Wondering if someone could clear up a ongoing argument at our camp. Do Pa bears hibernate and if so is it for a long period or just when weather gets extreme? A guy swears he cut fresh bear tracks this week at our camp in Elk county. any input would be appreciated.
Quite possible, Bears in PA will start their hibernation when food sources diminish...If there is plenty of food around, it will take longer for them to go into hibernation. Bears can "hibernate" I believe for up to 100 days? Maybe I'm wrong , but that's what I recall.
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Last year in the late rabbit season my beagle went in a brush that had a bear hibernating in it as i got her away from the pile two other guy's took pictures of her sound a sleep. In the spring one of the neighbors watched her come out of the brush pile with two cubs.I was told males don't hibernate unless food gets scarce don't really know.
I saw a bear in a tree (wide awake) story on the (Pgh.) TV News the other evening...and it's been cold. I don't recall where the bear was seen and filmed in the tree, but it proves that they will occasionally get up and move about. They don't really "hibernate" like a ground hog - but instead a deep sleep that allows them to sometimes wake up and move around some on warm winter days. I'll be they were moving about a lot last year.
On a side note - when Robbin's Scent Co. (Connelsville) was in business, they had a huge 700-plus pound black bear named Samson that NEVER hibernated because he 'never wanted to miss a meal!' That bear could chug-down a two liter bottle of Coke in seconds...and never burp!
The simple answer is bears don't hibernate. True hibernators sleep through the winter regardless of weather as it is determined by the length of the days much like the rut which is another argument altogether. Bears routinely wake during their "winter sleep" if weather conditions are favorable and food is present. I believe technically speaking groundhogs are Pennsylvanians largest hibernating mammal.
went for a 4wheeler ride tonight in the back 20 in sullivan county and cut fresh tracks and they were big and fresh so i followed them for awhile till they went on the neighbors property and into a swamp with rock cliffs on the other side.
might follow up tomorrow when there is more light with camera
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