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Bear Activity

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avatar Bear Activity
September 18, 2012 03:57PM
This week bears have been active throughout the park. There has been one bear that has been active every night in the Tuolumne Campground. In Yosemite Valley, bears have been observed in apple and oak trees. Bears have also been observed in El Portal and the backcountry. Be sure to properly secure canisters and always keep food within arm’s reach while hiking or staying in a backcountry campsite.

Seventeen bears have been hit by vehicles so far this year. Please obey speed limits and scan road sides while driving to ensure the safety of bears and other wildlife.

The California population of black bears has steadily been increasing over the last 25 years. The current population estimate is between 25,000 and 30,000 bears. The population estimate for Yosemite is 330-550 bears. While the population here is thriving, the Louisiana and Florida subspecies of black bear are threatened and have a much smaller population size. If you see a bear during your visit please report it to the Save-A-Bear Hotline at 209-372-0322.
avatar Re: Bear Activity
September 20, 2012 12:03PM
Quote
eeek

If you see a bear during your visit please report it to the Save-A-Bear Hotline at 209-372-0322.

Why?

Has anyone done this during their visit to Yosemite this year.

I thought that number was only to report “problem” bears.

.
Re: Bear Activity
September 20, 2012 03:12PM
Having people call in when they see a bear is one way that the park can keep track where the bears are. We have the same thing where I live for coyotes because they are trying to get population estimates.

The past few years the only times when I have seen a bear, a park ranger was already there so there was no reason for me to call the hotline.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/20/2012 03:20PM by parklover.
avatar Re: Bear Activity
September 24, 2012 10:32PM
2 years ago Oct. we were in Lower PInes site #89 adjacent to the split rail fence that separated us from the 'renewing' vegetation along the meadow/road. It was dusk, the campfire was going, and I was about to start cooking some lamb chops over the grill. We heard a noise to our right and looked up to see two characters from Ghost Busters approaching. OK, not quite as bad as that, but it was two young rangers with funny helmet/tracking devices on their heads complete with monitors and flashlights. The informed us there was a very aggressive (not mean, but NOT shy/timid/afraid) young female bear (with a collar) in our vicinity and we should just make sure we don't even turn our back on the grill for a second or she would swoop in and grab the meat.

Well, for the next hour while we cooked and ate, we were treated to the most bizarre game of hide and seek we've ever seen. On the other side of the rail, in an area approx. 75' x 150', these two young sleuths were in pursuit of that bear. They were zig zagging here and there, lights blinking, beeps beeping...it was quite comical. I don't think they ever found the bear, and no, we never saw it either...but it must been there the whole time winking smiley

But had we seen her I would have used the same bear chasing techniques I employed while being the night watchman at TML for a couple of weeks back in the summer of '64. Those techniques? Just wait for them to leave on their own...and stay out of their way!

Steve
Re: Bear Activity
September 25, 2012 09:08AM
I was in Upper Pines in August and the last night we were there, we were settling in - I asked my wife to take the trash out of the bear box so I could bring it to the disposal unit - I was going to go right after she and my daughter got back from the bathroom since she had the only headlamp - She was against it because she didn't want to attract any bears - We never see any bears when we are in Yosemite, always hear them (or the rangers chasing them at night) but never see them - My wife reluctantly takes the trash out and puts it at my feet (Big Mistake)

So here I am in front of the fire that was down to embers now, pretty dark, trash directly in front of me when I notice movement in my peripheral vision - This bear had stealthily come up and was less than 3 feet away from me, I didn't even hear it and of course it was eyeing my trash - I must have jumped 50 feet - I think the bear was more startled than me and split - I was completely flustered and just started yelling "Bear" "Bear" - Within seconds, rangers were there and they started chasing it out - 5 minutes later the Ghost Busters arrived with their various accoutrements - In the meantime, my wife comes back and gives me the headlamp so I can take the trash to the disposal unit - I find out this bear was 135 lb female that has been pretty aggressive, coming right up to campsites while campers are there

