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Black Bear activity...

10:17 p.m. on July 9, 2013 (EDT)
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Seems as though the black bears are quite active in my neck of the woods. Had one just outside of my tent on my trip in May and took these photos on this more recent trip(12 day) last week:)

LHHT-6-26-to-7-7-2013-079.jpg
LHHT-6-26-to-7-7-2013-080.jpg

Was going to be a 17 day but due to a record rainfall I pretty much called it a wrap after 12(10 solid days+ of rain got old after awhile.) This is the trail btw:

LHHT-6-26-to-7-7-2013-041.jpg

Trip report to come(and a few gear reviews.)

6:20 a.m. on July 10, 2013 (EDT)
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Looks beary wet!

8p

11:47 a.m. on July 10, 2013 (EDT)
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LoneStranger said:

Looks beary wet!

8p

 Lol, nice. 

1:03 p.m. on July 10, 2013 (EDT)
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Rick-Pittsburgh said:

LoneStranger said:

Looks beary wet!

8p

 Lol, nice. 

 Wasn't sure if that would earn me a laugh or a slap.


I'm looking forward to your trip report.  That looks like the sort of trail I see all too often and I'm curious about what you had on your feet.

1:07 p.m. on July 10, 2013 (EDT)
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LoneStranger said:

Rick-Pittsburgh said:

LoneStranger said:

Looks beary wet!

8p

 Lol, nice. 

 Wasn't sure if that would earn me a laugh or a slap.


I'm looking forward to your trip report.  That looks like the sort of trail I see all too often and I'm curious about what you had on your feet.

 Although I should have opted for flippers I wore these(La Sportiva Pamir/non-GTX) due to the fact that they dry very quickly.

LHHT-6-26-to-7-7-2013-059.jpg

8:11 p.m. on July 10, 2013 (EDT)
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I guess the bears were 'bear footed' - har har!

Cool photos Rick, we supposedly have a few bears in my area but I haven't seen any signage. 

9:37 p.m. on July 10, 2013 (EDT)
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I saw a few piles of scat headed up to Lower Caribou Lake in the Trinity Alps last week over the holiday.  Tons of people at Caribou Lake the next lake up, never seen that many people in such a small place.

Duane

6:22 a.m. on July 11, 2013 (EDT)
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That's exactly how the trail looked here on my last trip Rick. However I found out that my beloved zamberlan Trekkers now leak around the heel =(.

9:24 a.m. on July 11, 2013 (EDT)
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...we supposedly have a few bears in my area but I haven't seen any signage. 

The process up getting bear warnings posted usually takes a few days - one for it to be reported, and at least a day or two for someone official to get out there and post the warning. A lot of people see a bear then don't report it to the wardens/rangers, though, so signs are usually posted even later.

Look for tracks in sandy/muddy soil (bears often use the same trails we do, and for the same reasons), claw-sharpening scratches on standing trees, rotting logs busted open for the insects inside, and in the alpine for rocks thrown around by bears looking for roots, tubers, insects/marmots/ground squirrels underneath.

In berry season, look for bushes that have been stripped off, and especially for bushes where some have been eaten but others have been left behind. That means the bear isn't done feeding yet, and since they have to eat around 100,000 per day (20-25,000 cal.)  before hibernation, they are likely to get pretty possessive about it.

Bear scat is a good thing to be able to recognize, although what it looks like varies widely. Black bear scat runs around an inch in diameter and grizzly is around an inch and and a half. Look for insect shells, berry seeds and sometimes fur. And if you see bear scat that looks fresh, check the temperature. If it's warm, back away slowly. :-)

11:44 a.m. on July 11, 2013 (EDT)
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Last month I was down around Wood Buffalo National Park and came across this fresh scat from a black bear. I had walked this way about half an hour previous and did not see anything so the bear must have just passed by before I approached.

I saw about 5 bears, including a mother and two cubs up a tree. The sow was eating around the base of the tree and ignored me.


Bear-Scat.jpg

7:54 p.m. on July 11, 2013 (EDT)
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North, did that bear scat smell like pepper spray and have little bells mixed in it?

8:49 p.m. on July 11, 2013 (EDT)
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North, did that bear scat smell like pepper spray and have little bells mixed in it?

 

Or shell casings?

12:33 a.m. on July 12, 2013 (EDT)
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looks like that was a healthy bear...hard to tell what he was eating though.

11:35 a.m. on July 12, 2013 (EDT)
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Trailjester said:

looks like that was a healthy bear...hard to tell what he was eating though.

The scat will vary from place to place throughout the country dependent upon what is being consumed by the animal. 

A lot of the bear poo I see here has a high content of berry seeds, etc. 

