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...and I bearly survived

Last Sunday, I spent Easter dinner with my friend Candy and her family in Maine. Now, I've often remarked about growing up in the hicks, but if truth be told, I grew up in a small town that would almost qualify as a suburb, if there was an urb around to sub to. Candy, though, is very rural. She lives in a very mountainous area, and her development borders on woods. Real woodsy.

How woodsy?

Well, on Sunday afternoon, as I was leaving, we heard someone off in the distance firing off an automatic weapon -- and while I started looking around nervously, she and her kids just shrugged it off. And yesterday morning. one of her neighbors felt like having some chicken. The neighbor didn't bother with The Colonel or Barber's or Tyson, though. He went straight for Candy's coop, and two whole chickens ended up as a bear's midnight snack.

That's right. A bear. A bear ambled right up to the back of her house, ripped up her chicken coop, and helped itself to two of her chickens.

I was a smidgen skeptical, so she sent proof.

Here's a couple of photos of what's left of her coop. Note her kids' swingset in the background of the second photo. Here's what's left of one of the chickens, and here's where the culprit left his autograph.

They know it's a bear because her husband heard the commotion and went out to see what was going on -- and, somehow, didn't get mauled. I'm not sure she's done yelling at him yet.

Last night she said she was going to wait up and see if the bear comes back again. And she's got her shotgun to keep her company. She says she'll only use it to frighten it off, and I'm not sure if that makes her brave, kind, or just stupid.

And this happened not even 72 hours after I was there.

Candy, the next time I come over, mind if I bring a shotgun of my own? And a tank? And a company of Marines?


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Comments (18)

Wanted: Two laying hens. Mu... (Below threshold)
"Candy":

Wanted: Two laying hens. Must be hand-raised and love to snuggle. Coop now protected by ADT. Roomates have Group Therapy every Wednesday afternoon - new hens welcome to join.

Black bears aren't that dan... (Below threshold)
Jordan:

Black bears aren't that dangerous if you don't try to stop them. My dad and I were at the 24 hours of Canaan. During the night I was out talking to the bike mechanic and a black bear just ambled up to the porch not 10 ft. away from us, grabbed the garbage bag then went right back down the porch steps without giving us a single glance. Suffice to say the damned mechanic wouldn't go back out on the porch and all of the equipment had to be brought inside.

I guess I forgot to mention... (Below threshold)
"Candy":

I guess I forgot to mention to Jay Tea that this guy actually crouched behind the coop, trying to hide from my husband like a kid who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Sounded like a herd of elephants when he decided to bolt.

Black Bears are almost b... (Below threshold)
virgo:

Black Bears are almost blind and rely on a very keen sense of smell, they also can climb trees very well and they love garbage and will certainly return to the same spot as long as the food is there.

My parents have a house in ... (Below threshold)

My parents have a house in Ruidoso New Mexico and periodically the bears will pass through raiding all the hummingbird feeders of the sugar water inside. They climb the stairs drop over from trees and all sorts of things you'd think they wouldn't do.

The city has controlled the garbage problem by installing dumpsters that you need a step ladder to use.

Bears are dangerous -- but ... (Below threshold)

Bears are dangerous -- but they also know that humans are dangerous in turn. If they aren't surprised and don't feel cornered black bears will generally flee rather than attack.

Grizzlies are another story, and with a polar bear all bets are off.

My mother and I were at her... (Below threshold)

My mother and I were at her cousin's cabin last summer. The cabin had no indoor plumbing (like all good cabins). Mom was cooking steaks over the fire while her cousin walked to the outhouse. Her hand was on the door when she looked up into the eyes of a big black bear. She stood there staring for about three seconds before she flung open the door and hid in the privy. She said she could hear the bear sniffing around. I guess my mother went to the vehicle (right by the outhouse) and scared the bear off without even seeing it.

We tracked the bear for a ways after her cousin calmed down. It was a big'un. Left a nice trail in the woods, too. From what I hear it still shows up every now and then. Of course, both my mother and her cousin always go there packing pistols, so I don't really worry about it.

Yeah, grizzlies differ from... (Below threshold)
BrianOfAtlanta:

Yeah, grizzlies differ from black bears in several life threatening ways, one being their thick skulls. My dad, a ranger in Glacier National Park at the time, found that out when a grizzly charged him in a campground. He emptied his .45 automatic into its skull. The 7th, and last, bullet penetrated and the bear dropped about 5 feet in front of him. After that experience, he said he would always go for the legs on a grizzly. Fortunately, he never had an opportunity to find out if that strategy would have worked better.

