Weather Wise: Bears Start to Hibernate
It's that time of year again bears are preparing for their winter slumber. Beartooth NBC’s Kelley Smith has all the details on the process of hibernating in this week's Weather Wise.
Snowy weather and temperatures below freezing are here. Ron Aasheim with Fish, Wildlife and Parks says starting in mid-October and until mid-November grizzly and black bears start to hibernate.
"When the weather looks like it's going to get bad they head for shelter and slumber."
But the process of going into hibernation is more complicated than just finding a den and going to sleep. Aasheim says they need to get their bodies ready for the long slumber. He says one key preparation is giving up meat and sticking just to plants.
"When it's time to go to bed they start, like I said, eating that real lush stuff to get prepared."
Assheim says plants are a huge part of bears' diets, and that goes hand in hand with why they hibernate.
"They hibernate because they're not fit. Their stomach doesn't allow them to live without that kind of nourishment that they're looking for, those lush grasses and vegetation."
But he says in some areas in Montana like the Bob Marshal Wilderness, Gardiner and Gallatin, grizzlies have found a food source that allows them to wait to hibernate.
"They're staying out longer now in some cases because of this stuff that results from the hunting season, gut piles and that sort of thing. Gun shots mean the dinner bell is what some people say."
Aasheim says even though this is the time of year bears den down for the winter, because of this new behavior, hunters should still make sure to pack some bear spray for their hunting trips. And now you're a little more Weather Wise.
Story by Kelley Smith, Beartooth NBC.
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