Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bear Visit - 3 am .

Around 2:30 am Gilbert began growling. At 3 am the first gunshot outside went off.

"I think it's a bear," Laura said.

"I'll go see."

Dressing was the difficulty. If you don't lay clothes out like being on call, then it's a problem stumbling about half asleep dressing. I finally found slip on sandals and cammo flannel bottoms and stepped outside in the night.
Whatever was out there would have been long gone by the time I found pants.

Outside, a half dozen people were gathered about the base of a tree. One woman was in fetching lounging gown. Most of the guys had jeans. It was chilly and only one person had a flannel jacket. Everyone had flashlights. Not me.

I'd left my trailer without a flashlight, wearing flip flops, chilly in a sleeveless t shirt and joined a bunch of other other people only slightly better off with their flashlights.

Back in my RV I had a big game bow with razor blade arrows and a 223 Rifle well sighted in, various long blade knifes, along with several high beam flashlights. I considered myself stupid standing there looking up at a treed black bear.

Wayne the host was making gunshot noises with a bear banger. No one had a rifle. I'd learn later that the bears had come through the camp three times in the last month. Wayne had phoned conservation and they'd not arrived. Normally this close to a major town with conservation folk right there and a bear wandering through inhabitted areas they'd come out with their tranquillizer rifle, shoot the bear, and deliver it to a place a few hundred miles away. Wayne, courageous as all get out, had responded each time to calls by campers by coming out and chasing the bear away with a bear banger. Wayne and Elizabeth emptied the garbage at night but some careless camper must have left food and the bears had found it because that just keeps bringing them back.

I couldn't see the bear at first, black in the shadows, but a young guy with a flannel clad girlfriend holding close to his side pointed his pen light flash light up in the tree and said,

"See the eyes,"

Sure enough I saw the eyes and the rest of the unhappy little fellow.

"The mother ran off over there but the cub went up the tree."

Well, I wasn't about to shoot a cub even if it would have been a perfect place to shoot a big bear in the head, treed on the outer edge of the campground. I wished I'd had a 12 guage loaded with rock salt and backed up with slug. I remember as a kid Dad would discourage bears coming around our campgrounds shooting them in the rump with 22 rifle shorts. "Rock salt works the best. Works good on keeping kids out of the corn too."
As kids we'd thought twice about going back to the corn field of this one old farmer who'd blasted at us with rock salt. We'd not been hit and we'd moved on. Wayne's bear banger was having that deterrent effect but I'd personally not have the cajones to chase a mother and cub through a camp armed only with a bear banger. I was impressed. Cold and having decided there was nothing for me to shoot I returned to my RV.

Next morning I heard a teen ager calling out that he'd seen the bear by the river. So then I did take the rifle and slip on boots and head out after it. I followed the fresh sporn trail all the way to the hills on the other side of the river. I lost it there figuring it had gone up and over the hills or was sleeping in the thick wood beyond a marshy area I didn't want to circle.

Later I'd talk to the really knowledgeable fellow in town who runs the well selected Merritt hunting, archery, paintball and fishing store. He was putting straps on my Excalibur bow and Mossberg 30:30 for easier carrying. I told him about the bear treeing.

"Yea, they're coming down all over this time of year. Don't know what it is. Looking for food before hibernation no doubt. More this year for some reason."

Laura had read that Princeton had a similar excess of bears. Even in North Vancouver there were complaints this week of bears. One broke into a woman's car and stole her groceries.

They're only interested in food but with no predators but man they can become overrun. Boston Bar had bear everywhere two years ago but word got out and hunters came in and now the bear populations a year later back where the bears have enough food in the wilds they're not coming into towns looking for garbage.

At night I'm back to leaving out handy slip on canoe shoes, sweats, knife and flash light just in case. I usually do but by Murphy's law the night I didn't was the night I could have used the stuff. I didn't even have Gilbert, my cockapoo to protect me. Laura's not stupid. She kept him with her ostensibly to keep him safe.

But knowing Laura and her lack of love for bears, she kept Gilbert as a last line of defence if the foolish guy she was with who'd gone out with just flip flops and sweats got eatten.

When I told her that I thought she kept Gilbert for defence, she denied the charge saying, "I have my FAC and stayed inside with the gun so I could blast any thing that tried to come in and hurt my baby, Gilbert"

Which might explain Gilbert's role confusion. With me he's expected to track and defend us against bear while with Laura he's expected to be her baby. The result is a little cockapoo who shows a lot of tough barking bravado then runs back to mamma for treats and cuddling.

Bear hunting season opened this week and next week with deer hunting season opening the hunters will be out. Like me most will be hunting deer but if there's too many bear some of us will be having bear ham this winter and the bear population will return to normal.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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