Yogi the Bear

Well, it’s that time of year. Bears have woken from their winter slumber and have been spotted in town and in and around our homes. These magnificent animals are not generally a threat to humans and do not see us as food. Instead they prefer to feast on nuts, seeds and berries.

I had a large fellow take down my hummingbird feeders one night this past week. It was my first encounter with a bear since I became a Rounder and it was terrifying. As magnificent as these animals are, I was justly afraid. I pounded on the window to scare him away and he left, but I quickly checked all my doors and windows to make sure they were all locked.

Yes, I forgot to bring my hummingbird feeders in that night. I know better, but it was late, and I was feeling lazy. I now have a calendar reminder on my phone to remind me each night at dusk to bring them in.

The bear that came by my house I found out is affectionately called, “Two Tag” because he has a yellow tag on both ears. This means he has been captured before and may be known as a nuisance. I saw a video the Bear Den in Cuchara posted this week, and it was the same bear, Two Tag.

Another neighbor forgot to lock her car doors and woke up at 4 am to find her car doors open in her carport. They are smart and know how to open a car door, so beware especially if you eat in your car. They can smell remnants of food from your latest fast food drive through!

Last night another neighbor watched a mamma bear and two cubs make the rounds on their patio and another neighbor found paw prints on their drive way.

However, Fatal black bear attacks on humans are so rare — more so than any other species of bear— that they occur on average of once per year across North America, Garshelis said. In addition, about one black bear out of 1 million will attack a human in a predatory manner, Rogers said.

Equipped with power, sharp teeth and claws, it wouldn’t be easy, but humans have the ability to take a black bear in a fight. It’s the reason experts say to not play dead around a black bear, as you would a grizzly, and fight back. Your best chance of survival against a black bear attack comes from fighting back.

Bears are most active during early morning and late evening hours in spring and summer.

Air horns are unproven in their effectiveness. High-pitched noises can arouse curiosity or irritate a bear.” However, the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife did recommend using air horns while hiking to scare aggressive bears away.

How smart are black bears? Considered by many wildlife biologists to be one of the most intelligent land animals of North America, bears possess the largest and most convoluted brains relative to their size of any land mammal. In the animal kingdom, their intelligence compares with that of higher primates.

Bears are naturally afraid of dogs, and being chased by them often changes the bears‘ behavior. They are far more likely to avoid an area after a dog has charged after them, even if it happened in a spot that they had visited many times.

All said, we should all still be careful. They are massive animals and I certainly would not want to provoke one. Those who have lived in Cuchara full time for years are familiar with black bear behavior, me, I’m still learning. While I don’t want to be responsible for euthanizing one of these magnificent creatures, I certainly don’t want to be a snack!

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