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Postby TRMichels » Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:44 am

bears I am studying in Arkansas are actually descendants of bears that came from here in MInnesota, and it appears their yearly clock is still kind of tuned in to seasonal changes here in Minnesota, because my Arkansas bears are doing the saame things Dr. Lynn Rogers bears ( your know - HOPE) are doing in Ely, MN. And i know that because we are in contact at least once a week.

It is interesting to compare notes about bear behavior, in two widely separated States - because we learn that what happens at one latitude, may not happen at another latitude, just lke with whitetails.

Interesing Notes:

No one was sure how long a sow might stay in estrus, but they did know that a sow may breed with more than one male , because DNA studies show the cubs may have different fathers. I had one sow with the same boar for 10 days - long estrus period.

Many of us here in the Upper Midwest, thought that bears go nocturnal in the fall (not just as a result of hunting pressure but) as a result of their putting on a lot of fat, and growing long back fur - which makes for a pretty heavy winter coat in the summer and fall.

BUT - in Arkansas, I've got boars over 400 pounds, and bears of all ages, actively feeding at temperatures over 90 degrees - and there is no hunting pressure. on the 3000 acre preserve, but theris around it - so these bears are hunted. HIght temps so not bother black bears.

Right now they are active from about 8 AM to 5 PM, with peaks at around 10 AM and 4-5 PM - with basically no activity at night.

But, that pattern will change in late summer, because of their biological needs, which leads to different yearly phases.

The following is from my book Hunting Northern & Western Game of North America

Yearly Black Bear Activity Phases

Phase l; Winter
Bears do not really hibernate, they go through what is termed as torpor. In this state they go through continuous dormancy, with distinct decreases in heart and metabolic rate. They may use up to 4,000 kilocarories per day, which is mainly body fat. But they do not eat, drink, urinate, or defecate during this dormancy. They can reduce their oxygen consumption and metabolic rate by half, and they breathe only once every 45 seconds. Their heart rate can drop periodically to 8-21 beats per minute, and blood flow to skeletal muscle, particularly the legs, can be reduced by 45% or more, making some bears slow to arouse and run away in winter. Blood perfusion rates of peripheral tissues can fall below levels needed for aerobic metabolism in humans. (In Arkansas bears have been seen after hibernating, as early as Mach 23.)

Stage 2; Early Spring
Walking hibernation is the 2-3 weeks following emergence from the den, when metabolic processes adjust to normal summer levels. During walking hibernation, bears voluntarily eat and drink less than they will later during normal activity. They also excrete less urine, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.

Stage 3; Summer
Normal activity typically lasts from green-up in spring to the onset of hyperphagia in midsummer or fall, depending upon region. During this stage, bears with unlimited food eat 5,000 to 8,000 kcal per day. If they are denied water and food during this stage, they cannot duplicate hibernation responses. Instead, they become dehydrated, utilize muscle for energy, and accumulate nitrogenous wastes in the blood, which can be fatal.

Stage 4; Late Summer / Early Fall
Hyperphagia is a period of excessive eating and drinking to fatten for hibernation. Black bears with unlimited food and water ate 15,000 to 20,000 kcal per day and drank several gallons. Large amounts of water are needed to process the large amounts of food and rid the body of nitrogenous waste. Daily urine volumes for two bears were 2-4 gallons (8-16 liters). Nitrogen losses were 2.4 to 3.7 ounces (69-104 grams) (Nelson et al. 1983). They usually become nocturnal at this time.

Stage 5; Late Fall
Fall transition is a period after hyperphagia when metabolic processes change in preparation for hibernation. Bears voluntarily eat less but continue to drink to purge body wastes. They become increasingly lethargic, resting 22 or more hours per day, often near water. Active heart rates fall from 80-100 per minute to 50-60 per minute, and sleeping heart rates fall from 66-80 per minute to less than 22 per minute.(Arkansas bears start searching for dens in early October, and most have denned by late December.)

If you hAve questions - I'll try to ansWer them - 'cause I'm still learning.

God bless,

T.R. Michels
Trinity Mountain Outdoors Hunting Magazine Website
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Gadgets, Gimmicks & Game Predictors or Scouting?

Postby TRMichels » Wed Jul 14, 2010 3:06 pm

What do you think, do hunters rely too much on gadgets, gimmicks and game predictors, or do they do enough scouting to keep it real?

I always have to come up with something new for hunters when I give seminars, which is hard to do after 21 years as a speaker. But, I think I have a great subject this year. Over the years I've begun to realize that many hunters are using (if not relying on) gadgets, gimmicks and game predictor tables to get their animals. I understand that hunters are pressed for time, and they would like to improve their odds of getting their animals, so they resort to quick fixes to attract the animals, to get the animals to come to them. But, what they should be doing if they really want to improve their chances is to figure out where the animals move on a regular basis and at what time. They should be looking for the animal's nighttime resting area, their morning and evening feeding areas and the routes and trails they use between those two areas.

No matter how you slice it, hunting is all about being in the right place, at the right time. We've all heard the old adage "Location, location, location". Picking the right location is great, but we also need to be there at the right time, because, to be successful as hunters we need to be in the right location, at the right time. After ten years of game animal research I've learned a few things about daily animal behavior. Because many animals spend several months in the same general areas, often year after year, they are intimately familiar with that area (referred to as the animals "home range", and they often develop preferred, regularly used travel routes as they go to and from their resting areas and food sources. If you, as a hunter, know that, then you can relate to my axiom, which states that "the best place to see animals is in areas where they feel safe and comfortable (for security and thermal regulation reasons), have been before (out of semi-regular habit) and they are going to anyhow (why try to get the animal to come to you, if you can usually set up close enough to their travel route to hunt them?).

