It’s not that unusual to have black bear visit here in semi-rural Wisconsin. Last year, a bear was seen within 100 yards of our school bus stop:
“What did you do?” I asked, fearfully, hearing the story retold.
“We kinda said to ourselves, “Hey—is that a bear?”” my friend said.
“We thought it was a dog,” another friend added.
“Do we have some kind of ‘bear’ drill, in case that happens again?”
Right away, I got the ‘Heidi, you-have-a-Ferret-on-your-face look’ from both women.
A bear that hibernated through the winter we just had, wouldn’t wait for a honey pot from Piglet, either. If I were “Reawakened-Bear-Hungry,” I’d might eat a mail box, take bites out of a sharking boat, or a gobble down a whole box of Girl Scout cookies before my husband, Fred, got home. A real hungry bear might view my child or my golden retriever as a giant blackberry.
So, I, as the Little Red Hen, researched Bear Drill protocol myself.
On the web, I found the following video depicting a potential polar bear escape from a well-prepared Japanese zoo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=645QSzGJfqs
Lots of natural resource websites provide detailed advice to would-be bear encounter-ers, all aimed at protecting and preserving the precious life, the feelings and the rights…of the bear. They’re so pro-bear, in fact, that they read something like this:
“Hey, if you’re dumb enough to get yourself near a bear…God you’re stupid…here is some obvious advice. Dumb-ass”
It’s almost as if the BEAR wrote it.
Presumably, bears do not want human meat, and most sources claim the most logical defense is to keep your distance. Contrastingly, if you tickle a cub under its chin, pull a ‘Crocodile Dundee’ stare-down or step on its paw…well--it was nice knowing you.
To deal with a bear meeting, you must interpret her body language:
1. Is the bear looking at you? Let her hear your voice. Show her you are a talking steak dinner (most distasteful, apparently).
2. Standing on hind legs—a sign she is scoping out the scene. Remain calm. Stand tall and make yourself large. Bears hate this.
3. Pouncing on front paws. She's trying to bluff an attack, not trying to get you to play fetch. Never play fetch with a bear.
4. Running at you straight backed. Keep your ground. She will most likely flank to the right or left as a warning. If she knocks you down, lay in the prone position, protecting vital organs (although the bear could get to your vital organs from…your back…too, right??). If possible, climb a tree.
I may as well slather up with Heinz 57 sauce and prepare for the mauling.