The black bear feeding frenzy begins

Grizzlies, like this one spotted just West of Dubois, WY, a few weeks ago, eat even more than black bears during hyperphagia, and they start gorging themselves in June. No grizzlies in Colorado, but both species may seek out possible food around humans, so be smart with trash, bird feeders, and other temptations. Photo: Whei Howerton
Ripe chokecherries

Native chokecherries are super astringent to our taste, but the prolific berries are a mainstay for black bears, which in mid-August begin “hyperphagia,” a feeding frenzy to bulk up for hibernation.

The bears now spend up to 20 hours a day foraging, tripling their usual calorie intake and gaining about 4 pounds a day. The feast usually lasts through September, or until chokecherries and other wild foods become scarce. In October, metabolism slows way down, and the now-lethargic but very plump bears head for their dens.

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