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Old 05-26-2013, 07:45 PM   #1
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True...right here at home.

In May a couple years ago, we were enjoying some nice, warm nights and were sleeping with the windows open. I was awakened by a scratching sound accompanied by some whining and whimpering sounds. We're cat owners and thinking a dog or 'coon had one of our cats cornered on the deck, I got out of bed and looked out the bedroom window. I couldn't believe what I saw! There were two bear cubs on the deck, wandering around and whimpering at their mother who was in the yard at the bottom of the steps. Evidently, they had climbed up the steps from the yard and were afraid or didn't know how to go back down head-first. They were about the size of a small dog...maybe ten pounds and cute as heck.
The next day I went to the local WallyMart and picked up a trail camera and these pictures were taken the following night. This small fenced-in area is just 20 feet off our back porch. The fence was to protect some new shrubbery from foraging deer but had little effect on our new neighbors. Since these pics were taken, we've seen two others....one a juvenile about a year old and one HUGE ol' gentleman. They all have been well-mannered, no issue, and are welcome.....as long as they leave our Burro alone.
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Old 05-26-2013, 07:53 PM   #2
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So.... how did the cubs get down the stairs? You're leaving me hanging here....

Thanks for sharing the pics. That's the BEST way to view a bear IMHO
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Old 05-26-2013, 08:17 PM   #3
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Awww, Mike is so humble, he left out the part where he went outside, and held their little bearpaws to help them down the stairs....
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Old 05-26-2013, 09:15 PM   #4
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you need to be careful tho. they are coming in houses and cars here. usually when a window is open and there are food smells. once they got a mama out of a car and didnt realize her two babies were in the back seat. they were finding cheerios deep in the seats. and one lady came down in the morning to make coffee and there was a bear in the kitchen. he grabbed a box of crackers or cookies or something before he ran away. i was never scared of wild animals before...but they are acting different now. we had a moose try to breed with a truck. i guess they have something called brain worm.
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:04 AM   #5
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Our bears...

Donna, we live on 40 or so acres in northcentral WV and like most places in WV the house is on a hillside. Those steps are toward our garden and about 6-7ft. high. The opposite end of the deck is only about a foot above ground and has a wheelchair ramp. My voice evidently scared them away from our window and they followed the easy path around the deck to the other end.
Pam, strange you should say that. When I saw our first bear...the BIG guy...I was awakened by our garbage can exiting the deck down the ramp. I thought our local raccoons had taken it, being mostly empty. They've attempted it in the past. I got out of bed, put bermudas on, and went to retrieve the can. When I picked it up WAY down in the yard, I realized from the weight that it wasn't a raccoon. I hotfooted it back to the house, turned off the lights, got the wife out of bed, and watched. Pretty soon the culprit returned. He approached the deck, stood on his hind legs and sniffed...trying to make up his mind whether to try that again. He paced around awhile trying to decide, and eventually wandered off past my shop and into the woods. Our only sighting of him. The yearling I spoke of has been here several times, mostly in the afternoon or early evening, wandering through, eating sunflower seeds....just being sociable. This took place three years ago, and since that time, we've had gas well/fracking activity along with new cross country power lines going through the neighborhood and I think all the activity has either scared them completely away or they've become more secretive in their activities. We've seen their tracks since, but no more sightings since last fall....
You have to see our location to get a feel for all this. We're nearly in the middle of our farm with dense woods on two sides of our house, two small ponds nearby, and no visible neighbors....the closest house is 1/4 mile away, out by our mailbox. No vehicle noise or traffic, no human activity except ours. Its no small wonder we have lots of wildlife.
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:10 AM   #6
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I should add that the fracking activity is NOT ours!! They're not welcome on our farm!!
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:27 AM   #7
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Mike sounds like your property is a sanctuary for nearby wildlife. Wonderful

Thanks for the .... rest of the story!
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Old 05-27-2013, 07:43 AM   #8
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It is so nice to see and hear about man and animal sharing their space, keep up the good work. I have tried this approach my entire life.
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Old 05-27-2013, 09:55 AM   #9
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Mike, that's a great story and wonderful pics. Your place sounds like a really nice area.
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Old 05-27-2013, 10:00 AM   #10
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Mike, I enjoy your photos and glad to hear you have learned to live with the bears.

