Tag Archives: black bear

Weekly Photo Challenge: Eerie

The last time I felt something eerie was my first close encounter with mama bear.

black bear
Mama Bear Stands Her Ground

She ran into the trees and watched me while her first cub was up the tree and her 2nd cub posed at the bottom of the same tree.

I had to zoom into the dark forest to even see her.  I was encouraged by the fact that she ran from me when I was just on foot.

She wasn’t sitting though.  Her ears, eyes and nose are pointed directly at me.  Her defiance made me nervous so I started backing away, then she started walking away too.

Here’s the original post: https://pamperingcampers.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/7pm-just-enough-time-for-a-walk/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Good Morning! (Signs of Bear)

This is my recent morning routine:

Look out the window to check for signs of overnight bear activity, go outside (carefully) to check for more signs, pick up game camera and check photos.

From the window:  First sign of bear – apple tree debris on the ground

bear debris
Indications bears spent some time in the apple tree

Outside:  Watch my step!  Seriously, those bears need to eat slower to get some nutrition out of those apples.  They are just wasting them!  At least the slugs can also benefit.  GROSS!

Bear Scat - Apple Season
Bear Scat – Apple Season

This apple tree has a long history of providing sustenance to these bears but I’d better get some for my applesauce before they eat them all.

Bear claw marks on the tree
Bear claw marks on the tree

Checking the game camera:  Mom and 2 cubs went up and down the tree around 2am, 4am and 6am

Black bear cub sitting in the apple tree
Just the beginning of a long feast

The game camera has an indicator light when the motion sensor is activated.  That must get their attention because they are so often looking at the camera when it takes the photo.

Raccoon in apple tree
Raccoon in apple tree

The raccoon was a surprise.  We haven’t seen any of these and I didn’t know they liked apples.  But this one snuck in a raid between the bears.

Black Bear Cub
Black Bear Cub

This photo isn’t that great but I thought the size of the cub’s paw on the tree was a good comparison to their mom’s paw in the next one.

Black Bear Sow
Black Bear Sow

Mama bear climbed the apple tree too and she didn’t break any limbs.

Black bear cub sitting in the apple tree
Black bear cub sitting in the apple tree

We got the ladder out and collected all we could the next day.  Then we put the game camera back out.

The following morning the game camera was laying face-down across the yard from where I’d placed it.  I had just propped it up against a toolbox which raised it a couple feet off the ground.

They must be getting mad about having their raids photographed?  We’re still laughing about them beating up the camera.

Now the game-cam is secured, I taped over the motion sensor indicator light and we’re waiting for their return.  All we’ve seen is elk and deer.

Bear on Game Cam

Now I want a new Game Cam – one that will record sound too.

Woman talks bear out of tree
Woman talks bear out of tree

It wasn’t even dark yet but we can’t spend our whole day and night running around the house to see what wild animals are strolling by.  So this morning I checked the game camera to see that there were 8 photos.  This would have been taken while we were eating dinner at the opposite end of the house.

When I went to put the camera back the neighbor lady asked if I knew we had a bear in the apple tree.  She said she was out on her deck when she heard it (maybe 20 feet away from her deck).  But she didn’t know it was a bear.  She thought it “was a man in the tree.”  She asked, “Are you okay?”  It didn’t answer so she said it louder.  Then it turned around and went down the tree and ran away.  This is the cub.   I wonder where mom and the other cub were when she was talking this one out of the tree?  She’s got 5 Pekinese that always bark at us when we’re outside.  I wonder if they were barking then?

I really wish I’d heard the conversation between her and that bear!

Don’t Feed the Bears

If we could pick the apples off our trees we would.  But our apple trees have been seriously neglected for years before we bought the place.  We did some trimming last year but they still need more and we can’t reach the red apples at all.

So Mama Bear and the Twins took pictures of themselves before and after they went up the red apple tree last night.

Bear Cub Peakin' Over Propane Tank
Bear Cub Peekin’ Over Propane Tank

11:41pm:  Mom, take a picture of me looking over this big tank at Sissy.

Bear Sow next to Propane Tank
Bear Sow next to Propane Tank

11:43pm:  Just a second, Junior, there’s a blade of grass in the way.

Black Bear Butt
Bear Butt

11:54pm:  There.  That should take care of it.  Hey!  Don’t take a picture of my butt!

Black Bear Sow
Black Bear Sow

12:10am:  That’s better.  Why didn’t you tell me I had moss on my back?

(Now, I assume they spent a couple hours in the tree or went next door because the next photo was taken around 2am.)

game cam

2:17am:  Is the game-cam still on Mom?   Looks like it.  Smile!

