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.
So far.

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??


kdzu said...

That is exciting. Nature is looking at us and is kinda pissed. Be Careful.
The Kudzu Wife and I went looking at a steep ass piece of property in the N GA mtns yesterday.
I toted a .357 as well as my Spanish Bowie knife.
No fact no fauna of any kind because had they tried to walk on that slope they'd have needed to tie themselves off to a tree at the top.
Gently sloping my tired cracker ass.
Real Estate agents are fourth in line of liars. We have the Executive Branch of gov't in 1st place. Legislative Branch in 2nd place, then used car sells people in 3rd and 4th place goes to Re-al-tors.

Fred said...

Don't think I'd wanna be sharing my neighborhood with black bears.

Be careful out there.

♫NWM♫ said...

I've seen deer and water moccasins so far, not to mention a crap load of raccoons and possums, but no bears... yet. No gators either, but there's always a possibility...

Jean said...

Larry, I think I'd have 'accidentally' pushed the realtor down the slope.

I know, Fred. I worry about my friends.

NWM, I don't even wanna think about the snakes!

J Cosmo Newbery said...

But the look so cute and cuddly...

Jean said...

JCN, from very far away, or in pictures or stuffed.

Anonymous said...

Bears, mountain lion, and coyotes are seen here in Missouri. The MO Dept of Conservation investigates each report. Does FL have a DOC responsible for investigating? My property backs to woods. Looking out of my kitchen window or patio door, I've seen many coyotes and OBESE woodchucks and moles and voles and various other creatures I don't particularly want to see. But then, the bluebirds, hummingbirds, redtail hawks and various song birds, huge does followed closely by bucks, etc also visit. Don't know what I'd do if I ever see a bear. But I know my wacky dog Molly would think she could handle it.


the walking man said...

...or sewn into a winter coat. Actually one way to remove them is change the environment, like take away the food source they are coming into people contact for. keep trash locked in bear proof (steel) bins until trash day.

The more the DNR down there allows them to roam into neighborhoods the worse it gets because they become used to people and lose the natural fear of them.

Other than that 2-300 pounds of black bear might be an even fight with a large enough man.

Jean said...

Bonnie, the state does do investigations. The community management said they contacted them...yada yada yada. Management has yet to send out any kind of official notices, advice, warnings to the residents, which I think is WRONG. I told my friends to call the local newspaper and tv stations.

Mark, they have county issued trash containers. Easy access for the bears. Many of the residents put out their trash the night before instead of in the morning.
Most of the residents are elderly and could no way defend themselves.
I really think the park management and the state are not doing anything to alert the residents.
I hope no one gets hurt.

Doom said...

Those are black bears. Only truly dangerous if you get between (or too close) to a cow and calf, or between any of them and a known large food source (like a carcass). Still, nighttime is good. Noise is good to avoid, but as long as THEY hear YOU, you are probably fine. Still, you don't happen to have a Smith & Wesson 500, do you? or actually a simple shotgun would be better, like this one? Didn't think so.

But making noise through bells (on your person, like a necklace type), cherry bombs, not running, all good. Unlike brown/grizzlies/and larger, if one of these does happen to attack, fight back with everything you can muster. Seriously.

But you are more likely to be run over on your way then to be attacked by a bear. Oh, there is one other thing. If you know you will run, you can't help it, always take a friend. A... slower running friend. You can always cry about it later.

Jean said...

Doom, yeah, they say they are not aggressive except in some circumstances. All good advice you list here but, no they don't have guns. Hopefully, the bears will move on to another area soon.

Anonymous said...

Black bears aren't very big or aggressive generally and Ursus Floridanus are even milder and smaller than their Northern Cousins. Your friends have very little to worry about from them , honestly. Even their dogs are very unlikely to be killed by them.

Jean said...

My brain says you're right, Troll, but I'd just prefer that no one has to prove it first hand.

Anonymous said...

... good grief!...... where I live?..... they hunt black bears in the national forest not ten miles from my house.......


Grumpyunk said...

The National Park Rangers are advising hikers in Glacier National Park and other Rocky Mountain parks to be alert for bears and take extra precautions to avoid an encounter.
They advise park visitors to wear little bells on their clothes so they make noise when hiking. The bell noise allows bears to hear them coming from a distance and not be startled by a hiker accidentally sneaking up on them. This might cause a bear to charge.
Visitors should also carry a pepper spray can just in case a bear is encountered. Spraying the pepper into the air will irritate the bear's sensitive nose and it will run away.
It is also a good idea to keep an eye out for fresh bear scat so you have an idea if bears are in the area. People should be able to recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear scat.
Black bear droppings are smaller and often contain berries, leaves, and possibly bits of fur. Grizzly bear droppings tend to contain small bells and smell of pepper.

Grumpyunk said...

Frank was excited about his new rifle and decided to try bear hunting.

He traveled up to Alaska, spotted a small brown bear and shot it.

Soon after there was a tap on his shoulder, and he turned around to see a big black bear. The black bear said:

“That was a very bad mistake. That was my cousin. I'm going to give you two choices. Either I maul you to death or we have sex.”

After considering briefly, Frank decided to accept the latter alternative. So the black bear had his way with Frank.

Even though he felt sore for two weeks, Frank soon recovered and vowed revenge.

He headed out on another trip to Alaska where he found the black bear and shot it dead.

Right after, there was another tap on his shoulder. This time a huge grizzly bear stood right next to him. The grizzly said:

“That was a big mistake, Frank. That was my cousin and you've got two choices, either I maul you to death or we have 'rough sex’.”

Again, Frank thought it was better to cooperate with the grizzly bear than be mauled to death. So the grizzly had his way with Frank.

Although he survived, it took several months before Frank fully recovered.

Now Frank was completely outraged, so he headed back to Alaska and managed to track down the grizzly bear and shot it.

He felt sweet revenge, but then, moments later, there was a tap on is his shoulder. He turned around to find a giant polar bear standing there. The polar bear looked at him and said:

"Admit it Frank, you don't come here for the hunting, do you?

Jean said...

geez, Unk. You don't visit very often but when you do, it is sooooooo worth it. HA!
(good to see you)