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Bear With Me

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Well, it was 87 degrees here in Jackson Hole today, but we have proof positive that summer is ending (which means winter won't be far behind).  

 

The bears are coming down out of the mountains already and looking for food in the valley.  I took these photos yesterday of a black bear that was pulling down berry shrubs and stripping them of the berries.  This is about a half mile from my house.

 

I was able to sit in my car and watch the bear working on the berry bushes for about half an hour.  The photos aren't great because the bear was behind a screen of bushes, but you can get the idea.

 

You'll see that the bear has ear tags and if you enlarge the photos you can tell that the tag says "GTNP 99", which stands for Grand Teton National Park Bear Number 99.

 

I've sent the photos off to one of the park biologists to see if I can get any history on this bear.  It's a pretty large bear for a black bear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun stuff.


Edited by Bob Peters - 8/27/12 at 6:11pm
post #2 of 23

Nice shots!

 

Reminds me of our honeymoon. My wife is a big hiker so we went to Jackson. First day out there we were hiking around Jenny Lake and then on to one of the canyons. I asked my wife if she thought we would see any bears and she laughed and said there were too many people around. About 5 minutes after that we ran into 2 bear cubs right in front of us on the trail -- we backtracked pretty fast to avoid momma!

post #3 of 23

Nice photos Bob.  Thanks for posting.  How much would you say the bear weighed in at?  Looks big. 

 

For me its strange seeing your western cinnamon colored Black Bears which look Brown to me.   Here on the east coast the Black Bears are jet BLACK color.   

post #4 of 23

I looked at the head and said Grizzly.  Big Black Bear!  Big for around here.

 

Great shots Bob.

post #5 of 23

Here's another big black bear that is brown.  Big head too.

post #6 of 23

I saw a post on a Bear forum that was titled... "Peters' With Me". Coincidence? I think not. 

post #7 of 23

Here`s hoping a big fat bear means a long cold winter is coming.

post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 

Here's an update on the bear...

 

First off, he's now been seen right in my own lane (we live about a half-mile as the raven flies from where the photos were taken).  There are quite a few hawthorn trees in our area and he's been stripping the berries off those trees as well.  One of the trees he worked on Sunday night is about 40 yards from our back deck.  

 

I got this email from the senior biologist at Grand Teton National Park.  He also sent along the tracking diagram from 2007, which is the year they had a radio collar on this bear.  If I can figure out how to post it, I'll put it up here.

 

Bob,

Thanks for passing this observation on to us.  We love getting reports of
sightings like this.

This bear was originally tagged during black bear research in the park, for
a project aimed at evaluating the effects of pathways on wildlife.  We
caught him at Lupine Meadows in June of 2007.  He was estimated to be 4-6
years old then, so he is 9-11 years old now.  He was given an ID #22067 at
that time, and he has never been a problem bear that we are aware of.
Interestingly, Kate says this bear came into a nuisance bear trap site in
the park just a couple of weeks ago near Phelps Lake while she and others
were handling a trapped bear.  So, we know it was in its "normal" home
range quite recently.  Attached is a map of data we collected on this bear
during the summer of 2007 with a GPS radio collar.  You can see that it
lived near Lupine, the Snake River corridor, near the park border where
Lost Creek Ranch is, and during August and September made a move east for 2
weeks, likely to forage on whitebark pine cones.

Chances are this bear has been in Indian Springs before, but we do not know
for sure.  A male black bear this age probably has a well defined home
range that might include occasional forays to seasonal food resources, like
the berries at Indian Springs.  However, it is also possible that he made
this movement for the first time this year searching for food in a
relatively poor bear food year.  Its also most plausible that this bear
travels between there and the park along the Snake River, but again this is
just speculation.

We love knowing that bears like this are moving around the valley, rarely
being seen, but just being bears and staying out of trouble.  This is what
having wildlife feeding and sanitation ordinances (bear proof garbage cans)
are all about - it keeps bears wild and foraging naturally.  Black bears
live into their early 20s or so if they survive other hazards in the
environment.

