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Wolves in the San Juans?

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Wolves in the San Juans?

Postby dakotaconcrete » Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:14 am

Help me out Colorado. I was headed up burns gulch en route to Jones Mountain today when I saw a pair of pure white wolf-like animals approximately 75 yards out. I watched them for a few minutes as they eventually passed out of sight into the gulch's main draw.

Can someone tell me what I probably saw because I was under the impression that wolves are virtually non-existent in the state. Oh, and this may help, the animals I saw held their tale up as they moved. I originally thought they may have been mountain coyotes but I believe they move with their tale down and I've never heard of a white coyote.
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Postby Sarah Simon » Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:51 am

Image

:wink:

Just kidding - I really don't have a good answer for you.

Sarah
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Postby dakotaconcrete » Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:58 am

sarah.simon wrote:Image

:wink:

Just kidding - I really don't have a good answer for you.

Sarah


That's funny cause I thought the same thing. I had a white siberian husky at one time and the thought crossed my mind. I watched for some time expecting to possibly see an owner emerge from the scene but it didn't happen.
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Postby tlerunner » Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:15 am

I thought I saw a wolf on Kenosha Mt but that is quite a bit north. Closer to Wyoming though.
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Postby Bill Reed » Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:01 pm

dakotaconcrete wrote:Help me out Colorado. I was headed up burns gulch en route to Jones Mountain today when I saw a pair of pure white wolf-like animals approximately 75 yards out. I watched them for a few minutes as they eventually passed out of sight into the gulch's main draw.

Can someone tell me what I probably saw because I was under the impression that wolves are virtually non-existent in the state. Oh, and this may help, the animals I saw held their tale up as they moved. I originally thought they may have been mountain coyotes but I believe they move with their tale down and I've never heard of a white coyote.


I've heard that there's a breeding pair in the NW part of the state, near Craig. Also, a wolf was found dead next to I-70 maybe 3 or 4 years go, presumably hit by traffic and there was a video taken in North Park a couple years ago showing a black wolf in the Grizzy Creek drainage.
If you saw wolves in the San Juans, you would be the first, as far as I know. There are some Lynx there and that may fit more with the color and your "tail up" description.
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Postby steppendonk » Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:43 am

There's lots of coyotes in that area because of the sheepherding. I've seen many large coyotes thereabouts I would describe as white, and pretty chubby too. Biologists predict that Mexican wolves will make it up here eventually. That would be bad news for all the fat coyotes.
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Postby Clark_Griswold » Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:37 pm

steppendonk wrote:There's lots of coyotes in that area because of the sheepherding. I've seen many large coyotes thereabouts I would describe as white, and pretty chubby too. Biologists predict that Mexican wolves will make it up here eventually. That would be bad news for all the fat coyotes.
I would think that it would be very easy for them Mexican Gray Wolves to make it to the San Juans. We had one get hit by a car a few years back in the Flagstaff area. I guess water probably limits their spread. Lack of it on the Colorado Plataea.
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yus

Postby Elkranger » Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:07 am

as a self styled expert on grizzly bears and wolves in Colorado. I spend large quantity's of my time scouring the internet for sightings like yours, and finally one in my own backyard on summit post. Mostly i want belie that there something more lurking amongst these beautiful mountains I call home.

Colorado's last wolf pack (Led by the legendary Three Toes) holed up in the San Juans for a few back in the thirtys before heading south to New Mexico to finally be trapped out. (The grizzly's are probably still there)

i think we got a legit case of three toes heir although it is a little weird that they came from the south before they came from the north>
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Postby illegal_smile » Sat Jun 26, 2010 12:48 am

i'm skeptical as to it being a wolf

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Postby Doublecabin » Sat Jun 26, 2010 4:34 pm

Younger Moutnain Lions are often "white." I saw one just West of La Veta towards the end of April.

With all due respect to whatever expertise you might have without tracks or honest hair samples in decades there is absolutely no logical reason to believe Grizzlies are anywhere in Colorado. Plenty of Cinamon Black bears, but no hint let alone proof of a Grizzly Presence in more than a generation as far as I know. If someone has documented the presence of grizzlies in the San Juans please share that information with us.
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Postby miztflip » Sat Jun 26, 2010 5:20 pm

I was in your footsteps up Burns the next day and saw a pair of mountain goats. That'd be my guess. Not saying you didn't see wolves but that area has way to many atvs for it to be likely.
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Postby dakotaconcrete » Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:05 am

miztflip wrote:I was in your footsteps up Burns the next day and saw a pair of mountain goats. That'd be my guess. Not saying you didn't see wolves but that area has way to many atvs for it to be likely.


Mountain goats were my first instinctive thought when I saw them emerge. It didn't take me long to come to my senses though, as they looked nothing like goats with the exception of their white hair. I'm hoping DOW can help me out as I submitted a report on the sighting....I very much doubt it myself that they were possibly wolves but that leaves me wondering what the heck they were.
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Postby MtnHermit » Tue Jun 29, 2010 5:29 am

Saw this guy on the Coal Mesa Cutoff trail ~1/4-mile NE of Poison Spg. in the W Elk Wilderness. Relative to the coyotes around my house this guy is huge. Date 5-25-10.

Image

BTW, the Coal Mesa Cutoff trail doesn't exist, shortly after taking this pic I was into 4-layer dead-fall, that'll put a whooping on you.
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Postby ktimm » Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:28 pm

Trails in the West Elk Wilderness on the Crawford, Paonia side do not really exist. I roamed that area for a couple years, to find the most recent TOPOS to be entirely off base.
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Postby MtnHermit » Fri Jul 02, 2010 2:54 am

Maintenance appears to be the main issue, once enough dead-fall crosses a trail it goes into disuse, then it disappears. By comparison the Coal Mesa trail shows recent maintenance and the only dead-fall was from last winter.

The principal virtue of the W Elk was solitude, I did Coal Creek, Coffeepot and Coal Mesa trails, never saw a soul and in the case of Coffeepot, I suspect I made first tracks this spring.

I was using Above the Timber's GPS topos, I suspect they had the same trails as your topos. They were clearly scanned lines and not GPS tracks. Once I got into snow the inaccurate trail lines and lack of maintenance, no blazes, caused me to abandon my loop plans.
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