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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Snow and the Return of Milton!

Today, we awakened to a surprise flash of winter. It was snowy, cold, and beautiful. Shyla was ecstatic!
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about some struggles between Shyla and me, as she tested her boundaries like a teenager (and frustrated me immensely). Well, I've made a few changes to our routines, and she and I are back on track! I plan to write more about the specific changes in the future. For now, I just want to convey that I love her more than ever!
Perhaps the bears saw the winter weather coming. My trail cameras have captured an increasing number of bears, all trudging uphill toward the higher north-facing slopes to find dens. Some researchers say that bears pick out their dens in the summer - but the bears who I've photographed at the known den plus the bears who I've tracked in winter snow always seem undecided about where to den. Their tracks have shown me that they check out multiple promising places and even try to dig dens when there's already snow on the ground.
This week, I was hugely excited to see a big and familiar male bear return to our area. I thought that I saw hints that he was "Milton" in the first photos of him. "Milton" is the big male who hurt his right front leg very badly about 1.5 years ago. He disappeared from my trail cameras after that - so I thought that we might never see him again.
After seeing that a big male bear had visited two cameras on Wednesday, I discovered the jackpot trail camera footage yesterday. Milton had marked a bear tree in front of one of my trail cameras that shoots video. Because he stood on his hind legs to mark the tree, we can see his "trademark" white patch on his chest. He looks huge and strong and healthy. I was overjoyed to see him back!

Here is a video of his travels over the past week. The best footage is at the end, when the Milton marks the tree and I also show the limp he had before disappearing. You can watch here or at Youtube.

Many people told me how resilient bears are. Now I truly believe it, having seen this bear go from using an almost "tripawd" gait to having only a very minor limp.


  1. so glad milton is doing well and has returned to your area! he sure is a big looking fellow! the 'dance' is cute. :)

  2. Were so happy to hear about Milton!
    Thank you for showing us. We love the bears too, and hope they find a nice den to sleep in!
    Guess what KB!! A bobcat just walked through our yard!
    I had to tell you!

  3. That's wonderful news about Milton!
    And Shya looks so grown up in the first image...then there's the madcap second image :)

  4. Snow? Here comes winter! Beautiful photos, and welcome back to Milton :)

  5. I'm glad that beautiful Shyla is catching on so quickly. Howdy Milton, welcome back to Blogville!

  6. Do you find a tree with bear-marking evidence to set up your camera? Or is it hit and miss?

  7. Bella, Roxy, and Dui,
    I did find a bear marking tree to point my camera at. After you've seen one of these trees, they are very obvious in the future. They are mangled by the bears, and there's bear fur stuck to the sap! The tree in the video is a favorite tree for all our bears.

    Thanks for the question!

  8. How exciting to see Milton, AND looking so good too!!! He sure is a BIG boy:)

  9. love watching Milton mark the tree, so great.

    glad you and your pup are doing good. I hope i catch the post when you share what you did to make a change.

    snow, wow. i hear we will get some soon as well.

  10. I'm glad Milton is back. Isn't it amazing how attached we can get to animals, even if they don't live under our roof?

    Monty and Harlow

  11. Glad to see Milton again. And Shyla's adolescent behavior is such a healthy positive sign that she has overcome so much. Kudos to you and your patience.

  12. Bear fur stuck in the sap, is a sure sign. Thanks.

  13. So happy to hear about your progress with Shyla...and Milton!!

  14. OH my! I had a nightmare that Macy had a run in with a bear today!! Funny to stop by and see bear videos! Glad Milton is OK

  15. That's great news --- about both Milton and Shyla!

  16. Welcome back Milton!! He is a BIG GUY!! Glad you and Shyla are back on track!

  17. How wonderful to see Milton back and such beautiful pictures of you, Shyla!

  18. We are supposed to get 11" of snow here. We'll see. Weather people always exaggerate that first snowfall.

    Loved seeing the video and look forward to hearing how you resolved a training challenge. My dear Latte tests all the time. It doesn't help that her favorite game is running, taunting with barking, and then playing dodge and catch me if you can. It does help that she's getting older and a little more mature.

  19. Horray for strong Milton. Boy they sure are fat and healthy before they den for the winter.

  20. Is this ever amazing! Just popped over from Nancy J.
    (ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

  21. Oh my gosh, I was waiting for two days to see the Milton possibility and I was NOT dissappointed. It even made me cry. OUr Milton is back and is doing well. I could not even detect a limp. this brings me so much joy......

  22. Milton!!! That makes me happy. I am glad Shyla is loving the snow. Shyla seems to be happy outside no matter what the condition.

    Anne and Sasha

  23. Milton looks great! Any guesses to his stand-up height? I'm glad he recovered from his owie.

    Cheers and hugs,

    Jo and the gang

  24. Jo - My best guess is that he's about 5'5" tall when standing. But, I can measure the height of that tree and then we'll have a much better idea. I'll do that soon.



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