The Resident Bear Facts

I’ve known for years that I have bears wandering through if not actually living on my property.  Once a young black bear veered off toward my place after loping down the road beside my car for a while as I was driving home from the dump. Other times, I watched them destroy bird feeders less than 15’ from the front and back doors of my house, effectively ending my bird-feeding days.

And I’ve felt them watching me from the woods above the house. At first that used to bother me, but more because I had no idea what the source of that feeling was. But then when I learned that bears really do stand up on their hind legs like Yogi Bear so they can scope out their surroundings, I felt much better. Safer even.

Last Friday I returned after being gone most of the week and discovered that part of the lawn immediately in front of the house and a lot more of it on the other side of my garden shed was filled with divots. My immediate response was that a skunk was the culprit. But given the size of the holes, it seemed like it must have been an awfully big skunk. Then I noticed the bear scat and realized that somehow a bear had figured out that it was safe to look for grubs and whatever other edibles might be around that close to the house.

Because this had never happened before, I had to wonder why it did now. One possibility was that the mild winter caused some males not to  hibernate and that reduced the overall food supply. As a result, perhaps the bears were be being forced to consider feeding locations and foodstuffs they would have ignored in the past. Another possibility was that, for the first time, I was gone for extended periods within a short interval of time. Was it possible that this interval was short enough that a bear was able to make the connection between certain human, canine, and feline changes in behavior and our subsequent absence for several days?

I have no idea. All I know is that there’s little doubt in my mind that the bear or bears around here know more about me than I know about them. And if he, she, or they had a great time digging up  delicacies in my lawn well, I don’t begrudge them the meal.

The other nice thing about living where I do is that I can look at my lawn with its paw-divots obviously replaced by an amateur and not worry about it being a blight on the neighborhood. Quite the contrary, it fits right in.