Let us know if you have any questions, and thanks again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

I saw a post on a Bear forum that was titled... "Peters' With Me". Coincidence? I think not. 

 

Good one, Phil.  biggrin.gif

post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 

Here's another photo of the same bear, taken by a homeowner near where I took my photos.  This one shows how efficient he is at stripping berries off the tree:

 

 

post #10 of 23

Not sure of the relevance to skiing but.... Many years ago (late 1980s) I was hiking up a trail in the Tetons near Jenny Lake (I think, it was a long time ago) with two college buddies.  One friend, Nils, was a tall, fast, athletic Norwegian and the other, Peter, was a slow, portly Pole.  I was somewhere in the middle in terms of speed and athleticism.  In a switchback portion of the trail, we saw some movement in the bottom of a dense tree.  Sure enough, a young black bear poked its head out.  We stopped and tried to recall all of the proper things to do when encountering a bear.  We slowly backed up.  The bear looked at us, and then did an aggressive grunt/bluff charge.  We kept backing up.  A little quicker.  The bear started ambling down the trail towards us.  We kept backing up and made some noise to perhaps encourage the bear to move on. We then ran out of room on that switchback and started going down the next one.  The bear did not respect proper trail etiquitte and hopped down to the next switchback a few feet in front of us, cutting off our retreat.  The bear then started moving toward us (and probably towards the smell of our PB&J sandwiches in our packs).  We panicked.  Adrenaline surged to our brains.  We ran.  Straight down a steep meadow, with the bear in pursuit, vaguely recalling that bears can outrun humans.  At the bottom, I finally caught up with the speedy Nils.  We looked around, didn't see the bear and congratulated ourselves.  After the adrenaline high faded, we realized that Peter was not with us.  After what seemed like an eternity, Peter finally came bounding down the trail, with a look of sheer panic on his face.  After he caught his breath, he told us that as he was running, the bear was right behind him.  He knew he couldn't outrun it, so, in desperation, he hid behind a shrub.  The bear sniffed around but didn't see him.  Finally, the bear got really close and Peter moved to escape again.  In moving, he apparently snapped some twigs or made some other noise that (finally) startled the bear, who moved off.  He then ran down the meadow to meet me and Nils.  Not my best hiking moment, but it makes a good cocktail party story. 

post #11 of 23

Great photos, and that info from the ranger is really interesting. Thanks for sharing Bob!

post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADKS View Post

Not sure of the relevance to skiing but.... Many years ago (late 1980s) I was hiking up a trail in the Tetons near Jenny Lake (I think, it was a long time ago) with two college buddies.  One friend, Nils, was a tall, fast, athletic Norwegian and the other, Peter, was a slow, portly Pole.  I was somewhere in the middle in terms of speed and athleticism.  In a switchback portion of the trail, we saw some movement in the bottom of a dense tree.  Sure enough, a young black bear poked its head out.  We stopped and tried to recall all of the proper things to do when encountering a bear.  We slowly backed up.  The bear looked at us, and then did an aggressive grunt/bluff charge.  We kept backing up.  A little quicker.  The bear started ambling down the trail towards us.  We kept backing up and made some noise to perhaps encourage the bear to move on. We then ran out of room on that switchback and started going down the next one.  The bear did not respect proper trail etiquitte and hopped down to the next switchback a few feet in front of us, cutting off our retreat.  The bear then started moving toward us (and probably towards the smell of our PB&J sandwiches in our packs).  We panicked.  Adrenaline surged to our brains.  We ran.  Straight down a steep meadow, with the bear in pursuit, vaguely recalling that bears can outrun humans.  At the bottom, I finally caught up with the speedy Nils.  We looked around, didn't see the bear and congratulated ourselves.  After the adrenaline high faded, we realized that Peter was not with us.  After what seemed like an eternity, Peter finally came bounding down the trail, with a look of sheer panic on his face.  After he caught his breath, he told us that as he was running, the bear was right behind him.  He knew he couldn't outrun it, so, in desperation, he hid behind a shrub.  The bear sniffed around but didn't see him.  Finally, the bear got really close and Peter moved to escape again.  In moving, he apparently snapped some twigs or made some other noise that (finally) startled the bear, who moved off.  He then ran down the meadow to meet me and Nils.  Not my best hiking moment, but it makes a good cocktail party story. 