Hen-eating black bears? Hmm... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Hen-eating black bears? Hmm, now that's a hungry bear. Not much green foilage in the pics, so that may explain part of the desparate nature of the bear's hunger. And no doubt the bear will return if food/garbage is present.

Any number of things will get the bear to skeedaddle the next time it comes around:
1.) Firing the shotgun into the air.
2.) Bear spray. I carry it and have used it (just once, fortunately) on my backpacking trips.
3.) Banging pots and pans and screaming like banshees. Dorky, but it works.
4.) Firecrackers. If you have 'em. Watch for dry brush, of course.

But if the bear keeps coming around, call your local ranger station and tell them you have a "problem bear" that's being rather fearless (especially with kids around) and they'll be out with the bear trap, pronto.

Just some friendly outdoors advice from someone who works for a widely known and national outdoors company.

I have to say that the game... (Below threshold)
"Candy":

I have to say that the game wardens came out right away and said that they think he might have been moving to his summer residence - it seems that they come down off the mountain and head to the lakes region, and who can blame them? However, if he comes back, they are going to set a live trap to catch and move him.

Good news to hear that the ... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Good news to hear that the wardens responded quickly! Hopefully the bear is just passing through. Helluva way to just pass through, though.

Up north here in Washington state, we have a little problem with our Canadian friends dumping off their problem grizzlies (aka: brown bears) near our border. Several hiking buddies have reported seeing a grizz or two in Oknagan and Mt. Baker wilderness areas, but with no encounters, fortunately.

Hey, Peter F. - I like the ... (Below threshold)
"Candy":

Hey, Peter F. - I like the looks of that jumbo bear deterrent spray - looks more effective than mace in a dark alley, too! (Sorry, Officer - I meant to hit him with my mace, but I grabbed the Counter Attack Bear Detterent in error.)

I live in a nicely wooded a... (Below threshold)
JohnW:

I live in a nicely wooded area in central CT, and, since I have a forest/watershed area in my backyard, also enjoy the occasional bear in my yard. Coyotes, Turkeys, raccoons, possums, Skunks, and Bobcats too! It's not "the country" -- I'm only 10 minutes from Hartford!

Must say we put out kibble for the 'coons & possums... but last year, the bear tore our finch-feeder off the house. Caught sight of the wife (before she combed her hair) & lit out of here as if on fire... :)

have digital pics of said bear, but alas, can't attach! :)

LOL. That was hilarious, Ca... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

LOL. That was hilarious, Candy!

My favorite part is the disclaimer: Use with extreme caution--if not used properly, it can disable the user, rather than the attacker

D'oh!

Worse than that, Peter - I ... (Below threshold)
"Candy":

Worse than that, Peter - I once had a pepper spray that had a warning asking the user not to overuse on the victim, possibly causing unnecessary suffering. I read and reread that, trying to decipher it. Isn't that the POINT? Open it up with both barrels until your assailant is helpless so you can get away? (Sorry again, Officer - I tried to release the button, but.... um.... it jammed :)"

LMAO! That may take the cak... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

LMAO! That may take the cake for the best disclaimer of all time!
Thanks for the laugh, it made my day!

I'm sure it's just me here ... (Below threshold)
"Candy":

I'm sure it's just me here at this point - I can hear crickets in the distance - but wanted to update the story. It looks my bear or a bear with a strikingly similar M.O. has gone to the house of a chicken farmer we know (we got our original chickens from him) and killed 18 chickens yesterday in broad daylight. He didn't eat any of them.

If you're ever approached b... (Below threshold)
Bemused:

If you're ever approached by a peckish grizzly bear, and you're holding a shotgun, if the shotgun doesn't scare it away, you'd better run like hell. Buckshot will make it angry, and you might get lucky with a solid slug, but their skulls are thick as bricks and likely would not kill it, at least not until awhile after it's had its lunch.

Did anyone hear about that grizzly-polar hybrid some American hunter shot up in the Arctic? He had a permit to kill a polar bear, but the rangers were going to arrest him because they thought it was more of a grizzly. Smarter heads prevailed and he got to keep his pelt, ugly though it was.




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