I scouted last week for Oliver and Ivo. On Wednesday I invited my good friends, Dave and Don to accompany me on a search behind Junction Butte. I had already covered the areas above the Confluence, so we walked the hills and timber more to the east.
We did not find much. A couple of bluebird nests. Signs of a great horned owl family. Once a golden eagle dive-bombed a pair of ravens not far from us, his wing feathers buzzing loudly.
On our way back out, I spotted a black shadow above us in the trees. A bear? Yes. It moved. As we watched, a single black cub ran across the grass to her. Taking our time, we moved to an opening that gave us a good vantage point. Almost on cue, the sow sat down to face us and began nursing the cub. The bear had a white patch on her check making her extremely attractive.
The nursing went on for fifteen minutes when she pushed the cub away and held him at bay with a paw on his head.
As it was an only child with no playmates, the sow began batting at the cub. This soon became a ruff and tumble boxing match with mom letting the little fella have all the advantage.
Soon tired out, which was probably the sows intention; the cub climbed a big Douglas fir to sleep on an outstretched limb. The momma bear now began grazing the lush grasses beneath the tree.
This routine was repeated over and over. I was impressed at how the sow would tirelessly play with the cub, quite often instigating the frays.
Could this be a fist time mother?
A couple days later the pair made an appearance under the Yellowstone Bridge, heading upstream.