Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Bear

American Black Bear Ursus americanus
American Black Bear Ursus americanus
American Black Bear Ursus americanus
American Black Bear Ursus americanus (or is it a floating Mickey Mouse hat?)
Paw prints appeared on our trails in the 30 minute intervals between net runs
A bear does indeed shit in the woods
Pie Island, piece of cake for a swimming bear
  We were briefed about the Black Bears that hang around the field station, and when we encountered our first, a sow and three cubs, we chased them off by banging on pots. My second meeting with bears came at much closer range. I was checking ground traps on the shore, so my head was down as I came around the bend by the remnants of the old lighthouse. There were three traps left to check - first trap: empty..second trap: empty...third tra...what the hell is that? About seven feet in front of me, a large dark form stood up. I was staring into the face of a large Black Bear that had just raised itself up on its haunches from behind a low berry bush. I froze. The bear was calmly chewing on a mouthful of berries, and it looked at me with a 'good doggy' look on its massive face. I backed up slowly, then turned the corner and skulked back up towards the platform, swiftly returning with noise-making reinforcements. While I never sensed any menace in the bear's behavior, that was about as close as I would  care to get to a wild bear, thanks.
  A few days later, a younger bear decided to swim to Pie Island, which is at least a dozen kilometres from our tip of the Sibley Peninsula. We watched it swim confidently to the island, which took over two hours, and as it got smaller on the horizon, it looked like a floating Mickey Mouse hat.

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