I live in a pretty densely populated urban area but we get lots of bears in the area due to being located close to a mountain. They have been known to go shopping for dinner at the local grocery store or pizza joint. They love people in my area who have pools and fish ponds (and keep restocking them) in their yards! LOL Nothing like a nice cool off dip into a pool during hot weather! :-) I saw my first bear of the year just the other day - he was sitting in a neighbor's yard and I am pretty sure he was waiting for them to put their garbage can out for pick-up - as we cant legally put our garbage cans outside until the day of pick up. I swear the bears know the garbage pick up schedule and move from area to area each day :-)

We have a program called Bear Aware in our area that has been very effective in keeping human and bear conflicts to a minimum in recent years. Its was a slow long education process in teaching people that they are actually the solution to the problem and shooting the bears is not. We fortunately now have very few problem bears shoot or relocated each year - some years none! Since we adopted this program many other communities have adopted it as well.

People new to the area are often surprised to learn that when the call the wildlife folks to report a bear in their yard the conservation officers if they do come (often they dont they just tell the caller to yell at the bear or bang some pots) they will not shoot the bear but instead will inspect the callers property and fine them if they find a bear attractant on their property. Items such as bird feeders, garbage cans outside, fruit trees with fruit left laying on the ground or a dirty BQ. Took awhile for people living in the area to except the new rules regarding dealing with bears but most are happy about the way it has worked and would not want to see the old way we dealt with bears in years past (shoot them) returned.

Yup we do need to be careful about leaving doors open - but that is mostly during the fall season when the bears are in what we know to by hyper eating mode to fatten up for their winter hibernation. During that time they can/will be a bit more assertive in getting what they want and not so quick to run off if you simple yell at them.
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Old 05-27-2013, 10:17 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
Mike sounds like your property is a sanctuary for nearby wildlife. Wonderful

Thanks for the .... rest of the story!
You are very welcome, Donna. Glad you enjoyed the pics.
Mike
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Old 05-27-2013, 10:25 AM   #12
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Thanks to all FGRV'ers for the comments about the wildlife we share our farm with. Believe me, I've just scratched the surface. They're such commonplace residents that we tend to ignore them. Deer, raccoons, turkeys, and a few groundhogs are the most common visitors. We're beginning to see a few coyotes and quite a few ravens have now begun nesting. Crows make the ravens' lives difficult. The only real wildlife threat we watch out for is the copperheads. We do have quite a few of those, but so far none have been troublesome. I usually catch them and take them to the woods when they appear too close to the house.

Thanks again for all the kind sentiments
Mike in WV
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Old 05-27-2013, 10:29 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
It is so nice to see and hear about man and animal sharing their space, keep up the good work. I have tried this approach my entire life.
We do as well, Jim. This ol' earth is home to many species and its way past time for humanity to quit destroying our home and its residents.

Thanks for the support.
Mike
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Old 05-27-2013, 10:40 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
Mike, I enjoy your photos and glad to hear you have learned to live with the bears.

I live in a pretty densely populated urban area but we get lots of bears in the area due to being located close to a mountain. They have been known to go shopping for dinner at the local grocery store or pizza joint. They love people in my area who have pools and fish ponds (and keep restocking them) in their yards! LOL Nothing like a nice cool off dip into a pool during hot weather! :-) I saw my first bear of the year just the other day - he was sitting in a neighbor's yard and I am pretty sure he was waiting for them to put their garbage can out for pick-up - as we cant legally put our garbage cans outside until the day of pick up. I swear the bears know the garbage pick up schedule and move from area to area each day :-)

We have a program called Bear Aware in our area that has been very effective in keeping human and bear conflicts to a minimum in recent years. Its was a slow long education process in teaching people that they are actually the solution to the problem and shooting the bears is not. We fortunately now have very few problem bears shoot or relocated each year - some years none! Since we adopted this program many other communities have adopted it as well.

People new to the area are often surprised to learn that when the call the wildlife folks to report a bear in their yard the conservation officers if they do come (often they dont they just tell the caller to yell at the bear or bang some pots) they will not shoot the bear but instead will inspect the callers property and fine them if they find a bear attractant on their property. Items such as bird feeders, garbage cans outside, fruit trees with fruit left laying on the ground or a dirty BQ. Took awhile for people living in the area to except the new rules regarding dealing with bears but most are happy about the way it has worked and would not want to see the old way we dealt with bears in years past (shoot them) returned.

