Outdoors Journal: Bears head for dens

  • Article by: JIM GILBERT
  • Updated: October 8, 2009 - 6:49 PM

Black bears are found in more than 30 states, and although they were originally found throughout nearly all of Minnesota, nearly all now live in the northern woodlands. About leaf-change time, in mid-September, the black bears in northeastern Minnesota become lethargic. The peak time for bears going into their winter sleep in this area is between Sept. 24 and Oct. 24. They pull in pine needles and leaves for a bed in a winter den that is usually dug under an overturned tree or stump but may also be a sheltered cave or a spot in a stand of small evergreens. Bears never get up in the winter to eat but use fat storage until April, when they come out of hibernation. Bears sleep with their noses tucked down on the chest between the front legs, a fecal plug is formed, and the moisture from the kidneys is reabsorbed.

JIM GILBERT

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