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Have you ever seen a bear in the woods?

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Crystal Clarity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-18-10 09:51 AM
Original message
Have you ever seen a bear in the woods?
I recently rented 'Grizzly Man' and it got me thinking about the encounters I've had w/bear... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grizzly_Man

For me, it's only been 3 in the 30+ years I've lived in the Maine woods. Plus they were all Black bear which are not known to be overly aggressive, but after watching that movie, I still shudder to think of at least one of the 3 encounters I've had.

The first time was when I was only about 12 or 13. My younger sister and I had wandered further away then usual when she spotted a bear cub. I remember her saying "look, how cute"! As soon as I saw it, I knew we had to get away, knowing that even bear that are generally not aggressive can be unpredictable if they perceive a threat to their young. We took off running pretty much all the way home. I never did see the mother bear but I'm sure it couldn't have been far off.

The 2nd time was the scariest (in retrospect). I had gone for a walk in the woods near my parent's home, trying to find an old house foundation. I was in my early 20's at the time and married, but had moved back home briefly for a break from my then-husband. The old house foundation was near an overgrown old logging rd and not too hard to find since I had been there many times as a teenager. I used to collect old bottles and things I'd find there. Anyway, I wasn't too far from my parents or the tar road, so who'd expect a bear?

My cat, an eccentric (to say the least-lol) Maine Coon was with me. I had stopped for a smoke break and was quietly sitting on a giant rock watching my cat chase blowing leaves. Suddenly we heard something that HAD to be big lumbering around nearby. Whatever it was (I was thinking probably a moose) seemed to be coming closer. My cat got all bristled up and ran off like a bat-out-of-hell. I was more annoyed then anything. He wasn't familiar w/this area so I worried about being able to find him. I took off in the direction I had last seen him go, calling his name. As I turned the sharp corner onto a more recent logging rd, I briefly looked back to where I had been sitting and there was a huge black bear. I wasn't afraid... just more surprised then anything. He looked at me briefly and then lumbered off back into the woods.

I continued on looking for my cat and finally found him WAY up high in a tree. The little brat wouldn't come down for me. I spent about 20 minutes trying to coax him down, but he was having none of it. During that time I heard and sensed the presence of the bear not far off. I was mildly apprehensive because Black Bear are usually pretty elusive to humans, so this behavior seemed odd. Intuition and common sense finally prevailed and since I knew where my cat was, and that he was safe for the time being, I went home and found my father working in the barn.

When I told him what had happened he blanched a bit and said that it (that bear) is probably the same one that old man Dudley (the school bus driver) said he'd seen standing on his hind legs in the middle of the tar road near that very spot only 2 days before. Old man Dudley was a lifelong native mainer and former Maine Guide. He told my father about what he had seen to warn him, because "there had to be something wrong with that bear"

My father did not want me to go back for my cat, saying that he'd make his way home eventually, but I persisted. He finally relented and agreed to accompany me back there. He brought along his rifle (just in case). We found my cat still in that same tree, but this time I was able to coax him down with some bologna. Meanwhile my father was checking out the bear tracks. They were all over the place, some mixed in w/mine. The bear must have been sniffing around in the same spot I had been standing trying to get my cat out of the tree after I had left.

The final bear encounter I had was simply on a back road. He/she? was nothing but a brief glimpse and we (my SO and I) were safe in the pickup.

I doubt that I was ever in any real danger in these encounters (although I have to wonder about the 2nd time). It's not as if I had Grizzlies to contend with as some of you folks out west. But you never know...

That documentary, 'Grizzly Man' (if some of you haven't seen it), was pretty good but more then a little disturbing, so be prepared if you do intend to watch it.

For those of you who have seen it, what did you think? I get the impression that Treadwell finally had enough sense to feel fear in that last week, which was unfortunately too late. Eeew, and I now can't get what those final moments must have been like for him and Amie out of my mind!

At any rate, back to my original question... Have you ever seen a bear in it's own environment?
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amerikat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-19-10 09:30 PM
Response to Original message
1. A couple of times.
One was Stokes State Forest in NJ. About 10 years ago.
Tillman Ravine is sacred place for me. A short hike of less
than a mile round trip.

I hiked the trail next to a small stream with towering Hemlocks.
When I got back to the parking lot, There was a momma bear and three
cubs across from the parking area. She went into to woods and cubs
followed her. I'm glad that it all worked out so well.

The other time was in CA. Driving through the Sierra Nevada mountains.
We stopped to pee and there we were with zippers down and a cub climbed
up onto the roadway. I said to my friend, lets get out of here, the momma bear is not far from here.

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my
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Crystal Clarity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-20-10 11:37 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My! LOL!!!
Of course, if I ever profess to have seen a lion or tiger in the Maine woods, you can bet I probably have partaken of our bizarrely powerful maine greenbud... something I haven't done for decades. WAY too freaky for me!

