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Survival Skills of Bears

India brotherbear Offline
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#1
( This post was last modified: 03-15-2016, 09:41 PM by brotherbear )

The Bear Almanac by Gary Brown - Brown bears, native to the Old and New Worlds, live in a temperate climate and are found from the Arctic tundra to the edge of the Gobi Desert.
 
The Grizzly Almanac by Robert H. Busch.

In 1964, when Alaska experienced the worst earthquake in its history, grizzlies were noticed heading for the hills prior to the event. Many biologists believe that the animals could detect the tiny tremors in the earth that preceded the big quake and left the lowlands as a result.  
  
This topic is about the special skills as well as the physical and mental attributes which make the bears among the animal kingdom's most successful survivors. 
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India brotherbear Offline
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#2
( This post was last modified: 01-28-2016, 06:29 PM by brotherbear )

The Grizzly Book by Jack Samson.

Prior to the 1850s, numerous grizzlies roamed throughout the American West, shunning only the harshest deserts. They thrived in mountains and thicketed hill country from Canada to Mexico, prowled tidal estuaries of the Pacific Coast, and even wandered for great distances out on the Great Plains, digging up rodents and feasting upon dead or incapacitated buffalo. By rough estimate there were more than one hundred thousand of the huge, solitary beasts.

A Solitary Beast by Michael Jenkinson.
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India brotherbear Offline
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#3
( This post was last modified: 01-28-2016, 06:31 PM by brotherbear )

The Beast that walks like Man by Harold McCracken.
The grizzly bear is certainly the most pugnacious and extraordinary survivor of that prehistoric era. Just why and how the mastodons and the saber-toothed tigers, and all of those other mighty creatures of the bygone past, became doomed to complete extinction by nature's inexorable laws of survival is still one of the many unsolved mysteries which man would like to understand. It is not that the grizzly was smarter or that he clawed the others into the dust. Such things have repeatedly happened through the eons of time; and there is no evident rhyme, reason, or plan in the pattern by which species have been wiped from the face of the earth.
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India brotherbear Offline
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#4
( This post was last modified: 01-28-2016, 06:33 PM by brotherbear )

The grizzly adapted himself to virtually every geographic area of western North America, from the hot and arid desert regions of the Southwest, throughout all the various types of mountain regions from Old Mexico to the Brooks Range in upper Alaska, and far out onto the bleak and blizzard-swept tundra of the Arctic. He has been able to thrive wherever man could live and in some places where even Indians starve. He has been the most vulnerable to civilization of all our big-game creatures and now survives in a natural state only where there still remains large areas of virgin wilderness. Such sanctuaries are left only in western Canada and Alaska, and those are steadily diminishing.

The Beast that walks like Man by Harold McCracken.
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India brotherbear Offline
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#5
( This post was last modified: 01-28-2016, 06:36 PM by brotherbear )

Bears of the World by Paul Ward and Suzanne Kynaston.

The relative importance of meat, however, should not be underestimated; in terms of energy, meat has a greater yield on a weight for weight basis than plants. In Tibet, brown bears are more actively predacious than in other areas and meat forms a greater proportion of the diet. In contrast, Japanese brown bears eat almost no meat; one study showed that 98.7% of the diet was made up of vegetative material, particularly fruits, berries, acorns and hogs funnel. The remaining 1.3% comprised flying insects that aggregate under rocks around lake shores and an occasional sample of local livestock. Brown bears living along coastlines have access to the stranded bodies of sea mammals, invertebrates ( e.g. molluscs and crabs ), and vegetation ( e.g. seaweed ).
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India brotherbear Offline
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#6
( This post was last modified: 01-28-2016, 06:43 PM by brotherbear )

Yellowstone Bears in the Wild by James C. Halfpenny.

George and Jana Stevenson, neurosurgeon and neruroanatomist and biologist, are using MRI and CT technology to produce three-dimensional maps of Yellowstone grizzly brains. Their research reveals that the brains, while similar to other mammals, have an enlarged olfactory apparatus. Compared to humans, a bear's olfactory region is about 250 times larger.
The bear's enhanced sence of smell is directly wired to the brain, a condition much more primitive than for other senses such as vision and hearing. This leads the Stevensons to believe that bears develope "smell maps" in their brains. Humans have "visual maps." A "smell map" allows a bear to navigate primarily by odors augmented by vision and hearing.
The Stevensons also found larger somesethic ( touch ) and motor regions. The bear's enhanced sense of touch and motor skills probably allows bears to manipulate objects with their claws. I have observed grizzlies picking up single pine nuts with their claws as if their claws were chopsticks.
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India brotherbear Offline
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#7
( This post was last modified: 01-28-2016, 06:45 PM by brotherbear )

Yellowstone Bears in the Wild by James C. Halfpenny.

