Last week we had a Master Naturalist meeting and the speaker (Tammy Wactor from DNR) spoke to us about bears. She did a fantastic job. Here are my notes from that meeting.
1. Largest land mammal in SC
2. Adult Males 250 lbs
3. Adult Female 130 lbs
4. Breeds at 3 years old
5. Breeds every other year
6. Gestation period 6 months
7. Average litter size 2-3
8. Denning December to early April
9. Male home range 7.2 square miles
10. Female home range - 6.3 square miles
11. Omnivore 90% is vegetative 10% meat (insects, bees)
12. Population exist in mountains and coastal
13. SC bear population 800-1000
14. April - beehive gum
15. Like white oak acorns better than red oak acorns
16. SC record 609 lb.
17. Age by tooth rings
18. Can also show if they are pregnant due to the stains on the teeth ring
19. North America bear population 600,000
20. No documented bear attacks in SC
Meanwhile during our meeting, there was an elk loose nearby. This was the first elk sighting in SC in 300 years! Apparently he was part of a herd in NC and came down to SC to look for a mate. Eventually they tranquilized him and took him to the mountains. Hopefully he will head back to NC because he won’t find a girlfriend in SC. I also learned that because it is against the law to take a wild animal across state lines, they could only leave him at the state line and hope that he travels north.