Leonard and I spent a day with friends, Gordon and Debra, at Lake Margaret near Burney CA. Rumor had it that there was a black bear (Ursus americanus) with two cubs in the area. While the guys fished on the lake, Debra and I decided to head off into the forested hills in search of bear. We really did not expect to see a bear because they are quite shy. However, our hope was to find tracks, claw marks or other evidence of black bears.
We were rewarded! Along the dusty path that we followed were many bear prints. The rear prints, five toes with claws that do not retract and an almost human in shape, were most evident, but there were also front paw prints. Debra and I also found smaller tracks that we believe were from a younger bear. An addition, there were many piles of bear scat. Debra and I took some intact droppings back to camp and the guys agreed that they were bear scat. As you can see in the pictures, this bear ate a great quantity of fruit. I am not certain exactly what the seeds are. There were choke cherries (Prunus virginiana) and manzanita (Arctostaphylos patula) berries nearby, however, the seeds seem too pointed on the ends to be either of those. The small scat specimens were amid the bear footprints and I believe were from a cub. The scat was filled with grass, which bears eat. The size and shape fit bear cub droppings. I wish Leonard, who knows so much more about tracking than I do, had been with us. It was fun to follow the black bear(s) for a mile or so.
We did not see our blacks bears, but Debra and I enjoyed the search.