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Thread: Where do Black Bears tend to Den?

  1. #1
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    Default Where do Black Bears tend to Den?

    I hunted a site last year that looked perfect, but didn't produce a single bear. I was disappointed and looked for new locations while out moose hunting. I know that the bears look for south facing hill sides for their den sites, but I am curious if anyone has more information as to what bears look for in denning sites. (i.e.- close to low wet areas, softer soils, thicker cover)
    I figured if you find good denning sites then you find good bears in the spring!
    I know bears wake up slow and down't move around very far at first, so if I can set up in a spot that catches them early then I can pattern them throughout the season. I figured this would generate a good conversation, so I look forward to what comes out of it!

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    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    I don't know if to many reads the reports from the F&G, but as some of them read that in some places they just lay on the flats and let the snow cover them up, there was a story about this in the paper a couple of years ago on the Tanana flats by Tim M. of the www.newsminer.com , maybe contact him.

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    I know of two Black Bears that denned up off Lake Otis and Tudor Road, just south of there, across from the Boys Club on Lake Otis. They were in Moose Moore's Homestead, He had them for pets. F&G wanted Moose to stick a thermal Couple up their butthole so they could track there core temperature. Moose had a nice shooting range, but every time we would start shooting, the cops would come and Say's, "Mr Moore this ain't the wilderness anymore, try to wrap it up in 10 or 15 minutes, OK......?

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    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    On Elmendorf AFB radio collard bears have denned in the same hollow tree year after year...
    In the midwest, a black bear denned in the middle of a corn field, and was killed by farm equipment when the corn was cut.
    I have found many dens on South facing slopes. Often very low on these slopes. Two of my black bear kills were only thirty yards from a den, the den? Black bears seem to den wherever they are at when the snow hits. Many choose den under the root system of trees that have fallen over. And many of these guys get flooded out of their dens whenever a warm week occurrs.
    By contrast, brown bears-in my observations- den very high up in the rocky tops of the mountains whenever possible. In the spring time, while watching mountain goats to pass the time, I have then glasses higher and watched brown beras dig out of their high altitude den sites.
    dennis

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    Member GrizzlyH's Avatar
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    No black bears in my den, but not against checking out one of them cute polar bears. Heard it's the in thing.....lol
    Just kidding...good thread, keep the info coming.
    I can do the impossible right away. Be patient, miracles take me a bit longer.

  6. #6

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    Great thread idea Smoak'nGun; hopefully it will produce a ton of information before break-up and spring.

    If your interested in learning more about bear dens in Alaska I suggest reading the ADF&G online publication 'Where Sleeping Bears Lie' by Riley Woodford. It's an educational article on bear den's in Alaska. Here's a small segment:

    “You can run into a bear den just about anywhere,” said state wildlife biologist Ryan Scott, who has worked with Juneau bears for years. Black bear dens in particular can be in all habitats and locations, although the ideal den is on a north facing slope, protected from weather in an area with well-drained soil. Keeping dry is critical, and bears will abandon a soggy den.
    "He should have been packing a more powerful gun...you have to be a very good shot or very lucky to stop a brown bear with a .357 Magnum." - Rick Sinnott, Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist after a double attack by a grizzly.

  7. #7

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    I see old dens in the spring sometimes, most of them are just up against a root ball of a blow down some are under rock ledges. I've seen them at the base of the west slope of Beluga and I've seen them at tree line on the west and north slopes. I don't think black bears are to picky about their dens. Although sows w/cubs may be a little more fussy about where they hole than boars.
    Chuck

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by hiline View Post
    Although sows w/cubs may be a little more fussy about where they hole than boars.

    Same with Humans......................Hehehehehehe

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    Thanks for the responses. Alaskaoutdoorsman, I will check that publication out it sounds interesting. I don't have that much experience with bears and what you all have said about above ground dens makes sense. I wondered how they would be able to dig a den in this rocky ground to makes a hole big enough for a 6' bear. I plan on doing some shoeing when the temps get closer to zero and I will have to keep my eyes pealed for ideal areas for bear dens above ground. Thanks again for the info and keep the feeds coming!

  10. #10

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    From what I've read brown bears usually den at higher elevations and are more likely to dig in the earth - but with anything, there are always differences of opinions and exceptions to the rule depending on who you talk to and what the local terrain is in any given location. Alaska's a different animal.. it requires more hands on than any other state I've lived in and there is no set rule that's true 100% of the time.
    "He should have been packing a more powerful gun...you have to be a very good shot or very lucky to stop a brown bear with a .357 Magnum." - Rick Sinnott, Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist after a double attack by a grizzly.

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