Constant entertainment at this site. I called a local biologist, who seemed interested and receptive to our work, and informed me that the land manager would be thrilled to know I wanted to catch prairie dogs. When I arrived with my traps, I soon found out she was thrilled because she thought I might be able to “get rid of them.” Nope, permit doesn’t cover that. And, even if it did, I am not in favor of killing animals just because they get in your way (not a particularly progressive management policy). Fortunately, because the permit had already been issued and I was there in person, she agreed to let me conduct my research even if I wasn’t going to kill prairie dogs. She led me out to the colony, which I had been informed was next to a sheep pasture. But when we arrived at the sheep pasture, we kept walking. And then we climbed over the fence, into the sheep pasture. Yep, this was where I was going to attempt to catch animals without disturbing them– in burrows surrounded by almost no vegetation because it is grazed by sheep (and goats)– and without being disturbed myself by livestock chasing me as I leave a scent of grain behind.
It gets better.