This was the last time Smokey was handled by human hands. It occurred at about 12:35pm, Thursday, February 5, 2009. All three of the California F&G personnel carried Smokey with a litter from his travel crate to his den, about 15 feet away.
Once he was placed in front of the den, they lifted him (remember, he is about 100 pounds) from the litter and placed him into the the prepared den with pine boughs and straw. All of this took about 3 minutes, to make sure that his head was facing in the proper direction and that he was able to breathe without interference. Once in the den, then the log boards were placed in front of the den, to protect him. None of them were that heavy and Smokey would have been able to easily move them to get out again. My feeling is that this was an excellent release site.