Tuesday 5 June 2012


With the warm weather comes bears.
We live in prime bear country and there are certainly bears here.
Since moving into our house eight years ago, we have had bear incidents every season.
Some stories are fairly mundane, while others are exciting.

I don't want this blog to become a guns and ammo forum, but living in the country and keeping livestock demands a minimum level of wildlife control.
You don't often need to pull the trigger, but it is important to be able to do so if the need arises.

Many people tell us that the pigs are bringing them in, but we have had bears long before there were even chickens with us.
The garbage is the usual target and the number of times that trash has been strewn across the driveway has been too often to count.
I finally built a proper garbage box last year, but if they can't get into that, they may head for the chickens.

Kira's aunt and uncle lost several chickens to a bear last season.
It would go right into the coop, grab a snack and go.
Then it would keep coming back for more whenever it was hungry.
That bear found a new home in a freezer.

I have learned to put out a decoy to get the bear to come into the light where I can get a clean shot.
It also serves to keep them away from the chickens until I get myself ready.
If we totally cleaned up all traces of food and food waste in the yard, the bears would probably go straight for the chickens.
I can't let that happen.

We have a firearm suitable for large bears.
It's a short range affair, but it is proven.
Bears can be extra dangerous if the first round doesn't work, so it had better do it's job right away.
These rounds are extremely effective at short range.
I don't plan on getting too close though.

It is ironic that by preparing for bears, your fear of them is cultivated.

However, Kira wants me to be proactive and would like me to take steps to protect the home.
She interprets my lack of concern as the same attitude that killed the crocodile hunter years ago.
I am relaxed about bears because they are mostly predictable; if you scare the bear, it will run away.
There have been historical exceptions though, and I would hate to get famous for being stupid.

There has been bear sign this week.
Two large piles of bear poo, a track in the mud on the way to the pig enclosure,
and a sighting by a neighbor.
The bear is extra large and I was warned to watch for trouble.

Martin was here today with his family to see the ducklings.
He thought he saw something large lurking along the treeline, but he is hunting all of the time, even while we're having tea. I figured he was just seeing things.
I guess it may have been the bear.

We have been through these nights many times before.

Every noise stirs your attention and sleep is shallow.

It is a little exciting, but the novelty wears off when there has been damage done.

I am hoping for a quiet night.

But I am ready for a bear.


  1. Andrew, I will be sending out good thoughts for the safety of your home and your family. As a scrappy suburban kid with naive hopes for future homesteading, I must say the thought of possibly embarking on this type of task in the future is quite frightening. Please keep us updated!

    1. Thank-you for sending us positive energy.
      I must admit that as dangerous as bears can be, they are still wild animals that are far more threatened by us than we are of them.
      A black bear around here would never intentionally attack a human. There have been some incidents but normally it is because people run away from the bear. If you didn't know already, you must never run from a black bear. It's like throwing a ball for a dog; it triggers an impulsive instinct to chase.
      Of all the bears we have had in the yard, only one refused to leave when asked politely. He did move along, but stubbornly. He was just young and hadn't yet learned to fear humans.
      We have taken one bear for ourselves to eat, but I will only do that if the conditions are right.
      Humans have an instinctul fear of predators that likely goes back to when we were not in control of the food chain.
      Intellectually speaking, there are much greater dangers in the world than bears.
      Perhaps we conjure up the extra fear in order to justify acting savagely on our primal instincts.
      I hope to get some pictures if the bear is bold enough to come into the light.
      You can bet I'll post the story if something exciting happens.