We have bears.
Most of you already knew that from our many posts on social media. I would say you know you are well-known for bear activity when your friends are tagging you in cute videos of bears around the world doing interesting things like soaking in hot tubs or planning meals while seated at a campsite picnic table. I hate to admit, but our bears are not quite that sophisticated.
Many of our friends want to come to our house to see the bears. But it doesn’t work that way. The bears determine their schedule and availability. I assume they have other homeowners to entertain besides us.
This “season” started out with frequent activity in May. We had an adolescent making several appearances including the morning he ate one of our yard cameras. (I promise there is not one piece of plastic to be found and the last image was of his molars.) But then it just stopped. (Bad indigestion?!) Throughout June and July there seemed to be more sightings on Main Street in Travelers Rest than there were in our rural part of the county.
Finally, this past Friday a single bear returned. I was pointing out a very cute baby bunny rabbit to Jenni. It was testing its newfound freedom on our driveway. Annie, our chihuahua, thought it looked like a threat so she growled a little. Then mother cottontail came racing across the yard and sprinted up the driveway. Annie growled a little louder and we shushed her. But then she REALLY started growling. We laughed it off until we turned in the direction she was facing and saw the black bear coming up the trail. At that point it’s all hands on deck, trying to get Annie in a room without windows while pulling out the big camera, all before the bear hears what is going on.
It didn’t work. Mr. Bear could hear the yipping and yapping so he moved behind the garden, tested a couple gourds growing on the fence, and disappeared into the woods. Sometimes you won’t see the bear again for another couple weeks after a visit. But not this guy. Our driveway camera caught him sniffing Wanda, the van, early Sunday morning. Thankfully we had removed any food after using Wanda the day before. Surely he’ll move on to more satisfying food sources now.
And then came Monday.
I had not had more than one sip of my morning coffee in the sunroom when Jenni spotted a bear coming up the trail. But this was different. This was a mama bear with one cub. Both were very wary. The cub would stand on its hind legs and look around. We were in luck that Annie was already working on a nap at that time of the day so she had not seen them yet. We carried her out of the room and got to enjoy the mother and cub for a few minutes. I imagine she had more cubs starting out and was down to one so she was being extra cautious.
After waiting awhile, Jenni put me on guard duty while she went to the garden to harvest a few overgrown cucumbers and some peppers. Just as she got back to the house she heard something in the woods “larger than a squirrel”. Less than 30 seconds later the single bear came from the side woods and walked right behind the garden fence where Jenni had been three minutes earlier. He seemed to be on the same path as the mother and cub. I assure you we have great respect for these animals and give them plenty of space; I’m more worried for that little bear cub now than I am for us.
Maybe they have all moved on to the neighbors’ bird feeders and bee hives by this time. But don’t worry. They will be back.