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woodsy
04-26-2006, 13:46
I think the thing to be aware of about Black Bears this time of year is that they are hungry and grumpy, not to mention sows with young ens. If you are hiking, the direction of the wind is important. If you are walking in the same direction as the wind than your scent is ahead of you warning any bears you are in the area. If you are walking against the wind than you need to be more cautious and observant cause they can't smell you approaching.

woodsy
04-26-2006, 14:07
An example: took the dog for a hike last spring and was approaching a beaver flowage, saw black behind the beaver dam and was downwind so the bear didn't know we were there until he climbed onto the dam at which time the dog spotted it and started barking! Well, a 2 minute stand off ensued with the dog barking and bear gauking at us but not giving any ground. It reluctantly walked away with a few parting looks back at us. If the wind had been in the opposite direction we likely would never had seen this bear.

MOWGLI
04-26-2006, 14:37
I think the thing to be aware of about Black Bears this time of year is that they are hungry and grumpy....


Hungry - yes. Grumpy - I donno.

woodsy
04-26-2006, 15:38
Don't you get grumpy when you are hungry? Months without food and I'd be grumpy too.

MOWGLI
04-26-2006, 16:40
Don't you get grumpy when you are hungry? Months without food and I'd be grumpy too.

I guess so, but you can't anthropomorphise with bears.

Yeah. I just wanted to use that word in a sentence. ;)

tsali
04-26-2006, 19:43
Do and how long do bears hibernate in the south. I have seen bears up until December and just always thought that bears in the southeast just hibernated long enough to have cubs. There for meaning that the boars are not hibernating. I may be way off on this, but if anyone KNOWS i would love to know. thanks

Skidsteer
04-26-2006, 20:09
Do and how long do bears hibernate in the south. I have seen bears up until December and just always thought that bears in the southeast just hibernated long enough to have cubs. There for meaning that the boars are not hibernating. I may be way off on this, but if anyone KNOWS i would love to know. thanks

from bearstudy.org (http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:_rD0qAczJz8J:www.bearstudy.org/Research/Publications/117%2520-%2520The%2520Smithsonian%2520Book%2520of%2520North %2520American%2520Mammals.pdf+black+bear+hibernati on+in+georgia&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=11)

In southern states where food is available
year-round, only pregnant females hibernate.
In the north, both sexes hibernate up to
seven months. Where they hibernate longest,
they also hibernate more deeply, to ration fat
over the longer period. Black bears differ
from smaller hibernators, which wake up
every few days to eat, move around, and
pass wastes. The bears hibernate
continuously without eating, drinking,
urinating, or exercising. They produce small
amounts of feces from dead cells sloughed
from the digestive tract

http://www.bear.org/Black/Black_Bear_Facts.html

Do bears hibernate? When hibernation was defined simply in terms of temperature reduction, bears were not considered hibernators. New knowledge of hibernation processes has led biologists to redefine mammalian hibernation as simply a specialized, seasonal reduction of metabolism concurrent with the environmental pressures of scarce food and low ambient temperatures. Black bears are now considered highly efficient hibernators. They sleep for months without eating, drinking, urinating, or defecating. Hibernators with lower body temperatures, such as chipmunks, woodchucks, and ground squirrels, cannot do this. These smaller mammals must awaken every few days, raise their temperatures to over 94 degrees, move around in their burrows, and urinate. Some of them must also eat and defecate during arousals. Black bears have far more insulative pelts and have lower surface to mass ratios than the smaller hibernators. As a result, bears' body heat is lost very slowly, enabling them to cut their metabolic rate in half and still make it through winter, maintaining temperatures above 88 degrees--within 12 degrees of their normal summer temperature. (Excerpted from "A Bear In Its Lair" (http://www.bear.org/Black/Articles/A_Bear_In_Its_Lair.html) by Lynn Rogers, Natural History Magazine, October 1981). Mothers wake up to give birth, typically in mid to late January, and take excellent care of the cubs in the den, licking them clean and responding to every cry for warmth and milk.
Length of Hibernation: The length and depth of hibernation is genetically programmed to match the regional norms of food availability. Hibernation is deeper and can last over 7 months in the northern portion of the black bear range where abundant, high quality food is available only from May through August. There, some bears hibernate so deeply, especially the leaner bears after a summer of unusually scarce food, that a person can jostle them for several minutes before they wake up. However, in southern states where food is available year-round, some do not hibernate at all, and those that do are easily aroused. Lean females cannot bring their fetuses to full term and do not give birth.

