Alas, I should have known when I fell into snow drifts that the bears were too smart to try to travel any distance in our forest in the deep and treacherous snow. No bears had been out yet this year.
Last year, Tiny was the first out, as he is most years. Mating season starts in the spring, and it seems as if he likes to spread his scent as many places as possible to get a head start on it.
This is Tiny's preferred way of marking trees. He stands up and rubs his back all over specific trees that all the nearby bears mark and sniff. He is very tall - as tall as a tall man.
It's best to see bears marking trees in ACTION so here is the video of Tiny on that day.
Tiny is a bear who has ruled our neck of the woods for a long time. No other bear is close to him in size. Some of you might remember that he returned from his long travels to forage and gain weight early last year, in August. He was badly injured, holding up one hind paw as he walked. He disappeared after that sighting, likely going into a den to start healing early.
I don't know if he'll be out this spring or not. He may simply continue to lie low as he gets stronger. Or, he may have died over the winter - I hope not but it's best for my heart to be realistic.
I will be checking my cams with more anxiety than usual this spring, hoping to see him.