Dana Plateau conditions anyone?

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 21 - 36 of total 36 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jun 24, 2013 - 12:47pm PT
Actually...I just do chicken and fish...occasionally beef.

Leaning more towards being a veggiesaurus these days though.
Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 24, 2013 - 12:58pm PT
Ron, so would say snowshoe hares are about the size of black-tail jacks then? If so, then I remain pretty confident what I see atop Dana are white-tails because of their size.

It's too bad we didn't meet up as teens so close to each other in the CV area bitd, we too enjoyed our share of jack rabbit and cotton-tail meat after a good hunt. It was one of the things to do out there - esp after being primed watching a tv show like Daniel Boone or Wild Kingdom, ha! (btw, I'm a vegan, now, and no longer hunt.)

Good on you, Jeebs, gettin some!
Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 24, 2013 - 01:23pm PT
Ron, thanks for the reply.

So the conclusion then is that there's just no confusing white tails
and snowshoes.

Good to know!
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Jun 24, 2013 - 01:52pm PT
Well, I'll say it can be a little trickier than that. It all depends on how well you see them.

Habitat is a big help, as the white-tailed jacks like the highest elevations, open ridges, and wide-open spaces, whereas the snowshoes like dense cover, mature mixed-conifer, riparian, and especially that super-thick new conifer growth that you can't even really walk through. But there is a lot of overlap, especially in the winter. Here at Tahoe, white-tailed jacks tend to stick to 8500' or above, but in the winter, those within easy striking distance will migrate downslope to the east if the snows get too deep (e.g., Carson Range critters will drop down to the Carson Valley). But those stuck over in the Carson Pass area seem to actually migrate uphill to concentrate on the slopes where the winds scour the ridgetops free of snow (so they can get at something to nibble on - sage, rabbitbrush, creambush, granite gilia).

Sonora Pass, lots of White-tailed Jacks, but prob. some patches of both, depending. White Mtns., definitely White-tailed Jacks.

Right at Luther Pass, the habitat is much better for snowshoe hares, but I've gotten pics of white-tailed jacks on the west side of Waterhouse Pk., and I'm sure they're in Hope Valley too, so they could be transiting from Freel to Stevens via Waterhouse, or going up or down to/from the Valley. I would expect both species there.

BIG = white-tailed jack. That is true, but the snowshoe hares are quite a bit bigger than the cottontails I'm used to seeing, and they can give you the impression of being a surprisingly big rabbit, especially on a gallop, or sprawled out as roadkill. But if you're thinking about saddles, that's a white-tailed jack.

Both of the jacks and the snowshoe are all in the same genus, and actually, all the snowshoe hares we've sequenced from Tahoe have Black-tailed Jack mitochondrial DNA, which means they hybridized at some point. I'm seeking DNA from both White-tailed Jacks and Snowshoe Hares throughout the Sierra, btw.

Two things I look for are relative ear length (longer than head on jack, usu. shorter than head length on snowshoe), and whether or not you notice the tail. On a dead run, the jack sticks its tail out, but you really don't see much of a tail at all on the snowshoes, ever. Here's a pic of a White-tailed Jack that Maysho posted a while back: http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1081557&msg=1087220#msg1087220

As far as the feet go, snowshoe hare feet are definitely crazy big and they can definitely splay them out (they can look a lot like dog tracks in the snow), but still, the jacks' are bigger. I think these are all from adult females, L-R = White-tailed Jack, Snowshoe Hare, Nuttall's Cottontail:

Credit: Willoughby
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jun 24, 2013 - 02:18pm PT
^^Grim. Somewhere there's a few rabbits saying, "Now why doesn't he write?"
Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 24, 2013 - 09:26pm PT
Willoughby,

you're quite the student/expert in this area.

Kudos to you for your scientific work and care. It's nice to know you're one among others paying attention to this very important part of nature.

Also, it IS a public service, though not always recognized as such. Thank you.

Keep on keepin on! :)
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Jun 25, 2013 - 12:59am PT
Thanks, Footloose! I often feel a bit selfish in my research endeavors, since they have their own rewards, but it's very kind of you to recognize the public benefit. Much obliged!

Given the position that rabbits have in shaping both vegetation and predator communities, it's kind of surprising that the local agencies haven't paid any attention to them. That's starting to change, but it takes a lot of salesmanship and evangelism on my part. We got rejected for a small grant a couple of years ago, with the eventual rationale being that white-tailed jackrabbits weren't a TRPA threshold species. My counter of "well, of course they aren't - you guys didn't even know that species was still around!" wasn't met with the enthusiasm I'd hoped.

We're working with the Veterinary Genetics Lab at UCD Davis on some of this stuff, and we'd really like to suss out some of the connections with Sierra Nevada Red Fox. Surely White-tailed Jackrabbits must be the most important winter prey item for that still-extant Sonora Pass population. Yet another creature that folks didn't even realize was living right under their noses - for almost 90 years!
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Jul 30, 2014 - 05:53pm PT
This thread sorta became an unofficial White-tailed Jackrabbit discussion last year, so I'm sticking with it, title be damned. Spent a few hours stalking jacks in Tuolumne last weekend, and thought I might share a few pics.

Big handsome brute, just loungin'

Credit: Willoughby

Twilight nibblin'

Credit: Willoughby

Credit: Willoughby

Credit: Willoughby

Credit: Willoughby

Credit: Willoughby

Eating his own poop:

Credit: Willoughby

Gross!!

Credit: Willoughby

I love the buffy/peachy muzzles.

Credit: Willoughby

This last one's not in focus, but ... pregnant?

Credit: Willoughby
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Jul 30, 2014 - 05:57pm PT
Also, check out this crazy deer that's been milling around the meadow:

Credit: Willoughby
Credit: Willoughby
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Jul 30, 2014 - 07:46pm PT
About 15 years ago discovered a Burrowing Owl on the southern side of the plateau. I wasn't sure what it was but someone with me was an amateur Owl ornithologist.
Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 30, 2014 - 07:48pm PT
Hey Willoughby,
Thanks for the heads-up.

Those are really cool. Really like the closeups,
something I was never able to get. They certainly are
distinct from the black-tail jackrabbit around here
in my neck of the sagebrush!

Ran to Duane Bliss Peak a couple days ago,
thought of you up there leaving a note in the jar.
Which is still there!
OR

Trad climber
Jul 30, 2014 - 07:51pm PT
Very cool bunny pics!
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Jul 30, 2014 - 08:00pm PT
I thought this was supposed to be about the Dana Plateau . . . rabbits?

Summer in the Sierra . . . conditions are perfect . . . what else would they be?
Psilocyborg

climber
Jul 30, 2014 - 09:52pm PT
Not true Kalimon, I was up there a couple days ago, and almost got hit by a sharknado. Probably hungry for rabbits.
T H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
Jul 30, 2014 - 11:47pm PT
You can summit Gibbs before heading out on the plateau pretty easy.
KabalaArch

Trad climber
Starlite, California
Jul 30, 2014 - 11:50pm PT
Remember to pack a car jack for trundling the Lee Vining Ck SCE plant.
Messages 21 - 36 of total 36 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
 
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks


Try a free sample topo!

 
SuperTopo on the Web

Review Categories
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews