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Black Bear Cubs Reported on Belle Fourche River: Black Hills Getting Wilder?

Two straight seasons of sub-quota mountain lion hunts suggest the Black Hills puma population is declining.

To keep the Hills thrill quotient high, here come bears:

Wyatt McCoy lives on the banks of the Belle Fourche River.

During the comings and goings of his young life he has seen all of the usual wildlife residents cross the roads in his headlight. Coons hop and bounce, porcupines waddle, coyote and fox lope, and bobcat and lions slink. But last week, he tells his folks that two black bear cubs crossed the road using the curious side-to side shuffle of bear that is distinct to their species [Bob Speirs, "Black Bears Returning to the Black Hills," South Dakota Hunting, 2014.10.09].

Bears! Black bears! Holy sh—

On the same weekend, while guiding an elk hunter along the Wyoming border I discovered further evidence.

We were scanning the trails for two days straight and categorizing all of the sign we came across. The unusual sign we discovered was chalk white, filled with hair, acorns, and bits of bone. I’d seen the same droppings in my several years of hunting around the borders of Glacier Park in Montana. My hunter has taken perhaps a dozen bear hunts during his life in Manitoba, Alaska, and Russia. We both recognized bear sign [Speirs, 2014.10.09].

Hey, Bomgaars! Better start stocking bear-proof trash cans.Kevin Woster reported on the possibility of black bears re-establishing habitat in the Black Hills after a false bear sighting near Keystone in 2010. Speirs says that new logging practices are clearing ponderosa overgrowth and opening more ground for acorn-producing oaks and other plant life that can feed those hungry bears. Expect Betty Olson to propose a bear-hunting season any day now....


  1. larry kurtz 2014.10.10

    $20 bucks says these guys are coming up the Little Missouri from the Tongue via the Yellowstone River.

    How would their presence in the Black Hills not automatically make them candidates for endangered species protection?

  2. jerry 2014.10.10

    Makes sense Larry. As they are now here, they should fall into the protected status. The pine beetle is a blessing in disguise to help make the Black Hills a little more diverse along with helping the water table restoration.

  3. JeniW 2014.10.10

    The bears won't live much longer, if they exist. Someone will come along to shoot them.

    It seems that there is a strong dislike of wildlife in them there Hills.

  4. Daniel Buresh 2014.10.10

    How wrong you are JeniW. Controlling numbers of wildlife is a fundamental concept of conservation efforts.

  5. jerry 2014.10.10

    That is why they need protection, especially now that the word is out they exist here. Livestock producers should be able to recover any losses they may suffer from what the black bears may cause. I am sure that the Game and Fish has the resources to compensate for that.

  6. larry kurtz 2014.10.10

    How wrong you are DB. Controlling numbers of humanity is a fundamental concept of conservation efforts.

  7. mikeyc, that's me! 2014.10.10

    Are they Muslim Black bears?

  8. Daniel Buresh 2014.10.10

    Larry, I never knew you supported state controlled reproduction. That is sure to win you some points with the ladies.

  9. JeniW 2014.10.10

    Daniel, all I am saying is that those two bears will not last long. The bears are not protected by anyone.

    There are people who will kill them for their trophy.

  10. Daniel Buresh 2014.10.10

    JeniW, I disagree. Those bears will last a long time. No one is going to shoot them soon and there is no reason to believe someone will. I don't believe there is a dislike for wildlife in the hills. I find that to be a very broad stroke and an insult to a majority of ethical hunters.

  11. JeniW 2014.10.10

    Daniel, I am not talking about the ethical hunters, I am talking about the unethical hunters that we all know exist.

    The ethical hunters are not going to kill those bears, but I am willing to bet that there are some people who are unethical who would take delight in killing them.

  12. Nick Nemec 2014.10.10

    There are people that will shoot those bears because they don't want bears around. When it comes to protected animals there are some out there who go by the motto, shoot, shovel, and shut up.

  13. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.10

    Don't tell Gordon Howie about those baby bears!

  14. mike from iowa 2014.10.10

    What? no white christian bears?

  15. John 2014.10.10

    Most South Dakotans are such pussies about wildlife like black bears. Black bears are doing fine in New Jersey, Florida, and, yes, Minnesota and Wisconsin; yet for unknown reasons the black bear is incompatible with South Dakotans. Truth is most South Dakotans are incompatible with nature and wildlife. If South Dakota had a real wildlife department they would have reestablished the black bear population decades ago.

  16. Les 2014.10.14

    """"Are they Muslim Black bears?"""" You libs and your bigotry. """"""Maher called Islam “the only religion that acts like the mafia, that will fucking kill you if you say the wrong thing,” a statement which, when deconstructed, is a textbook illustration of bigotry."""""" And ya just keep going after Betty.
    And then the brain flux of John categorizing most of us as pussies while calling the Great Plains of SD bear country as compared to states that have more trees in one county than all of SD.
    I thought y all had an election to win. My mistake.

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