ed bell
04-26-2006, 20:21
Nice info Skidsteer, thanks for your post. Seems to me that understanding bear behavior/ seasonal routines is the first step in developing an understanding of bears in relation to us hikers. :sun

Skidsteer
04-26-2006, 20:49
Nice info Skidsteer, thanks for your post. Seems to me that understanding bear behavior/ seasonal routines is the first step in developing an understanding of bears in relation to us hikers. :sun

Shhhh...I've have 3/4 of my net worth tied up in common stock of start-up companies marketing bear spray. If too many people "gain an understanding" of bears, I'm ruined! ;)

Tin Man
04-26-2006, 21:03
There, some bears hibernate so deeply, especially the leaner bears after a summer of unusually scarce food, that a person can jostle them for several minutes before they wake up. However, in southern states where food is available year-round, some do not hibernate at all, and those that do are easily aroused.

Any volunteers to test the jostle time and effect?

Dances with Mice
04-26-2006, 21:19
Do and how long do bears hibernate in the south. I have seen bears up until December and just always thought that bears in the southeast just hibernated long enough to have cubs. There for meaning that the boars are not hibernating. I may be way off on this, but if anyone KNOWS i would love to know. thanksA couple of years ago bears at Springer Mtn learned that if they slapped and banged on the tie-off portion of the bear cable system, food would sometimes fall out of the sky. Food bags that hadn't been securely tied to the hooks of the bear cables, that is. I believe the bears didn't know much about variability in hiker's knotting practices, they just learned that slapping and shaking the cables yielded enough rewards to make their effort worthwhile.

A year or so later bears near Hawk Mtn began practicing the same behavior.

Hmmm! Same behavior exhibited at two shelters several, but not many, miles apart but the behavior hadn't spread beyond the two shelters. Why could that be?

Several reasons have been postulated: Bears could be displaying similar behaviours because they were in similar environments... in other words, bears at different locations faced with the same challenge independantly arrived at the same solution. That would make sense.

But it didn't explain why bears weren't shaking cables everywhere. It COULD have been random, bears at the two shelters just happened to arrive at the same solution to the vexing hanging food problem. Or perhaps a bear that learned the behavior at one place migrated to the second location. The distance involved is well within the range of a black bear. That would make sense.

But I believe the answer is that bears spend the winter attending bear conventions where they organize seminars in subjects like "Advanced Aerial Foraging Tactics".

I postulated this one December evening at a bar in Orlando while attending a technical conference. At the time it made sense.

Skidsteer
04-26-2006, 21:20
Any volunteers to test the jostle time and effect?

Oh, you noticed that too? I do wonder who verified this particular bear behaviour.

In the interest of full disclosure, in case anybody misunderstood, I cut and pasted these links along with short excerpts of the pertinent text.

In short, I googled it.

Skidsteer
04-26-2006, 21:30
But I believe the answer is that bears spend the winter attending bear conventions where they organize seminars in subjects like "Advanced Aerial Foraging Tactics".

I postulated this one December evening at a bar in Orlando while attending a technical conference. It made sense at the time.

Yeah, sort of an ursine variation of the "Appalachian Trail Institute" :D

Tin Man
04-26-2006, 21:34
Oh, you noticed that too? I do wonder who verified this particular bear behaviour.

In the interest of full disclosure, in case anybody misunderstood, I cut and pasted these links along with short excerpts of the pertinent text.

In short, I googled it.

I got the disclosure part. It is always very important to cite your references or we could get WB in deep do-do with the copyright police.

tsali
04-26-2006, 21:53
thanks skidsteer, that is great info.

woodsy
04-27-2006, 07:27
I guess so, but you can't anthropomorphise with bears.

