This morning I had the opportunity to tag along with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and Jesse Lewis to retrieve and replace a Global Positioning System (GPS) collar on a 300-pound hibernating black bear. Jesse, who is finishing his thesis work at the University of Idaho, squirmed down into the den with the very-much-awake bear and tranquilized him. The male bear was in fantastic shape and was quite a bit larger than they anticipated, which made removing him from his den "challenging". It was an awesome experience.
The data Jesse is collecting gives us a glimpse into the routines, needs, and potential hazards these bears are faced with. I look forward to seeing the results from the collars removed this season.