Yup we do need to be careful about leaving doors open - but that is mostly during the fall season when the bears are in what we know to by hyper eating mode to fatten up for their winter hibernation. During that time they can/will be a bit more assertive in getting what they want and not so quick to run off if you simple yell at them.
Our Game Wardens don't deal with daily bear issues like where you are in BC, Carol. Our issues are mainly hunting/fishing without licenses or poaching and trespassing. We regularly camp in Ontario, Canada, north of Toronto and have for four generations. We stay in tents and portage from lake to lake, and have never had a bear issue...we just use good judgment with food and smelly items like deodorant and snacks, usually hanging them in a distant tree. Fish cleaning is done away from camp and food scraps buried or burned...again, away from camp.

Ignorance and feeding wildlife by people is what creates problems. You can't blame the animal.

Thanks for the reply.
Mike
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Old 05-27-2013, 10:49 AM   #15
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Mike, that's a great story and wonderful pics. Your place sounds like a really nice area.

Thanks, Steve. We consider ourselves pretty lucky. People pay huge amounts and drive hundreds of miles to enjoy what we have daily.

We have our moments as do all homeowners. Every day there's something than needs attention....and we don't farm it....just cut the hay twice a year to keep things cleaned up. Neighbor has cattle and drives an over-the-road rig. I use my tractor, his haybine, rake, and baler, and give him the hay. Works for both.

Thanks for the kind words, Steve.
Mike in WV
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Old 05-27-2013, 11:05 AM   #16
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[QUOTE=Mike Shackelford;390502]
Ignorance and feeding wildlife by people is what creates problems. You can't blame the animal.

QUOTE]

LOL thats the position our Game Wardens are taking in my area as well and as far as I am concerned its a good position to take.

Most of BC is pretty well as you describe in Ontario. Camped in tents many times and take precautions and have never had a serious issue re bears.

Problem we have in our developed area is people move here and they think because they live in a city/urban area that bears should not be here as they believe them to be really dangerous. Actually had a guy write a letter to our local paper complaining last summer that he called the Game Wardens a number of times to come and deal with a bear that keeps showing up in his yard and they refused to come. The guy was outraged over how his tax dollars were not being spent! But he what he was most mad about was the bears keeping ripping apart a beehive he had built in his backyard!

Some folks just don't get it!
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Old 05-27-2013, 11:46 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Mike Shackelford View Post
I should add that the fracking activity is NOT ours!! They're not welcome on our farm!!
Of course you should have the prerogative to decide what activities are allowed on your own land, (just like everyone else)...right?

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Domestically produced low priced gasoline and diesel are important commodities for those who like prosperity, even for those who conserve by towing small fiberglass RVs.
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Old 05-27-2013, 11:56 AM   #18
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Bears have free range to more than 90 per cent of B.C.
They can stay out of my back yard.
To comply with the rules, I would have to build a new house, because, I have no basement, I have no garage and the house is only 800 square feet. I'm not inclined to keep my BBQ and garbage inside my house. I prefer birds to bears, so I have a bird feeder.
Have had bears in the yard, but I'm not calling anybody, just warning neighbours of their presence.
Bears can learn to share.
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Old 05-27-2013, 12:58 PM   #19
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Bears can learn to share.
ROFL!! well Glenn you are not alone! Those without an enclosed garage normally just build a small garden shed or buy a plastic one from Home Depot for storing the cans and put a lock on it. The District will also sell us a *very* pricey garbage bin that is suppose to be bear proof that can legally stay outside but they have proven to be not totally bear poof. The sheds are not fool proof either but for most part the bears will just ignore the smell and look for something easier to get at - like berries in their own backyard forest - which they do share with us In the worst case scenario the conservation officers will suggest you put the garbage in your freezer until pick up day. For the BQ - most people just give it a good scrap and turn it up on high for a few minutes after each use to clean it sufficiently to pass inspection.

Tell you what the next time a bear appears in your yard and decides to help itself to your bird feeder I hope you video tape your discussion with it over the need to learn to share. Bird seed to them is like candy to a child - could be a pretty entertaining discussion that will probably go as well as it does when you try and take candy away from a young child who isnt into sharing either.

. The neighbour by the way did the right thing in scaring them off. Its not a good thing to just let them do their thing and video it as we dont want them to get to comfortable hanging around the houses. All to often a bear that has been allowed to become to comfortable around people becomes a problem bear and then more often than not a dead bear.
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Old 05-27-2013, 01:02 PM   #20
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Just to go on and on, tell me who is speaking for the Norway rats and garden slugs?
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