Discover Nature: Black Bears Gorge to Prepare for Winter | KBIA

Discover Nature: Black Bears Gorge to Prepare for Winter

Sep 11, 2018

Discover Nature this week as the American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) prepares for winter.


As the weather cools off and we head into autumn, black bears enter a phase called hyperphagia, in which they eat heavily, accumulating a layer of body fat that results in a 30-percent weight-gain. This layer of fat will provide nourishment and insulation during winter, when bears enter a deep sleep-like state called torpor, usually lasting until April.  


In preparation for this period of inactivity, bears eat a wide variety of food including grasses and forbs, berries, insects, fish, frogs, and carrion. Missouri’s fall acorn crop also provides an important food source. 


Bears can be attracted to human foods and may visit campsites, garbage disposal locations and bird feeders.  


As leaves begin to change and cooler temperatures return, Missouri’s woods can be a great place to discover nature, but remember to be bear aware


Learn more about how to stay safe in bear country at, and learn more about black bears with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s online field guide.


Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.