A Bear Story

Often on my blog, I talk about seasons. Not just the usual four, mind you. I've mentioned the fifth one in these parts, known as mud season. I have probably talked too much about firewood season. I know, of course, that these are not seasons by the true definition, but it is an easy way to mark things that are regular events that tend to occur at roughly the same time each year. Something that can happen at this time is that the bears can become a nuisance while they search for early-season food. Berries are not yet ripe, and there are only so many grubs a large bruin can find and consume. Though we have only had one weekend so far that a bear has been around, we are always cognizant of them, and try to act accordingly. No leaving coolers outside, and garbage needs to be safely stowed in the shed. Last year about this time, we had a young bear who totally ignored the bear rules, that call for staying away from people, and here is his story:

We knew that a rogue bear had been hanging around. I had seen it walk through our property one evening about nine p.m. I grabbed my camera and went out to follow it. It walked nonchalantly to the bread oven, sauntered over towards the garbage shed, and then began to make its way up the path to where Moses lived. I followed about twenty-some paces behind, ready with my camera. The bear knew that I was back there, because at one point, he turned around and looked at me. His pace remained the same, though, so I figured he was too young to be scared.

As he headed up the path towards the donkey yard, I said out loud, "You really don't want to go up there." I was remembering the treatment of a different little bear, the year before, who inadvertently found himself in the pasture. I heard that commotion, and got up there in time to see Moses and Jethro chasing the poor little thing, full bore, as the black ball of fur kept hurtling itself at the fence. It finally made it over, and then just sat stunned and dazed for a moment. I'd feel that way, too, I'm sure with two large donkeys in pursuit of me.

Thus, I felt it best to warn the current little guy of the danger. He must have taken me seriously, because a moment later, he found a good spot to divert off the trail, and chose to climb the nearest tree. It happened to be a dead cedar with just a few broken branches left. Still, it offered protection. I snapped a few photos, and then continued on up the hill to check on Moses.

Sure enough, Moses knew that someone new was in the neighborhood, and he wasn't happy. He stood at full attention by the gate, ears pointing high to catch every last sound wave. Donkeys have an advantage like that. I went in to the pasture, and talked softly to him. While doing so, I could hear the bear climbing down from its perch, and so Moses and I got a fresh glimpse of him as he made his way up into the hills behind our sign. That was the last we saw of him that night, but not for long. (Stay tuned....More tomorrow.)