Young Bears Begin To Leave Their Mothers And Start To Roam In Search Of Their Own Territory

Last night, about 8:00 – just about dusk – we had a young bear in the yard. Last year, we had one on August 5, so this seems a bit early, but it is still in the window for the young bears to leave their mothers to establish their own territory. And, this bear was smaller than the one we saw last year, so it makes sense that it was earlier.

Bear encounters tend to spike during this period, as the bears search around for a place to set up housekeeping.

The bears are born in the winter – southern bears may not hibernate – and they stay with their mothers about a year and an half. Then mom pushes them out to begin a life on their own, and they start looking for their own territory.

Bear in mind that your dog is no match for them. Don’t under any circumstances feed them. If you have bird feeders, it’s best to take them in if you see bears hanging around. Make sure there’s nothing outside like dog food that would attract them.

Bears are great, but you don’t want them around your cabin for obvious reasons.

By the way, the forest service has changed its guidance on bear attacks. They used to say “play dead.” That makes sense if it is a defensive attack – say, a mother bear defending her cubs. But if the bear wants to eat you, you are just making it too easy by playing dead. So now they say to try to make yourself look big, make a lot of noise, and if attacked, fight back by hitting the bear around the face with whatever you can find. Don’t run. They are faster than you are, and that triggers their attack instinct. Don’t climb a tree. They climb better than you do. If you are with children, keep them close and don’t let them run. The one fatal bear attack everyone here remembers was some years ago when a mom and her kids were dipping in a pool up Goforth Creek, and the kids panicked and ran.

Black bears are sweethearts compared to grizzly bears, but they are still bears, and need to be treated with respect.

This entry was posted in Clyde's Columns, Environmental News. Bookmark the permalink.