Hey, just out of curiosity I checked out info on Stokes State Forest and Tillman Ravine. It must be gorgeous! We've got beautiful places here in Maine, and people who have not seen them, (folks on DU for ex.) believe me when I describe Maine's wonderful aesthetic attributes. This it seems, is in huge contrast to the reactions from folks who know nothing about NJ other then the Garden State Parkway. Perhaps it's a good thing that the idea of beauty regarding rural NJ is met w/skepticism. If people truly knew that they could live in a near-paradise yet not be too far from their jobs, I bet those areas would be much different. Thank God Governor Stokes had the foresight to make a state park out of some of it too.

The temperate climate of NJ is a huge factor. Even though NJ is only about 400 miles south of here, there is a BIG climate difference which is obvious in the flora. It grows and blooms with little effort even in well populated areas. The last time I visited my sister in Trenton was in April and I couldn't stop marveling at all the blooming beauty of the trees and shrubs.

Another thing that distinguishes NJ (from Maine and possibly many other states) is the old growth areas. As far as I know, we've none left here. Even though we are the most heavily forested state in the US (over 90%)... it's basically all new growth. The paper industry continues to employ more people in this state than any other including tourism. And even though they replant, the state of Maine is basically one huge crop of Timber. It's rare to find tree growth of more then 50 years. Sad, because there is so much beauty in old growth forests. http://www.umaine.edu/MIAL/products/maine_cd.htm

Here's some info I found about Stokes. It's not far from Hope Township where my parents used to take us every fall when my sisters and I were little to "The Land Of Make Believe"...

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stokes_State_Forest
Tillman Ravine Natural Area is a 525 acres section of evergreen forest surrounding Tillman Brook. An old-growth forest of 25 acres containing Eastern Hemlock and hardwoods follows part of the ravine. Several trails run through this area, providing views of waterfalls, pools, and rock formations. Tillman Ravine is a habitat for the Barred Owl and other endangered species. The ravine was created when the Wisconsin glacier melted and the melt water created a stream by traveling through the weaknesses of the bedrock.

That trip to the Sierra Nevadas must have been really cool too. Isn't that the area where the Donner Party incident occurred? :scared:

Ummm... what were we talking about? LOL, just kidding! It was I who got off topic. Thanks for responding Ameikat. It's sad that his forum appears to be dead or dying. :-( I love outdoor topics but only found this spot accidentally.





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amerikat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-29-10 09:19 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. sorry it took me so long to get back to your post.
We had a lion or tiger on the loose up here a few years ago. An escapee from a local zoo.
I forget if it was tranquilized and captured or shot dead. I hope he was captured and
returned.

0------p0999999999999999999994444333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwryhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. my cat checks in and he can't type worth a damn, he knows it and just doesn't care.

About Tillman Ravine, old growth forest of hemlocks and Rhododendron, ferns and many others.
Shear beauty.

About the Sierra trip, we went to the place where the Donner party camped for the winter.
freaked me out a bit at the time. Nothing that a good tomato pie wouldn't cure.
I remember the land of make believe and there was another place called wild west city
and Santas workshop or Christmas land also.

Peace. Don't forget to vote on Nov. 2

Howard

PS. not putting this through the spell checker because of the cats typing.

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JustABozoOnThisBus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-30-10 09:59 PM
Response to Original message
4. Black bears in Smokey Mt National Park,
and big brown bears in Sequoia National Park.

The black bears are sorta cute. The brown bears are, well, big.

:hi:

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SteveM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-26-11 03:38 PM
Response to Original message
5. No bears, but saw a panther in the Florida Panhandle in 1970...
Way out of its range (S. Central and SW Florida), and was probably someone's "pet" that was released where it could "survive." Felt sorry for the animal, bounding across a state highway at 4 a.m., all alone in Wakulla Forest.

Saw the movie. A study in anthropomorphizing animals, but well beyond the sentment-saturated Bambi Syndrome. I noted what the Fish & Wildlife guy said: They knew how many bears were in the area, and how many were taken by hunters. Treadwell seemed to think he could wish communication and bonding affection with these animals, as if bears really want to communicate with us. Rather presumptuous on his part, and irresponsible to talk his girlfriend into going along with him.

A good double-feature: Grizzly Man and The Yearling.
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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-21-11 01:48 PM
Response to Original message
6. I have crossed paths with grizzlies three times
I was within forty feet of them. Two entered our campsites in Alaska. One was on the trail to Iceberg Lake in Glacier NP last year. too close!

This year, we went to Maine on vacation. Less action there
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Brickbat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-22-11 11:16 AM
Response to Original message
7. Grizzlies, no, but yes to black bears. We live in the woods and one came to the trash can twice; I
have also seen sign in the woods but not bears on the trail.
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