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  1. #1
    Registered User ImkerVS's Avatar
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    Default Are the bears waking up yet?

    I took a hike over Pond Mountain on Saturday March 10th (between Laurel Falls and Watauga Lake) and soon as I got some elevation there was what looked like bear scat on the trail, and fresh.

    Are they up and around?

  2. #2
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    I don't know when they're supposed to wake up, but I've heard that they're mighty hungry when they do.

  3. #3

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    They will come out of their deep sleep during the winter, if the days are warm. And yes, they are hungry. But, At least here in the south, I'm sure they are all starting to wake up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ImkerVS View Post
    I took a hike over Pond Mountain on Saturday March 10th (between Laurel Falls and Watauga Lake) and soon as I got some elevation there was what looked like bear scat on the trail, and fresh.

    Are they up and around?
    black bears don't hibernate. they're always "up".

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by L. Wolf View Post
    black bears don't hibernate. they're always "up".
    He's right. They go through torpor, not hibernation.
    a.k.a CHOP-CHOP

  7. #7

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    Somebody hit a black bear near Fryeburg, Maine a few weeks ago.
    By this time next month they'll be up and about all over NH and ME.
    Teej

    "[ATers] represent three percent of our use and about twenty percent of our effort," retired Baxter Park Director Jensen Bissell.

  8. #8

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    "there will be no bears while you are sleeping" jeff /hike inn.
    matthewski

  9. #9

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    my son is coming down from ohio approx apr 1 and he said the bears are still a little groggy but his aunt reminded him they are hungry also

  10. #10
    A.T. Maintainer (Pond Mtn to Watauga Lake)
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    My wife and I hiked from Watagua Lake across Pond Mountain on Saturday too, and camped near Laurel Falls on Saturday night, then hiked back across on Sunday. We saw the same two piles of scat you saw coming down into Laurel Fork Gorge (it was very fresh on Saturday) and we were a little surprised to see it. Not sure if you noticed but it looked like the bear had also made his own "trail" off into the forest at the end of that switchback (like he'd been using that section of the AT for a while).

    We also had to move a snake out of the way when we were coming down the north side of Pond Mt. on Sunday... which surprised us a little too. Maybe this mild winter is really waking things up early.

    Just curious, were you the guy we passed that was camping up on Pond Flats on Saturday?

    Take care,
    Bill

  11. #11
    Registered User ImkerVS's Avatar
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    Default Pond Mountain

    No, I didn't camp. Didn't see you.

    With the incline of Pond Mountain, the trail is a bear highway there, don't you think?

    I also caught a whiff of the bear, I think, as the breeze changed directions about 3 minutes uphill from the scat. Sort of an heavy dirty odor. Instinct said quietly to forebrain: "Smelly. Bear." Only for a second.

    I carry a Wal-Mart $5 air horn, but since trying it out it is loud, yes. but sounds like the dying bleat of something edible.
    Last edited by ImkerVS; 03-14-2007 at 09:15.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by ImkerVS View Post
    sounds like the dying bleat of something edible.
    LOL......

  13. #13
    Donating Member/AT Class of 2003 - The WET year
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    Any "bear bells" in the scat ?? That's how to tell if they're dangerous !!

    'Slogger
    The more I learn ...the more I realize I don't know.

  14. #14

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    Just went to a 90min presentation on Black Bears by the Mass Dept of Fish and Wildlife last week. In Mass, males and females w/o newborns are getting up and about (this recent snow will make them less active because it's difficult range about and finding food is difficult).

    Females w/ newborns will probably stay in their dens until there is more to eat, and the cubs develop further. Internal gestation begins in Dec/January, 'tho mating took place in late summer and early fall. A blatocyst is the result of mating and may or may not develop depending on the female's diet--and the resulting energy reources.

    Cubs are born in late January/Early Feb, and are small, blind and hairless, doing the majority of their growing in the den while mom snoozes.

    Black bears do not exactly hibernate, I think torpor was used by a previous poster that describes it rather well. Some bears den up in holes or other well protected areas, othe have been found just sleeping under fallen trees.

    A common early spring diet is skunk cabbage and other similar greens found in wetlands, so that is a likely place for early season bears. As the things green up at higher elevations the bears will expand their ranges and diets. Female ranges typically overlap, male ranges do not, and males travel long distances after they are kicked loose by momma during thier 2nd summer (in the south, bears can give birth every season, here in southern New England, typically every other year--depending on food resources).The occasional dead deer or other winter kill is an early season bonus source of protein.

    Hopefully people are bringing in their birdfeeders and pet dishes and keeping their garbage locked up as the days get warmer. Average bear density in western Mass is approximately 1.1 bears per square mile! NJ is much higher.

    Cosmo

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