Bears – 1, Humans – 0

When we first moved into our house we had a huge boar bear stop by in the fall to eat apples. He was huge. Like 500 pounds big, I swear. He was around my height when he sat down, and I’m 5’8″. He minded his own business though, kept to the trees near the far end of the property, and never over stayed his welcome, so we all got along nicely.

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This year though, this year we have a new bear. At first I thought it was a young male because it was quite bold, slower to scare away but still fairly cautious, and maybe 100 pounds. The bear showed up just when the apples reached their peak ripeness. I gave it a day, but then decided to chase the bear away on day two so I could collect as many as possible. The bear retreated to a large spruce (the same one I collected tips from for this recipe) and I felt pretty okay under the apple tree, a giant mixing bowl in one arm as I shuffled around in a half crab walk grabbing apples while always keeping my face to the bear. Even from across the property I could hear it exhale, a long haaoomph! noise. I wasn’t too worried though because it was well up in tree and wasn’t making and moves to climb down. Then I heard the plop, plop, plop of something falling from the tree above me and looked up to find something furry taking a crap.

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I don’t know why my first thought was that it was a racoon, and the bear must have had it treed there. I think it was because I was thinking of the bear as male. It didn’t take my brain very long to tick out that the fur was much too dark for a racoon, and that it was, in fact, a bear cub. Two cubs, actually.

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Crap. Suddenly the huffing from the spruce was less funny. I crab – shuffled backwards to the house with my bowl of apples, grabbing a few more along the way, locked the door, and grabbed my camera. All I have is terrible photos taken through the kitchen window, but they’re all you get because I used up all my luck not getting crapped on by a bear cub and I’m not shuffling out there again to test my luck a second time.

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She’s given me a new view of the women that like to tell everyone that they’re a mamma bear and you’d better not mess with their cubs. They’ve damaged every tree on the property in some way, crapped everywhere, and just been a horrible nuisance. They’ve scared away the hundreds of crows that normally use our yard as a stopping point before migrating. I look forward to the yearly crow gathering. I like bears, but no one wants her or her trashy children here anymore.

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At first our new neighbours were very excited to see the bears, and they hadn’t been any trouble so far (the bears or the neighbours) so we decided to leave the them alone. I figured that, like the boar we had before, the sow and cubs would graze on the apples and move on. Well they polished off our apple tree then moved on to the neighbour’s walnut tree. Suddenly what was cute in our yard wasn’t so cute anymore. It took one day for the bear bangers to come out. In their defense though, the sow had apparently hissed and swiped at them.

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I’m starting to think bears telepathically know when you’re about to phone the conservation officer, because literally on the day I was going to phone they stopped coming. Victory! Or… So I thought. I woke up at 4:50 AM to Suki staring out the window growling, and I couldn’t calm her down. It was too dark to see clearly but I’m fairly sure I could make out one large dark blob with at least one smaller dark blob. So I guess they’re still here, just when we’re not awake to chase them.

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But at least I have terrible quality photos to show for it, right? … Right? I guess I should start working on cleaning up all the broken branches in the yard.

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