This is not a good night story. About this time last year I was out in the field behind the house near the trash barrel burning a bunch of burnable trash (folks do burn stuff out in the country - we don't have a garbage truck coming around every week).
I'm standing there thinking about something very important, no doubt, when I hear this blowing noise like a horse makes and in my little mind I'm thinking, "Hmmm, that's weird. There are NO horses near here. Someone's horse must have gotten loose. I casually turn around expecting to see a beautiful Welsh cob...and there, 40 feet away from me is....a big black bear! Mind, I'd just heard on the radio that one had demolished someone's tent with the person in it not so far away, so I'm just a little alarmed. Since I don't generally go to zoos I haven't spent a lot of time around bears. That Anthony Hopkins movie flashes through my mind (adrenaline is amazing, isn't it? All these thoughts occur to me - hmm, horse, no...bear, wrecked tent, Hopkins...in about a mini-millisecond. Normally it would take me about 20 minutes to have that many thoughts).
Anyway my feet have more sense than my addled brain and I just sort of calmly and casually saunter the 50 yards to the back door, keeping in mind that it's not a good idea to RUN from a bear no matter how much you want to. Quick peek behind me as I slam the door...no bear.
Then my good sense takes hold. Bear.....Nikon...photos. So I charge up 2 flights of winding stairs, grab my lens and camera and head back out to face this wild bear who has somehow grown to twice its original size. By now it's standing on its hind legs beating its big hairy chest with its forepaws tongue sliding back and forth across its big jagged teeth as it grins at me in a very hungry fashion.
My lust for a good shot lures me closer, closer to this wild creature who wants me for lunch and from whom I've just escaped (outwitted, you know). With no care for my own safety, thinking of the greater good of mankind, I creep closer yet, then, pausing in the shadow of the horse trailer, I snap away. Here's one of the shots I managed to capture before this evil bear tore me to shreds. That's beareality for ya.
[Seriously I realize this bear isn't interested in me in the slightest - it's busy eating this pile of stuff I'd dumped up in the woods at the edge of the field - stuff that had been in cans in the pantry for like 20 years. I bet he had a tummy ache].
Anyway, night before last a bear paid us another visit...tipped over the trash can and spilled its contents around the yard, tipped over the trash burning barrel (and that's HEAVY - no raccoon did that)....and tore a huge limb out of the peach tree - one that's laden with nearly ripe fruit. Every year the bear has a limb out of that tree.
A little background here...a couple of winters ago my sister arrived up here to find the back door (mostly glass) broken down and the refrigerator door torn off and its contents spilled all on the floor....bear tracks, bear tracks! And not so long after that she'd put a bag of trash in her car trunk to take to the county dump...she came back inside to get her purse, went back out...and there was a bear in her back seat trying to claw its way into the trunk! It had opened the door!! She swears it. These Catskill black bears ain't dumb. Made a mish-mash of that car it did.
Anyway, I've studied black bears a bit since then and have learned that they're generally harmless (I don't want to meet a rogue, however!) and usually aren't much of a danger to people. But if you're camping don't store food in your tent - or your trunk, either, unless you want to meet one up close and personal. There doesn't seem to be a good way to keep them out of your berry patch or your peach trees, though. Let nature take its course.