Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ursus americanus.

Well, after three years of living in a rather rural area of southern Vancouver Island we saw our first Black Bear. We've heard the stories of Black Bears and Cougars, from friends and neighbours, but have not had the 'pleasure' of seeing one in person.

That changed at 5:20pm today.

We were coming home from an afternoon meeting in town on what turned out to be a stupendous Fall day - gorgeous sunshine and cool Fall temps. We were driving up the private road to our house and as we were coming to the top of a rise in the road there he/she/it was, right in the middle of the road about 50 feet from our driveway. At first I thought it was the dog that the neighbour kid up the hill walks all the time. I quickly analyzed what I was seeing - nope, no tail and no brown fur, not the dog from up the hill - and just as my mind deduced that it was a bear I heard an exclamation from the driver - "WOW! That's a BEAR!". At that instant, as the car braked, the beast spun around, took a look at the approaching metal giant and bolted off road into the forest. In five seconds the encounter was over and we proceeded to our gate, which I opened quickly and closed even faster after the car passed through.

Suffice it to say that I have been instructed that the dog no longer goes out at night with just one of us in tow, the flashlights have all had new batteries installed and the can of Bear Spray has been resurrected from it's resting place beneath the kitchen sink to a post more readily accessible to all.

My thoughts? Well, we know there is a bear in the area, from the sightings we have heard about. Our lot has 1+ acres fenced and gated. There is no food supply within the yard, that I know of. No, I don't think it will plow through the fence and break into the greenhouse to snarf up what remains of the tomatoes and peppers. Perhaps it would have a fondness for the Dahlia about to bloom in the greenhouse? I doubt it. There is still plenty of food outside our yard for it to fatten up on, namely the blackberries that still litter the wild 6ft+ high bushes all over the dang place. So, I'm thinking the thing has been around for a while and not bothered us at all, it's just that now we have a face to put with the stories and it is a bit unsettling. Especially when we stand out on the front porch, in the dark, and listen carefully to the crunching sound moving from one side of the upper yard to the other, outside the fence. Sounds way bigger than a rabbit or raccoon.

(the picture above is a generic photo, not of the actual encounter)

1 comment:

oreneta said...

It's amazing how big a squirrel can sound if it's dark enough....

Be careful my friend!