Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hibernating bear!

One year, I had plans for a late winter State Park trek.  I often plan my route in a manner that eliminates the possibility of getting lost.  I took my dog and away we went on a bushwhacking adventure.  About a quarter mile in and it was over.  I had stumbled upon my worst nightmare.  A hibernating bear.  I would love to know the odds of this, since it's gotta be rare.  I had gotten to an alder swamp and decided to go through it, instead of around.  It was hard walking and I remember the crunching of dry grass was ridiculously loud!  And then, I saw a lump of black.  I stopped and my heart skipped a beat.  I turned back out of there, thanking God every second that the dog hadn't caught a whiff.  The wind must have been in my favor. 

These are horrible pictures.  I made Jason go back to the site with me to get a few shots for proof!  I looked up some bear facts before returning, and learned a hibernating bear can completely wake up in 2-8 minutes!  So we snapped a few and when he started lifting his head, we knew it was time to leave.

I learned it was likely a male, sleeping on top of the ground in the open.  The males will sometimes just stop and hibernated where ever they are at the time, and females commonly return to a den annually.  He had a good location, with such noisy grass and closely grown brush.  Anything going by or coming close would alarm him. 

Bears can go 100 days without eating or drinking.  It's temperature drops roughly 12 degrees to about 88F.  Their heartbeat drops from 40-50 each minute to only 8 when in the deepest sleep.

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