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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Autumn and Bears

Our late autumn is truly here. It's very cold in the mornings, and the aspen leaves are turning. Shyla adores the cool weather, zipping around effortlessly.
It is the season when my favorite animals, the black bears, start to wind down. I am getting fewer and fewer photos of them on my trail cameras, as the aspens change color along their favorite paths.
It is also a sad day, for me, and even sadder for others. I have been an ardent supporter of a pair of Minnesota bear researchers, Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield. I took one of their field courses this summer and learned a tremendous amount about bear behavior. I had the opportunity to observe their research bears at close quarters. Their single most important research bear was killed the other day.

They've faced a lot of opposition to their research over the years because their research is based on building trust with the bears so that the bears will allow the researchers to observe their daily lives. The researchers have literally walked and lived with their research bears for days on end, observing every detail of the bears' daily lives.

Sadly, the rhetoric against the researchers has skyrocketed this year. Thus, I suppose that I should not be surprised that 3 of their research bears have been shot this year - 2 died instantly and 1 is a "walking wounded" bear. On Friday, a gentle giant mother bear, who had two young cubs with her, was shot to death, probably by a hunter.

In memory of that bear, I bring you a few photos of "my" bears, the ones who roam the forest near my house. This is Cinnamom, the cinnamon-colored mother bear who has two cubs. She visited a bear marking tree. I suspect that her cubs were nearby, as she frequently looked off to the side while at the tree. By this time of year, cubs are getting more adventurous and are not always right next to mom.
Then, as sows tend to do before denning, she marked the tree. Apparently, female bears have a flurry of tree marking just before they go into hibernation (this is one of the things learned by the Minnesota researchers). As she stood on her hind legs, her two lowest teats were obvious, still filled with milk.
After marking the tree, she paused. She's a beautiful bear who looks healthy and fat this fall. She'll den with her two cubs, and then will stay with them until the start of mating season next spring - around June or so.
She prepared to depart. I suspect that this might be our last glimpse of her before next spring. But, I'll keep watching, just in case my trail camera captures her image again.
I've never seen Cinnamom in person. She lives a bear's life, deep in the forest away from people. Most of my neighbors know nothing of her. But, I've followed her for a few years (via my trail cameras), and I am honored that she shares her forest with us.

Our world is a better place for having black bears in it. I hope to keep observing ours, using trail cameras, for many years to come.


  1. We just don't understanding killing for fun/sport!

    Shyla, we love the cool mornings, too.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  2. I'm so sorry to hear about the bear. We don't understand why someone would do something like that. I love the photos of Cinnamon though. And that first pic of Shyla running with her front paws crossed is great!

  3. Beamer loves the cooler weather too. He's able to run around much longer in the fall than he is in the summer.

    We are so sorry to hear about the bear, but the female one that you spotted is gorgeous.

  4. I do not understand killing for fun/sport. I'm all for hunting, so long as you do it to eat and not for fun or as a trophy. Poor bear.

    Nola's Mom

  5. Thanks for honoring the bears, KB. I love the bears and absolutely agree that the world is a better place for having them in it. We owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield for sharing their knowledge about bear behavior and teaching all who are willing to learn how we can peacefully coexist with these wonderful animals. Such a senseless thing, this killing.

    Susan and Wrigs

  6. MOM read a news story just moments ago about this. It is so so upsetting. Makes no scene to us.

  7. I am so sad to learn about this. I understand a bear that's being a menace to a population, but for no reason it's tough to swallow.

    I'm glad you share the bears near you with all of us! I hope they have a peaceful winter slumber.

    Your golden leaves just glow! We're just starting to get fall color here, but I love the cooler weather!

  8. Too sad, they all deserve a better chance at life. Lovely leaves, and Shyla , glowing. Cheers from Jean.

  9. Lynn and Sue must be devastated. Your Cinnamon is gorgeous.

  10. I'm really sorry about the Ely bears. That program is something many Minnesotans take real pride in and to harm the bears in it, is just unforgiveable.

    Cinnamon is a beautiful bear and looks to be a real good mother.

    Cheers all around,

    Jo, Stella and Zkhat

  11. Agreed! I do not understand why they would want to kill the bears. I am sad right along with you. Cinnamon is beautiful! As is Shyla!

  12. That makes me so sad about the bears. Why would someone kill the mom??? Stupid! I love these trail cam pics though. Awesome.

  13. So sad about the research bear. Why would someone injure or kill an animal
    Benny & Lily

  14. Why were the bears shot? Did they tangle up with other people? If we had a bear camera we would never get anything done cuz we would be watching it 24-7! Great shots, thanks!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  15. Hi KB!
    Sad about the bears. Like they said in the program I referred too. Why shoot a bear with a collar when there are many without one??
    Tomorrow our roe hunt starts and I have a day off from work. I will go out with Tyra and Trym. Trym is the youngster so hope he will do some good work.

  16. Hi Y'all!

    Playin' catch up with your happenings.

    Bear hunting season has opened in our southeastern mountains. They have a bow and arrow season first then they open it to firearms. They do it to control the bear population, same with deer.

    Still don't understand why they hunt for sport. We grew up learning if you killed it you ate it...whether it was a goose or a rabbit. Bear aren't good for eating...bear stew maybe. The locals only hunt game good for eating. The people who hunt bear are what the locals term "foreigners"...that's anybody who isn't a native of the area.

    BrownDog's Human

  17. A link for the scent eggs is below. I thought about making my own but a dozen for $11.95 is hard to beat. All I ever seen is white. I stain all of mine with walnut hulls to give them a brown color that blends in better.

  18. We're so sorry to hear about the bear! We hope her cubs will be OK!
    We are digging the cold weather you guys sent us next door in Kansas! Thank you!
    Play bows,

  19. You are spot on that wildlife enriches our lives. How sad that the bears are being killed, and for what?

    Mango Momma

  20. I adore that photo of Shyla - what a beautiful girl!


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