I’m sure that most of you have been awakened in the middle of the night by some unusual sound. I know I have. Well, a friend of ours had such an event a couple of nights ago.
At about 11:30 p.m., Joe woke up and wanted a drink of water. He wandered out into the kitchen and got to the refrigerator when he heard a loud thump on his back door. Living on a back road far from civilization, he figured someone might be looking for help. Before getting to the door, he heard the noise once more.
When Joe got to the door, he immediately turned on the outside light. Funny thing was, there wasn’t a soul in sight. Then, off to his right, he saw some movement out of the corner of his eye. There on the back deck was a large black bear. Moments later, the bear returned to the back door and looked in the window.
Now, Joe’s wife, Joan, had never seen a bear near their house, so Joe went into the living room to wake her up. Finally, Joan made it to the door to see their visitor. The bear stood there looking at the people, wondering what else they had for dinner. Joan feeds the birds blocks of suet, attracting more than 30 different species over that past few weeks.
Well, the bear tore down the three blocks of fat and seeds before leaving two of the wire containers on the deck. Hopefully he didn’t swallow the other one.
I asked Joe how big the bear was, and he said the bear stood 28 to 30 inches at the shoulders and probably weighed 250 to 300 pounds. Joe has seen bears in the Adirondacks several times and said he was a big bear.
I kiddingly asked Joe, “Did you keep your six-foot social distancing?”
“No, he was just a foot or so away, but he did have a brown mask around his muzzle.”
It’s not uncommon for a bear to wander around people’s homes looking for food. When I lived in the Adirondacks, we has such visitors several times. My neighbor had a regular little rascal several nights a week, a young bear that appeared to be fascinated by their television. The small bear would sit outside their sliding back door and watch TV. Millie got tired of washing the glass - I think he picked through my garbage and then went to her house for a picnic and got his dirty paws on the door.
The DEC came in with a barrel trap and caught the little scoundrel. The following evening they took him back into the mountains about 20 miles from town. But the bear was back watching his favorite shows the very next night. After a while he moved on, finding a new place to eat.
Now, the DEC advises people to avoid feeding birds this time of year, because it can attract bears that are out looking for food. After all, once a bear comes out of hibernation, he spends every waking hour in search of food to put on layers of fat for next year’s long, winter nap.
Don’t think you’re exempt from these nightly visitors. The other day I heard that a bear was seen recently near the village of Laurens. I assume it’s the same bruin that’s been on Gifford Hill as well. To keep bears away, put away anything that will attract them. It’s that easy.