My nephew walked up on the bear in November during the gun season while making a deer drive. The bear had just recently settled in, as we saw
his tracks from the night before heading into the area.
Many people think bear all den in a cave of some sort, this one just dug
a small depression in the divot left from an uprooted tree and lined it
with grasses and weeds. Since we had sparse snow cover this year, it did
not even get covered for insulation. (People commonly pile snow around
their foundations here to help insulate houses.)
In January I took a batch of photos and complained to my friend that my hands were freezing. Then I started laughing, because that bear is surviving the elements 24/7. Overall this has been one of the coldest winters in Wisconsin in awhile, although we did not see extreme, record cold, we had prolonged below zero weather.
On March 1st it warmed up above 32 F, and I took my family, (kids 6 and
3) my friend and his 2 yr. old son to take more photos and see the bear
and to look for cubs. There were no cubs, but we did get some nice
photos. The bear was originally facing NE, but as we watched, he turned
NW to face us and then hunkered down and hid his face. We had a
difficult time getting him to raise his head, so I went around to the
opposite side of the den and took photos, hoping he would raise his head
to see what was behind him. This worked somewhat, and he raised his head a few times but that was it.
I contacted my cousin, who had taken wedding photos and had better
equipment, to see if he would come out since he lives nearby. He and I
returned about 2 hrs. later and the bear was gone! I tracked him in the
snow about 1/3 mile, and never saw him. The hind track measured 9 inches
from heel to tips of the toes. My guess was that he was safely over the
300 lb. mark. I was surprised at how timid the animal seemed to be. Even
when we were right there taking pictures, his reaction was to hide his
face and cower. I doubt that I would have taken my wife and kids had I
known the bear was awake enough to get up and leave.
It is amazing; the bear holed up around Nov. 25 and stayed until
March 1st. He may even have returned, since the day after photographing
him, it turned cold again, and we were back down below zero during the
Have a great day,