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Monday, July 20, 2009


Twin Buttes Wyoming 2002

For most of my landscapes,I keep a polarizer filter on the lens. It darkens the sky and cuts down on unwanted reflections. And that goes for color as well.

This image was made well off the beaten trail, or by some accounts, back in the sticks.

An interesting thing harppened while I was hiking to the buttes. I had two dogs at the time. One was a Virginia dog who had a mental problem, but still a very friendly dog. And there was Sarah; our Wyoming dog. She was an Australian Healer or "dingo dog" according to what I learned. She was sharp as a tack. Both loved a good chase, but trooper wasn't a very good runner compared to Sarah. They were both pound dogs.

As we were approaching the buttes, I heard Sarah growl. Not a bark, but a low growl and I knew she had seen or smelled something that I was totally unaware of. Almost immediately, a mountain lion jumped up just in front of us and ran toward twin buttes with Sarah hot on it's heels. It ran up the side of he vertical cliff to the right and topped the hill at full speed. Sarah did not give up. She ran around the butte and took an easier route but the lion had long since left her behind. I have had people who have lived in Wyoming all their lives tell me that they have never seen a lion. Signs yes. Actual lion, no.

This reminds me of another lion experience which took place in the high country of Wyoming. My wife and I were paddling our canoe across a lake and I eased over to a point where I could cast in a little closer to the shoreline. At that point we heard a commotion over in the forest followed by a doe deer bellowing. Next we spotted the deer running for it's life followed by a lion. Right behind the lion was a big buck. We watched them until they disappeared over the crest of a hill. I could not possibly have made up a sequence of events such as this.

It didn't take long to figure out why the twin-butte lion was where it was during mid day. There were remains of a deer and the lion was obviously feeding on what some hunter left behind; which was everything but the head. I was real glad the dogs were with me that day and out in front. That could have turned a good hike into a tricky situation with a lion feeding on a kill. I would not have seen it because of the sage brush between us.

I have nothing against hunters, but I do have an ax to grind with those who are little more than trophy hunters. I used to hunt small game when I was a teen, but we always ate what I brought home. Since then, my hunting has been with a camera. Most serious hunters in Wyoming hunted for food and for many, that was what they depended on during the winter months.

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