At the Bear Center today, 2 hunters told staff that they would never, under any circumstances, shoot a female bear. Later today, we learned once again that not all hunters feel that way.
Two female bears wearing radio-collars bedecked with gaudy ribbons have been shot this year. First Aster was shot and injured on September 5. Then this afternoon, 13-year-old Dot, a favorite of many, was killed. We don’t know the details and hope to learn more. In late afternoon, her GPS locations showed her signal moved quickly from the forest to the town of Ely. We drove to Ely and located the radio-collar in the conservation officer’s truck awaiting delivery to the DNR office in Tower and eventual return to us. Lynn knocked on his door and learned that Dot was killed “in a hunting situation.”
The Research Associates who spent hundreds of hours following her life the last 12 years are feeling deep grief this evening. No one knew Dot better or was more devoted to her well being and learning about her life then they were. Dot was radio-tracked longer than any other bear in the study, beginning with her life in the den with her radio-collared mother Blackheart. Dot got her own collar when she became a yearling. There are many stories to tell about Dot’s relatively long life. Although black bears can live into their 30’s, the average age of females in the kill is 3. Dot and her sister Donna far exceeded that. Donna is still alive but is not radio-collared due to the latest DNR restrictions. Dot had a great, gentle personality and was a favorite of many who got to see her in the course of her 13 years.
One of the BFF Teams “Meet the Bears” articles does an excellent job of summarizing Dot’s life http://www.facebook.com/notes/bffbetty/meet-dot-2013/357565604374265.
Thank you for all you do.
—Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield, Biologists, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center
All photos taken today unless otherwise noted.