Hyperphagia is the intense biological drive to find and consume food that bears experience in the fall. Hyperphagia is the season of fat accumulation. The duration and rate of food intake increases dramatically. Bears will often go days without sleeping in order to eat. They gain significant weight, primarily fat. Weight gain may be as much as three pounds per day. A bear might gain 100 pounds during the month of September alone.
Roadside ursophiles notice behavioral changes that indicate hyperphagia. Bears may feed all day without sleeping or resting. Day after day, a bear may be in the same spot, often moving only a few yards but constantly eating. Almost nothing distracts the feeding bear. The search for high energy, high quality foods is paramount, and this unrelenting drive often leads bears away from protected areas. Bears are drawn to food sources such as garbage, bird feeders, hunting areas, and hunting camps. Leaving the remote reaches of the ecosystem often leads to negative encounters with people.
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India brotherbear Offline
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#8
( This post was last modified: 01-28-2016, 06:47 PM by brotherbear )

Yellowstone Bears in the Wild by James C. Halfpenny.

Homing - Another, almost legendary behavior of bears is their homing ability. As soon as managers started trapping and moving bears, they learned that bears could quickly find their way home. One such event of his youth impressed Lance Craighead, executivec director of the Craighead Environmental Research Institute.
About 1963 an orphan grizzly cub appeared along the road in Hayden Valley. Lance doesn't remember if they even knew what happened to the cub's mother. The cub created major traffic jams so rangers trapped it and moved it deeper into Hayden Valley. The cub quickly returned and was trapped again, with the same result. Now it was constantly on the road and Lance and others feared for its life.
The cub was captured again. This time it was taken by boat across Yellowstone Lake and released on the Promontory. One week later the cub was back in Hayden Valley. Even today Lance doesn't know how the cub found its way back. Maybe it involved a visual clue such as Mount Washburn. A bear's innate homing ability is powerful and obviously develops at a young age.
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United States Polar Offline
Polar Bear Enthusiast
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#9

(01-28-2016, 06:26 PM)brotherbear Wrote: The Bear Almanac by Gary Brown - Brown bears, native to the Old and New Worlds, live in a temperate climate and are found from the Arctic tundra to the edge of the Gobi Desert.
 
The Grizzly Almanac by Robert H. Busch.

In 1964, when Alaska experienced the worst earthquake in its history, grizzlies were noticed heading for the hills prior to the event. Many biologists believe that the animals could detect the tiny tremors in the earth that preceded the big quake and left the lowlands as a result.

Bears' senses are a lot like dogs' senses, both can detect subtle changes in earth's magnetic field and every carnivore can detect subtle changes in earth's pressure, hence why domestic cats and dogs usually run up to safer ground without changes in pressure. We and (probably) hervivores can't detect these changes until they become apparent in the form of tremors.
"Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people."

- Roy T. Bennett
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India brotherbear Offline
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#10
( This post was last modified: 01-29-2016, 04:33 AM by brotherbear )

The Grizzly Book by Jack Samson - The Big Ones Die Hard by William Marshall Rush.

The vitality of the grizzly was never demonstrated more clearly to me than in these two incidents. The first bear took a bullet wound under the left shoulder that almost tore his leg off. Another bullet went through his lungs, above the heart and a .405 slug into his open mouth, shattering one whole side of his head ( not touching the brain however ). Yet he still had to be shot in the neck to finish him.

The second grizzly had two rifle wounds, either of which would have caused his death, probably, within less than an hour. He had fallen and tumbled three or four hundred feet, some of the falls being vertical drops of twenty or thirty feet, yet he had life enough left in him to crawl twenty feet over large, slippery boulders in a last frantic effort to escape.
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India brotherbear Offline
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#11
( This post was last modified: 01-29-2016, 04:37 AM by brotherbear )

California Grizzly by Tracy I. Storer and Lloyd P. Tevis, Jr.

The tenacity of life in grizzlies that had received a multitude of rifle balls -or one in a particularly vital spot - was remarked by many contemporary writers. The power of early day muskets was appreciably less than that of later rifles with grooved barrels, cylindrical bullets, and more powerful charges of powder. The ball from a muzzle-loader, fired at some distance, often had only enough to pierce the heavy skin and lodge in the thick body fat outside the muscles; such wounds were merely aggravating. Adams ( Hittell, 1860 : 161 ) said of one bear, "several balls had struck her in the sides, but had not gone through the fat."

"The grizzly is very tenacious of life, and he is seldom immediately killed by a single bullet. His thick, wiry hair, tough skin, heavy coats of fat when in good condition, and large bones, go far to protect his vital organs; but he often seems to preserve all his strength and activity for an hour or more after having been shot through the lungs and liver with large rifle-balls." ( J.S. Hittell, 1863 : 109 ) Near Livermore in 1854 one lived half an hour after a ball from a 5-inch Colt revolver had passed completely through the heart ( N 27 ). Another reportedly "turned and showed fight" after his skull was split with an axe, "scattering his brains on the ground" ( N 43 ).

