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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Teton Tuesday: Family

In honor of Father's Day and families everywhere, this week we're going to look at some of the families that make their homes out on the ranch. As I continue to spend my evenings stumbling across Tejon’s many quiet ridgelines, I am often amazed that such a wild place exists so close to the glowing hive of humanity that on dark nights illumes our Southern horizon. It is hard to imagine two more acutely dissimilar and unrelated environments neighboring one another. Yet similarities do exist. At their most basic level, each can be seen as an arena for survival among its inhabitants. The struggle for territory, resources and procreation is as real and visceral in the woods as it is in the inner-city, and for each individual participant, the stakes are often life and death. As I compare these largely diametrically opposed worlds, I can see no more universally critical force than the power of family. It doesn’t matter if you are a lady or a ladybug, a buck or a guy trying to make a buck, you have a much better shot at making it in this world if you have friends and family around to help you along the way.
Wild pigs are arguably the most prolific large mammal on the ranch, despite being the most actively hunted. Their success is due in large part to the efficacy of the sounder, a group of extended family that allows otherwise defenseless piglets and juveniles to develop into adulthood. 

A young fawn learns valuable survival skills by mimicking the behaviors of its mother.
This group of hyper-extended family is using an impromptu reunion as a means to stave off the potentially deadly cold.  
These elk and I agree that sometimes there is just nothing like spending a sunny day hangin' with your bros.
Here, our wonderful Stewardship Manager Laura is reminding us that family is as family does, and that if we can extend the TLC we share at home, to our cousins in the woods, we might grow our families beyond what we once thought possible.