It's the season for apples ripe on the old pioneer trees. Berries are done, but acorns and beech nuts are out in force. Bears, sniffing the air and smelling the approach of winter, are on the hunt for up to 20,000 calories a day. That's how bears bulk up for the long winter hibernation.
A few weeks back, some of our hikers reported spotting a small bear in the back field, near one of the old apple trees. About a week later, we had another reported siting, of a small bear skedaddling away from walkers on the Lookout trail. Out on a nature hike, I found bear scat (black bear scat... with seeds and twigs, not grizzly scat with bear bells and pepper spray) but knowing there are bears in the woods is one thing. Catching up with them is quite another. For one thing, it's hard to be that quiet, particularly now when the leaves are coming down, and are crunchy and rustling underfoot.
We are very Bear Aware here, because we do live with wildlife. We are -- and we educate all our guests -- to be very careful with garbage. Not to leave food on bbq's, or outside where the smell would draw in a hungry bear. When we get reports of bear sightings, we ensure that our guests know what to do if they do encounter a bear -- in anything other than the normal fleeting glimpse.
Stealth cameras are wonderful for stuff like this. Brian has one -- he's got some great images of raccoons, skunks, even Achmed at midnight, misbehaving... They trigger on movement, and don't use a flash, so the animals aren't disturbed. The results can be lovely -- as are these, of our young bear, well away from people, just being a bear. We love to see photos of bears in the woods, provided we are not face to face with them at the time! And for their part, our bears have been models of good bear behaviour, staying well away from people and buildings.
Not like the wolf pack -- ten days ago, when Brian went out to fill up the wood furnace at 6 a.m., he heard the pack howling. Close. Very close. He walked to the edge of the big barn, and there, in the horse pasture by the Port Cunnington Road, he could actually see the pack milling about, howling to some more distant pack members across the road. Right there in the field! They were long gone before anyone else was up and about, and of course, no photos of them... But they, too, might wander into the viewfinder of the Bush Camera before we're done... we can only hope! We'd welcome some photos of them, as well!
Twice this autumn a wolf has trotted down the road while Nancy has been driving to meetings -- once on the Fox Point Road near Marsh's Falls. Once, half way to Dorset. On both occasions it was too dark, and happened too fast, for a photo op!
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