September 3, 2018

Bears are out and about

Just about smucked a bear and barely avoided getting run into from behind this afternoon on Highway 94. I was heading west toward Callander and a healthy two-year-old was running across the two-lane stretch south to north at the first hill and rock cut past the Corbeil cenotaph.

Some nob was driving too close behind me and gaining velocity in anticipation of the speed limit going up to 80 km/h. My sudden brake lights woke the mutt up, no doubt. It was a bit tricky trying to avoid hitting the bear while also not wanting to lock up the rubber and suffer whiplash from a rear-ender. 

Good thing I have fairly good eyes for timing a moving intersect perpendicular to the bisector (imagine a quarterback hitting a receiver on a crossing pattern). The bear could have messed up my calculations if he hadn't kept at a full gallop. He didn't even glance at my oncoming SUV and that's a good thing. I saw his beautiful thick, black fur up close as he slid by my front right bumper in the nick of time.

The dim wit behind me went to school on the situation and decided it was best to hang back about 30 metres. (Word to the wise, it's not smart to tail-gate, there's no room for error if wildlife decides to cross).

Interestingly, I have a mother and two cubs hanging around my hacienda about five kilometres away from there. It's the first time having bears around my place since moving there 16 years ago. My old dog Max probably kept them at bay for most of that time but he's been gone for two full years now. The bears have always been around, I'm surrounded by hundreds of acres of bush and swamp, but they've kept their distance and out of sight all these years.

An old schoolmate of Dylan's messaged me the other day saying he saw the cubs crossing Highway 17 and head into the woods beside my place. I wasn't surprised. A few days earlier, they had knocked over my fire barrel after sniffing out a box with some leftover pizza crusts in it.

Black bears get active this time of year after a couple cool knights turn on their stomachs to fatten up in preparation for winter hibernation. I'm not sure there was a good crop of nuts or mountain ash berries. It was a weird summer of dry spells in June and July that didn't make for a great berry season.

Probably a good idea to clean up the recycle cans and such. I don't have a bird feeder, so that's not a worry.

Hunters are putting out a lot of apples at deer bait stations not far from here, though. That could be making things more interesting than usual this fall.

I also saw my first hacienda skunk while rolling down my driveway the other day. 

Needless to say, my midnight strolls in the moon light are not as relaxing as I like. And yesterday afternoon, I grabbed a thick beaver stick for my stroll toward the back field yesterday, just in case. Not sure what I'd be able to do with a stick if I got caught between a sow and cub, but walking around with a rifle seems a bit much.


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