Yeah. I just wanted to use that word in a sentence. ;)

This may be partly true but animals and humans have many similar instinctive traits . I can't prove that hungry bears get grumpy but other animals do...like my dog....gets downright beligerent when he's not fed on time . ?

MOWGLI
04-27-2006, 08:30
like my dog....gets downright beligerent when he's not fed on time . ?

My dog actually gets friendlier. He does amusing things to get my attention. At age 13, he learned a new trick. He pretends that he wants to go out and when I open the back door, he starts barking at me and bluffs charging into the kitchen where his food bowl is. Pretty funny actually.

Then there's this new trick where I put a Mr. Pugsley (http://www.veganstore.com/images/010-L.jpg)biscuit in my mouth, and he gently takes it from me. I wouldn't try that with a bear though.

woodsy
04-27-2006, 12:11
Last evening's local news here in Maine hosted a wildlife biologist talking about Black Bears in spring time. He said they are hungry, looking for easy food sources such as bird feeders and unsecured trash containers. Their natural food sources are a month away from being ready so in the meantime they will do whatever it takes for a snack.
Several years ago, while living in the rural western Maine foothills, a spring time bear(250-300lbs) was vandalizing area homes. Bird feeders were ripped from the trees and unsecure trash containers were hit. Both were hit at my house and muddy bear paw prints were left on the kitchen window. My dog at the time caught site of it in the backyard one afternoon at the birdfeeder and and being unleashed took off after it! She made it back unscathed after about 10 minutes and no I didn't follow the chase. The bear was later captured in an area home's basement and had gained entrance through an unlatched bulkhead door. Seems the occupants had a sizeable quanity of trash stored for sometime.

Vi+
04-27-2006, 13:34
I read someplace recently - I donít recall the source - black bears in the vicinity of Shenandoah National Park donít hibernate, at least not to the degree of sleeping for an extended period of time. They will sleep about three days, give or take a day, wake up and forage, and then return to sleep for a few more days. This cycle continues throughout winter.

Bears can learn by imitation, or mimicry. A bear learns behavior from its mother (she's the one that sticks around). Her daughter(s) leave the motherís territory approximately after two years. The daughters find available territories of their own and have offspring. Each daughter's offspring - the grandbears (?) - learn behavior from her. The grandbears leave the daughterís territory after two years. Etc.

Bear whose territory includes houses can learn that foraging among them is relatively easy. They will continue this lifestyle as long as theyíre unmolested and food remains available. I had dogs (one was a hunting breed) which became so accustomed to bear visibly sleeping outside, they stopped barking at them. One bear woke us up trying to pry open the trunk lid on our car to liberate some sunflower seeds and cracked corn. The dogs snoozed peacefully.

LuTotten
04-30-2006, 15:10
A couple of years ago bears at Springer Mtn learned that if they slapped and banged on the tie-off portion of the bear cable system, food would sometimes fall out of the sky. Food bags that hadn't been securely tied to the hooks of the bear cables, that is. I believe the bears didn't know much about variability in hiker's knotting practices, they just learned that slapping and shaking the cables yielded enough rewards to make their effort worthwhile.

A year or so later bears near Hawk Mtn began practicing the same behavior.

Hmmm! Same behavior exhibited at two shelters several, but not many, miles apart but the behavior hadn't spread beyond the two shelters. Why could that be?

Several reasons have been postulated: Bears could be displaying similar behaviours because they were in similar environments... in other words, bears at different locations faced with the same challenge independantly arrived at the same solution. That would make sense.

But it didn't explain why bears weren't shaking cables everywhere. It COULD have been random, bears at the two shelters just happened to arrive at the same solution to the vexing hanging food problem. Or perhaps a bear that learned the behavior at one place migrated to the second location. The distance involved is well within the range of a black bear. That would make sense.

But I believe the answer is that bears spend the winter attending bear conventions where they organize seminars in subjects like "Advanced Aerial Foraging Tactics".

I postulated this one December evening at a bar in Orlando while attending a technical conference. At the time it made sense.

Here is a more likely answer, seeing as the shelters are less than 10 miles apart they both fall within the teritory of the same bear or family group. This will give you a better idea how far they wander... http://www.americanbear.org/Habitat%20-%20Home%20Range.htm