01 May 2009

One Dead Bear & A Blueberry Pie

It's okay, you can look, it's a paper bear. A very dead paper bear but a paper bear nonetheless. Doesn't s/he look ferocious? Yesterday was my annual bear safety/ shotgun training. At least mostly annual. I've given the bear training myself more times then I can count and I try not to fall asleep when someone else gives it but the afternoon shotgun session is always worth being outside for a sunny spring day. That despite my exceedingly bruised shoulder from the shotgun (but see that shot right through the heart - that's mine). Plus I got blueberry pie out of it.

Let me just say, for the record, that despite my many years in bear country and my many encounters only 1 of them ever involved a charge and I emptied a can of Bear Spray in that grizzly's face and it stopped. Granted, it stopped about 1 foot in front of me and my quivering fieldworker who I was holding down with my other hand (he thought he should run! Never, ever run from a bear!), but he stopped. For the most part I won't be taking a shotgun with me but relying on good old pepper spray (I have an old post on it here, if you want more details). There are two occasions I prefer to have a gun though: 1)when I'm working on a salmon stream - let's face it, this is pretty much a grizzly bear buffet and they may think that this little naked (relative to a bear) bear needs a lesson in who gets the best fishing holes and 2) when I'm working in an area where I know the bears are not only well adapted to humans but to their food (this is a particular problem in bear-baiting areas - don't get me started).

Here's some fun bear-human facts to entertain you:

-more people get killed by pet dogs then bears
-in Alaska, more people get killed by moose then bears
-bears have never attacked a group of 4 or more if those people stand as a group (cowering behind your partner doesn't count - you've got to stand shoulder to shoulder)
-bears are a lot like dogs in their body language
-bear bells mean absolutely nothing to bears since they never evolved with a sound similar. However, pick up a stick & snap it up in little pieces and they will hear it and take good heed.
-I'm way more scared of humans then bears (but this fact may be more about me then bears)

This picture is not mine - I don't know who to credit. I've been told it's of a local bear but there are a few tree species in the photo that make me suspicious of that. As you can tell though, bears will go to great length for food!

Do me a favor, if you live in bear country, take down your bird seed already! And don't put it up again until it looks like winter!


  1. That's a hilarious picture, but I'm bot sure I'd want one in my back yard. Unless you were thre with your bear (or was it pepper?) spray of course.

  2. My husband is an avid outdoorsman and know all about how well bear spray can work. Although, he does take either his shotgun or bow with him!

  3. Wow! Living with bears must be exciting but nervewracking.

  4. I have a friend who has 'survived bear attack' on his cv. It sounds like you could have a whole section!

  5. oooh, bears and break-ups. you have such cool things on your end of the world.

  6. Wow, I'm taking you and your gun and/or pepper spray with me next time I venture into bear country!

  7. Wow, you lead an exciting life over there! Nice blog.

  8. Good on ya for relying on pepper spray instead of the 12 gauge. As you say, it IS as or more effective. Most times. We hope.

  9. @ HG,I've had them in my backyard and I'm not so keen when they peer in the front door but mostly because it makes the dog wild and I can't sleep.

    @ SeekingSolace, yeah, bear spray is fabulous - and it's light!

    @ parlance, not really nerve wracking but maybe it's just because I'm used to it.

    @ Albatross, really? On his CV? It never occured to me...maybe I should start a section of "Animal Attacks I've surrvived".

    @ Hel, indeed, but you have cool things too. Maybe we can share someday.

    @ Cath, it's a deal!

    @ AliceAcademic, welcome! Glad you enjoyed it!

    @ EcoRover, the few times it's not effective it may be that nothing is...


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