Elusive wolverines travel impressive distances

Certain animals are elusive–lynx, bobcats and most notoriously wolverines. I’ve been lucky enough to see two wolverines in all of my hiking–way across a valley on a mountainside in Denali National Park. Without binoculars, I would have thought they were bear cubs. Wolverines and bears share a few physical traits–a…

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Females benefit by delaying pregnancy

Rodents breed rapidly. Packrats only require a gestation of 30 to 38 days. However, the demands of nursing and being pregnant at the same time can put excessive stress on a female’s system. Therefore, some rodent species utilize delayed implantation to reduce the stress on their system while nursing young.…

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Research project identifying grizzly bears in Selkirks

Curiosity grew as we followed the flagging to the research site above Cow Creek. Did grizzly bears visit the site during the last month or just the cattle whose tracks we were following? Arriving at the research site was like arriving at a mini-horse corral–barbed wire strung knee-high in a…

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Be prepared for a bear encounter or attack

Seeing bear tracks in the trail provides a heads-up that a bear is in the area. However, surprise encounters can happen if the bear can’t smell you because of the wind or its attracted to food or garbage odors. Most surprise encounters do not result in physical attacks, especially if…

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Learn to recognize bear sign

Seeing grizzly bear tracks in the snow on the trail always heightens my awareness, especially relatively fresh tracks where the claw marks can still be seen.  The scenarios of what could happen start rolling through my head as I begin to make more noise. This spring I realized I needed…

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Skunk cabbage true to its name

Whether the winter is short or long, the first flower is a joyful sight–even if its name is skunk cabbage. The bright yellow flowers emerge before the leaves, so spotting them is easy if you look in the right places. Swamps, bog edges, sloughs, moist forests, along streams and other…

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Room to roam: Home range fluctuates with food supply

Fences, stakes and lines on a map define my property from my neighbors’s property. Animal’s have property lines too but they define them differently. Some animals, such as coyotes and bobcats, defend their territory by marking the boundaries with scat or urine. This tells other members of the same species…

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Black bear research sends biologists into bear den

“Now! Now! Now!” Tom Radandt exclaimed as he kicked his feet, which was all that could be seen poking out of the black bear den. Immediately he was pulled from the den by the ropes tied to his ankles. As the biologists quickly covered the entrance with a tarp, Radandt…

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Looking inside a black bear den

Carefully I crawl into the entrance of a bear den to take a look at the black bear. Laying on a bed of dried ferns, she was only inches away–the closest I’ve ever been to a black bear. Even though she was sedated, I didn’t linger long because I knew…

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Color can be deceiving when it comes to bears

After spotting a bear in the basin below Goat Mountain on the State Line, I pull out my binoculars to take a closer look. Even though the bear is black, I can’t assume it is a black bear since grizzly bears can be black and this is both grizzly and…

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