A wildlife biologist in Great Smoky Mountains National Park recently discovered a sow black bear and three of her cubs denning 50 feet off the ground inside the hollowed out cavity of an old growth buckeye tree. Ryan Williamson was able to locate the mother bear and her cubs via signals transmitted by her radio collar. When the radio signals led him to the base of the large buckeye he surmised that the mother bear and her cubs must be denning in the cavity, which is visible from the ground. But Williamson didn’t stop there. He then used an ascender to climb the tree and get a glimpse of the bears for himself. Luckily the encounter was documented by Williamson’s helmet-mounted GoPro, providing a rare glimpse into the lives of hibernating black bears. See for yourself below.

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