As my cousin Wes and I watched the big bear, he walked into a patch of timber. He approached a tree and stood tall, apparently using it for a scratching post. He then turned and rubbed his back. It was a back scratcher as well.
We took note of the tree, but didn’t get a chance to visit it on that trip, but on the next trip (during the rifle deer season)we walked past the tree when following a nice buck. Although we didn’t find the buck, we did stop at the tree and check it out. Here is what we found.
We also found some hair and scat.
Here’s one of the bears. I’m not sure if it’s the one that scratched the tree.
He was a long ways away. In all we saw about ten bears between our two hunts in D6.
Above is a photo of a track of one of the bears that passed by our camp.
This is a sketch of a black bear track as I measured it on an X-12 archery hunt for mule deer several years ago.
According to biologists with the California DFG, the black bear population in California has been on the rise for several years. The department will ask that the quota for black bear take be raised again this season. It is important that the bear population remain healthy, but not larger than habitat can support.
Others say that black bears are impacting deer populations. They prey mainly on fawns, but there is also a theory that black bears find mountain lion kills and because they eat the carcass before the lions can finish it off, lions are forced to kill more deer than they would otherwise.