Nature

Maine’s Bears and Wildlife

The state of Maine in the United States has a variety of wildlife. There are black bears, moose, little brown bat, and cottontails.

All the mammals are threatened with extinction from hunting and climate change.

Black Bears

 

  • Maine is home to the largest population of black bears in the eastern United States, with an estimated 35,000 bears.
  • Black bears in Maine can weigh up to 600 pounds and grow up to six feet in length, although the average weight is around 250 pounds.
  • Maine’s bear hunting season typically runs from late August to late November, with a bag limit of one bear per year.
  • Maine’s bears are primarily vegetarian, with a diet consisting of berries, nuts, and other vegetation. However, they are also known to eat insects, small mammals, and occasionally carrion.
  • Bears in Maine are most active in the early morning and late evening hours, and are often seen near streams or other water sources.
  • The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife offers educational programs and resources to help people coexist safely with bears, including tips for storing food and garbage, securing beehives, and avoiding potential conflicts.

They eat fish

 

Black bears roam the wilderness looking for food.

Maine’s bears infographic

I decided to take a hike along a rugged trail that promised stunning views and an abundance of wildlife. I had my backpack snug against my shoulders, filled with essentials, including a map, compass, and a bear spray, just in case I stumbled upon any of Maine’s furry inhabitants.

As I trekked along the path, which was no more than 3 feet wide and bordered by towering pines and firs, I was serenaded by the sounds of nature. Birds called to one another, and the occasional rustling in the underbrush hinted at the presence of small creatures. I was lost in the tranquility of it all when my heart suddenly skipped a beat.

There, no more than 30 yards ahead of me, was a black bear. It was a breathtaking sight, the bear’s fur a deep, glossy black that glistened in the dappled sunlight. The bear was a young adult, I estimated, standing at about 5 feet when on all fours, and likely weighing in the vicinity of 300 pounds.

I froze, remembering all the advice I’d read about bear encounters. I kept my movements slow and deliberate, avoiding sudden actions that could startle the magnificent creature. The bear hadn’t noticed me yet; it was busy foraging, its powerful forelimbs turning over rocks and logs in search of food.

My heart pounded in my chest as I carefully reached for my camera, a compact model with a decent zoom that would allow me to capture this moment without getting too close. I managed to take a few photos, the bear’s coat almost shimmering against the vibrant green backdrop of the forest.

After what felt like an eternity, but was likely only a few minutes, the bear ambled off into the thicket, disappearing as silently as it had appeared. I let out a breath I didn’t realize I’d been holding and continued on my way, the adrenaline slowly ebbing from my veins.

 

They can climb trees

 

They can smell and get food out of your garbage can.

 

Cute cubs

 

Infographic comparing size to other bears

 

They have big teeth

 

They can walk in the snow

 

  • Black bears hibernate during the winter months, although their degree of activity varies depending on factors such as climate and food availability.
  • Black bears have an acute sense of smell and are able to detect scents from miles away. This makes them highly sensitive to food odors and a common cause of human-bear conflicts.
  • Black bears are known for their intelligence and have been observed using tools and exhibiting problem-solving skills.
  • Black bears are important for the ecosystem, as they play a role in seed dispersal, nutrient cycling, and regulating populations of other animals.

 

 

Closeup

  • Male black bears weigh 300lbs but can be 600 lbs. Females are 150 lbs.
  • They do not hibernate.
  • Many bears die due to humans hunting.
  • Fatal bear attacks on people is very rare but is best to stay clear.
  • Do not run away from a bear. Carry some pepper spray.
  • Guide to Maine’s bears from dept of fisheries and wildlife.

Moose

Bull moose munching on water plants in Maine’s North Woods

 

Baxter State Park, Maine.

 

Deer

Northern Maine Whitetail Deer Yard