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December 16, 2021



85 YEARS AGO

NOVEMBER 25, 1936

GLIDDEN PASS ROAD APPROVED

The boys at the CCC Camp F-52 (located at Snider up Thompson River) are pushing the road up the Wet Fork of Thompson River and will continue as long as weather conditions permit. The men are at present up to the mouth of Spruce Creek. This camp’s work will be largely on the West Fork Road and on the main road up Thompson River. The road construction on main Thompson River involves a great deal of hard work.

Small crews of local men have been employed in maintenance and betterment work on the Vermilion River road. This included the installation of culverts and the rebuilding of two bridges, installing some cribbing and doing a great deal of other miscellaneous work.

A small crew has also been at work on Dry Creek Road, where open top culverts have been installed, considerable brushing out done, as well as miscellaneous other work.

The work done on the Murray Road is very light, just sufficient to maintain it as passable. The approved location for the road from Thompson Falls to Burke, Idaho, will go through the Glidden Pass and thence to Burke and Wallace.

40 YEARS AGO • DECEMBER 3, 1981

WEATHER DETERMINES BEAR DENNING TIME

By Vince Yannone

“The cold weather is coming.” “Did you get your wood in?” “I hate to see all the snow, but we need the snowpack.” These are some of the comments you hear this time of year. If you live in Montana, you know the winter months can be tough, and if you’re smart, you have prepared for it.

But, what do you do if you’re a bear? Adult bears get ready for winter by preparing dens. Dens are usually located on north facing slopes where temperatures are colder and snow depths are greater. Deeper snows and colder temperatures keep bears in the dens a longer period of time during the spring. When the bears decide to come out of hibernation, the south facing slopes have started to warm up and green grass is popping up. This ensures a food supply for bears when they emerge.

Denning occurs from mid-October to mid-November. Temperatures, available food supply, length of daylight and snow conditions help determine denning time.

Black bears use natural cavities when available. Grizzlies usually dig dens but have been known to use natural sites. The den entrances vary in size. This reporter has seen openings from 18 – 20 inches in diameter and as large as a mine shaft opening.

Research has shown that den temperatures may vary slightly but remain quite constant around 40 degrees. Normal body temperature of a bear is about 101 degrees. While denning the body temperature drops to between 85 and 87 degrees. The bear is now in a semi-hibernating state.

It is a misconception that a bear is a true hibernator. True hibernators body temperatures lower to one or two degrees above ambient den temperature. Both lower body temperatures, heartbeat and respiration and utilize stored body fats for energy.

Sows (female bears) produce young in January and February. The cubs weigh from 15 to 17 oz. at birth. These cubs will stay with the mother for two years. In the spring of the third year during mating season she will push them off to make it on their own. Up to this point they have fed and denned with their mother. When fall approaches, they must now prepare their own den. Boars always den alone.

Many of the den floors are lined with vegetative matter. Grasses and pine bows seem to be the most-used materials. This layer of material acts as an insulator from the ground. Some dens also have an air hole.

When you are in your nice warm house this winter, think about the bears in hibernation. Montana’s animals have learned to adapt to our cold winters.

 

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