Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thansgiving Visitors

The 2013 Pennsylvania bear season ended yesterday at sundown. I didn't go out although I had been asked by Don if I wanted to. There were a couple of considerations in my decision not to participate. Two of them are called "knees."

In PA you can not bait nor use dogs to chase bears as you can in other states. It's a rough hunt with groups of hunters--often 20 or so--doing drives to rouse the bears. Half the hunters take up posts along one straight line while the other half goes a mile or so further down the road and enters the woods to push any bear to the standing hunters. When the two groups meet they either celebrate a bear kill or find a new place to repeat the process with the teams (standers and drivers) changing sides. It's very imprecise and very rugged. Especially rugged in the hilly country of the Northern Tier.

With the knees just 18 weeks old and my footing on rough terrain still a work in progress, I figured I'd play it safe and leave the game to others. And there were plenty of others in the woods. Monday, when Terry and I were going to the dump via Mountain Ridge and Fallbrook Roads which cut through parts of Tioga State Forest we came across two groups of hunters clad in solid orange. (You want to be as visible as possible to 1) scare the bear and 2) alert the other hunters that you are NOT a bear as you crash through the brush.)

Still we heard very few shots during the four day hunt. The exception was one cluster of shots from one to two miles to the west on Tuesday evening. Two quick shots were followed by five very well spaced shots. I assume the first wounded the bear and the latter finished him off. At least I hope that's what happened.

So, as I said, the season ended yesterday at sundown.

Brian safely navigated from New Jersey to the Aerie and arrived around 4 PM. We had a nice venison roast for dinner and enjoyed a drink or two pre and post meal. Then we sat and talked for a bit.

At approximately 8 PM there was a sound on the deck and the cats ears went up. A second noise sent them running to the windows and we followed.

 Mama Bear

 with baby Cinnamon

and Blackie.

These three hadn't been seen since early summer/late spring when I stopped putting the bird feeders out. I've seen scat on the logging trail but actual sighting of any bear hasn't happened. To the point where I got careless/lazy and left the bird feeders out over night. Still, they've been out there for two weeks and this is the first time they've been robbed by anything other than a squirrel.

I was very pleased to see that Mom had succeeded in making it through the season with out getting separated from her cubs and possibly shot (sow bears with cubs are protected). Seeing how big the two cubs had grown...well, that was a shock! When we first saw them they weren't much bigger than Chester, our 22 pound cat. Now they look to tip the scales at 70-80 pounds! That's a lot of berries, grass and grubs. Not to mention Mother's milk. Both cubs looked healthy as could be.

They came up on the deck not five minutes after I had come in from being out there and stayed on the deck for the better part of half an hour. We banged on the window ans they left...for two minutes before returning to slurp up black oil sunflower seeds. The Cinnamon followed the lead of Mom but Blackie was a little more reticent. The Cinnamon also seemed to dominate Blackie in chasing it away from the stairs and into the woods briefly.

After their second round on the deck, I banged on the glass really hard and Mom took the hint (she had also finished all the sunflower seeds) and led the cubs off the deck and out on to the lawn. I took the opportunity to step out onto the deck clap my hands a few times to spook them and they dashed off into the woods while I retrieved the undamaged but now empty bird feeders.

So. Who  are you having over for Thanksgiving?

1 comment:

Rev. Paul said...

Never a dull moment around the Aerie, it seems.

We'll have no visitors again, this year. No one from the Lower 48 has been here for the holidays since 2005.
Funny how that works.

Happy Thanksgiving to both of you, and to all whom you hold dear.