There are three very good ways to figure out where the animals resting, feeding and travel areas are. The first one I believe you cannot do without out, is field scouting. Field scouting is actually getting out into the hunting area and actually looking for physical signs that the animals are frequenting particular areas. You should be looking for frequently and infrequently used trails (usually leading to and from resting and food sources), tracks, droppings, rubs and scrapes (that show you how many animals are using the trails and what direction they are traveling, and possibly the size of the animal or its rack) and tracks, droppings and feathers (to show you where resting areas are). The area these signs are in can tell you what time of day the animals are using those areas (if you understand how to read sign); and takes care of "what time to hunt" in different locations.

Instead of (or along with) field scouting you can also use game timers and game cameras to help you determine how many animals, and which ones, are using particular areas. These products can help you cut down on the amount of time you need to spend field scouting.

In addition to field scouting you can use a good pair of binoculars or a spotting scope to glass likely travel areas and food sources as you drive around in the morning or evening. In fact glassing is n extension of field scouting, and it is a great way to locate open food sources for big game animals and turkeys in the morning and evening. When you see animals feeding, note which way the animals enter or leave the feeding areas, and then get in there on foot to find the trails they use. If they leave forage areas in the morning, they are often headed back towards their daytime resting areas. Follow the trail in the direction the animal was going, to get closer to its daytime resting area, and catch it before it gets there. If the animals come into forage areas in the evening, they probably came from their daytime resting area. Follow the trail toward the direction the animal came from, to get closer to its daytime resting area, and catch it as it comes out in late afternoon or early evening.

Because turkeys often have a circuit they travel they may not go the same area to feed and strut n the morning, as they did in the evening. They may go to another forage source. If you locate the their roost tree and setup near it in the morning, especially if you are between the tom and the hens or between the birds and the morning forage and strutting area, you have a good chance of seeing and hunting them as they walk by in the morning.
If you understand how to interpret animal sign, you not only know where the animals are most likely to move, but at what time they are most likely to be in particular areas. Most big game animals are crepuscular during the fall hunting season, which means they stay in or near secure areas during the day (often wooded, brushy or inaccessible areas for big game and turkey; water for waterfowl). They leave daytime resting areas to go to food sources in the late afternoon or evening hours, often spend the night in or near food sources most of the night, and they head back toward their daytime resting core areas within a few hours of sunrise.

So, field scouting shows us not only where to hunt (location), but at what time to hunt in particular areas.

During my twelve years of deer, elk, turkey and bear research, I've learned that because these animals are either crepuscular (they are most active at dusk and dawn) or nocturnal (they move primarily at night), their track soften lead from wooded, brushy, swampy, remote or otherwise secure areas (where they spend the day) to more open food sources at night. So, when I see tracks leading away from secure areas and/or to a food source, I can make an educated guess that the time of day that trail is used by the animals is in the evening. If I see tracks leading away from food sources and /or toward secure areas, I can guess that the time of day the animals use that trail, is in the morning. If I see animal beds in open areas, I'm pretty sure that the animal are there at night. If I see animal beds in secure areas, I'm fairly sure they are there at night.

With turkeys, feathers and droppings under large trees are a good indicator of nighttime roosting sites. With waterfowl, especially geese, the thing to do is look for water that they use as nighttime and midday roosting sites, and then drive around scouting and glassing to watch the birds as they head for feeding fields in either the morning or the evening.

Scouting, and knowing how to interpret sign, can tell you not only where the animals are semi-regularly active (because weather, food source, hunting pressure, predatory behavior and human behavior influence where and when animals move each day), but the time of day that they use particular areas of their home ranges. Incidentally this is referred to as patterning " the animals; it is one of the most productive techniques available to help hunters get their game, even the particular animal they want.

During my seminars at Game Fair I will be talking about how to read and understand deer and elk sign, in order to locate the best times and the best places to hunt deer or elk. I'll talk about how the weather can affect daily and hourly game activity. Hunters can also pick up copies of my Whitetail, Duck & Goose, Turkey and Elk Addict's Manuals, to help them understand game biology and behavior better, and choose the best times, places and techniques to hunt. My seminars will be on Hunting Trophy Elk Hunting Techniques, everyday at 1 PM; and Trophy Deer Hunting Techniques, everyday at 4 PM. During the rest of Game Fair I can be found in the Trinity Mountain Outdoors booth. Hunter's should be sure to stop by the booth for prices, on this and next year's hunts, and free information on hunting game animals. We will be offering reduced prices on hunts for women, fathers and children, and group hunts.

Game Fair is located at 8404 161st Avenue Northwest, Anoka, Minnesota, just north of St. Paul off Highway 10. August 6, 7, 8 & 13, 14, 15., (763) 427-0944.

What do you say we have a Midwest Hunter "Rendevous" there, you guys can meet each other and use my booth as a home base if you want.

God bless and good hunting,

T.R. Michels
Trinity Mountain Outdoors Hunting Magazine Website
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Postby Mike Brooks » Fri Oct 15, 2010 5:21 pm

Any tips for Colorado bear?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not into your own understanding, Proverbs 3:5
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Postby Lizette » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:14 am

The black bear hunter should avoid smoking if he wants to improve his chances of coming across the bear.
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