Lily gave birth again this year, to jason and faith. Young Hope was back with Lily, as well, in a very rare occurance when the yearling shares milk with the next generation, called 'mixed aged litter'.
Jason died in a few months, suspected wolf attack. Faith is still going strong, and has taught us huges amounts of new information about mixed aged litters, with big sister Hope.
It's hunting season now, going into week 3. Pregnate black bears are starting to think about dening up for winter. all the bears metabolisims are slowing down, going into hibernation.
Lily is very trusting and wears a tracking collar without problems. During hunting season, they put huge dayglo ribbons on the collar, and ask hunters in the area not to shoot radio collared bears. It's not eligal to shoot radio collared bears, they just ask you turn in the collar, as they're expensive. pretty much all hunters are agreeable to not shooting them, although there are a couple of hold outs.
There are lots of bears - something like 20-30 of them - who have radio collars, Lily is just one. Most hunters don't shoot bears with babies. But Hope, a good sized yearling (almost 2 years old), absolutly refuses to wear a collar. They've tried over and over to place one on her, and she gets it off asap.
So the other day, collared Lily, going into hibernation mode, is lazing around taking naps. she's not built a den yet, but it wont be long. young faith, not quite a year old, is up to 1/4th mile away, foraging for what food is around in an area that had a heavy drought.
Less than a mile away from Lily's nap spot, a hunter placed a bait trap.
and big, almost 2 years old Hope has disapeared. No one's seen her for days. Now, she's disapeared before. But it wasn't hunting season then, and she was clearly a cub, before. But now she's a 'grown up girl', who refuses to wear a collar. And she's alone, without radio collared mom, Lily.
The biologist is waiting to hear fromm the DNR if anyone young femails have been registered killed. and he's waiting on the hunter who set the bait trap to see if he got anything. If the hunter did killer her, its sad, but it's ok. He didn't break any laws, and Hope didn't have a collar on. It's not his fault. But I'll still be really sad if she's dead.