2:58 p.m. on July 12, 2013 (EDT)
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Yup. Bears are omnivorous. That's why they are successful. If they've been eating meat, expect black, runny scat with fur in it. Berry pits and husks will be more common in late summer and fall. Grizzlies go high up into the alpine to eat a particular species of moth - look for their wings and carapaces. And bears that hang around campsites will eat the WHOLE loaf of bread they grab - look for the plastic bag. Mostly bear are herbivores since that's the most easily available food. 

3:08 p.m. on July 12, 2013 (EDT)
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the plastic bag goes through huh? I would expect plastic to wreak havoc with their innards.

3:44 p.m. on July 12, 2013 (EDT)
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I examined the scat in my photo; the bear who made it was eating mostly grasses and leaves as the berries were not out at that time. There were also some small bits of hair which could have come from the bear grooming itself as I did not find any bones.

And no, there were no bear bells or other signs of human detritus found in the scat.

For those of you who may be interested, Wood Buffalo National Park sees very few visitors in any given year; at 5 times the size of Yellowstone and the second largest National Park in the world, human/bear encounters are extremely rare.

6:38 p.m. on July 12, 2013 (EDT)
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Peter1955 said:


...we supposedly have a few bears in my area but I haven't seen any signage. 

The process up getting bear warnings posted usually takes a few days - one for it to be reported, and at least a day or two for someone official to get out there and post the warning. A lot of people see a bear then don't report it to the wardens/rangers, though, so signs are usually posted even later.

Look for tracks in sandy/muddy soil (bears often use the same trails we do, and for the same reasons), claw-sharpening scratches on standing trees, rotting logs busted open for the insects inside, and in the alpine for rocks thrown around by bears looking for roots, tubers, insects/marmots/ground squirrels underneath.

In berry season, look for bushes that have been stripped off, and especially for bushes where some have been eaten but others have been left behind. That means the bear isn't done feeding yet, and since they have to eat around 100,000 per day (20-25,000 cal.)  before hibernation, they are likely to get pretty possessive about it.

Bear scat is a good thing to be able to recognize, although what it looks like varies widely. Black bear scat runs around an inch in diameter and grizzly is around an inch and and a half. Look for insect shells, berry seeds and sometimes fur. And if you see bear scat that looks fresh, check the temperature. If it's warm, back away slowly. :-)

 I guess my southern slang was a bit confusing. By signage I just meant the signs left by bears that are active in an area, like you describe above.

A while back I and a good friend of mine had a disagreement over his incessant blueberry picking while we were backpacking in bear country.

I love blueberries, but not bear charges.  

7:30 p.m. on July 12, 2013 (EDT)
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At the end of the day, we were both talking about the same thing, Mike. Signs, bear sign, and signage. :-)

Came across some bear scat once in the Athabasca River valley - fresh and warm and right in the middle of a half-finished stand of Saskatoon berries. It's surprising how easy the decision was to back out and leave the bear to its breakfast. 

Another time, on the tourist trail to the lower Sunwapta Falls, we met a small group of young East Indian tourists. They warned us they'd heard strange 'whoofing' sounds coming from the bushes ahead so they'd turned around. On the sunnier side of the trail, the buffaloberries had been stripped off, but on the shadier side of the trail where they weren't as ripe, the bushes were still fully loaded. 

Sometimes discretion is the better part of valour. 

And, yes, TJ, I guess it could. But some pretty strange stuff has turned up in bear scat. I'd expect that they'd chew the plastic up a bit, too. 

8:29 p.m. on July 18, 2013 (EDT)
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Peter said:

Grizzlies go high up into the alpine to eat a particular species of moth

They do what now? How big are these moths? How many moths would it take to fill a grizzly? Or are these particularly delicious moths, and therefore worth climbing mountains for?

That's the most intriguing little fact I've seen for a while. Thanks Peter!

1:04 a.m. on July 20, 2013 (EDT)
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Hm... Wood Buffalo sounds like a pretty interesting place, North1. Honestly had never heard of the enormous place.  You've got me doing some research. Thanks for recommending!

7:58 p.m. on July 21, 2013 (EDT)
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Nutritous moths provide protein along with whitebark pine nuts and they attract g bears at elevation on the Yellowstone Plateau in a month like August.

9:32 a.m. on July 23, 2013 (EDT)
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Islandess said:

Peter said:

Grizzlies go high up into the alpine to eat a particular species of moth

They do what now? How big are these moths? How many moths would it take to fill a grizzly? Or are these particularly delicious moths, and therefore worth climbing mountains for?

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grizzly_bear

40,000 moths per day, as mentioned under 'Diet'. Looks like they are army cutworm moths. 

April 17, 2014
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