I think black bears are pretty shy. At least I hope so.
To back up this viewpoint, shortly after we moved into our home in the Manzano Mountains last July a large cinnamon colored visitor appeared just a few yards from our kitchen window, right in front of the propane tank. The appearance of that bear was completely surreal, more like a waking dream. But when I yelled for my husband to “come quick,” this burly fellow trudged off into the pinon. Lucky for me, Ed managed to get there in time to watch him lumber out of view so he knew I wasn’t hallucinating.
The next day, close neighbor Anne (who lives about 2 miles up the dirt road) told me not to fret. That same bear (how many cinnamon colored black bears are there up here, anyway?) appeared on her deck, happily enjoying the sugar water from her hummingbird feeders. She informed me that bear were mostly harmless, and even the fact that I had grand kids coming soon was no reason for alarm. So I tried to relax in the face of this new reality, and I’ve done a pretty good job of it. Now we do see bear scat (poop) from time to time on the edges of our property, and certainly we see bear sign OFF our property. And I am conscious of being noisy enough on our walks that we don’t surprise a 300 pound bear (especially one with cubs in tow) by shuffling my feet, talking and whistling while hiking. And so far I’ve not personally seen another.
But spring is here now, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some mamas and cubs out and about. From what I hear, that is the situation where you need to pay special attention.
- Never approach a bear
- If you do see one, do NOT run. A running person can make a bear instinctively give chase
- Stand and face the bear (do not make eye contact) talk quietly and slowly back away
- If cubs are nearby, try not to come between the bear and her cubs
- On the unlikely chance that a bear gets into your house, open all the doors you can safely access, then leave.
- If you do see a bear near your home, yell at it, bang pots and make a lot of noise. But do this near a doorway so you can easily escape inside if you need to. If a bear is in a nearby tree, take yourself and your dogs inside and give the bear time to leave
I see a lot of bear sign around my property, including large rocks turned over in order to search for succulent grubs and other delicacies. But I’ve only seen an actual bear that one time. However, with grand kids on the property and spring approaching fast, I’m planning a lesson in bear safety soon!