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Few woolly bears bagged this year

November 18, 1997

Few woolly bears bagged this year

Even with a two-week extension, the number of entries for the annual Woolly Bear Contest was far below last year's record number, said contest judge Frank Leiter.

The contest, sponsored by the Hagers-town Town and Country Almanack, had only 120 entries this year compared to more than 1,000 last year, said Leiter, who has judged the contest throughout its 15-year history.

Entries are usually due by Oct. 31, he said.

But because woolly bears have been scarce this year and so few of the furry creatures had been entered at that point, organizers decided to extend the deadline to Nov. 14, Leiter said.

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"Because of the change in the weather, maybe El Nino, they're just not coming out," he said.

Age-old folklore holds that the caterpillar's markings can predict the coming winter's weather.

The markings on this year's batch of woolly bears predict the winter will start out a little colder than average then end up much milder than normal, Leiter said.

The woolly bear was right on the mark last year in predicting mild weather throughout the winter, he said.

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