Do bears get cold feet?

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Usually, hunting season starts with sunny skies, dry grass and dry leaves. No tracking snow makes hunting tougher to shoot a deer or elk but still allows for an extraordinary day in the woods. Not this year.

Both Saturday night and Sunday night we got about two inches of wet slushy snow. By evening most of the snow had melted, but early morning hunters both days had wet snow for tracking and lots of side noise as clumps of wet snow fell from the trees. At least one grizzly bear took advantage of the snow and walked safely across my meadow. He was about 100 yards from the house at his nearest. I prefer to see bears in the wild but it is also great to just see their tracks.

Like all bears this one was barefoot and I have always wondered if they get cold feet like I do. After all there is no fur on the bottom of their feet.

Don’t know if the snow resulted in hunter success. Only deer that has been harvested that I know of was a nice dry doe taken during bow season when it was dry out. This was the result of over an hour of quiet stalking and one well-placed arrow.

Last year after a landowner complaint a former neighbor was ticketed for hunting on private property without permission since the landowner said he had not given any permission. Turned out he had given permission several years ago. The landowner felt that permission had expired while the former neighbor felt it was ongoing. The judge agreed with the former neighbor and dismissed the charges.

I can see how both could have separate opinions. My advice is to always give written permission which specifies this year only. You can alway renew the permission on a year to year basis or not renew it if things change. Most important law enforcement or neighbors can easily verify whether or not a hunter has permission to be on private land.

This case has some bad side-effects. Current landowners now distrust the former neighbor and are watching for him or his family to cross the line again. He will find it difficult to renew or obtain permission in the future.

What do you think?

Larry Wilson’s North Fork Views appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.

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