It was late and I was in that deep stage of sleep where dreams elude you and noises don’t reach past the walls to your consciousness…unless you are a dog. Sascha has a bark that sounds like an injured wolf howling to the moon and she let it rip with terrifying volume at about 1.30 AM this morning. Heart galloping in my throat, I whispered to John, “Maybe it’s a bear? I thought I heard a growl”. Slapping the covers with my palm on my left, I realised he was already on his feet with his torch in hand chasing behind Sascha who could barely contain herself. Betty was half-heartedly punching out a couple of woofs while curled up lazily and comfortably by my feet, “Great guard dog Bean,” I said stroking her, “is that all you can manage?”
I swung out of bed and found John at the front window with the deck light on, shining the torch out across the dustbin lying in the driveway with a very neatly dissected rubbish bag splayed open in a tidy pile. The garbage collector comes Wednesday mornings and we had the trash from the steak and snow crab dinner party we had on Saturday evening in the can. Yum, said the black bear! We checked out of all windows and by this time all 3 dogs were in full voice, third refrain and ” chase the bear “chorus. We didn’t see that bear though! John wanted to go out through the laundry to the garage but I said it was best to let it be and go back to bed.
This morning at nearly 6 AM the dogs were frisky for their breakfast and the realisation dawned that we had to handle the situation in the yard before we could take care of the dogs. I went out with my camera to attempt to get some photographic evidence of the event and John went to feed the dogs. As I was wrapping up investigating the very neatly pushed down fencing by the back gate that leads into the forest, John came out and said “you’d better bring your camera in here!”
The bear had pushed open the garage door and gone through into the tool room of the house where a large bin of dog food stands and it had hauled it out and down the steps into the garage, where it had eaten at least half a binful before heading out, ostensibly, to the front of the house for the garbage can! I am so glad that I had locked the laundry door or it could have come into the main part of the house!
I was most miffed that I had been awoken at 1.30 and not even seen the bear. Now I find it had been in the back of the house, bloomin’ cheek of it. John said he felt violated, hahahahahaha, but I have to admit to only mild concern. Maybe there is something wrong with me. We looked around for evidence and John came up with one black bear hair (that we could keep intact) on the barbed wire on the fence. Do you know how difficult it is to photograph one hair? It was so dry that there were hardly any prints but I did find one where it exited the yard by the fence. It looked to be about 6 x 7 inches but I’m sure that the bear was jumping at the time so maybe it wasn’t quite that big really!
This black bear is definitely on the larger end of the scale, though. Our neighbours have all had incidents already and they got to see it. Jim said it’s the biggest he’s seen in the 35 years he’s lived here. This is our first encounter at this house. John saw a bear out on the trail last week that was huge so maybe that’s the one.
I’ll be shutting all the screen doors and locking every entrance from now on because it’s bound to try again for the dog food. We should be fine if it stays away during the day. If you don’t have to be a bit scared, black bears are actually pretty fabulous animals. Of course the black bear banners on here are not mine, as I didn’t see it yet — if you click on them you’ll go to www.bear.org
, the website of the North American Bear Center
, it’s a really wonderful site and you can find out anything you want about them.