Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bear Proof?

Photo courtesy of Sooper Outdoorsy Guy and Hunter, Chris Kennedy.

So....I'm working at the local hub the other day. I'm pushing buttons on the new fuel console, refusing to let the kiddo pig out on whatever processed junk food she asks about, and letting my mind wander to sunny beaches and non-alcoholic beer. Just as I am headed to the truck so I can drive home to tackle mile long list of chores, my EMS radio screeches. It was the Sheriff's Office channel and dispatch was asking a deputy to report to a home in a nearby subdivision. According to the radio traffic a bear had entered a house. The residents of the home had made a safe exit but the bear remained and was doing what I assume any bear would do inside a house. He was tearing things up! I didn't listen to much more, I was distracted by that darn chore list. This morning I saw a friend's post on Facebook about a bear that entered her yard overnight and it flipped on the highlight reel of our past bear adventures on the ranch.

My Friend Chris and his recent trophy paw.

Crystal's 11 year old daughter Taylor and a Big Ole Paw.

I'm not retelling the "naked bear dog story", you will have to dig through the archives to read that one. To be honest, we had a boring bear season last year, compared to some others. We did have one steal the trash off the porch 30 seconds after I had cleaned it up. I arrived home to find the trash can and it's contents spread out on the deck. I, for some unknown reason blamed it on the ranch cats. Shelly and I re-bagged the refuse and put it back in the can. I went inside to get my Big Dog Bertha so that she may have some private potty time before bed and upon my exit from the house I noticed the the trash can was midway down the driveway and newly bagged trash was gone. We found scattered trash the next morning under a tree about 50 feet from the door. Not a sound was made, not one of our dogs growled or became alarmed. It was a very silent bear.

Footprints found in the driveway a couple of years ago.

When Jolene and I first moved to the mountain, Jolene was scared to death of bear stories. As we were driving home from Pueblo one evening, she starting asking questions about the furry beasts. I was using my "Super Hero Mother Instincts" and could tell she was alarmed and overly worried. I tried to comfort her and told her that even though they existed in our area we probably would never see one. (I really believed we wouldn't see them, just their aftermath.) Just as I'm telling her not fret, this fuzzy cinnamon colored bear crosses our tracks in the driveway. Shelly and I spent the next four hours in the sheep pen waiting for it to make it's way down a tree and retreat from the pasture. That poor bear met it's end a couple of weeks later when it killed one of our lambs.

My Friend Crystal's husband Don and the bear that surprised them in Caribou hunting camp.

Since then we've trapped 5 in Dept of Wildlife traps, had two more hunted and killed, and one jumped and scared away by some awesome "bear dogs" that belonged to a fellow from Trinidad. I know that the best bait a person can put in a bear trap is Duncan Hines Cream Cheese Frosting. (I hate cream cheese frosting.) We had a very large boar dump over our 4 yard dumpster on more than one occasion. I lost about forty chickens several years ago when a hungry one fell through the top of my chicken coop. We've had two hogs lost, pulled under a fence and fed to a mama bear and two cubs. Bears are a part of our lives here but after hearing the call on my radio the other day, I'm thankful that I don't have a story about one entering my home or my car.

***I'm also counting myself fortunate enough that I DON'T have any pictures of real live bears. With the exception of the footprint pictures all the others in the blog today are from friends, Chris Kennedy and Crystal Roberts.***

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