My wife was pretty upset since we are always so good about locking down the trash and the one time it was not in the bear box - we have an incident - I really thought that since the trash was right in front of me, it wouldn't happen but I was wrong - The good news is that the bear didn't get to the trash so no harm no foul - But for the next 30 minutes, my wife ragged on me for letting me talk her into having the trash out in front of me instead of keeping it in the box until she got back - Finally, I told her if she didn't stop, I wouldn't walk with her to the bathroom at night - I never heard another word - Of Course she was right and justified to be upset with me - From now on, I'll be leaving the trash in the box until I get the headlamp back - You really can't be too careful.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/25/2012 09:08AM by SoCalCPA.
avatar Re: Bear Activity
September 25, 2012 11:24AM
Quote
SoCalCPA

I was going to go right after she and my daughter got back from the bathroom since she had the only headlamp

Actually, I think the moral of the story is that you should purchase a second headlamp. wink

.
avatar Re: Bear Activity
September 28, 2012 12:06PM
I'm beginning to understand how bears are being hit by cars. I had my second bear encounter while driving, this time on Tioga Road in the late afternoon on Wednesday. I was driving exactly the speed limit and a bear just ran across the road just like the first time a couple years ago. I had no problem avoiding it. A cub followed a few seconds later and I saw it appear out of the brush along side my car. I did not slow down further as that would have risked having the cub run into the side of my car. Both bears got safely across the road. Bears may be extremely smart when it comes to knowing where humans store their food but they are extremely stupid when it comes to cars. They're simply oblivious to vehicles. Their behavior seems to be to dart out from the cover of brush into the road at running speed with no awareness of vehicles at all. Scanning the roadside is of no help when the bears run out from the cover of brush. I doubt that there's any speed short of 5 mph that guarantees you can avoid a collision with running bears that appear out of nowhere. It appears to be a matter of bad timing as opposed to any particular speed.
Re: Bear Activity
September 28, 2012 03:27PM
Was in Mammoth last weekend and on Saturday was returning in the morning from a hike - We were about a mile from town when a bear ran accross the street about 30 yards ahead of us - Just out of instinct, I asked the driver to watch out that there may be more - he slowed down and then 2 cubs bolted across the street about 5-10 feet infront of us - I we had not slowed down, we would have hit them for sure - it all happened pretty fast
avatar Re: Bear Activity
September 29, 2012 08:13AM
The same applies to mule deer. Some folks are probably tired of hearing me tell about the one that hit my rental car several years ago while leaving TM for Tioga Pass but I will risk repeating. That deer leaped from a high embankment on the left side of the road and literally landed in the middle of the road in the side my car. I never saw it coming. The driver trailing behind me told me where it had leaped from. I was doing 30 in a 35 zone just east of the permit office.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/29/2012 08:14AM by tomdisco.
avatar Re: Bear Activity
September 29, 2012 10:13AM
Quote
tomdisco

The same applies to mule deer. Some folks are probably tired of hearing me tell about the one that hit my rental car several years ago while leaving TM for Tioga Pass but I will risk repeating. That deer leaped from a high embankment on the left side of the road and literally landed in the middle of the road in the side my car. I never saw it coming. The driver trailing behind me told me where it had leaped from. I was doing 30 in a 35 zone just east of the permit office.

See, there's the problem.

You were only going 30 in a 35 MPH zone. The mule deer had timed its leap with the expectation that you would be traveling 35 MPH or faster down that stretch of road. If you had been going the speed limit, the mule deer wouldn't have collided with you. Next time, drive faster. wink

Grinning Devil
avatar Re: Bear Activity
September 30, 2012 07:27AM
Quote
plawrence
Quote
tomdisco

The same applies to mule deer. Some folks are probably tired of hearing me tell about the one that hit my rental car several years ago while leaving TM for Tioga Pass but I will risk repeating. That deer leaped from a high embankment on the left side of the road and literally landed in the middle of the road in the side my car. I never saw it coming. The driver trailing behind me told me where it had leaped from. I was doing 30 in a 35 zone just east of the permit office.

See, there's the problem.

