Friday, May 6, 2016

Marathon Bear


Jeff Beringer reported that one of our Missouri black bears just completed a marathon trip from southern Christian County to the area east of Hermann.  That is over 200 miles as the crow flies and bear 1417 can't fly so he must have put on far more miles.  I can only imagine his adventures along the way.

Original collaring of 1417 in 2014
Bear 1417 was trapped on Cobb Ridge in southern Christian county off of Highway H on June 26, 2014.  If you go to Missouri Black Bear Project and enter his number you will see his picture after the collar was attached.  He was a one year old male weighing 80 pounds.  Over the next year he logged over 253 miles before his collar fell of at its scheduled time.  This mileage estimate is based on daily readings and doesn't include his ramblings during each day.

When he was trapped again on May 2, 2016, roughly 22 months later he weighed 172 pounds, over twice his previous weight.  Male bears average a home range of 120 square miles so his 200+ linear miles was a state record so far.  Jeff made this observation about the trip:
"We worked him up yesterday and outfitted him with a new collar that should reveal future movements. What is really interesting is the topography/habitat area of southern Warren county actually looks similar to parts of Christian county, makes you wonder if he decided to winter here for that reason. Based on trail camera pics from the public we believe he showed up in central MO last summer: I didn’t think he’d stay but he obviously denned there this winter. I still don’t think he will stay in Warren county in the absence of a female bear but we will see."
Visiting Bull Creek - click to enlarge
I went to the website to see 1417's path and was startled to see that it actually was within 200 yards of our house on Bull Creek on September 19 and October 2, 2014.  Those readings were the snapshot and he might even have come to the house!  We maintain an emergency email list which we use to have everyone pull in their garbage and dog food if a bear is spotted, so they don't stay around.

Range of Bear 1417 in 2014-2015
You can see the paths of many of the collared black bears being studied by wildlife biologists under Jeff.  Go to this Missouri Black Bear Project link and click on "Track"which will show you the areas of some of the bears.  Select "Markers On' and look for an area of interest to see if there has been a collared bear in your vicinity.  Only a few of the estimated 300+ bears in Missouri have been collared for a year but you may get lucky.  We did!

I thought our marathon bear's number 1417 was perfect.  If it decides to call home to Christian County, all he has to do is look at his ear tag to get the area code and start by dialing 1-417.
Update 5028-2016
1417 has now moved south.  To quote Jeff Beringer:
"Bear 1417 continues to move, he’s moved over 230 straight line miles since he started his dispersal in Christian county.  He should be in pretty good bear range now. "

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