Rocky Mountain Ranches for Sale: On the Lookout for Bears
Setting foot on a Western ranch, especially one of those high-altitude Rocky Mountain ranches for sale, be sure to know a bit about bears. You’ve just entered black bear and grizzly bear territory. Show some respect for yourself and the bear.
There are often bear sightings of black and brown bears around mountain ranches in western Montana or northwestern Wyoming. Grizzlies are a subset of the brown bear (Ursus Arctos) and about 1,400 live on the North American continent. Farther south, in Colorado, most experts agree that grizzlies have been hunted away to protect ranches but the state claims upwards of 19,000 black bears. Black bears roam south into the San Juan Mountains of New Mexico as well.
The location of any Rocky Mountain ranches for sale, therefore, could eliminate grizzlies. But when you are on the lookout for bears in northwest Wyoming and Montana, here are a few characteristics to differentiate the species.
Both species can defy their “black” and “brown” categories. They can be colored anywhere between blonde, brown, red brown and black. Grizzlies have a distinctive shoulder hump whereas black bears look more back heavy, with higher hips and lower shoulders. Black bears have rounded ears, grizzly ears are pointed. And the claws on grizzly bears can be 4 inches long.
So, let’s be sure you know what to do if you encounter a bear. Then we’ll backtrack to take steps to avoid it in the first place. You may or may not see fresh bear scat or droppings, or diggings, disturbed logs and rocks, even animal carcasses. A bear could be lurking.
If you happen upon a bear or two, stay calm. Evaluate the situation. Is the bear simply curious? He will be staring intently until he figures your out. Do not stare back or make eye contact. Does the bear feel threatened and planning to attack? Have your bear pepper spray ready and hope the beast moves away. Don’t ever approach a bear. Rather, back up slowly to 100 yards or more. Do not run.
If the bear charges, use pepper spray or a firearm if you need to, knowing a wounded bear can become extremely aggressive. Other options include dropping to the ground, curling up into a ball, or laying flat.
Do Not Tempt the Bears
Best of all, you can take precautions to move under the bear’s radar. Since bears don’t really like people, make noise so they know you are in the area. Remember they go down to the rivers and hang out in the thick forests, around fruit trees and berry bushes.
Hopefully your buildings and campsites are far from water sources. Bear proof your ranch buildings and campsites by not luring them with strong cooking odors. Bag up smelly clothing as well. If you don’t have a bear-proof container, store food at least four feet from a vertical access and 10 feet above ground. Bears have been known to raid outdoor freezers, too.
Hunters also need to field dress animals and then move the carcass 100 yards from the gut pile. Fish entails also lure bears. You might be fine but the next angler may get an unpleasant surprise visitor.
Use the buddy system. Always let someone know where you are going. It’s best to travel during daylight in groups, staying on the roads and trails. And be cautious when using bugles and cow calls. They can attract bears.
Call Dave Harrigan or Hunter Harrigan, Harrigan Land Company, at (800) 524-1818 for information about Rocky Mountain ranches for sale to fit your lifestyle. Specializing in large ranch and recreational properties in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Utah.