Montana Outdoors

May 6, 2007

Bear tree

Yesterday I paid a visit to a place I’ve know about for many years and visit every summer. It’s at a prominent location right beside an old trail in the high country where it passes through a thick stand of firs and cedars. It’s a “bear tree”.

Bear tree

It doesn’t look like much unless you know just what you’re looking for. For the resident male Black Bear in the area, it’s his signpost, advertising his residency and displaying his size. On this tree, about 7 feet from the ground are vertical scratches made by his claws. They are a easier to see in the following close-up. Sap has covered the older marks, but there’s a couple of fresh ones, made this spring. On my tip-toes I could barely reach the top of the highest marks.

Bear tree scratches

I first noticed this particular tree a dozen years ago, and each year I have seen new scratches. I doubt that the bear who made the scratches I first saw is still around, but his successor has certainly taken over where he left off, and continues to mark his territory.

This is part of his range in the TeePee/Spring Creek roadless area in the Cabinet Mountains of western Montana:

TeePee roadless area

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