bears come down from a tree
Saturday, October 20 2007
At some point in the course of our morning walk in the forest, I took the dogs off-trail up the central axis of an upland valley (41.922429N, 74.102826W). Soon thereafter Eleanor was barking at whatever she'd treed, so I ran to see for myself what it was. The tree was a large Northern Red Oak, and, as expected, the treed animal was a bear. It was making a low grunting sound I'd never heard before. But then I saw that there was another, smaller bear higher in the tree. It was a mother bear with a half-grown cub. I've been worried about what would happen should the dogs ever encounter a mother with a baby, but it seems even a mother bear (the most feared animal of the forest) will do whatever is necessary to avoid altercations.
From their context, I got the feeling the bear's grunts were the mother bear telling her baby that she knew these dogs and that though it was an annoyance to have to climb the tree, soon enough the dogs would go and they could climb down again.
While the dogs still barked from the bottom of the tree, the mother took a massive shit, which rained down noisily into the leaves around them. I could imagine such a move being an effective predator-confounding strategy.
I'd fortuitously brought my camera, and so after snapping some pictures, I
hurried the dogs along. They were happy enough to do so, and ran some distance further up the valley, with me bringing up the rear. As soon as the dogs stopped barking, that mother bear started climbing down out of her tree. That was much sooner than I had predicted. I was perhaps a hundred feet away from the tree, sitting on a rock and taking pictures when she reached the ground. She then stood there while her baby shimmied down behind her. That was when I saw that there had actually been two baby bears. Eventually I had to keep moving for fear the dogs would doubleback and re-tree the bears.
A baby bear high up in the tree.
Mother bear shimmies down.
Mother bear on the ground.
Two baby bears coming down out of the tree.
Mother bear looks directly at me while one of her baby shimmies down from the tree.
This evening when I wasn't watching yet more teevee and temporarily dulling the firepower of my neural circuitry, I was surfing the web looking for articles about the disappointing political prospects of Fred Thompson. Watching the political demise of that of that complete waste of human protoplasm is proving to be one of the highlights of this autumnal news cycle.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
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