Friday Jun 22, 2007

Our First Black Bear

Until this morning, I did not know how one should behave should one encounter a Black Bear.   It wasn't something I felt I would need to know, nor something I had even wondered about.   That was until this morning...

....At 2:45 am, one of our property alarms kicked off.   Waking but quite groggy, I debated whether to investigate.   It was probably just a coyote, some deer, or maybe a porcupine wandering past.   But soon after, the dog started growling.   Something was up.

Rolling out of bed, I went to a window to investigate.   There, only a few yards from the house, was a Black Bear.   It was very black against the lawn, dimly lit only by a distant street light, and looked big & round.   It moved slowly, but with ease and suppleness, across the lawn, over the stone wall, and out into the southeast pasture.

I was glad I did not go OUTSIDE to investigate this time.   Armed or not, I would not have wanted to come face to face with this hefty animal.   But had I, would I have known what to do?   Not really.   So, I read up on it....

The following is straight from the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department FAQ about Black Bears.


What should I do if I encounter a bear?

If you see a bear, keep your distance.   Make it aware of your presence by clapping, talking, singing or making other sounds.   If you get too close to a bear, it may slap the ground, huff, blow and chomp its teeth or rush you (this is referred to as "bluff charge") in an attempt to get you to move a more comfortable distance away.   If this occurs, maintain eye contact with the bear, speak in a soft, calm voice and slowly back away from the bear.   These actions will help appease the bear and show that you are not weak, but, at the same time, not a threat to the bear.   Do not run, avert your eyes or turn your back to the bear.   The bear may perceive weakness and enforce dominance.   The bear's bluff charge and chomping of teeth are a defense mechanism to establish the bear's dominance in an encounter with humans or a more dominant animal in the wild.   Bears can outrun, out-swim and out-climb you.   If you are attacked by a black bear, you should fight back rather than "play dead."


Aside from making noise, this advice is all completely new news to me!   So much for looking away, turning away, running away, and playing dead if he catches up with me!

I had been contemplating camping out on the front lawn later this summer, especially during the meteor showers.   Now, I'm not so sure....   Not unless I have a bazooka by my side.

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Kimberley

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