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San Antonio to Liberal, KS to Los Angeles, to Portland, OR to damn near the Canucklehead border in N. Central WA, to San Antonio ..... 10 days - 5000+ miles. Lots of fricking snow, and lots of "near-misses" in the animal report.
I saw a bear in Washington. I was telling a friend about it, and he said Grizzlies can be chocolate colored, which is what he looked like. I didn't get a good enough look at him, as it was dark, snowing, and I was more concerned about not hitting him. So, I looked around the net, and decided to report it anyway.
Last night on US -97, heading Northbound from Ellensburg to Wenatchee, WA, I saw a chocolate colored bear. It was about 1 to 1 1/2 miles before I got to the Blewett Pass Summit (South of the summit). The time was between midnight and 1 am (PST).
I didn't think much of it, until a friend said that Grizzly's can be chocolate colored. The bear was in the southbound lane, close to the guard rail. After it saw me, it turned and climbed over the guard rail and down the embankment. I did not get a good look at the face, and am unsure of the sex. I was less that 50 yards from the bear when it climbed over the guard rail.
Pretty animal, whether or not it was a grizzly.
Thank you so much for taking the time to report your bear observation. It's often tough to differentiate between our two species of bear in Washington (black and grizzly). Color isn't a good indicator - both species vary widely from black to blonde. Size is another decidedly inaccurate ID measure. The best ways to determine a grizzly bear are: the pronounced shoulder hump, longer claws (the length of your longest finger), a concave/dished facial profile, and smaller ears in proportion to head size. There are some ID graphics on our website at: http://www.bearinfo.org/id.htm
So, I think under the circumstances we'll be unable to tell whether you saw a grizzly bear or not. If you did see a grizzly, you are among the lucky few. With fewer than 20 left in the North Cascades of WA they are a very rare sight.
Thanks again Dan - we really appreciate your report.
The "range" of the North Cascades grizzly bear population extends to where I saw that bear.
That's what he looked like, to the best of my recollection.
Last night driving SE of Lubbock, TX - between Slaton and Post, TX, I saw a BIG cat cross right in front of me. I damn near hit it, missing it by less than a couple feet. At first, the size made me think it was a large coyote, as it was about the size of some of the bigger coyotes I've seen.
Then, I realized it had no tail, and I focused on the face. It was feline (cat), not canine. The truck behind me saw it too, and he said he was sure it was a bobcat, saying they get large in the "Big Country" area between Abilene and Lubbock.
Bobcat didn't make sense to me. It wasn't spotted or striped, but solid colored, similar to Mountain Lions. It's facial features also more closely resembled a Mtn Lion, but the body was more stocky like the bobcat. The lack of tail threw me too.
It was an interesting trip for animal sightings. Saw a **** Ringneck Pheasant, and splattered 3-4 quail (thud, thud, thud - off the air deflector over the cab). The bear, and deer of every variety (whitetail, blacktail, mule).
Oh .... almost got me a coyote too, up in Colorado two nights ago.