Some time back I wrote a post about dealing with black bears at the cottage. I am not going to repost it, it’s in the list of articles on the left, or you can find it Here
If your camp or cottage is in black bear country, which is most of North America, it’s a good idea to be a little bit familar with these magnificant animals, and aware of what you can do should you encounter one.
Spring is often the time of year when black bears are seen the most. They are out of hibernation and hungry, roaming around for whatever kind of food they can find. Secondly, young bears are usually run off by their mother at this time of year once she has new cubs to deal with. So there are bears around a year old roaming around trying to find their way in life so to speak. These are often the ones that turn up around people because they haven’t had much experience in that regard.
Black bears can be dangerous, like any other wild animal, so it is always good advice to say don’t get too close and don’t feed them…you weren’t planning to get close and feed a bear were you? Remember, a bear can charge at over 55 kilometers per hour, that’s 35 miles an hour, or 50 feet per second, I doubt you can run any faster, well, unless of course a bear is chasing you. Just remember what my old fishing buddy used to say about black bears, “I don’t have to run faster than a bear, I just have to run faster than you….”
Now don’t get me wrong, a black bear sighting will be a momentus occasion for the average cottager. Unless you are really deep in bear country, you won’t see a black bear every day. I was thinking this morning as I contemplated this post, counting how many I could remember encountering in my life. I can remember five occasions, going back to the first one around 1975. That’s not many considering I have spent the last 35 years fishing and hunting in places where bears there are bears. Of course I have no idea how many bears saw me and went the other way. I wonder if they ever sit down and count how many humans they have seen….I’m not talking about going to the town garbage site and watching bears, I am talking about walking along the bank of a river and encountering a big black bear walking along the same bank…or meeting a mother and two cubs on another occasion who saw me and stood up on her hind legs…that was impressive, damm scary but impressive….she eventually dropped to all fours and led her cubs in the other direction. I did the same.
What I did figure out though, was that all of my five bear encounters, happened in June and July, and as this is the 8th of June, this is probably timely. If you’re in the woods at your camp or cottage, there is no need to live in fear, just be aware, follow the tips in my earlier post and cherish any opportunity you get to see a black bear….grizzly bears are another story….
Around the camp, it might be a good idea to have a can of Bear Defense Spray although unless you are really deep in bear country you probably won’t need it. Bear spray can also be tricky to use, depending on wind conditions and how scared you are….another option, one that I think is a good idea is a Marine Air Horn a quick blast of a loud horn might be all it takes to send Mr Bear running in the other direction.
Provided you are careful, black bears should never pose a danger to you or your family, and there is no need to worry about them. I think a little bit of “bear awareness” is the best bet.
After this post, one of my favorites, Shelley from Building a Log Cabin left a comment that you may not notice unless you read the comments, but it is such an important note, I had to bring it forward. If you have bird feeders close to your cottage, bring them in at night, unless you want to wake up and find a bear on your doorstep. Bird seed and suet are food in the eyes of bears as well as birds, and they will come to it. You don’t want that….so as Shelley says, bring it in at night, otherwise keep your feeders a good distance from the cottage. Of course the same goes for garbage, it should never be left outside.
Thanks Shelley, I appreciate the tip.
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