Sunday, August 16, 2009

Camping in Bear Country

This summer we camped in Lake Tahoe. Every night we had a Black Bear strolling through our camp. Every night the Bear got lucky when the oblivious new arrivals left their food out past dark. A sudden “Bear, Bear …” and he was at it again. A 2 year old male juvenile simply happy to fetch a pack with someone’s not eaten sandwich or a bag of chips. One night a group of pretty drunk kids chased the Bear into a tree right off our campsite. The Bear was sitting about 12 feet up in the tree looking down at these young kids. Taking pictures, throwing rocks and screaming “bad bear, bad bear.” Luckily our camp host lived right next to us and she dashed out to send everyone back home. The bear stayed in the tree for another few hours at least. I could see the reflection from his eyes as I checked on his whereabouts every 30 minutes or so. He was scared and you would think he had learned. Nope … the next day he was back on the hunt!

Here is a great link on what to do when you are in Bear Country. Brown bears (aka Grizzlies) have a different behavior than Black Bears. To me Black Bears are large raccoons. Opportunity hunters who have no clue how strong they actually are and that they would have no problem killing a human. Instead they have shown respect and keep their distance unless provoked. They just want your food and if you have no choice just give it to them. Don’t fight for your pack! It is not worth it!