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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Springtime and Bear Families

Since we've returned from the desert, we've been settling into spring/summer life. Our world feels as if it was transformed while we were gone. When we left, there were about 20" of heavy snow on the ground. When we returned, the snow had all melted, the aspen trees had green leaves, and many flowers were blooming!
Shyla and I can take long mountain bike rides without running into snow drifts as long as we don't go too high in the mountains.
We've been lingering atop Hug Hill on many mornings, sometimes playing fetch there. Hug Hill is a very cold place in the winter but wonderful in the summer.
The black bears became very active while we were away. I discovered that both bear families that we followed last year had broken up. The mothers have sent away their young that were born almost 1.5 years ago so that they can mate again. I felt quite sad that I hadn't captured any photos of the families early this spring before they broke up for mating season.

My first hint that the families had broken up was that Cinnamom passed one of my cameras without any cubs in tow.
As usual, she curiously sniffed my camera but left it intact.
Many hours later, a yearling cub appeared. I believe that this was Cinnamom's cinnamon colored cub from last year. She's turning blacker with time, especially her legs and back. She reminds me of Socks, a young bear who is still in the area and approaching full adulthood.
She approached the camera...
Gave it a "look"... (the trail camera switched over to nighttime mode for some reason).
And then "she" stood up in front of it. This photo is how I know that she is a female. Female cubs are allowed to stay in or close to their mother's territory for their lifetimes. In contrast, male cubs have to travel, sometimes long distances, to find a niche where they can live.
Hours later, Tiny, our biggest male bear, came along, probably following Cinnamom's trail from many hours earlier because it's mating season. Look how hulking he is compared to the yearling cub.
Back to the cub, I captured more photos of the cub a short distance away. Look at how she stands up to sniff a bear tree that has been marked by many bears over the years.
She looked a little funny as she maneuvered on her hind legs.
Then, the approach of another bear spooked her. She was gone in a flash.
This was the other bear, probably Tiny but I'm not certain. He arrived only minutes after the yearling cub departed.
Tiny has been marking that tree almost daily. Compare his size to the yearling cub's size. It's easy to see why the cub fled when she heard or smelled a full-grown bear approaching.
I love his antics to spread his scent on as much of the tree as possible. He grabs branches and rubs them on his head.
So, in every way, spring/summer is upon us. I love this time of year - it's so full of promise of an amazing few months ahead of us. But, of all the months, I love June the most because the bear activity is so intriguing.

16 comments:

  1. poor little cub looks so small to be out on its own. tiny, on the other hand...

    love the 2nd shot of shyla running with the mountains behind her.

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  2. Awe yes June, my MOM's favorite also. Looking forward to seeing all the bear activity.
    Blessings,
    Goose

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  3. Love is definitely in the air!! Thanks for all the wonderful bear shots!

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  4. Super trail cam photos, it's a wonder the branches do not snap as they pull them down. And, as always, Hug Hill is the place to be these days. Cheers,Jean

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  5. Glad to see that your mountain has come alive for springtime! Such beauty! The bears are amazing! It is sad that the tone bear is on her own now...

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  6. What a silly boy rubbing tree branches on his head! We love reading about your bears, KB.

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

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  7. Great romping and bear photos!!!

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  8. We wish the cub all the best this spring. She is a beauty!

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  9. I always thought cubs stayed with mom a little longer, she is so small in that big world.

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  10. Dropped by to see what your world is looking like in June - no snow, I see! We had to skirt and wade through snow yesterday when we tried to hike above 10,000' - the creeks and rivers are high from melt but there is still plenty on the ground. Love the bear pics. I saw no tracks or scat yesterday but I'm sure the bears are roaming here, too.

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  11. It's like they were hamming it up for the camera bol!


    Your pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

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  12. The bear activity IS intriguing. Seems there is quite a healthy population.

    XXXOOO Bella Roxy & Dui

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  13. I saw the same family break up this spring. In early spring the triplets were still with mom for a couple of weeks. Now they're out on their own.

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  14. What a transformation! It was a nice time to go on a trip.

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  15. You have great luck to get Pictures of them. Interesting to follow them further

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