Using trail cameras to research bears allows us to gain an up close and personal view of their day to day lives without the impact of constantly being viewed. They allow bears to be bears, which is the stuff we find really interesting to capture on film! This year was my first full field season using Bushnell HD video camera traps and, despite some design flaws, I don’t think I’ll be switching back to still image capture in the future.
There has been lots of action on the camera traps over the past few days. The mating season has officially began, and we’ve seen two female grizzly bears pursuing one male out in the estuary. The mating season is always an exciting time, both for viewing bear behaviour and for collecting data! I’ve been out daily to my camera traps and have been taking scent samples when I’ve found evidence that scent marking has taken place. Examining the chemical constituents of bear scent will allow use to understand the chemical messages passed on through this behaviour. Can grizzly bears recognise individuals through scent? Can bears identify age and sex through scent? What about the estrus state of females? These are all questions we hope to address through this project.
It was a much brighter day here in Glendale Cove today. This morning I set up 4 camera traps in the forest, with more planned to go up tomorrow. There were at least 7 bears out in the back of the estuary this afternoon, but unfortunately due to a falling tide I couldn’t get close enough to make a positive ID.