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Thread: Wild Animals on Your Route

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Wild Animals on Your Route

    This question is mostly for those who used to work for the railroad or currently work for the rail road and for rail fans. Have you encountered wild animals on your route? If so, what kind? I'm particularly interested if any conductors who have had to walk the train in bear country. Does the railroad permit you to protect yourself in an encounter? I bring this up because fisherman and hikers run into bears and moutain lions and sometimes those have proved to be deadly encounters.

    Thanks,
    Derick

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by derickavery View Post
    This question is mostly for those who used to work for the railroad or currently work for the rail road and for rail fans. Have you encountered wild animals on your route? If so, what kind? I'm particularly interested if any conductors who have had to walk the train in bear country. Does the railroad permit you to protect yourself in an encounter? I bring this up because fisherman and hikers run into bears and moutain lions and sometimes those have proved to be deadly encounters.

    Thanks,
    Derick
    Whitetail Deer, Bears, Moose, Geese / Ducks over the years/
    Mostly Boneheads along RofW, 4wheelers, &, Motor Vehicles biggest issues.

    Firearms / Knives were a no no. Can't say I've had run-ins with animal dangers while working the ground.
    Did on an occasion, get knocked over by a Deer running from hunters.
    Had a Black bear slide down an embankment hit the step area of standing loco, then hightail it.. Both fine... lol

  3. #3
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    Thanks for sharing.

  4. #4
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    I believe Alaska RR allows crew members to carry a firearm to defend against wildlife. I don't work for the railway, but I do see plenty of wildlife around the tracks. I've heard stories about hitting animals as big as moose, and that flashing the headlights works better than the horn for getting deer to move.

    As far as bears go, there are only black bears around here. Why people think they're so dangerous is beyond me (everyone asks me if I'm afraid of bears when I go camping up north - I'm not. Keep your food locked up stay the hell away from cubs). Out west where there are grizzlies I might be a little more nervous, since I think those are a bit more aggressive. Mountain lions are dangerous all-around. Thankfully those are rare as hens' teeth here.

    I'm curious if things like venomous snakes and gators are a concern in their respective territories

  5. #5

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    Last RR, we used googlies (Mars) for spotting Deer in the fields at night.
    On the tracks another story, would extinguish lights momentarily, along with a quick blast usually cleared the RofW.
    Keep the lights blazing causes Deer to freeze inplace, resulting in big mess for shop crews.
    Moose were another story, esp. during rutting season. Most of the time all the critters spooked away from the area
    hearing us coming along.
    Again, Boneheads around any RofW were the worst hazards from both the cab, &, ground.

  6. #6
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    Here is a video from a former signal maintainer that I see videos from. I've posted here on the Run8 section before as that was his territory.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dliaryn0X_c

    Thanks

    Sean

  7. #7
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    Great. Very helpful video. Thanks to all that have shared their comments. By-the-way, rail fans are more than welcome to share what they have ran into while out chasing or waiting for trains to come by.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by derickavery View Post
    Great. Very helpful video. Thanks to all that have shared their comments. By-the-way, rail fans are more than welcome to share what they have ran into while out chasing or waiting for trains to come by.
    Now that the gates are opened up...

    I was walking along an abandoned line and turned around to see a bobcat about a hundred yards behind me. I waved at it a bit and it walked away.

    I once saw a moose along the tracks about half a mile away. I couldn't tell what it was initially...until it turned sideways. There's no mistaking that.

    Black bears are extremely rare to see here. I think I flushed one up once. Wolves I've seen a few times, especially after a deer was hit not far from my hunting stand (which is not far from the tracks, of course).

    Deer are always around, and I'm surprised more aren't hit by trains.

    I've seen a few little gardner snakes sunning themselves on the ballast, and once nearly stepped a turtle. I think I got one across a road while waiting for a train, too, with the help of a shovel (don't handle turtles directly)

  9. #9

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    More than a couple diamondback rattlesnakes when I would go out to watch the UP running on the Gila Sub. Beautiful creatures if you give them room to escape.

    Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

  10. #10
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    Have probably seen a dozen or so rattlesnakes throughout the years while taking photos along the railroad. About half of those I've seen in the rugged Palouse Canyon between Joso Bridge and Hooper on the Union Pacific Ayer Subdivision (eastern Washington). Also had one occasion with two coyotes stalking me as I hiked through that canyon, they must have followed me for a good 10 minutes. A bit creepy. Finally I yelled and made a bunch of noise and they took off.

    Saw a very large cinnamon-colored black bear on the east side of Donner Pass, just below the tunnels at Andover. It crossed the tracks about 100 yards from me. That one had me on edge for a while - every noise I heard from the woods behind me had me jump! Got the picture of Amtrak a few minutes later then high-tailed for my car.

    Saw a very large herd (at least 50) of elk along Montana Rail Link near Colby, Idaho walking around in the early morning fog (reminds me of when a single train killed several dozen elk near Helena a couple years ago).

    More to the point of the thread - several years ago (2014), I was emailing a CN engineer who works out of Jasper, Alberta over Yellowhead Pass. I was inquiring about hiking into some of the very remote parts of that route west of Red Pass. He said that the area was overrun with black bears, to the point where he recommended not hiking at all in that area. Reportedly on just one trip over the route west of Jasper, an engineer counted 32 bears! He did not indicate whether or not they carry bear spray or firearms with them. I'm not knowledgeable enough on Canadian guns laws to know what that would entail.
    ~Sean Kelly~

    MRL Mullan Pass for ORTS
    https://www.trainsimulations.net/mullanpass

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