Bears den in a variety of places. They investigate possible den sites throughout the summer.
If a bear is disturbed during the winter, it will often move directly to another den. Standing hollow trees are favorite denning spots, but few trees are allowed to reach the mature stage at which the center rots and becomes hollow.
Such trees can be found in portions of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northeastern Minnesota, especially where they were fire-scarred a half century or more ago.
Rock crevices and caves are also used as dens, and these can remain useable for centuries, but usually not by the same bear
Dens are also dug into hillsides or under the root system of a tree. These dens may be dug during the summer months, long before they are needed.
Dug dens often collapse after use and therefore are seldom reused. As part of our Bear week, we created bear caves using sand blocks, soil, rocks, and pine cones. Everyone enjoyed manipulating the blocks to create the perfect home!