 

As they say, you don't need to be faster than the bear, just faster than your hiking companion! 

post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

 

As they say, you don't need to be faster than the bear, just faster than your hiking companion! 

My thoughts exactly!  Now I only hike with plump, tasty people. 

post #14 of 23

When the bear opened the door on my truck and trashed it, ate the bananas, opened the can of beans (it was a poptop), unscrewed the jar of macadamias and made off with the granola bars, it also ate my Hershey's Kisses. When dogs eat Kisses you have to clean up slobbery chocolatey bits of foil. The bear left behind nicely peeled clean foil wrappers (with the little papers too)! At least he left my beer.

 

The drive down that night was miserable - stinky, cold (the water bottle he popped froze in the drivers seat), hungry and no chocolate to cheer me up.

 

Be bear safe! Or suffer like I did (the odor never really left the truck).

 

Eric

post #15 of 23

Did anyone see this from Estes Park? A very polite bear, who entered through the door "seven times in 20 minutes and only took candy. He didn’t cause any damage to the store. 'He ate nine Rice Krispie treats, four of those cookie bears and two or three Balls of Joy, which are fudge balls, and four peanut butter cups before he left. And a lot of English toffee,' said store owner Jo Adams."

 

post #16 of 23

There were two separate bear sightings on school bus routes this morning.  They are everywhere,

post #17 of 23

Great pics Bob.  Beautiful bear.

post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skiing-in-Jackson View Post

There were two separate bear sightings on school bus routes this morning.  They are everywhere,

Teaching kids bear awareness is one of the realities of lots of ski country. 

 

Re: color, once back by the east coast I saw a brownish black bear, and at the time actually wondered if bears migrated further than I thought because I thought the color was so unusual.  At least one of the cougars back east, that some of the state DECs were so reluctant to admit existed, came from the Dakotas, but the cats seem to migrate much further as adolescents/young adults. 

post #19 of 23

Story about a local L.A. bear moving on up in the world:  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/08/glen-bearian-gets-a-new-home-in-colorado.html

post #20 of 23

Living in Tahoe I have seen more bears this year then any other year in the last 17yrs I've lived here. I'm currently at around 10 or 11, usually see 2 to 5.  The Labrador has treed the same bear three times. They are everywhere for some reason this year, probably due to lack of snow last year. 

 

I have seen a variety of colors also, they in red, brown and black. There is one of the red ones that I see almost every year out mountain biking in the same area year after year. However they are all California black bears. 

post #21 of 23
Thread Starter 

Minor update on the bear story...

 

The cow/calf elk season has opened here and two mornings ago I was out behind the house sitting under a tree hoping an elk would walk by.  A nice bull came by about 40 yards away, but bulls aren't in season yet and I'm not looking to shoot one anyway.  So about two minutes later, I see a black form through the trees following the trail the elk had just walked.  

 

Turned out to be a bear.  It just moseyed along and walked by me also.  It wasn't the same bear as the one in my photos as this one was much smaller and didn't have ear tags.  What's amusing is that it LOOKED like this bear was tracking the elk.  I would have loved to witness THAT confrontation as the elk probably outweighed that bear by about 5 to 1.

 

That's the first time I've ever seen a bear out there in a total of about 60 mornings of hunting in that same spot. 

post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ske-Bum View Post

... The Labrador has treed the same bear three times. ...

That is way cool. 

post #23 of 23

Thanks for posting Bob.  It is amazing to me that a bear that bit eats berries so small.

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