Sunday, July 31, 2011
It isn't all flamingoes and 'gators...
I have friends who live over that-a-way about 25 miles.
They live in a senior (55+) community surrounded by
lots of forest-y land and not far from the edges of the
Ocala National Forest.
They enjoy sitting on their enclosed front porch and
watching cute little critters eating the seeds and nuts
my friends leave in the yard and the bird feeder.
You know... the smile inducing kind like cardinals,
blue jays, mockingbirds, herons, hummingbirds,
black birds, squirrels and an occasional raccoon.
Little. 99.9% harmless.
Until a few weeks ago.
In that time, they've had three black bear sightings.
OK, technically, two sightings. One time was merely
noticing the bird feeder had been destroyed and the
culprit left six piles of bear scat in the yard.
Other residents throughout the community have
reported black bears for a while. Always late at
night or very early morning just before the trash
pick-up is scheduled. The bears are raiding the
trash cans looking for food.
Many of the people who live there (including my friends)
have dogs and walk their dogs through the park, usually in
the early morning and late evening when it's dark.
Dark is when the bears show up.
So far no one has encountered a bear on their walk.
The official advice if such were to occur is: Don't panic.
Don't run away because the bear might chase you.
Make noise to scare the bear. Back up slowly but don't
look the bear in the eye because that is interpreted as
a threat to the bear.
They make pepper spray for bears. Wouldn't that piss
them off? Should they carry pots and pans to make noise?
Berry suggested cherry bombs/small fireworks. I think I'd
be shaking too hard to light a fuse.
The community managers claim their calls to state officials
have done nothing because no one has been hurt. They say
the black bear is listed as endangered so they cannot be shot.
They are behind the times because I found an article that said
the Florida black bear was removed from the endangered list
last month. I'm not advocating killing the bears but, if one
needs to protect oneself in an attack...
Anyway, I suggested that they carry an air horn and,
lo and behold, they got the same advice from another friend
who happens to be a hunter. So, now my friends have an air horn.
All I know is, from now on, I'll make sure to leave their
neighborhood while it's still daylight.
Wasn't that simply one of the most exciting posts you've ever read here??