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!