Bearly Survived

It was a good night with my parents. Over a yummy grilled chicken dinner we talked about the bears in the area. They have to bring in their bird feeder at night so the bears don’t grab it, roll it around on the ground, and eat all the birdseed. Afterward we went upstairs to watch The World’s Fastest Indian. Then I returned to the van for a good night’s sleep. My mom figured she’d bring in the feeder when she let the dogs out one last time half an hour later.

It was too late. Soon after I got back to the van, I heard some metallic clanking outside, not too far from the van. The bird feeder is about 30 feet away from where I’m parked. I know this because Lister’s 25-foot tether isn’t quite long enough to reach it — he’s tried. I suspected that a bear was going after the feeder.

I looked out the window but couldn’t see anything in the dark. That’s not too surprising. Recent experience showed me how difficult it is to find a black animal in the dark. I decided not to turn my exterior lights on. They were perfectly positioned to light up the area, but I didn’t want to attract the suspected bear’s attention. Bears can get into cars and do a lot of damage to life and property, and I was not about to risk my home. Eventually the noise stopped, and I had a good night’s sleep.

This morning, the aftermath was obvious. A bear had bent the pole the feeder hangs on so that it was within reach. Then it removed the feeder and rolled it around on the ground to get the birdseed out, exactly like my parents had described. Did I mention that this happened just 30 feet away from me? I was glad I hadn’t turned my outside lights on.

In fact, I heard noises so soon after returning to the van for the night that it’s entirely possible the bear was watching me. We’d turned the house’s outside lights on before I stepped outside, so I wouldn’t have walked into the bear actively feeding its face. I should remember to do this when I’m stepping outside at night in bear country from now on. It’s not my first experience with a bear in my travels, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Perhaps I should pick up a can of bear spray to have on hand, just for the worst case scenario.

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