Thursday, February 04, 2010

~ Bear Tracks ~

Saturday evening just before dark , my oldest daughter walked through the woods to our house , as she got near the branch/stream that runs through our property she saw animal tracks that looked like a small child's footprint. I went down to the branch/stream to take a look and sure enough the tracks looked like small footprints of a child. I came back to the house and decided to google the tracks , to see what would leave tracks like that. What I found , kind of shocked me , it said bear tracks look like a human footprint in the snow , because their claws don't show in deeper snow. We haven't had bears in our area for many decades , although I have heard about a few sightings over the last few years and they were in a 5 mile radius. But as I reading the info , I remembered finding some hair last Spring as I was hiking , I picked it up and looked at it and was planning to bring it home with me. I sat down on a log and I remember looking at the hair , it was black and course , but for some reason I thought it might be horse hair that some wild animal had brought up. I laid it down next to the log , Shadow grabbed it but I got it back from him , I laid it back down next to the log , but then I forgot to pick it up when I started back home. I also remember seeing several trees that were stripped of their bark ( actually brought some of the stripped bark home with me ), but I didn't think much about it , just thought the birds or other animals were using it for nesting , but these are signs of bear being in the area too , although I didn't realize that at the time.

So early Sunday morning , Shadow and I went bear tracking , actually I wasn't tracking the bear , I went to measure the tracks and stride , to compare them to the tracks I found on the computer. The info said a black bear paw print is about 3 1/2 inches wide and 7 inches long , the measurements I took of the prints matched those. I thought the stride was the distance between the footprints , that measured about 15 inches , but the info from the computer said their stride is between 36 and 42 inches , after more searching I found information about measuring the stride , you measure from front toe to front toe of the second print , bear land on their toes first as they walk.

Shadow has been confined to the dog lot for awhile , he killed one of the guinea a few months ago. So I only let him out when I have time to keep a close eye on him , as soon as I let him out of the lot Sunday he headed down the path to the branch and picked up the scent trail of those tracks , he was running back and forth , sniffing the tracks. He ran further on and I followed just to our property line looking for other signs that we might have bear in the area. I did find a tree that look like it had a bite mark , but I'm not sure if it was made by a bear. I also read that bears might not hibernate in N.C. , due to our warmer climate zone. Monday I went back to the woods to measure the stride again , since I didn't measure it correctly on Sunday. The stride measured right at 36 inches , while I was in the woods I followed several of the tracks I found , they're all over the woods and one trail went to the edge of the woods were my daughter lives. We have 19 acres , about half is wooded , most of the wooded area lies between our home and my daughter's home , with a small branch/stream that runs through it to a nearby creek that's right beyond my daughter's home. That's the major reason I'm concerned that we might have bear in this area , we have a path through the woods that goes to her house , that's the path they took after sledding Sunday. We use that path often , never thought we needed to beware of bears , but I guess we do. Educating myself and family has made me feel a little better about the situation , I found information that told us what we need to do if we encounter the bear. We thought you should play dead as they do in the movies (LOL) , but I found out that you do that if it's a grizzly bear. If you encounter a black bear , never look a bear straight in the eyes or run from it. Clap your hands , yell at it or make as much noise as you can and slowly back away , most of the time they will run away. But if you're attacked by a black bear , you should fight with everything you can , sticks , rocks and your fist. If you hurt the bear , there's a chance it'll run away. This is scary , but I feel better knowing what I need to do just in case. Although I think I'll be a pistol packing Nana when I go hiking from now on (LOL) , just in case. Hopefully we'll never see it and it will stay far away or roam at night , most wild animals keep their distance and don't want human encounters. They're just as frightened of us , as we are of them.

~ Many Blessings ~


Piecefulafternoon said...

This is scary - but good that you noticed it in the snow and can educate yourself and your family. I grew up in Southeast Alaska with lots of huge bears, and even as young children we were taught all about them - knowledge is saftey. A dog is a good thing to have along on a walk - they will alert you if they catch a bear scent.

Flassie's Fil'a said...

A friend encountered a bear one day and stood really still and watched the bear. The bear seen him and took off to the other side of the blackberry bushes, stood up on it's hind legs and looked at him and took off in the other direction.

We seen bear tracks on hikes in the snow.

There are cougers and bobcats up there also.

Good that you educated yourself.

Thanks for the comment on the Pop-up card. It was a simple one to make. A lot more than the silhouette pop-up.

He has a cute Christmas tree one that looks simple enough to make and there is a reindeer. Would be fun to make for Christmas.

God Bless You and Yours!!!

Tipper said...

In my area-the bear population this past year-was a record breaker. More bear were harvested than ever before-and more complaints of bears being in the garbage or bird feeders than ever before too.

Nice blog : )

judie said...

If you walk, maybe you could pack some pepper spray. Then you could be a pepper packin' granma. You just never know when you might meet a bear, or or NC hairyman, or um..... well, you know. Close eye on the dog tho. I remember the leaf-crunching echoing silence of the NC woods in the winter. Of course in Char we didnt get much snow, but it was still wonderful to walk in the woods. Miss that. Take care. xoxo

Lib said...

Thats scary!
You becareful! Glad you read all the info!
Have a great day!

Jeanne said...

Knowledge is your best safeguard.
Be careful on your trips into the woods. :0)

Vickie LeBlanc said...

Oh, oh, that is scary. I thought I had a situation with my coyote but you have a bear ;-) Be very careful. OMG, I don't know if I could stay put and yell at a bear...and I hope I don't have to find out.

Flassie's Fil'a said...

Lol Judie!!