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Monday, June 17, 2013

The intriguing scents, including bears

We hung out at our sunset lookout point yesterday, with Shyla looking mellow.
Then, she caught a scent. First, her mouth closed and her eyes squinted.
Next, her nose went straight into the air, fully committed to sniffing.
We were on a plateau where she could have been smelling all sorts of wildlife. She sure loved it!
Bear mating season is underway so Shyla certainly could've smelled a bear. This year's bear mating season is unusual in our neck of the woods, with two strong and assertive male bears patrolling the area but very few eligible females around.

The two males are Milton, the long-term top bear in the area who has a serious limp, and another new male bear. They both look about the same size but the new bear isn't hampered by a limp.

I caught video of them each visiting a bear marking tree within five minutes of each other. When I saw the video, I became concerned that they might have confronted each other and fought. I was able to get a glimpse of what happened thereafter from my other trail cameras.

You can watch the video here or at Youtube.

I thought that it was interesting that Milton followed the new bear despite his obvious limp and pain. Yet, based on my trail cameras posted in the direction that they traveled, the new bear left the established bear route (perhaps to avoid Milton) while Milton continued to patrol what has been "his" territory for years. I sure hope that Milton recovers - I still think that his limp looks bad. 

Some of you asked about the territory sizes of bears, given how far apart I've observed the same male bear within a day. Apparently, male black bears will "patrol" a mating territory of up to 10-15 miles in diameter. Thus, the fact that I sometimes get photos of the same male bear at sites 6-7 miles apart within a day is not too surprising.

Within one male bear's mating territory, usually there are numerous female bears, like we saw in my area last year. This year seems to be different - either due to mortality of the females or because they have young cubs and aren't breeding this year. I'm very curious to see how this bear season evolves.

Ah, how I love summertime, and bears are one of my favorite parts. Of course, I love the beauty as well...  The Pin Cherries are in blossom and will later be a good bear food!


  1. How cool! How fortunate you are to live where you do-gorgeous!

  2. So interesting about the bears, KB. I haven't seen any this season, but Bob and I came upon fresh scat last week. Love your cherry blossom photo!

  3. What a gorgeous place you live in!! I cannot even explain how much joy your blog brings me! Thank you so much for sharing!!

  4. Wow. The fact that you live so close to bears is beyond amazing. Shyla is one lucky pup to be able to smell all those interesting smells. I think my Beamer would catch a scent and take off!

  5. Ditto to Jeanne's words, you share your world with us, beautiful scenery, Shyla, R, and K, all part of our lives now, and I, and I'm sure many many more, am so enriched and have so much pleasure from your photos and words. Greetings from Jean.

  6. Because I can't hear, I have to put my own music to the bears marking experience. Do you use music with the tapes?

    Just Curious

  7. Love Shyla's dedicated sniffing..BOL!

    And we love hearing all about the bears.

    XXXOOO Daisy, bella & Roxy

  8. I like Milton's style when he "dances" with the tree. Hope he heals up.

  9. We don't smell nothing with our flat noses
    Benny & Lily

  10. We just love those bears!!!

  11. We love seeing your bears. Thanks for sharing.

    Millie & Walter

  12. I just love this. Even with Miltons limp they both seem very healthy and look good. I sure hope Milton heals up quickly.

    How old did you figure Milton is? and what is a good life span for a bear in the wild.

    Bert and My Vickie

  13. What a constant reminder of the world's wonders! thank you for sharing and connecting us to your Universe!

  14. Great shots of Shyla scenting.

  15. Shyla sure has a good nose. We think she can smell the beauty all around her.

    What a great video! It's better than going to the zoo :)

    Lily Belle & Muffin

  16. Do Shyla and R know instinctively to stay away from the bears?

  17. I've learned more about bear behavior from your blog than anywhere else -- thank you so much for sharing this with us! The bears are beautiful as well as big and (presumably) scary, and it's wonderful that you've learned so much about the bears who live in your area. Your blog truly is one of a kind! (Oh, and Shyla, of course, is gorgeous as always!)

  18. Poor Milton! How long has he had the limp?

  19. Never seen a bear...get to see many through your blog though which is nice :)

  20. We love the pictures of you catching the scent, Shyla!

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  21. One of the riders saw a bear during Ride the Rockies last week. I missed that, but when I heard, I thought of you. I think it's so magnificent you are able to get such incredible footage of bears and other wildlife, too.

  22. Hi, I've just discovered your beautiful blog. I love dogs and wildlife too. I will scroll through to read about K but have to tell you that I lost my beloved girl, Princess, on April 15 and haven't been the same sense. I am glad to know that I'm not the only one who has been affected so deeply by the loss.

  23. Great to follow the bears! I Think Milton can live with his limp. If it would been bad he would have not survived until now


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