Sam Owen Campground, Idaho Panhandle

A couple nights after the trap was brought in, a bear was in it.  I think his name was Houdini.  Maybe he got a foot trapped in the door, allowing him to get free?  Anyway, now we have a ‘Food Closure Order’ in affect.  This is a Forest Service Order that prohibits any food or drink to be unattended in the campground.  All food/drink/pet food/coolers/plastic containers must be stored in a ‘hard-sided’ vehicle when you are not preparing or eating a meal.  Our Canadian campers seem to be the best about this since they see more bears at home.  Bears have broken into resident’s garages, on either side of us, opening refrigerators and freezers for a nice meal.  They are not even deterred when the car alarm sounds!  This is an aggressive bear.  Fish and Game told them to shoot the bear if he breaks in or tries to again.  I heard today that this year’s fawns have almost all been killed by the black bears.  I say ‘almost’ because I know we have at least 3 in the campground.  Fish and Game moved the trap, today, to a residential area that has been broken into for the last 3 nights.
Bear Trap
Bear Trap

I’m pretty sure this is a young osprey on the nest.  There is another one at the top of another tree nearby.  The parents usually soar above them and call out to them.  I wish I knew what they were saying.  They have a pretty loud “I’m hungry” call.  We’ve enjoyed watching the parent osprey chase bald eagles when they get too close to the nest.   A camper, with a good view of the nest, said the parent had one of the young ones out flying in the thunderstorm that came through.  They didn’t go far from the nest but he was learning how to soar in the wind.

Osprey - Juvenile?

People used to feed the deer.  I wish they would realize that feeding the deer people food is killing them.  If the campers don’t put their food and garbage away, the deer will eat it right off their table.  The problem is that their bodies can’t digest people food so they don’t get the nourishment they need.  They are full but are very malnourished.  The Food Closure for the bear is actually helping the deer too!  The doe and fawns are all over the campground but we’ve seen some really nice bucks outside it too.

Fawn Twins
Fawn Twins

The deer have figured out how to open coolers and they know to roll a watermelon off a table so it will break open.  Even though a watermelon might be nourishing for them, they aren’t learning how to look for food ‘deer-style’.  So they don’t fair very well in the winter.  I saw a 3-year old child hand-feeding a deer, this morning, while her mother encouraged her.  We had to explain some things to the parent.  Even though they seem tame, that only lasts until they get startled.  If they feel threatened, they will rise up on their hind legs and stomp on what’s threatening them.  I’d hate to see a child attacked by a deer! 

Buck with uneven antlers
Buck with uneven antlers

 I walked past the campground, into the residential area.  This buck was looking, longingly, into the garden.  We have had a challenge trying to figure out where to hang our plants.  When we first got here, we’d set the hanging baskets on the picnic table while we unpacked.  A deer came up behind Don and pulled the flowers off the table.  Don had a talk with her but she just stared at him.  So our tomato plants are behind a chainlink fence.  We got our first 2 cherry tomatoes off of it yesterday!  Then he strung a rope between two trees, high enough to deter the little buggers.  It also makes it a challenge for me to water them.  They don’t dry out as fast up here though.  We haven’t had much rain but it is more humid here than at Lodgepole Campground.  Lake Pend Oreille is lower elevation too; about 2100′ elevation.

Deer in front yard
Deer in front yard at Sam Owen Campground

I gotta say, this IS a better view than we had at Lodgepole Campground!



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