Welcome back to Black Bear Diaries 2011. Summer has come to a close. I do hope everyone had a super summer. I spent August and early September enjoying myself and spending time with my little brother who came to visit from the UK. I haven't stopped following the bears who have also been enjoying themselves, feasting on the berry crop. I am sure we have all put on a little weight after the BBQ season but hopefully not as much as this bear, see below.
This is the largest black bear that visits the local area. He is a very large male even before he starts preparing for hibernation. This is only the second time I have seen him. The first encounter was around June last year when I glanced in my rear view mirror to see this huge black shape walk across the road behind me. My wife and I looked at each other and said simply said "WOW". Locals share stories about a large bear that comes by now and again and sightings are rare. The photo I share below is from the second time I met this large bear. This time I wasn't sat in my car, but on foot.
Last Saturday my wife, bother, and I took a walk around the local area. My brother was excited to see bears. Growing up my little brother would scare himself more than me when he would tell me bear stories. My Dad would return from business trips to the Pacific Northwest with bear attack books. We would read them before bed and fill our imagination with wild tales of bears attacking hikers and campers in the woods. It was only fitting then that the last bear he saw, during his visit, was this brute. We estimated this guy to be somewhere close to 350-400lbs.
Did you know: Most black bears weigh about the same as an average human male. Typically, a black bear will fall between 160 and 220lbs. A good-sized male will approach 250lbs and few can reach close to 500lbs. Male black bears will reach their maximum height and length when they are seven or eight years old. The biggest black bear ever recorded was in Manitoba, Canada and weighed 803lbs. Males tend to be one-third larger then females but there is such a variety in size that size alone is not a reliable way to tell the sex.
This big guy will certainly not starve this winter. He wasn't aggressive and tolerated us walking by him. We used a onlookers parked car as cover while we walked passed.
He just wanted to eat the berries.
Photo courtesy of Neil Douglas
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Coming up next: A look inside a bear den.
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