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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Dancing with Bears

K is in a good phase right now. We're having fun together, walking in our forest and enjoying summertime. At the start of every hike, she still explores the world in a small circle around me, like she's done for her whole life albeit at a slightly slower pace.
This morning, I spotted a beautiful butterfly, backlit by the morning sun as we headed into a peaceful meadow.
The air was cool, slightly humid, and not smoky. K seemed to love that combination and ran like a puppy! I smiled broadly. I love seeing my girl happy.
Look at the intensity in her eyes!
When it warmed up a bit more, we retired to a shady pine forest. I watched K closely, trying to assess how much energy she had.
As far as I can tell, K has decided not to be conservative with her energy. Today, she ran and romped, and then she suddenly became more sedate during our walk. So, I assumed that she'd suddenly become tired, and we headed home with her following closely at my heels, wasting no energy.

My opinion is that I'll let her run and use her energy as she chooses. She's still enjoying life on her own terms which is exactly what we want for her. I'll make it my job to be sure that we don't end up too far from home when she runs low on energy.

In the pine forest, K and I made a fun discovery of a bear path and a day bed that is very heavily used by bears, based on the number of scats and the marked trees nearby. I'll be putting a trail camera there soon!

It was in this area where we met the bear that I showed a photo of a couple of days ago. After I took a bunch of photos of him, he took off, bounding toward a bear path that I know well. This was the last photo that I captured of him before he disappeared, moving fast.
It turned out that he was heading directly toward the biggest and strongest male bear in our forest, "Milton", who was in the midst of marking a tree (he's the star of the video below). Milton had started by sniffing the tree.
Then, he turned around and started rubbing his back on it.
After an extensive dance (I showed you a couple of photos from it yesterday), he walked away from the tree (covered in pine needles) at exactly the time that the cinnamon bear was fleeing from me and K, and was heading toward Milton.
I suspect that the two of them caught wind of each other, and that the smaller cinnamon bear fled. I captured one photo of the cinnamon bear moving very fast past a nearby trail camera. There's a bear whammy tree behind the cinnamon bear but, unlike very single other bear who has passed this spot, the cinnamon bear didn't even slow to sniff it. I think that he was fleeing from Milton.
I do know that bears prefer not to fight if they can avoid it. Hopefully, Milton just postured to establish that he was the boss of this highly prized territory, and no one got hurt. Maybe my cameras will give us more insight in the future.

Finally, I compiled a video of a bear tree and all of its ursine visitors over a few weeks of mating season. I called it "Dancing with Bears" because Milton marked the tree numerous times, using slightly different "dance moves" each time. I hope that you enjoy it. You can watch it below or at Youtube.


  1. I recogize The Look of The Labradork in K's KHRAZY picture!

    It is so nice to see her having FUN!

    Thanks for sharing your Dances With Bears video!

  2. That video compilation is excellent! Milton is very expressive, isn't he? ;)

  3. Hi Y'all,

    Wow, did you say K had a broad smile? No you had a broad smile ;) Bet it wasn't as broad as K's!

    Love the bear shots and video.

    How y'all doin'? Just stoppin' by to see how y'all are. Hope y'all are enjoying a fantastic weekend.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  4. I think you are right, let K decide how much or how little she wants to be active and she certainly seems to be enjoying herself in the photos today. I had to laugh at the bear video! How does that little tree not snap in two?? Milton seems very taken with the tree - he sure has some moves. Maybe he better save something for the ladies, although they didn't seem overly interested in whatever he left behind, LOL. They shot a bear here yesterday that was running in the downtown; I don't know why they didn't just use a dart and take it somewhere else.

  5. Wow, Milton sure has his "groove" on...LOL that was a great video thanks for sharing.
    I like your approach with K and letting her determine her activity, just don't get too far from home.
    Have a great weekend.

  6. Loved the "tree mail" video! Milton is quite the guy...
    K looks good. I like your attitude KB, let her choose, just don't get too far from home!

  7. I love the video! So cool to see them.
    Is the bell (I think it's a bell anyway) on K's collar so you can hear her when she's off leash?
    Nola's Mom

  8. That Milton really has the moves when he "dances". Thanks for sharing such an interesting piece of nature that most of us will never get close to seeing.

    K sure looks like she is smiling in those photos. Glad to hear she is doing well.


  9. How does that tree stand up to the weight of Milton. I mean, I have expected it to break every time he comes.

  10. K looks so happy and full of life in these pictures. I think you are very wise to let her lead the way and use her energy as she sees fit.

    Are those two bears the same kind of bear? Their coloring is so different?

  11. You and K have a silent communication with each other. You know what she wants without her even speaking. You know her heart and she knows yours.
    The bear video is fantastic. What a beatuiful bear dance.
    Milton really puts on a show.

  12. I think you're right to let K pace herself. She is probably good at gauging how much energy she has to expend. It certainly looks like she had plenty today! :)

    I'm surprised that whammy tree is still standing! I thought for sure it was going to topple over there near the end! lol How old are female bears before they usually breed for the first time?

  13. Was that bare patches on the Yearling Bear's sides? Quite a big one on the right side and smaller patches on the left. Does he do that himself or do the younger boys wrestle around and cause it?

    Glad K had a good day today.

    The Minnesota Girls

  14. K looks wonderful! I really think that you are prolonging her life by letting her continue to be active (strong) and do the things she enjoys. She is quite obviously still enjoying her time on this Earth. Oh, that everyone could have such an excellent care-giver as you, in their final weeks!

    It looks like Milton is the only one who actually USES the tree. I seem to recall seeing other bears use it in other videos so perhaps you were just highlighting Milton on this one? He sure is an awesome animal.

  15. Ann..from..THE OUTER BANKS OF NC..said..K is happy...and I do believe she will know when to shift gears..enjoy every moment..even if it is at a slower pace...I know you wont let her over do will take good care of her and wont go to far from have touched each others life in so many wonderful and different ways...I liked the video...I think I would be like that one bear...get the heck out of there and not wait to see what Milton does next.. Milton is BIG...(Happiness is like a butterfly.)Glad you saw such a beauty.....Hugs

  16. That is a great video. Milton is a very impressive bear indeed. And of course K's face as she runs would make anyone smile wide.

  17. I enjoyed your bear video very much.
    I too wonder why the yearling has bare patches on his side.
    K is amazing, she's having fun. Bless you for letting her choose her pace.

  18. Milton sure does love to dance!

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  19. K eyes are truly extraordinary - so glad to read that she can be a puppy still in her ginormous backyard that she loves so much. It gives ME such pleasure to hear about her romping! And such a smart girl to know when to conserve her energy too -
    We've lately been in places where the servers are few and far between, so can't get the vids to roll, but can imagine!
    Sending you all HUGS xoxoxo
    Sammie, AValon and Mom

  20. K looks great! The bear pictures are fantastic.
    Weekends dog traing cours was great and we are really very tired :-)

  21. Hi KB, we love K's smile while she is running. You are right, she will let you know how much she wants to do.

    Your bear video was wonderful. We just loved it. Thanks for sharing. No worries, and love, Stella and Rory

  22. Wow. I've said for ages I live in paradise (except for the hoardes of grasshoppers), but I'm wrong. YOU live in paradise!!! You could put Milton to music! What a scream!!


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