I don’t think Spanky has used his den since 2:16 AM on April 16. I say “don’t think” because I am not completely sure. Our main trail cam near his den has been erratic, and we don’t know why.
But the data are strong. Sightings and trail cam data from a feeding station he has been visiting suggest he is done denning. When he has left that station toward his den, he was back too soon to have used the den. Most of the time he arrives and leaves at that station in other directions. I spent most of today poring over SD cards from trail cams to be able to say this much.
We’re thankful we had the opportunity and a DNR permit to learn what we did from Spanky, and we are looking forward to future DNR permits to explore more of the hidden world of denning. We have never had a female leave a den in spring and return to it days later like Spanky did. We’ll be ready if the next male does that.
Still learning—and it is good to have all of you learning along with us.
Thank you for all you do.
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center