Friday, September 5, 2008

Care Bear Stare

Well it is that time of year again when the bears are out and about getting fat for the upcoming months of torpor (fancy word for hibernation... aka bear lethargy). Bears don't technically hibernate. My mammalogy professor took 3 days in college explaining why it wasn't actually hibernation but a food induced comatose like situation called bear lethargy or torpor which is why their body can still have productive contractions during cub births in their dens. I wont bore you with the details but it was interesting stuff at the time and you'll just have to accept it.

I was out running another stand exam yesterday morning and within a two hour period I came across two sets of black bear. The first was a sow with two cubs from this season that were absolutely adorable. I wish they hadn't been so spooky or I could have gotten a couple more great pictures of the cubs. I was lucky even to get this one. There is absolutely nothing as cute as a bear cub. Note of caution though... try to stay out of mama bears way. Black bears may be skiddish but they aren't stupid. If they think you are going to try and harm their cubs they wont wait a second to come after you. Most of the time though they either tree up or go running off through the forest. This mama bear and one of her cubs ran for the nearest dark patch of woods while the last of the cubs was confused and started to climb up the nearest aspen tree. He got about halfway up before he realized the rest of the family wasn't doing the same and came crashing down the tree and rumbled after his mom and sister. I basically just leaned against a tree and watched with a smile on my face. They were a good 50 yards away from me before they realized I could be something dangerous walking through the woods with tree borer and tape measure in hand. I think it was the orange vest and hard hat that gave me away... *laughs*.

The next bear I came across was a young female that was pretty curious about what I was doing in the woods and just climbed up a nearby tree and watched me while I worked. She didn't seem fazed in the least that I was intruding on her grazing. I made my measurements pretty quickly however and continued on my merry way in order not to spook or anger her to much. She posted herself in a tree down hill from me so with the zoom on my camera I got a really great shot. Luckily enough I have not run across any grizzlies in my adventures out in the woods though there are plenty of them out there. Several area's in which I work are grizzly relocation points of bears that have tried pestering camp sites in Yellowstone and other prominent tourist areas. I've seen sign of them but thankfully they are smarter than their black bear cousins and boogie out of an area long before I even know they were there. Last summer I made some great castings of grizzly bear prints with a grad student and bear researcher from MSU. I know I know... booo to MSU but he's a great guy and is do ecological studies that will be really interesting if they get published. Environmentalists keep saying the griz population around here isn't healthy and vibrant... this kid has other news for them. David has seen enough proof to know that our population is actually one of the healthiest in the griz recovery areas... plenty of cubs... plenty of habitat to grow in... not as many people for them to come in contact with. Take that you GREENIES!!! Not that I'm bitter or anything. It just gets frustrating when you're told over and over there isn't a sustainable griz population in the area and you know otherwise. I know I'm preaching to the choir here so I'll stop. Hope everyone is having a great day. I'm loving my super short Labor Day Holiday Week! I'm already in my weekend here. Woo wooo!

1 comment:

Julie (It is.) said...

Food induced coma. Sounds like a trip to Cheesecake Factory to me. Thanks for another interesting tale!