Critters in Weird Places

Nameless Range

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I feel like this discussion has happened before, but I couldn’t find it. I’m curious about others’ observations of species of animals where they typically are not – pioneers of their kind. Of course, all populations that got to where they are naturally, got there via the wandering souls of their ancestors, but it can be kind of shocking to see.

I start this thread because last weekend at our family cabin on Raynold’s Pass, a mountain goat basically walked by our front porch. Realistically, there is a population of mountain goats in the Henry’s Lake Range, only a couple miles away. That said, it was super weird to see one down in the sagebrush of the valley floor. It ran along the fence line and disappeared further into the valley. Not a great picture but you can see it's just down in the sage.

IMG_5751.jpg


Another instance I think of, is a pronghorn I saw up Lump Gulch west of Clancy. About 7 miles to the north, a population of antelope resides in Montana City, but it would’ve had to either traversed the I-15 corridor or a half dozen miles of timber to get where it got.

IMG_5739.JPG

The last instance I can think of, is a few years back when a Bighorn got schmucked on the interstate by Clancy, MT. The nearest Bighorn population is in the southern Elkhorns, really about 17 miles away. According to those who witnessed his fatal decision, he was alone. Something brought him out of the Elkhorns and down into the belly of Prickly Pear Creek.

IMG_5738.JPG

I think examples of critters being where they typically aren't is interesting, though quite natural. Any examples that you have seen?
 
A road kill mule deer near North Pole, Alaska a few years ago.
The closest population of mule deer is in the Yukon about 300 miles away.

Historically the Alaska Range has been a barrier to expansion into interior Alaska.
Rainbow trout and sockeye salmon native south of the Alaska Range, only planters in interior.
Ruffed and sharptailed grouse native north of the Alaska Range, only transplants south of the AK Range.
Goats south of the Alaska Range, none in interior Alaska.
 
I feel like this discussion has happened before, but I couldn’t find it. I’m curious about others’ observations of species of animals where they typically are not – pioneers of their kind. Of course, all populations that got to where they are naturally, got there via the wandering souls of their ancestors, but it can be kind of shocking to see.

I start this thread because last weekend at our family cabin on Raynold’s Pass, a mountain goat basically walked by our front porch. Realistically, there is a population of mountain goats in the Henry’s Lake Range, only a couple miles away. That said, it was super weird to see one down in the sagebrush of the valley floor. It ran along the fence line and disappeared further into the valley. Not a great picture but you can see it's just down in the sage.

View attachment 289759


Another instance I think of, is a pronghorn I saw up Lump Gulch west of Clancy. About 7 miles to the north, a population of antelope resides in Montana City, but it would’ve had to either traversed the I-15 corridor or a half dozen miles of timber to get where it got.

View attachment 289761

The last instance I can think of, is a few years back when a Bighorn got schmucked on the interstate by Clancy, MT. The nearest Bighorn population is in the southern Elkhorns, really about 17 miles away. According to those who witnessed his fatal decision, he was alone. Something brought him out of the Elkhorns and down into the belly of Prickly Pear Creek.

View attachment 289760

I think examples of critters being where they typically aren't is interesting, though quite natural. Any examples that you have seen?

I believe the thread you are thinking about was a mountain goat out on the plains in South Dakota. Don't know where the thread is but do remember reading it.
 
I found a badger hit by a car a couple miles from our house. Never had any clue they were around but the folks at the conservation department said we actually have a trapping season for them.
 
View attachment 289775
Been a whole bunch of these critters in my city in MT lately…. Not sure where they came from but kinda been a nuisance at times….

(Its a joke)(also not my pic)(also awesome thread idea sorry to derail it)
They are an invasive species. We have been trying to deal with them for 60 years with no luck.

I have seen mule deer 10-12 miles west of their normal range several times. My wife saw a badge a half mile from our house which is about 25 miles away from their normal range. I have seen Eurasian Widgeons and Mandarin ducks which belong on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. I once saw a Yellow Rail in western Oregon, well out of its range. Back in the early 70s a friend told me he saw a Rocky Mountain Big horn Ram in the Rogue River Canyon. I told him he was crazy, but it turned out that in the 60s Fish and Game tried to establish a population of them in the canyon.
 
We have moose show up at the farm on occasion. Granted there is a small population on the river about 5 miles north but it is always weird to seeing standing in the middle of a wheat field. This year it is toads. I mean thousands of them. Hoards of ‘em splattered on the road. It’s just weird.
 
I think that one was spotted near Niobrara, NE but most likely ventured from Custer State Park area in SD. Either way, cool.
Cool thread idea.
In winter 2007 I helped with a mountain goat release in the Black Hills. Those goats were captured near Leadville, CO, fitted with a radio collar, and released near Mt Rushmore. Almost immediately one billy took off for the Badlands. Another ended up in SE WY and was still moving southwest. Quite the contrast from the high alpine wintery area they were captured around Leadville.
 
In the summer of 1991, while working for the USFS near Philipsburg. We saw a wolverine right off the skalkaho highway way down low and miles from any forested cover. There were four of us and we sat and watched it for 5 minutes. I never would have thought wolverine where it was but comparing it to the photos at the office, no doubt.
 
Antelope at 9000 feet in elk country.

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Mountain lion outside Macy's in Down town Santa Rosa, CA (Let the Cougar jokes commence)

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Black bear in Sonoma County in a Residential neighborhood. Outside the Bear Hunt Zone....


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