Park Ranger Tice and Macy who during November were "snowed in" at Paradise Valley thru a twenty day snowstorm, report that several bear still call regularly at the hotel altho there is seven feet of soft snow on the ground. Those bear must wear snow shoes. Recently I watched a small brown bear laboriously navigating in two feet of soft snow and wondered that it is possible for so heavy and short limbed an animal to travel at all in deep snow.
For several years we have been sure that deer (Columbia Black-tailed) have been on the increase in the Park, but it is difficult to tell just how rapidly this is taking place. This fall the large numbers seen assures us that the Park herds have continued to prosper. On a ride of six miles down the Nisqually Valley about the middle of the month I saw literally hundreds of deer trails. It was the first nice day following a week of snow and the signs of the days activities were easy to read. Near Longmire I jumped a fine fat spike buck and at Tahoma Creek a magnificent five point buck with his "missus" stood and watched me at fifty yards. In the narrow valley between Longmire and the entrance there are fully fifty deer. Ranger Hamilton, coming down Tahoma Creek from Lake George, saw seven deer in one bunch and Ranger Tice last Sunday saw five deer in the same vicinity. Deer are frequently seen along the highway by motorists.
The Game preserve, established two years ago in the Mount Rainier National Forest, adjacent to the Park on the south, has no doubt been a factor in this increase, and the cutting in half of the open season during the past year will also help materially.
With so many deer in the lower valleys we have been expecting an increase in the population of predatory animals but altho Bob cats are numerous and a few Coyote and Foxes have been reported "Old Queen" hasnt put nose to a Cougar track this fall.
On November 22d, Ranger Tice found where a Bob-cat had killed and eaten a beaver at the Fish Creek colony. Undoubtedly the helpless Beaver, intent upon their wood cutting, prove easy meals for the Lynx and Bob-cat. In the same neighborhood a few days later Tice and Government hunter Stoner picked up a Cat track and within ten minutes the dogs treed a half grown Bob-cat kitten.
Mr. Stoner has declared his annual war on predatory animals in the Park and fur has already begun to fly.
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