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… and sometimes the bear gets you, as the saying goes. This is usually metaphorical, and intended to show that occasionally you’re lucky and, often, you are not.

In my case, it’s also literal.

Full disclosure: this is not my photo. I Googled.

Full disclosure: this is not my photo. I Googled.

One of the guys I gave permission to hunt* on my land during deer season last year photographed a female black bear with triplets. A female will give birth in hibernation, keep her cubs with her through the following 18 months and then kick them out of the nest to make it on their own. Or not.

This is the spring when the triplets will start making it on their own. It means I have to be vigilant about bringing in bird feeders at night and keeping a fully charged battery on the electric fence around the beehive. I didn’t get the feeders in fast enough the other night and a bear (had to be a young one, Mama Bear would have done serious damage) tried to pull one down, bending the heavy wire hanger and bending the steel bird feeder pole.

People think bear cubs are cute, and they are

Same caveat. Thank you, Mr. Google.

Same caveat. Thank you, Mr. Google.

but they should never be underestimated. They are tremendously strong. A bear coming out of hibernation in the Spring is driven by hunger, and will break into barns, cars, garages, houses in the search for any kind of food. They are determined, and there’s really not much you can do to prevent them from getting to your stuff when they want to.

Yeah, this isn't mine either.

Yeah, this isn’t mine either.

Living as I do on remote, wooded acreage in the mountains, deer and bear are not the only wildlife I have to take into account. Walking Fergus last night I was smart enough to look out the window before leaving the house, but we stepped out into a light fog of eau de Pepe le Peu (not a pet like the lucky one who gets to live in palatial splendor at KR Brorman’s house), and serenaded by a pack of coyotes somewhere in the woods nearby. I’ve spotted bobcats – large and small – and fox. Fergus most nights spooks at least one rabbit and wants to tear off into the dark after it. There are always possum and raccoons – and Pepe – hanging out around the unadorned bird feeder pole at night. Squirrels and chipmunks by day. And an array of birds, of course.

My esteemed colleague and friend, SA Young, has said more than once that she envisions me as Snow White when I have a particularly wild and wonderful day of encounters with the resident fauna.

Snow White never had to carry a Glock when she walked the dog.

Can you relate? Even city dwellers must deal with aggressive or nuisance critters. Sometimes of the two-legged variety. Probably not bears, though…

* Please, don’t judge. Where I live, the deer are way beyond a nuisance. They are destructive of property, carry Lyme disease-laden ticks, and the numbers are so huge that the competition for limited food sources can mean unhealthy herds. And I do mean herds.

Gratuitous photo of Fergus with his little sister, Sophie

Gratuitous photo of Fergus with his little sister, Sophie

 

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