Mating season is a tumultuous time for black bears. First, the sow has to send her yearling cubs out into the world to fend for themselves. We watched Mohawk raise her cubs last year, with all their hilarious antics that made us laugh. Mohawk watched over them closely, and she performed the miracle of getting both of them to this point healthy and alive.
The bear way is that the sows mate every two years. So, Mohawk sent her cubs off a couple of weeks ago. The first to leave her side was Blackie, the more timid of the two. If I had to guess, he's been hiding high in the trees for these tough weeks. Brownie, who actually looks blond now, stuck around for longer. However, by May 18, he was on his own and looking pretty confident.
There's no rest for sows. Almost immediately, Mohawk was searching for Tiny. They mated two years ago, and I suspect that at least one of her cubs is Tiny's. Thus, they know each other, and it's not surprising that she wanted the biggest and strongest bear as the father of her cubs.
Tiny was marking trees, and Mohawk began following him. She was a couple of hours behind him, walking his exact route when I picked up footage of them. Eventually, she caught up, perhaps as he was snoozing in the forest.
After they got together, they came to visit me at my house. I will never forget it. This photo was Tiny in the foreground and Mohawk in the background.
Tiny turned toward me. It's not the greatest photo but I will treasure it. I may even put it on my wall. Tiny has taught me a lot about bears even though I have rarely seen him with my own eyes.
As much as I loved seeing them at my house, the back story is even more fascinating - because they behave naturally when recorded by trail cameras deep in the forest. The video includes Mohawk with her cub just before he finally left, Mohawk following Tiny in the forest, and the the two of them finally together. I hope that you enjoy it!