September 09, 2005

Lions and tigers and mother bears, oh my

One of our neighbors, from the acreages just south of our farm, sped up our driveway after supper tonight. Especially because of the kids, he wanted to warn us about a mother black bear and cub he had just seen ambling around their property headed in our direction.

Right away, new rules, wide eyes, somber nodding heads:
  • No kids allowed the run of the farm or allowed unchaperoned on bikes to their friends at the acreages, especially not by way of the through-the-woods shortcut.
  • Stay by the house.
  • No more walking to the mailboxes for any of us; Laura and I went this afternoon, just a few hours before finding about our new furry neighbors (yikes).
  • If there's a bear in the yard, 1) do not get between her and the cub, 2) get into the truck (or garage) as quickly as possible if you're closer to the truck (or garage) than the house.
  • The garage door must stay closed at all times.
  • Oh, and if you hear bear noises, especially the bear cub crying for its mother, get in the house as soon as possible. And if you see the cub and the mother is nowhere in sight, do not even think of playing with it. GET IN THE HOUSE NOW.
  • Do not touch Daddy's gun, especially if you see it outside of the locked gun closet where it usually lives. There was a reason Charles Ingalls kept his gun on hooks over the front door, for handy access. We haven't told the kids the part about Daddy making sure it was loaded tonight, and that he's going to keep it with him when he's in the truck, especially with harvest upon us, which means late nights, in the dark, and walking around fields from tractor to truck. It's 10:45 pm and I'm just the teensiest bit nervous about Tom being out of doors tonight.
Am I babbling yet? Not only is this bear family much too close, but in the last week or so we've heard about entirely too many bear attacks, including two fatal ones (in Ontario and Manitoba), across the country. There was a rash of bear attacks, some fatal, earlier this summer too. And in June we found a three-year-old male black bear three miles north of our house in a neighbor's field; that was a week after a black bear was discovered on the golf course in town, and subsequently shot by the local wildlife conservation officer. Remind me why I left NYC again?

PS A big thank you to our wonderful neighbor for the warning. It is much appreciated by this mama bear.

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