By Gary Bogue
Monday, June 13th, 2011 at 7:41 am in Badger.
A couple of days ago a friend, Paul Turner, asked if I wanted to take a “short” hike up a creek on his ranch (in the Fremont, Calif., hills). Well, he is 70 and I am 64, just your typical kids anticipating an adventure in the “good old” local creek. So, after telling his wife what we were up to, we took off on a longer than planned outing.
It was uneventful, for a few hundred yards. That is until we noticed Mountain Lion tracks in the mud near one of the springs. We checked the wind and headed in the opposite direction so as to avoid too much adventure so early in the hike. As we left that canyon and hit the top of the creek we were greeted by what we mistook for a Bobcat on the side of the hill. A few seconds later there was not one but four “non-Bobcats.”
Three of these animals shot out of their den and charged down the hill singing us a threatening chorus. As they came closer, our eyesight improved and we realized that they were not Bobcats at all but Badgers.
Not much relief there, as, yes, they were badgering us, by backing up a bit then charging again. So we stood our ground, in a statue stance, to give them and us a chance to reconsider their and our situation. It all worked itself out slowly as they eventually and cautiously went back up the hill to their den and we slowly and cautiously went our way, again in an opposite direction.
I have never seen Badgers this close to town. In fact neither of us have seen Badgers anywhere in the Fremont foothills on the east side of the San Francisco Bay. When we got back no one believed our far-fetched story. None of them had ever seen nor heard of anyone seeing Badgers in our area, even though Paul’s family has lived in that area for over 100 years and I’ve lived here since 1963. So I am glad Paul had the insight to bring a camera. We have pictures of the Badgers, yes badgering us.
The only other threatening wildlife we encountered were several ground squirrels and a Golden Eagle that we had seen in the area before. So, even if a person is a kid of 64 or even 70 or more, they might take a nature walk close to home in the Bay Area and encounter more than expected. Ours’ was a fun five or so miles.
Al Matto, Fremont, California
There used to be a lot of badgers in the San Francisco Bay Area, then as the area became more developed, local Ag. departments started poisoning ground squirrels to keep them from digging up local backyards and other areas, and since badgers depend primarily on those ground squirrels for food, it also affected the local badger population
Interestingly, in the last 10 years or so, badgers seem to have been coming back. They are getting seen more on and around Mount Diablo in Contra Costa County. I’ve had some reports from the Mount Tam area of Marin County. And now your report (and photos) from the Fremont Hills.
That’s VERY good news. Any other badger reports from other areas? /Gary