Montana Bobcats

I arrived in Whitefish, Montana, yesterday afternoon.  I'll be working on my friend Roberta Newbury's PhD project.  Two days ago, I was wearing a tank top in Houston, Texas (normal in January), whereas today I am wearing layers for -30 F.  As a southerner, I grew up fearing snow, as school was canceled with the threat of two inches (to be fair, this is because snow turns to ice in the south, and we have no idea how to drive on that).  I am always amazed and full of respect for the wildlife that not only survives, but flourishes in the deep snow environment, and I'll be learning to do the same because I'm spending the month tracking bobcats, performing vegetation surveys, and trapping bobcats in more snow that I've ever seen in my life.  This also means I'll be learning to drive a snowmobile, the benefit of the snow being I'll have something soft to land in when I do some really awesome, unintentional flip off of the snowmobile.  Thankfully, there is no dignity in field work: one has to be prepared to fall, trip, bleed, and curse your way through some things.  Luckily, I have done all of these, so I'm looking forward to spending time with great friends on this field crew.  I'm also looking forward to warming my surely freezing hands on the fur of a live (anesthetized) bobcat.  The goal is to retrieve the radio collars, but looking at live bobcats is pretty darn cool, too.  I'll get some good release videos and photos soon.  Days usually begin at 7:30, but today we are starting late because the wind is 40mph up the mountains.  Hopefully my gear will hold up for me and I will stay warm!