Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Da Bears

My darling wife has a fear of bears. I mean the kind of fear that causes nightmares or as the case may be, nightbears. It comes from a close encounter with a bear she had in North Carolina as a child. She's never actually seen a bear in the wild but once when she and her sister walked down to the river where she was told not to go, but of course did, she, her sister, and the accompanying dogs heard the bear. Ever since, bears, or even the mention of bears cause quivers and a wide eyed "deer in the headlights" expression.

So when we decided to move to these mountains one of the first questions was, are there bears? "Well, maybe", was my rather nonchalant reply.

On one of the trips here before we moved we were visiting the birthplace of Booker T. Washington. As we walked the trail on the farm she suddenly gave the shout I've heard often. "BEAR!" She ran, I didn't since I saw the cattle calmly grazing away on the hill and realizing that if there were indeed a "BEAR" the bovines would be rapidly moving on. Now fear was replaced by anger at my seeming calm over a potentially disastrous encounter. It was only when I pointed out the black bull now staring at us that the fear and anger turned to a sheepish grin.

OK, so we moved here and guess what? That's right, exactly one week after the U-Haul was returned the neighbor came over and and asked, "Did you see the BEAR last night?". Well, no, but we did hear the dogs go crazy. It seems Mr. Black Bear had walked up the road and into the woods behind our house. It may have even waved as it went by.

Now lets fast forward to several days ago when on coming back from taking the dogs for a walk Wanda said to me, "there were some very large tracks on the trail down to the creek and then on the gravel road". Then came the obvious question, "do you think it was a BEAR?" Now I do everything to discourage the notion there is a BEAR in the neighborhood so I tried to play it off with a "probably not".

So the other night we're talking to the new neighbors from Florida when we hear what sounds like a barking dog. Then the other neighbor pulls up in her SUV and says those dreaded words, "Did you see the BEAR?"
She said she looked out her window and saw what appeared to be a large man in a black coat crawling up the road and the she realized that doesn't happen around here but BEARS do. My wife instantly assumed the "deer in the headlight" appearance and suggested we move our conversation from the road to the deck. We did that with haste. The barking sound we heard was our other neighbor attempting to move the BEAR along which it did, again through the woods behind our house.

That night everyone concerned had every outside light on...all night. Further BEAR sightings will be reported.


Blogger Hick said...

I've never been afraid of bears but I have a healthy respect for them.

We don't have a real problem with them around here (we have more of a problem with cougars), but at Lake Tahoe they are a real nuisance because the tourists either feed them or leave their trash all over the place. Lately they have been breaking into people's homes for the food...that's a problem.

Jazz the Wonder dog chased one up a tree in front of our cabin last year...that kind of freaked me out because I was afraid Jazz would get hurt. I dragged her back in the house and the bear moved on.

8:43 AM  
Blogger threecollie said...

Nothing like meeting Mr. Bear when you are on horseback. They seem to feel the same way about bears as does your darling wife.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Ally Bean said...

will outside lights keep bears away? do they fear light?

the racoons and deer around here could care less about lights. they just kind of look at you with a "whatever" attitude when we turn on the lights.

2:32 PM  
Blogger itsboopchile said...

I have the same question. Will lights keep the bear away?
Lights don't keep the deer away and bear have been know to get up to a window and look in, even here in town. So what good are the lights?
All this talk makes me want a dog even more.

Betty G

8:50 PM  
Blogger John Cowart said...

In my neighborhood if it appears to be a large man in a black coat crawling up the road -- it is.

1:16 AM  
Blogger The MacBean Gene said...

I'm with you, Hick. The bear population here doesn't seem to be affected by people feeding them. We really don't see them that often.

We arn't involved with horses (yet) but we know people who are and I'm sure local horses would feel same as Wanda and yours.

Ally and Boop, bears probably don't give a hoot (or a growl) about lights. I think it's just a comfort thing like knowing if the sound heard is a bear or deer or racoon.

And John, that's funny except if one lives in the city.

4:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bear will avoid people if it has a good supply of non-human food. If you have a farm AND a bear problem, then you can get one or two of these:

For community dwellers in bear country, you may want some bear-proof trash cans. Otherwise, the bear will probably get shot after it becomes conditioned to human food.

Tell the wife that she's more likely to get shot, hit by lightning, or fall off of a bike than get attacked by a bear.

7:25 AM  

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