Bear Cage

Suddenly my house is like a bear cage.  You know, like a shark cage, where humans can be “safely” lowered into a vat of sharks.

Bear Cub Snack Bar
Bear Cub Snack Bar

I feel like I am in wildlife-heaven living in a bear cage or a wildlife cage.  But all I want to do is get out of the cage and see them up close.  I really don’t get very far from the house when I do though.

Comparison photo of mama bear
Comparison photo of mama bear

Compare her size to one of her cubs below:

Comparison photo of bear cub
Comparison photo of bear cub

It is not safe for the wildlife to get comfortable around humans.  They will end up making trouble and getting themselves killed.  Not to mention my safety!

bear cub hanging from tree limb
Quit foolin’ around!   You’re gonna get hurt!

They are SO fun to watch…when they are happy!

black bear sow eating apple
Mama Bear with Apple

When Mom and one cub wandered over to the road, I quickly went back inside the house to see my photos.  I didn’t want her circling around and sneaking up behind me to climb up the apple tree I was standing under :-0

But I’ve thought about this for a lot of years and recently we were listening to some radio interview about scuba diving with sharks – without a shark cage.  The guy being interviewed expressed my feelings perfectly when he said, “the really weird thing is that, all seeing a shark did for me is make me want to see another one and get closer”.  I’m not sure I’d do that with any wildlife that is much bigger than I am.  But I actually experienced that feeling when snorkeling in Australia.  Don was watching me from a dock because he’d gotten sunburned the day before and didn’t feel like doing it again.  He called to me when he heard someone yell “shark” and pointed to the small (but almost as long as I am tall) shark swimming in the shallow water.  There was just one other couple in the water.  They were standing up, pointing and laughing; which gave me a feeling of security I guess.  So my first reaction was to put my face back in the water and go look for it; as if being under water would protect me.   As I did that, reason overcame reaction (or fear overcame stupidity) and I changed my direction.  But I didn’t feel the need to get out of the water.  I really don’t have the same feeling about wildlife out of the water.  For some reason, the water feels like a piece of thick glass of an aquarium; maybe an illusion the mask gives?   I wonder if that’s what it is?  Maybe it’s the mind’s way of relating what is happening to previous experiences of watching fish in an aquarium?

7pm – just enough time for a walk

Out of the corner of my eye I see something black, under the apple trees next door, as I walk from the driveway toward the road.

As I walk around the truck, the “something black” starts to run and there is a big something black and a little something black.

(fumble with camera with a feeling of futility)

Of course I am stopped in my tracks thinking that now is not the time for a walk after all.

After they bound across the road, over the barbed wire fence and up the hill, I go back inside (maybe 3 minutes after I’d left) and tell Don what a great walk he missed.

Don proceeded to convince his wildlife-enamored wife (me) that I scared the bears away so I would be fine to go ahead for my walk now.  (alzhiemer’s maybe?)

Black Bear Cub
2nd Twin Cub

So, I get to the road and see the first cub head up the big fir tree behind the fence (right) and hear the apple tree rustling (left).

(Now I know, the pictures Don wants to get are of me being mauled by a mama bear.)

At first I wasn’t sure if this was the black bear family we saw across the Alsea River 4 days ago.

Now that I see the 2nd twin cub I’m sure it is.  Mom is small; maybe less than 200 lbs.  (She still out-weighs, out-teeths and out-claws me.)

Black Bear Mama
Black Bear Mama

She’s watching me close while her 2nd baby heads up the fir tree.

Black Bear Cub
Black Bear Cub

They’ll be back to make a dent in the neighbor’s apples.

And I’ve got the game camera pointing up our apple tree in case they come to ours.  I’m glad I pick a few apples off the tree today.  They really aren’t all the way ripe yet.  So maybe the bears will finish off the neighbor’s while ours ripen a little more?

These photos were taken near Blackberry Campground on the Alsea River.

RUN Boo-Boo, RUN!

We were sitting in the shade to recover from a stressful 15 minutes of pulling the trapped skunk out from under our house when we saw the mama bear and twins across the Alsea River.  (More about the skunk later.)

Black Bear Family
Black Bear Family

I nearly missed them.  She’s a fast runner!

Black Bear Sow with Twin Cubs
Fences make Mama Bear nervous

They were sort of galloping along the fence line.  There wasn’t a fence until a couple years ago and the wildlife are still getting use to it.  Don started making grunting noises at them to see if she’d stop to look.

Black Bear Sow at full run
Black Bear Sow at full run

Then Mama really picked up speed to cross the open field to get to the safety of the trees along the river.  She left her cubs in her dust!

These photos were taken near Blackberry Campground.