Look at the image below closely – what do you see? There are no animals visible – but there are clear signs that one had been in the area…
Here’s a closeup of the tree on the right of the photo above – any idea yet?:
If you watch nature closely enough, she will teach you how to eat in the wild. This animal is showing you a tricky path to one of my favourite forest snacks. Here’s another try:
The final peak:
Congratulations to those of you who got it – for those who are still guessing, these are claw marks of a black bear on a beach tree near Algonquin Park. Bears climb the trees to get to the elusive nuts that hang high above (they are edible by us humans as they drop to the ground as well).
A black bear can practically run up a tree as fast as you can run across the flat ground. I was with friends a few years ago when we watched a small cub dart up a tree so fast that the majority of those peering through a cottage window at it gasped in shock.
Bears live in peace with us at the cabin – they are typically as scared of us humans as we are of them. We see plenty of sign but have only seen 2 of them in 40+ years of our cabin. We do not actively hunt them although some of our hunters carry a license during moose season. Those who would consume the animal carry the license – the others simply choose not to hunt the animal whatsoever. It’s a cardinal sin at our cabin to hunt anything you do not consume and something we simply do not tolerate.
We have never partaken in the traditional spring bear hunt that was terminated a few years ago. The effects of the stoppage are still paying out in nature – we see more bear sign than ever before and there does seem to be a change in the living patterns of the moose in our area. An example of the change is the lack of moose sign in a small swamp near our cabin that was frequented by moose for 20+ years. The change begain about 4 years ago when a nearby hill became the new residence of a black bear (likely the one that left the marks on the tree in this post).
Whether you support the spring bear hunt or not, there is no denying that when we change how we interact with nature, she makes adjustments of our own. The end of the spring bear hunt means there are more adult bears in the woods – they compete for the same food that other animals do and this can potentially add a strain to the overall habitat. The population patterns in our are seem to be affected as 20-40 years of behavior has suddenly changed – but I am hardly a scientist who can prove the correlation. We have also heard stories of adult moose living in harmony and close proximity to bear. I saw a cow (female adult moose) within 100 yards of the one black bear I actually saw in the forest.
I just wish I could get at the beach nuts myself – they are delightful snacks and a rare treat when a branch (or tree) falls to the forest floor after heavy winds!