A groggy KE crawled out of a warm bed at around six thirty am. today to let my best friend out for her morning skips. Down the stairs to the rear deck by the dining room I shuffled, barely able focus on anything and wishing I was still asleep. Passing the kitchen and the coffee machine gave me a feeling of impatience at the dog’s happy happy joy joy attitude. She was prancing around, squeaking with delight at the prospect of a tear in the snow to begin her day. I had to smile in spite of myself. Her bouncy mannerism was infectious. I slide the door open and watched the dog begin her usual search for something to chase. She made her way to the woods some thirty yards behind the house with her nose to the ground and her tail in the air. I shut the door and paused just before turning to the kitchen to make my morning wake up brew. Something caught my eye near the pines at the edge of the woods. A movement between two large pine trees.
My eyes quickly focused on the source of the movement and my heart thundered when my mind registered what it was I was seeing. Black bear! And the dog was headed straight for it! I always say that time seems to stand still when we’re in this kind of situation. Every movement we make seems to take forever while the rest of the world runs on real time. As fast as I could possibly go I ran to the den where my gun safe is to retrieve a rifle large enough to make a one shot kill on the bear. In the seconds it took me to enter the security code on the safe and remove a rifle and ammunition my mind raced with terrible thoughts. I had an image in my mind of me running out of the house to see my dog being mauled to death by the bruin. The horrible thought of my lovable ten year old chocolate Labrador retriever being torn to shreds by the talon like claws and long canine teeth of the bear made me feel totally helpless and terrorized.
At the time I had closed the sliding door my dog was about ten yards from the pine trees. And where the black bear was. I don’t know a great deal about them, but I do know that a full grown black bear can cover that distance in the blink of an eye. And had that particular bear had designs on killing my dog, it would’ve happened before I returned. It did not. And I was amazed at what I was seeing as I closed the bolt on my rifle and opened the door. My dog and the bear were nose to nose sniffing on another! The bear was sitting with it’s head lowered and neck stretched out barely a foot from the dog. Brandee, (my dog) was just standing with her tail straight out checking out the bruin in a cautious but unintimidated manner. Nevertheless, I leveled the rifle and put the cross hairs of the scope on the bears neck. If the animal would have even appeared to make an aggressive move I would have shot it.
Over the next few minutes I calmed down. The bear showed no sign of aggression at all. As a matter of fact, it kind of seemed disinterested in the dog after it figured out that Brandee was harmless. It just sat there looking around. Kind of checking things out. It was then that the dog backed up a few steps and started barking and bouncing around. She was trying to engage the bear to play! The bruin wasn’t in the mood and got up and turned away. Slowly ambling back into the woods. Brandee ran to the spot where the bear was sitting and gave the spot a thorough going over. When the bear had turned I had begun to slowly walk across the yard to bring Brandee back to the house. I was still in my pajamas and the snow was cold on my feet through my slippers. I made my way to the dog while watching the woods to make sure the bear wasn’t lurking around, still holding the rifle just in case.
When I got to the dog and grabbed her collar I felt relief. Relief that she wasn’t hurt. Relief that I didn’t have to kill that black bear. After I got the dog to the house, I started to wonder why the bear would have left hibernation. I know back bears in this area normally stay in their den until early to mid March. So why was this one up and walking around? When I’m done writing this I fully intend to find out. I now regret not grabbing a camera instead of a weapon. I could have gotten some awesome pictures. All in all that was a hell of a way to wake up.
Yes unfortunately it is @tlhopkinson . I really did not need the heart attack I got this morning. My son and I just returned from a hellacious hike trying to find the bear. We followed the tracks leading from the back of our yard into the woods. I cannot believe how close to other houses in our development the thing got. Our development is spread out with some homes having twenty acres or more property and it left the woods twice and walked right up to two homes. Within several feet! I would have thought that for as slow as it seemed to move that I would be able to get a picture of it. However it has started to snow incredibly hard and after following the tracks for about four miles we were unable to track it. The tracks came to a small river and had grown so faint that we couldn't tell where it got out and continued. I never really paid attention to the surrounding woods before letting the dog out. Bet I do now.
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