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NorthWind

Questions about black bear scat

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NorthWind

I was in a mountain meadow recently. I came across deer scat, elk scat, and a pile of unidentified scat that was bigger around than a standard shovel blade. I estimate it was no older than two days old. Anyway, it had two large foot shaped indentations in the ground, one on either side of it. Picking through it with a stick revealed only grass and plant material. No berry seeds. No bones. No hair or fur. But the size of the pile was what amazed me. Seemed like the size of a small horse. I don't have photos, but I do have video. I have to pull it off the camera and figure out how to upload it here, I suppose. I'm not great with techie-stuff.

 

But does this sound like black bear poop to you? The other bear poop I have seen in the past has been much smaller in size, and had more than just grass in it. I know berry season is not yet here. It just seemed unusual. It was also right next to a tree, and behind a low-hanging branch, as if whatever it was was trying to stay out of sight.

 

Thoughts?

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SWWASAS

Looking through my Mammal tracks and sign book at bear scat, it seems that the shape and form seems most defined by what the bear has been eating.   None of the 8 pictures showed any grass inclusions.   You mentioned horse as for size.   Any chance it could have been a horse because of the grass inclusions?    I wonder of a bear eats grass when it gets sick like dogs do?   That might cause loose stools that look horse like.    

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NorthWind

Thanks.

 

Most certainly no signs of horse there. I looked hard for horse sign, too. But stools were not loose, they were somewhat firm. I am all too familiar with horse poop, and this stuff wasn't it. There are only two things that I can think of that it could have been from, and I am trying to rule one of them out. i just have never seen bear scat like that before, so it makes me wonder. 

 

The meadow had forest fingers that came out into it. There were some tree tops that had probably come down from the bad snowfall we had recently, but a few were moved into the tips of these "fingers" and arranged almost like blinds ith indentations in the ground behind them. Like something was trying to ambush animals as they would come down to the waterhole. Found some bones in the fingers, too. Young deer bones. Too small for it to have been a human hunter, unless he  or she was a real jerk. The jawbones were in the juvenile range. I am wondering if I came across a hunting spot. 

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Huntster
Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, SWWASAS said:

Looking through my Mammal tracks and sign book at bear scat, it seems that the shape and form seems most defined by what the bear has been eating..........

 

Remarkably, and living in the Land of Bears (all North American species), I really can't say that I see a lot of bear poop. That fact reminds me of the common saying regarding finding skeletons of animals (I've come across a few moose carcasses in my day, but never a bear or wolf carcass). The bear scat I've seen was mostly full of berry seeds or bluish/purplish blueberry tint, and usually (but not always) runny. That might be because I'm more often in bear habitat in the fall hunting season, or that the poop dumped in the fall berry season soon freezes before it dissipates, and can be found in early spring. I've only a couple of times found scat that looked tubular and fairly solid that resembled human scat that I could attribute to bear, but that might be because of what they've been eating. While bears are omnivores, they do not regularly eat a balanced meal like me, with meat, starch, and vegetable at every meal. It's chicken or feathers for them. First in spring it's green grass and winter killed ungulate meat, then moose/caribou calves, then fish, then berries. Occasional ground squirrels, bear cubs, moose/caribou (calves or adults), mushrooms, bug larvae, etc.

 

Quote

..........You mentioned horse as for size.   Any chance it could have been a horse because of the grass inclusions?........

 

Horse manure seems pretty unmistakeable to me in size, shape, smell, and composition. I think it would be difficult to mistake horse manure for bear poop.

 

Quote

.........I wonder of a bear eats grass when it gets sick like dogs do?   That might cause loose stools that look horse like.

 

Here in Alaska, it's pretty common knowledge that bears eat greening grass immediately after emerging from dens in the spring. It's so well known that hunters focus on green, south-facing mountain slopes or beach grasses in spring. Frankly, I'm not sure if this is because there's nothing else to eat that early in spring (other than winter killed ungulates), or if it's because of the "butt plug" tale (I've heard hunters say that bears develop a "plug" during winter hibernation, and grasses unplug their poop chutes in spring..........sounds like BS to me).

 

I made myself look it up:

 

https://bear.org/bears-mysterious-fecal-plug/

 

It's amazing how one can learn things all the time. It did mentioned northernmost bears developing significantly larger plugs, though, during their longer hibernations.

 

The article didn't discuss spring grasses being a part of loosening the plug, though.

Edited by Huntster

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NorthWind

Fecal plug? Interesting. Thanks for the info, Huntster!

 

Well, I just got a text from my squatching partner. He was up there less than two hours ago. Alone.  He sent me these:

 

 

 

IMG952126_resized.thumb.jpg.88d1f1b5d3b4331bf93ffdaa2c5f26c8.jpgIMG952127_resized.thumb.jpg.accf273e39d48004549cd087885ca078.jpgIMG952135_resized.thumb.jpg.92089d3bcc6fa63a4c54092359e67eab.jpg

 

His boot is size 10 1/2, FYI. 

This is a different pile from the first one we found the other day. He left when he found the stacked bones, and started hearing noises in the woods. I told him to NOT go back there alone!

 

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Catmandoo

Skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus) is used by bears as a laxative, to clean themselves out.  Primary indicator is signs of Charmin....................

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NorthWind

LOL Catmandoo!  I looked for skunk cabbage but didn't find any there.

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Huntster
1 hour ago, NorthWind said:

 

IMG952135_resized.thumb.jpg.92089d3bcc6fa63a4c54092359e67eab.jpg

 

That looks like bear scat to me. Looks like he/she had been eating vegetation. The collection of turds and turd-bunches has a horse-like pile look to it, but the individual turds are much smaller and darker, the color probably due to the freshness of it as well as the type of vegetation eaten.

