So I was sitting at my desk just fifteen minutes ago, scribbling a few paragraphs of the current work in progress, when I heard a rather loud scraping and shuffling sound on the outside wall of the kitchen.
Now, I’m used to hearing scampering rodents and raccoons all over the place, including the roof at night, but this was a bit too noisy and forceful to be of that size class. So I got up, and walked the six feet to the dark kitchen window (a four-panel sort of bay window that takes up six feet of the kitchen sidewall), and hit the switch for the outside floodlights. Outside the window, just two feet away, a not-small black bear was pawing at the bird feeder we have hanging above the kitchen window.
(How do I know the bear was not-small? The feeder is about seven feet up, and I can’t remove it from its hook without the use of a ladder, but he was on it with his paw. Also, his head was pretty much right in front of me, so I got a good idea of his size.)
I knocked on the glass and yelled, “Hey! You!”…and he just sort of panted, and pawed at the feeder some more.
So I went upstairs to grab the Enfield, just in case he wasn’t amenable to polite requests, but by the time I came back downstairs, the lights and the hairless ape yelling at him from behind the glass had finally spooked him, and he was gone. (I wouldn’t have capped Yogi’s butt without clear and present danger, but I figured a shot in the air would have made his ears ring enough to avoid the area for a while.)
I went outside to have a look around, but Mr. Bear was gone, having aborted his raid on our bird feeders. Tomorrow, I’ll check to see if he plucked apart the composter again—the one he used as a fast food bin a week or two ago, and which I just put back together on Sunday.
Yeah, that’s life in the country, I guess. I’m sure it’s not exactly the Wild Outdoors to some of you folks who live in Montana or Upper Manitoba, but I’m a recovering city boy, and having a few hundred pounds of black bear dropping by for an evening snack is pretty outdoorsy to me.
Update, one hour later: He came back to check out the bird feeder on the front lawn, and scampered off when I cranked open the kitchen window. Tomorrow, the
bear bird feeders are coming down until early winter, so he won’t have an incentive to keep coming back. (For those who are about to suggest zapping him and making a rug out of his hide: I don’t like the idea of killing what don’t strictly need killing, and shooting a bear out of season is a Class B misdemeanor in NH…unless the bear is causing “substantial property damage”. A pair of bird feeders doesn’t exactly meet that definition.)
Update, the next morning: Mr. Bear left some paw prints on the kitchen window when he steadied himself while fishing the seeds out of the bird feeder. I took a picture, with my hand for scale. You can sort of see the pointy claw marks at the top of the print. I can cover the rest of it with my hand, but only barely, and only if I spread my fingers out as far as I can. Probably not a huge black bear, but he looked big enough from two feet away.