January 24, 2014

Bears on the Fire Scar

Bears at Camera Trap Spring

Since the October 2012 forest fire behind our house, I have been tracking changes in the land, particularly the public land (the highest ridge) that was re-seeded by the federal Bureau of Land Management in April 2013.

In late September, I decided to put a scout camera there at Camera Trap Spring, my favorite spot, and leave it for a few months.

The spring is on BLM land, although not easily accessible without trespassing, if you're not local. Nevertheless, I have seen boot tracks up there — rarely.

Also, Camera Trap Spring has attracted camera-hating bears in the past.

Thinking I was clever, I took my worst camera, spray-painted it flat black for camouflage, and hung it on a burnt ponderosa pine with a black strap.

And it was there when M. and I hiked to the spring in early December. Based on weather recorded (this camera is too cheap to record date and time), I think its batteries had died in mid-November, but not before recording more than two hundred images.

I wished that I had left a better camera up there!

There were groups of deer, flocks of turkeys — and to my surprise, flocks of crows landing at the spring.

Something did knock or bump the camera at one point about 45° from horizontal.

And bears — this cinnamon-phase black bear and her cub made several visits, and the low-light photo almost makes up for the low-quality image.

Given the really poor crop of acorns, apples, and other favorite bear foods in 2013, I was surprised to see them, and I hope they went into hibernation in good shape.

So many questions. We live among them — or they live among us — and yet it feels like they are in separate worlds. Maybe if I was the kind of person who could just leave everything and watch the bears day after day, I might feel as though I had entered their world, to some degree.

1 comment:

NN Bartley said...

Love our game camera. Got a mountain lion in December walking across our yard.... We live in a "neighborhood" of 2.5 acre treed lots. The houses next door are empty so not a lot of people activity there. I KNEW there were mountain lions in our area, but seeing one that is less than 50 feet from the front door is another matter.