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Friday, June 7, 2013

Life of Bears

After the last time that I posted about bears, a couple of you asked about whether my dogs tangle with our wildlife. The short answer is that we have an occasional scare but it's very rare. I tend to manage our dogs' off-leash time carefully. There are certain areas where I'd never let our dogs off-leash, like the areas that the bears frequent. That's why many of my photos of the dogs are in open areas... where our largest mammals (black bears and mountain lions) don't visit much.
An occasional danger in open areas is coyotes but I do my best to keep our dogs out of those areas at the times of day when a coyote pack might be around. When the dogs are off-leash in the meadows that coyotes frequent, we practice stays and recalls before I let them romp.
At this time of year, I sometimes take Shyla for mountain bike rides in pine forests, to keep her out of the warm sun as she runs. I've been monitoring our wildlife long enough to know which parts of the pine forests are wildlife "hot spots" and which ones are safer. I stick to the safer ones, for the sake of Shyla and the wildlife.
With all of the training that I do with our dogs plus choosing where they can be off leash with deference to the wildlife, I hope that I am striking a balance between happy dogs and happy wildlife.

Today, while checking trail cameras, I found the most beautiful clip of video. It's our first bear cub sighting of the year! You can watch the video here or at Youtube.
I believe that the mother bear is Mabel, an experienced mother bear who has raised lots of cubs while I've been watching our bears. I've never known her to have just one cub before. I wonder if a cub was out of view of the camera. Or, perhaps something has gone awry for Mabel early this summer. Time will tell whether there was a cub just barely out of view of the camera.

You also saw that a big male is out marking trees. He is Milton, a big male with a white blaze on his chest. It turns out that he's the one with the injured right front leg. You can see him limping on it although it is a bit difficult to pick out. When a bear has just marked a tree, they do a "cowboy walk" afterwards, swinging their hind legs out to the side and stomping the ground as they depart. The cowboy walk is super obvious after Milton marks trees.

I adore our bears, and I was SO thrilled to see the first cub of the year! I also saw one of their foods starting to mature - Pin Cherry blossoms! I think that this summer will be much easier on the bears than last summer, when food was scarce.


  1. Blossoms, one baby bear, and then there is Milton,he is favouring that right front foot, but when he stands, he has paws held out like huge hands, superb video.You are truly into springtime now. Greetings from Jean.

  2. We noticed that gait on Milton immediately - too funny to watch. But we hope his front leg is OK. This video was so sharp and clear - we hope you get lots more to share.

    Have a great weekend.

  3. Just amazing! The cub is cute cute. Love how he/she follows mom so closely. Of course can leave without saying, love photo of brother and sister.

  4. We love seeing your wildlife videos and pictures. We also love our wubba too!

    Millie & Walter

  5. Oh that baby bear is precious!

  6. A bear cub!!! How wonderful.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  7. wonderful video!! wish that Milton wasn't limping...hopefully it is something that will resolve.

  8. Incredible quality on your videos. Thank you for sharing. I hope Milton is okay. The little cub is wonderful to see with his momma. If food was scarce last year maybe she only had one cub.

  9. We're sending healthy thoughts for Milton, and ones for the precious cub too! I enjoyed the video, and admire you for finding that balance between nature and your pups--So often, as you know better than anyone, people don't.

    Take care, and enjoy your weekend!

  10. I'd still be nervous! I didn't realize the bears roamed so far in one day. How big are their territories?


  11. KB, So very cool that you have cameras to document the bears in your area. I've decided to leave Hunter at home when we camp at Morraine this summer-just in case wildlife come into our site during the night(don't want him barking and waking people).
    I'm hoping the wildlife stay away from us though.

  12. Aw, such a sweet baby bear! Big Milton is keeping busy and his are great videos. The Mountain Girl and her Brother R are looking just fine too.


    Jo, Stella and Zkhat

  13. You and R have the most gorgeous shiny coats, Shyla!
    We loved the bear video!

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  14. Aww, that little cub is adorable! Is there any correlation between a sow getting older and having fewer cubs? How long to the bears usually live?

    I love that picture of R and Shyla waiting to take off in their recall!

  15. Loooooooved that video!!! I hope Milton is not too injured-poor cowboy. I love that baby bear! Izzy wants to play with him :)


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