By September 30, 2005

My Old Man vs Bear

This is a repost from what my father just sent me. I’m glad he and his dog are okay, and I’m also glad he wasn’t cited in this incident:

A homeowner in Lake City shot and killed a bear on Sept. 27 – but it was a shooting that Colorado Division of Wildlife officers say could have been avoided through community action.

The bear that was killed and her two cubs had been given easy access to food in town and had become habituated to human contact, said Lucas Martin, district wildlife manager for Lake City. Martin had been told that some people in Lake City were intentionally feeding the bears and other wildlife. He even received reports that people had been seen petting the cubs.

“Feeding bears is illegal and it is dangerous for humans and the animals,” Martin said.

Many homeowners in Lake City do not properly take care of their garbage, so bears can easily get into trash cans to forage for food.

“Bears are smart animals. Once they get food out of one trash can, they’ll go to every trash can in town,” Martin said.

The man who shot the bear had not been feeding the animals and he stores his garbage in a bear-proof container. He was not cited for the incident.

About 3:30 a.m., Sept. 27, the man’s two dogs started to bark and act irritated. Before letting them out, he looked outside to check if a bear was at his trash can. When he didn’t see a bear he let the dogs out. Within a few seconds the man heard one of the dogs barking and saw a bear at the trash can.

He called the dog and it ran towards the house with the bear giving chase. After the dog ran into the house the bear stopped just a few feet off the porch. The man grabbed his rifle and yelled at the bear to try to scare her off. When the bear made a movement that appeared threatening, the man shot her.

The bear ran off and died quickly about 40 feet from the cabin. As the man walked toward the dead bear he heard the crying of the two cubs that had climbed about 50 feet into a Ponderosa pine tree.

The man called the DOW about an hour later and Martin went to the scene. With the assistance of a local company that provided a “bucket truck,” Martin was raised near the cubs. He tranquilized the animals and placed them in a bear trap. Later that morning he drove the cubs to the DOW’s Frisco Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation Center near Del Norte where they’ll be raised and trained to live in the wild. While there is no guarantee that the cubs will survive once placed in the wild, the DOW has had good success with previous rehabilitation and release efforts.

There is a serious complication for the cubs, however. They have already been taught to associate people with food.

J Wenum, area wildlife manager, said that the incident could have been avoided. A similar incident occurred in 2004. Wenum fears that this will be a yearly occurrence unless the Lake City community takes action.

“We have a serious problem in Lake City with some people not taking care of their garbage properly and with some people feeding wildlife,” Wenum said. “People think feeding small animals does not create problems, but that inevitably attracts large animals. And that leads to problems like this.”

The DOW offers this reminder: A fed bear is a dead bear.

Please, follow these guidelines if you live in bear country:

· Never feed wildlife to attract them for viewing. It is illegal to feed wildlife. Food left out for small animals will attract large animals such as bear, deer and elk.

· Keep garbage in airtight containers inside a garage or storage area. Clean trash cans with ammonia to reduce odors that attract bears.

· Food scraps that produce odors should be placed in the freezer until garbage-collection day. This would include meat scraps, and fruit and vegetable scraps.

· Place garbage for pickup outside just before collection. Do not put out trash cans the night before pickup.

· Use a bear-proof dumpster. If you don’t have one, ask a trash-removal company for options.

· Take down birdfeeders when bears are active. Once a bear finds a birdfeeder in a yard, it will likely look around the neighborhood for other easy foods within reach. It’s recommended that bird feeders be brought in at night.

· Do not start a compost pile in bear country. The odor attracts bears.

· Do not leave pet food or dirty dishes outdoors at night. Store pet food indoors.

· After cooking on a grill, leave the burners on for a few minutes to burn the remaining scraps and liquids completely. The smell of barbecue sauce and grease can attract bears.

For more information on living with wildlife, go to the DOW Web site at
http://wildlife.state.co.us/Education/LivingWithWildlife/BearCountry.asp.

The content of Dad’s email?

“Thought you might like to see what I do at 3:00 in the morning.”

LOL. Tough as nails. Tough as fucking nails.

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