In the somewhat lurid tale of "How Old Pinto Died," Allen Kelley ( 1903: 171 - 191 ) wrote that the bear was finally killed by a 45-70-450 bullet entering at the "butt" of the ear and passing through the base of the brain. The previous evening one shot "had nearly destroyed a lung." In all there were eleven bullet holes, but only two or three bullets had lodged, "the others having passed through, making large, ragged wounds and tearing organs all to pieces." Of another bear, which had been fired at repeatedly by members of a party, Vachell ( 1901 : 251 - 252 ) stated that "when we skinned him, we found that he had been shot through the heart, through the lungs, through the head, and through the loins!"
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India brotherbear Offline
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#12
( This post was last modified: 01-29-2016, 04:39 AM by brotherbear )

Man Meets Grizzly by Young and Beyers.
All accounts agree, however, that a wounded grizzly is a horror in fur and claws. He can be ravaged with bullets and still plunge forward attacking again and again, as in the case of the Wyoming bear that was riddled by fifty-four shots before dying.
Yet, W.H. Wright thinks the vitality of grizzlies has been considerably overstated and the bear lore maintaining that a wounded grizzly is unstoppable, that he cannot bleed to death, and that a shot must penetrate a vital organ, preferably the brain, in order to kill is untrue. Many stories attest to the indomitable fury of the wounded bear, but all bullets that hit take their effect, though perhaps not soon enough or to a sufficient degree for some hunters' needs. For instance, while on the Powder River Expedition of 1865, Captain H.E. Palmer reported the destruction of a monstrous grizzly on the eastern slope of the Big Horn Mountains. This bear had taken shelter in a little plume patch. The trainmaster, a daring man, baited the bear by riding up to within a few rods of the patch. When the bear rushed out after him, the man would turn his mule so quickly the bear could not catch him. The men of the camp then poured a volley from their Sharp's rifles into the bear. The bear withdrew into the plum patch, was teased into the open again, and again was fired upon by the men. When the grizzly was finally downed they found his hide perforated with twenty-three balls. They estimated he weighed about 1,800 pounds.
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India brotherbear Offline
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#13
( This post was last modified: 01-29-2016, 04:42 AM by brotherbear )

Man Meets Grizzly by Young and Beyers.
One cannot always predict what a bear will do, any more than one knows just what to expect from a man. Experience has proven that the grizzly mother can be a savage engine of destruction when she feels her cubs are threatened. We know too, that surprising a grizzly of either sex is usually dangerous, as many good bear stories testify. And a hunter should always be wary in approaching his downed prey, for though the strength of a grizzly may have been overestimated, on occasion he is formidable and dangerous even when presumed dead. The downed bear is not always a dead one, as many men have discovered to their grief. Some of the most harrowing encounters, in fact, have occurred when the hunter, sure of his kill and excited, neglects to reload his gun and approaches the fallen animal too closely. The bear may still have energy and fury enough to close on the man.
I knew a rancher up near Henry's Lake, in Idaho, who had gone after a grizzly he noticed eating at the carcass of a long-dead cow. He fired, at a good shooting distance, and the bear keeled over but was quickly up and running away. The rancher, a good shot, fired his .30 - .40 five more times and made that many hits. On the fifth shot the bear went down and stayed there. Supposing the bear to be done for, the rancher went up to it. When he poked it with his gun, the bear, to his surprise, sprang to its feet and attacked him. He placed one more shot. The bear, bleeding and red-eyed, gnashed him with her teeth and struck with her powerful arm, tearing him with her claws. Having thrown the man to the ground and satisfied herself that her antagonist was dead, the bear moved away. After walking about fifty yards she lay down, and later she was found dead there. The rancher was fearfully torn and lacerated and spent many months recovering.
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India brotherbear Offline
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#14
( This post was last modified: 01-29-2016, 04:44 AM by brotherbear )

The Grizzly by Enos A. Mills.

A grizzly with three feet managed to maintain himself in a territory near my home, and I twice heard of his outwitting hunters and their hounds. The territory was occasionally invaded by trappers but he avoided their snares. Hunters with dogs finally drove him off his domain. Where he went, what struggles he had, what masterly retreats he made, what troubles he had in making a living, and what final tragic end, I do not know. That he survived so long with one foot gone indicates that he was a bear of powers, a bear with a career, whose biography or autobiography would be full of action and adventure.
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India brotherbear Offline
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#15
( This post was last modified: 01-29-2016, 11:51 AM by brotherbear )

The Bear Almanac by Gary Brown.

"Bears ... have the biggest brains relative to body size of any carnivore, giving them ample capacity to interpret and remember...", according to Candace Savage in 'Grizzly Bears'.
Studies at the University of Tennessee psychology department indicate that American black bears are highly intelligent, probably more so than many other mammals of the world. "Bears are highly intelligent and individualistic," relates Terry Domico, "and are capable of nearly as many responses in a given circumstance as a human.
Some biologists believe the highly adaptable brown bear is intelligent enough to be ranked with primates, like monkeys and baboons."
"I would give the grizzly first place in the animal world for brainpower," noted Enos Mills in 'The Grizzly'.
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