Grizzly bears are preparing to hibernate and people might wonder what kind of process is involved in choosing a den site.
The question brings to mind a social-media post last fall by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, revealing a massive den site that boasted an expansive view of the forest and river.
“Ever wonder how a large male grizzly chooses a spot to dig a winter den? The view of course!” the agency’s Upper Snake River division joked via Facebook.
Officer Chris Johnson poses inside the den. Photo: IDFG
The den was discovered by biologist Jeremy Nicholson, who was searching for a dropped collar from a research bear.
The collar’s signal led Nicholson and two IDFG officers to a den excavated by a grizzly bear that weighed more than 600 pounds.
Officer Chris Johnson is pictured “enjoying the ample head room inside the bear’s den.”
Entrance to the grizzly bear’s den. Photo: IDFG
The bear was not in the den at the time and Nicholson and crew retrieved the collar without incident.
“Check out the spectacular view from the den and what it takes to excavate a den large enough to hold a grizzly bear,” the post concluded.
Grizzly bears can move up to a ton of earth to excavate dens comfortable enough to support them during the winter. They typically begin preparing for hibernation in mid- to late November.