You were only going 30 in a 35 MPH zone. The mule deer had timed its leap with the expectation that you would be traveling 35 MPH or faster down that stretch of road. If you had been going the speed limit, the mule deer wouldn't have collided with you. Next time, drive faster. wink

Grinning Devil

Point taken. Smart deer--dumb driver.
Re: Bear Activity
September 30, 2012 11:06AM
Here is an anecdote that suggests one reason why bears get hit:

My buddy and I were hiking last Thursday, tracing the Old Mono Trail from Porcupine Flat to Tamarack Flat. While following the former trail down a gully on the east side of Yosemite Creek, we met a mother bear and her cub. They were properly surprised to see humans on this side of the creek, and immediately ran away.

Around 6:30 pm, while we were engaged in undoing the car spot, we pulled out of the Tamarack Campground turnoff onto highway 120. A few yards farther is a pullout with several garbage cans and some interpretive posters. A car full of tourists was gawking at a similar bear and cub, who were sitting on the asphalt between the car and the main highway. I don't know what was keeping the bears there, but learning to wander around the edge of the road at twilight is very bad training for that cub. The traffic was shooting by at or above the 45 mph speed limit...
avatar Re: Bear Activity
September 30, 2012 01:26PM
Quote
tomdisco
The same applies to mule deer. Some folks are probably tired of hearing me tell about the one that hit my rental car several years ago while leaving TM for Tioga Pass but I will risk repeating. That deer leaped from a high embankment on the left side of the road and literally landed in the middle of the road in the side my car. I never saw it coming. The driver trailing behind me told me where it had leaped from. I was doing 30 in a 35 zone just east of the permit office.

Don't know if this was at night, but I know of places where a reduced speed limit is recommended or mandated at night at least partially due to wildlife.

I was at a campfire program at Grand Teton, and at the end the ranger recommended that we reduce our speed 10 MPH from the limit to reduce the chance of hitting wildlife. When I was driving on US-1 through the Florida Keys, the limit was 55 daytime and 45 nighttime. I understand one reason is because they have deer that jump out of nowhere.

Of course I've mentioned that I heard a deer-pickup encounter on US-50 around Placerville. I went past it in another lane, but noticed a pickup in the next lane without room to swerve. It sounded like an explosion and later I saw the pickup with its bumper rearranged. I don't think Bambi made it.
avatar Re: Bear Activity
September 30, 2012 01:41PM
I eye that sagebrush along US-395 somewhat nervously if its a fall evening.

The biggest 'deer jumping in front of me' drive I've had was early morning on the Tioga road, last year, driving to Tuolumne Meadows in late June just as they were opening the wilderness permit office (without power). About 3 separate instances, thankfully I slowed in time for each.
avatar Re: Bear Activity
September 30, 2012 02:22PM
avatar Re: Bear Activity
September 30, 2012 06:52PM
Mine happened mid-afternoon.
avatar Re: Bear Activity
September 30, 2012 06:54PM
Quote
y_p_w
Quote
tomdisco
The same applies to mule deer. Some folks are probably tired of hearing me tell about the one that hit my rental car several years ago while leaving TM for Tioga Pass but I will risk repeating. That deer leaped from a high embankment on the left side of the road and literally landed in the middle of the road in the side my car. I never saw it coming. The driver trailing behind me told me where it had leaped from. I was doing 30 in a 35 zone just east of the permit office.

Don't know if this was at night, but I know of places where a reduced speed limit is recommended or mandated at night at least partially due to wildlife.

I was at a campfire program at Grand Teton, and at the end the ranger recommended that we reduce our speed 10 MPH from the limit to reduce the chance of hitting wildlife. When I was driving on US-1 through the Florida Keys, the limit was 55 daytime and 45 nighttime. I understand one reason is because they have deer that jump out of nowhere.

Of course I've mentioned that I heard a deer-pickup encounter on US-50 around Placerville. I went past it in another lane, but noticed a pickup in the next lane without room to swerve. It sounded like an explosion and later I saw the pickup with its bumper rearranged. I don't think Bambi made it.

Mine occured mid-afternoon.
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