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What bears eat

It is now April. Patches of grass are starting to flourish here and there, but the landscape is still quite barren for the New Hampshire black bear. Acorns and beach nuts haven’t dropped yet, wild berries have not yet grown. Rotten logs may have some pockets of ants or fatty grubs to eat, but that’s about the only protein to be found until the deer start dropping fawns in May. Bears kill and eat more fawns than coyotes and foxes around here.

These beautiful, midnight-black creatures of the wild are more violent about procuring their food than we like to think about. Deer are part of the food chain… and in a way, it’s one of the things that bears and humans have in common. While a hunter takes to the woods in the fall to find the oldest and largest deer in the forest to hunt and bring home for the freezer, bears are typically out in the spring looking for the youngest, most vulnerable ones.

Still, we are so lucky in the northeast to have forests teeming with life, no shortage of deer, and bears, and a balanced ecosystem that springs forth abundant, diverse plant life later in the year to provide sustenance up and down the food chain. Bears capture our imagination BECAUSE they’re wild, BECAUSE they’re a bit dangerous, in much the same way our excitement is aroused by the distant howl of a wolf or the scream of a mountain lion. Let’s keep the bears wild. I’d rather they be killing fawns and eating grubs and acorns deep in the forest than learning about human-sourced food that will get them into trouble via our bird-feeders and garbage cans.

I photographed this wild bear eating fresh grassy shoots on the edge of a wild, wonderful forest in the White Mountains. As it saw me, it quickly bolted for thicker cover, but not before I captured this photograph framed with wild, wonderful birch trees and wild, early morning fog. That’s a bear that will live a long, healthy life. Help keep New Hampshire forever wild!

Wait, there’s more!

Don’t take my word for it about the bird-feeders, though. Read all about New Hampshire black bears, the problems associated with feeding them, and more direct from NH Fish & Game.



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