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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wildlife Tuesday

Today, I found photos on a wildlife camera showing that our friend the doe and her two fawns are doing well. First, the doe arrived.
And, her two spotted offspring weren't far behind.
Then, the surprise that made my day - a bear! Every year, I have trouble figuring out where to get bear photos in August. Well, this was an auspicious start to August.

A bear made a beeline for a bear "whammy" tree - a pine sapling that has been decimated by the emphatic back rubbing by bears on it for many years.
He/she sniffed and sniffed the tree, garnering information about who had visited it and when those visits were.
He/she moved on without rearing up on hind legs to mark the tree like we saw here. After all, mating season is over so that behavior is fairly rare now. However, the bear walked so that he/she rubbed against the overhanging branches from all the adjacent trees, leaving his/her unique scent mark.
Also, check out the claws in the photo above. Wow!

I thought that the bear was gone when I saw a series of empty photos. But then, when I looked a few photos ahead in the series. It seems that he/she caught my scent next to the camera and returned to investigate. What a snout!
The bear examined every square inch around the base of the tree where my camera is mounted before ambling onward.
This bear has an eerie likeness to Mabel, the sow who currently has two tiny cubs. I wonder if this is a daughter from many years past? If so, this is a 4 or 5 year old bear since we know that her litter from 2009 had white blazes on their chests. It's fun to imagine that this bear might be back with cubs next year!

On our mountain bike ride, K and I caught a glimpse of a bear fleeing into the woods, a long way from where the wildlife photos were taken. K wanted to give chase but obediently recalled to me and made eye contact. This what K looks like when she is reluctantly taking her eyes off the path of a bear and looking at me!
It certainly isn't the deep soul-touching look that she sometimes bestows on me. You might have some idea how much work went into training K to be good around a wild animal as exciting as a bear. I'm so proud of her!


  1. Maybe Khyra needs to go to Khamp K!

    Thanks for sharing those great shots!

  2. Hi Y'all,

    Your summer is much too short! Oh it is so beautiful though.

    Hope R is still doing well.

    Y'all come back now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  3. Your K is a good girl. And the doe and fawns are so beautiful.

  4. What a snout is right! That's a great picture and her fur is so beautiful and black. Love the little spotted babies, too!

    Your pal, Pip

  5. Your bear photos continue to intrigue me, they really are amazing, and I can only imagine the excitement you feel when you first see them!

  6. Nothing better than up close and personal..
    Benny & Lily

  7. I give her credit for being able to recall and look away from the bear at all! It must be really against her instincts to resist.

    Are the whammy trees chosen by location, or because they're smaller? It seems like there's never a great big tree that can stand up to all their shenanigans chosen.

  8. Houndstooth:

    Great questions!

    It seems that, during mating season, they prefer the saplings. They demolish the poor little trees, sometimes leaving only the trunk sticking out of the ground like a pole.

    I think that the bear whammy trees are in key locations. They tend to be in places where a gully or a ridge crosses an animal trail. They occur in clusters so I'll often see 5 bear whammy trees right in a row. I balance a light stick in the branches of each tree to figure out which of the cluster the bears are actually marking. It seems to change from year to year.

    According to biologists, bears mark big trees as well. I've occasionally found big trees with bear fur stuck in the bark. However, I haven't found a big tree that the bears consistently mark. I'd really love to find one but they're not as obvious as the mangled saplings.

  9. Great bear shots - that is one big one there and those claws - glad I don't have to worry about doing a pawdicure on those:)

  10. Great shots!!! Lots of love, Debbie & Holly

  11. Gosh,,
    the bears that you have been showing us are monster bears! So big.. and yes,, look at those claws.
    I have only seen a bear twice in the woods, what a feeling it gives to see the magesty.
    K is so smart. I know how much restraint and will that it took her to look at you,, and turn away from the bear. I bet she got a "special treat".
    Oh I know you are so proud of her!

  12. K's training is incredible! What a credit to her intellect and your persistence!

  13. Excellent recall work! K has a wonderful face.

    I have a very healthy respect (ie, FEAR) of bears, but your photos are absolutely fascinating.
    Except for the claws part. Gulp.

  14. All that hard work paid off !

  15. Great pictures and we learned a lot. K is wonderful and shows what a great job you & she did together on the training/recall. Do you take on students/pups??? Mom and fawns are beautiful and that bear is BIG and what CLAWS!!!

  16. I loved the pictures, all of them.

    K is more than wonderful to return to you from a bear. I can't imagine having that much control over Stella ever.

    Cheers and hugs,

    Jo and Stella

  17. Love the bear footage. We haven't seen any of our resident neighborhood bears this summer. Hopefully, it's because they have plenty of food in the forest and aren't relying on breaking into garbage cans! Such a soft look in K's eyes.

  18. Those are awesome wildlife photos... you live in a wonderful place.

  19. There's nothing more valuable than a good recall. It has saved Zoe a time or two. Good job K!!

  20. Wow! Looks like the camera almost got a bear hug :)
    Incredible photos, thanks for sharing!


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