provide an equally easy outlet so the lake proved inadequate for the water demands of Bloomington.  After the dam finally washed out in 1943, the area sat fallow until 1998 the areas was transferred to the Bloomington Parks Department.

Leonard Springs Nature Park features a one-mile trail that passes two caves then descends a major set of steel stairs to visit Shirley Springs.  The trail then follows the water past several waterfalls until it eventually reaches the former lake bed.  That area is now a wetland impounded courtesy of local beavers.

The trail continues to the old dam and then returns back to the rim of the canyon via an old gravel service road.  Along the way are seasonal pit toilets and a few picnic tables.

Overall, the area offers great opportunities for nature study, photography and a short hike.  Even in the heat of summer, the springs provide a steady flow of 52-degree water that provides a nice cool microclimate under the thick forest canopy.

Visitors to the area should keep a couple of things in mind.

First, the parking area will only accommodate approximately 8 or 10 vehicles so visits on weekends are not guaranteed.

The trail down to the springs involves a series of metal stairs that could prove challenging for those with physical problems.  The alternative is a mile-long hike that more-gradually climbs the rim of the canyon.

Finally, the trail sees considerable use and tends to be muddy in wet weather.  Dogs and their owners are common visitors and seeing a filthy, friendly canine returning from the wetland often involves a muddy shower as the dog stops to say hello.  Though this park is located inside one of our state’s best-known cities, it’s not a typical jaunt across the manicured lawn.  Hiking boots and not kites are the rule in this park.

Visit the Leonard Springs website

Leonard Springs Nature Park

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Deadly coyote attack

DEB7AF4D-DE0B-4BE0-95FAB0CF82B2C05EHere’s something to make the hair stand up on the back of your neck the next time you’re hiking: according to the Ottawa Citizen newspaper’s website, a 19-year-old budding singer was attacked and killed by two coyotes while hiking in a national park on October 26.

Toronto singer Taylor Mitchell was hiking in Cape Breton National Park when she was attacked by two young coyotes.  Other hikers heard her screams and called the Mounties.  Unfortunatly, by the time they arrived the woman was seriously injured.  She was airlifted to a hospital in Halifax where she died the next day.  The coyotes acted aggressive towards responding officers and were shot, though only one was recovered.

Having run into coyotes countless times while hiking or hunting, they have always fled at the first sight or sound of man.  In fact, the wild canines are very challenging to hunt.  However, having found a fresh deer killing in the snow last year makes you look over your shoulder just a little bit more while hiking.

Though I can’t vouch from practical experience, I would guess that pressing an aggressive action toward the animals would tend to make them run off unless they were rabid or otherwise injured.  The Mounties surmise that the singer ran from the animals which tends to kick their prey-drive into gear.

That’s just another reason why I always carry a big stick while hiking…..and a gun.

Read the article online here

Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service