Lynn Rogers' web site on black bears   Joe Zorzin
  Feb 08, 2004 06:14 PST 
Just checking Lynn Rogers' web site at . Lynn is a recognized authority on black bears.

Check out that picture of Llynn and several very large bears.Most people would be horrified if they were him in that photo- but those who know Lynn know that he's never happier.

I saw one of Lynn's slide shows and I got to hike with him thanks to one of Bob Leveret's hikes, on Mt. Everett. Anyone who isn't familiar with Lynn's work, check out that web site for the best information on black bears.

The subject of bears and Lynn Roger arose in a discussion with a client, as I discussed Lynn's reasoning to retain some large hemlocks because mama bears like them since they know that their cubs can easily climb them to escape ferocious creatures such as humans. Later, the client showed me a large, dead hemlock where he saw just such a mama bear and her cubs climbing.

It would be a great way to earn our CFE credits if one of the Mass. forestry organizations would sponsor an event with Lynn.
Joe Zorzin
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act"
George Orwell
Re: Lynn Rogers' web site on black bears
  Feb 08, 2004 07:57 PST 


Good idea. Your suggestion would also represent a challenge to forestry organizations to embrace the role of great scientists like Dr. Lynn Rogers who often turn around forestry's notions of what is or isn't good animal habitat. Game animal generalists like deer and black bear often drive wild life biology models that favor young, early successional forests. In truth, a mosaic of habitats types has always been needed, some of which is early successional and some is late, some of which can be intensively managed, and some of which is left alone. Achieving an acceptable mix of habitat types presents us with a real challenge. The separate professions will likely never agree upon the mix, but getting the discussions into the public arena and examining the mindsets and even biases of the separate professions is a goal and mission of Gary Beluzo and me in the Forest Summit Lecture Series.

Re: Lynn Rogers' web site on black bears   greentreedoctor
  Feb 08, 2004 10:33 PST 
...getting the discussions into the public arena and examining the mindsets and even biases of the separate professions is a goal and mission of Gary Beluzo and me...

Great website! Let's see if this crowd can handle a little opposing reality on the subject.   Before anyone entertains the notion of running out into the wilds and hugging your friendly, neighborhood Yogi the bear, you should consider Timothy Treadwell's last words, "My transformation complete-a fully accepted wild animal-brother to these bears. I run free among them...I am kind and viciously tough."   For the one or two members that may not be familiar with this story, these words were recorded in Treadwell's last letter (a few months ago) before he and his girlfriend were abruptly eaten alive by a pair of brown bears. Granted, a black bear is no grizzly. But when you consider the average male grizzly weighs about 600 pounds and a 886 lb. black bear was killed by a vehicle near Winnipeg in 2001, you realize that they are not exactly a "Pooh bear" either. This Canadian bear was no anomaly. While the average male black bear weights a mere 250 pounds, a 880 lb. black bear was shot in N.C in 1998, and both N.C. and PA male bears consistently grow over 800 lbs. Although, black bears tend to be passive and encounters rare, there is the occasional attack. A Canadian couple was killed by a black bear a few years ago in a provincial park. No cubs, wounding or feeding by humans involved. Sorry, naturalists, playing dead did not work this time. The autophosied bear was found to be starving. Well, I guess the attack was justified (just forward those sentiments to the grieving families)!   

As a 15 year old, I had 2 encounters with the same black bear in the same hour. I am fortunate to be around today. A 14 year old boy did not fare as well. I don't think we should be overtly afraid of bears, but we should also entertain a healthy respect if we would remain "healthy".   Watching obese park bears lay on their back while they lick off peanuts thrown to them by tourists does little to instill a healthy respect for bears. Many New Englanders fancy raising orphaned black bears, just to release them back into the wild and find they've become easy prey to hunters. Hemlocks are good climbing posts for juvenile black bears and easy hunts for black bear hunters (any hunter knows a "treed" bear is a dead bear). Though the grizzly enjoys the widest range, it's also stretched the thinnest. The black bear, though even bait-hunted in some states, seems to maintain a fair population. Some members may have heard of the recent hunt in NJ. The overpopulation was reduced by 15% in just the one hunt. I once was a bear hunter (we actually ate them). I caught a male up a large tree about a mile behind our lakeside cabin in northern Maine. The bear climbed down the large broadleaf like a blur and was soon off over the horizon until I whistled. It stop and shot. This bear cried like a human child. Talk about being spooked! Did I accidentally shoot a person? No, it was a bear in great pain. I ran towards the bear as quickly as a could. This was nothing like the grizzly encounters experienced by Lewis & Clark. I shot it again to put it out of it's misery. It was then I realized that this was likely the same orphaned bear that my father and I had fed speared white suckers the past 2 or 3 springs. That was my last bear hunt.   Maybe it's best we humans allow some wild creatures to remain wild and some mysteries to remain a mystery.   Let's hope we don't someday turn the boob tube on to watch Steve Irwin's son bull-riding a saltwater croc.

The rest of the story,
Re: Lynn Rogers' web site on black bears
  Feb 08, 2004 22:31 PST 
Randy and all,

Today I saw some climbing sign on a white fir snag and have seen several
jeffrey pines around the Lake Tahoe Basin with similar claw marks. In the East it
is a very good idea to look for bear climbing sign on larger white pines, as
well as those hemlocks, especially when those big trees boarder wetland areas.

Actually the current wisdom on the play dead theory for dealing with bears is
that it should only be used with brown/grizzly bears and only as a last
resort. In the extremely unlikely event that a black bear attacks you and actually
makes contact, you should fight back. Under no circumstances should you run
from any bear when charged. Bears are much faster than us and the vast majority
of charges are bluffs, unless you turn your back and run.

I was treated to a couple of Lynn's very informative talks and been on two
walks with him so I understand his message and that message is definitely needed
considering the number of people out there who are completely terrified by
bears. I do worry though that his message might be taken the wrong way by some
individuals. Though the vast majority of bears are far safer and more
predictable than your average human they are still independent creatures with differing
personalities and the ability to do the unexpected.

I have been fortunate enough to have many close encounters with bears during
my long distance hikes and wildlife research work. Though I was definitely
nervous on a few of those occasions, not once did I ever feel truly threatened.
The bears went out of their way to communicate their level of comfort or
discomfort and I went out of my way to show them that I was not a threat nor was I a
free lunch. Respect and understanding are the key words when dealing with
bears, or anything or one else for that matter.