Well, another cub season is just about wrapped up along Hudson Bay and this one seems to show positive results. During my week at Watchee Lodge, the guides were saying that all of the family groups that they have worked with this year are twin cubs as opposed to past years where it is a bit of a mixed bag. However, tracks of a mother with single cub passed through but a family of triplets were also tracked. Several bears broke out of their den and headed straight out on the ice before any of the photographers could catch up to them. Either way, its been a very good season at Watchee.
We staked out one den during my stay and the female that emerged was a very healthy looking bear with two small cubs. In fact, she looked comparable to bears in October… not one with an additional four months fast and cubs to nurse. This means she either found a carcass on the shore in the summer and fattened up or had a phenomenal seal hunting season.
The cubs were small, as I understand, this could mean they were born a bit late or that a third cub that did not survive was still in the den. The mother was very cautious, as wolves were tracked just to the north of us.
Manitoba Conservation also ran an aerial survey of mothers and cubs emerging from their denning area along Cape Tatnum. While they did not encounter any bears, they found ample tracks, more than last year. This, too, is a good sign for bears in that area.
On the downside, the cubs first taste of life has been tempered with a massive storm along Hudson Bay, with winds gusting to 90km on the west and up to 140km on the east. This will mean a temporary delay in their search for seals.
Note: I got busted on a french hoax website that said there was a bear that came ashore at Rimouski – fair enough. I invoke my Canadian right to blame the french. Case closed. Maybe I should find a 1934 newspaper to see if the Lac St Jean bear was real too… ha
And speaking of hoaxes, scientists now appear to be fighting over which bear species can lay claim to the title as ‘yeti’… so far polar bear is in the lead, but brown bear is making a late charge. A late charge!!