This is going back in the Ansel bear hunting archives quite a few years. That’s my dad (Norm) and myself with one of the 40 some bear we’ve taken while hunting the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We started hunting black bear in 1973 and have had hundreds of encounters with these bruins over the 40 years that we’ve pursued “old blackie!” In all these encounters only a few bears have had aggressive tendencies. We have encounter sows with cubs and I personally have seen “Mama bear” quite upset! I once had three cubs run up a tree right next to me. They were so close I could touch them! Mama was pretty irritated and was “popping her teeth” at the base of my tree stand. I’m glad she stayed on the ground, as my bow and arrow seemed pretty puny at the time. She woofed and the three cubs shimmed down the tree and scampered off into the woods with their sibling who had climbed a different tree. Now seeing four cubs is a rare sight indeed and I was more thrilled than frightened with our encounter. I could go on and on about bear stories and am thinking of writing a book of bear camp memories sometime in the future.
Within the last couple days there have been several bear attacks in the United States with one of them taking place in Wexford County Michigan. That’s one county over from my cabin in Luzerne. Regular readers of my blog may remember that we have had a number of bear around our place with one strolling through the yard in broad daylight.
Abby Wetherell the 12 year old who was attacked this past Thursday north of Cadillac was walking down a two track with nearby homes in sight. When she saw the bear she ran trying to reach the safety of one of those homes. The bear caught her and mauled her legs. Abby broke free, but was knocked down a second time. A neighbor heard her screams and scared the bear off. Abby was airlifted to Munson Medical center with deep wounds to her legs and thigh. It is reported she will be released today. The DNR has placed live traps in the area in hopes of capturing this potentially dangerous bear. This incident sure makes me wonder about my own grandkids playing around the cabin with bear in the area. Obviously this was not a female protecting her cubs, but a blatant attack by a very aggressive bear. I’m assuming it was a boar (male) who saw Abby as prey. I hate to think of the consequences if there had not been an alert neighbor in the area!
It has been reported that the bear are hungry and trying to fatten up for hibernation. I’m not sure I believe that one, as hibernation is still almost 3 months away. Bears eat a lot of berry’s, acorns, ants, and such which makes me wonder if their natural food supply is lacking this year? Although we have had considerable rain in the southern part of the state, drought conditions exists in the northern part. Are bears salvaging for food where there’s easy pickings? Bird feeders, garbage cans, and even outdoor pets and livestock are all fair game on Mr. Bear’s dinner list. Hungry bears who loose their fear of humans have the potential to attack the most vulnerable among us. There have only been a couple bear related deaths here in our state, but overall encounters seem to be on the rise in bear country. Carrying a handgun (where legal) or a can of bear spray may be good advice as we do move closer to Fall and bears move closer to easy food sources.
I will be doing a follow up on bear encounters in the next few months.