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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hard to fathom that with annual average temperatures seemingly up 3 or more degrees from the 100 year average that the snow brought on by Hurricane Sandy would cause early denning for Black Bears in West Virginia..............Early snows that bury acorns and beechnuts for sustained periods will cause Bears to go to den early-----but lately such early snows tend to melt quickly with weather warmups that instead can keep Bears in the woods longer, forestalling denning

Metro News: The Voice of West Virginia

Early Denning of Black Bears
Chris Lawrence;


Hurricane Sandy's punch to West Virginia in the form of snow has brought a harsh taste of early winter to the West Virginia mountains.  The snowfall arrives well over a month ahead of the bear hunting season for houndsmen in the state.
Typically a snowfall the size of Sandy's Blizzard would spell trouble for bear hunters in the state's high mountains.  The mast buried under the deep snow would tend to drive the bears into hibernation.  The question on the minds of hunters now is how that will impact bears by happening this early.
"The big thing we're concerned about is just duration," said DNR District Biologist Rob Sylvester. "If this is really the beginning of a long, cold winter and we have a lot of snow then yeah, you may see some bears denning early.  But if this storm breaks up and it kind of clears up and we see the ground again, it may not be as bad as some people think."
Bears are driving into hibernation by the lack of food and not necessarily by the snowfall.  The first to go to den will be the pregnant sows.  They would only be a few weeks away from denning up regardless of the weather.  

"Mast conditions are the key and this year, it's a decent year," Sylvester said. "It's spotty, but typically when you have those very poor mast years is when it will drive bears into the dens."
Time will tell according to Sylvester about whether the early onset of winter has an impact.

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