 

.........

This is a different pile from the first one we found the other day. He left when he found the stacked bones, and started hearing noises in the woods. I told him to NOT go back there alone!

 

Those bones were piled up like that when he found them? That is incredibly interesting! A few nights camping there with three guys (at least one night vision headgear, a good spotlight, and good weapons.......shotgun & large caliber handguns) would be good there to see if visitors show up.

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NorthWind

Yes, the bones were like that. Photo taken as they lay there.  Interesting to note also that it looks like something has been eating pinecones there as well, but that may have been "tree rats" (squirrels).

 

Very strange, for sure. Just looks like something has been hunting deer here. Bone stacking is interesting. 

 

And the volume of poop. My gosh, if that was a bear, I'll bet he or she felt a lot better afterwards. That was pile #4 in that area. One had footprint like indentations next to it. Very unusual. 

 

I do want to go out there with a therm...I have the firepower, but not the therm.  $$$$

 

 

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Huntster
2 hours ago, NorthWind said:

........Bone stacking is interesting.........

 

It's more than interesting. It's confirmation of either human or sasquatch. No other North American creature is going to do that consistently.........at least in the open.

 

I climbed a mountain in Denali National Park with a couple of co-workers many years ago......it must have been fall of 1976. In addition to being rewarded with my first good visual of a grizzly bear magnificently fleeing our scent at high speed in all of his fat, furry, autumn glory (and slamming through a river doing so), we arrived at the top of the mountain overlooking the Cantwell Creek drainage where it dumps into the Nenana River. There was a jumbled pile of boulders at the top, and I climbed up on top of them..........to discover a virtual mass grave of small bones. The skeletons of hundreds of squirrels were littered around the base of these boulders. It didn't take long to figure out that we found the favored perch of eagles that ate their dinner on top of those boulders, and the skeletons were left there collecting, probably for many years. We collected a dozen or so skulls for crafts. One of my companions was Native, and we made stuff, adorned with beads, and sold it. 

 

.........I do want to go out there with a therm...I have the firepower, but not the therm.  $$$$

 

Yeah, with all the toys I'd like, I'm afraid that night or thermo vision gear comes way down on the list. I really need to fix my boat........

 

 

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NorthWind
Posted (edited)

I can sure understand "The List", Huntster. I get one given to me every weekend, and it always seems to cost money that I would rather spend elsewhere. 

 

So, confirmation of BF or human. Well, I am 99% confident nobody ever goes out to that area. It's a long ways out, and not that easy to get to. Then, you have to get through the swamp, and make your way through the meadow and into the deeper parts of the woods. I saw not a single sign of human out there. It just doesn't make sense for someone to go through all that just to stack a few bones nobody will look at and then leave. Which leaves BF...

 

There is MUCH more to that particular area left to check out. Over the next few trips, we are going to really analyze the entire area and map it out. I will also keep a close eye on that scat and see if the content changes from grass to other things, as well, and see if the volume goes down. 

 

Anyway, I thank you for your info and experience.  

Edited by NorthWind
fixed a typo

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ShadowBorn

Northwind 

What in this world is going to stack two bones in a X and another bone on top of the X. This picture does not make sense to me and the only thing that would do such a thing is a human. Either your friend is pulling is pulling your leg or you have some thing giving you a warning. The scat is very interesting as well as the bones and were they both found in the same place close together? Here is a picture of scat from a grizz:

G-Scat.thumb.jpg.c22ea30d7fd1c4de3e4ac42bdfb289e2.jpg

Goes this look similar?

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NorthWind

SB, I know he's not trying to pull my leg, 100% certainty. 

 

I went up there again last night to get a little more video. Creepy as hell with the fading light. Saw more scat, which does not really look like your grizz scat (we only have black bears here). Nothing but grass in it. No seeds and better formed turds. Huntster is probably right, but the one big pile that had printlike indentations next to it was just unusual. 

 

And the bone stacking was for certain not done by us, and I really cannot see another human up there doing that. It's just too "out there". I know Nathan Reo's vids would sometimes show bone stacking, as well as bones from multiple animals in one pile. 


We will continue to further investigate this place in the coming weeks, very carefully and well armed with firepower and eyes. I don't want to end up being a topic in a David Paulides book. 

 

We may have gotten a vocalization recorded on the way out. We stopped at the roadside in a canyon that looked like it had good acoustics. It was about 8:45 pm or so. I am usually not one for doing calls and knocks, but I did this time, and got a response a few seconds later. Sounded like a woman screaming from a LONG ways off, but the scream was just too long to have been sustained by a person. It was faint, and I am not even sure if the audio recorder picked it up. I have to give it a listen. If it recorded, I will post it.

 

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Huntster
5 hours ago, NorthWind said:

I can sure understand "The List", Huntster. I get one given to me every weekend, and it always seems to cost money that I would rather spend elsewhere.......

 

 

OMG, that "list" is the perfect opposite of the "good list"........of needed toys!........ The grown man's version of the child's list mailed to Santa.

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NCBFr
5 hours ago, NorthWind said:

We may have gotten a vocalization recorded on the way out. We stopped at the roadside in a canyon that looked like it had good acoustics. It was about 8:45 pm or so. I am usually not one for doing calls and knocks, but I did this time, and got a response a few seconds later. Sounded like a woman screaming from a LONG ways off, but the scream was just too long to have been sustained by a person. It was faint, and I am not even sure if the audio recorder picked it up. I have to give it a listen. If it recorded, I will post it.

 

 

You would be amazed at the vocal capacity of a fox.  

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