Another Un-Bearable Night
Who’s been eating My Honey…?
Well, as predicted in my post of yesterday Papa Bear returned for another swipe at my apiary. This time it was confirmed, it is definitely a bear… a big bear, likely an older male rather than the juvenile I anticipated. This time he struck earlier at about 9:00pm last night while I was still awake. The crashing of the hive to the ground alerted me to his presence, but, of course, it was already too late, rainy, and dark to save the honeybees. The early hour did give me time to confirm it was in fact a bear that had struck the night before. In deed, this time I saw him at the edge of the woods happily licking up a gooey candy of bees and honey. As I approached he challenged me with a loud snort, to which I responded with a snort of my own. This managed to stop any aggression toward me as he was now unsure of what to expect. So there we stood, about 30 feet separated Ursus americanus from me, with a chorus of snorting to and fro filling the damp night air. …and so the standoff continued.
I got a lager more powerful light as with the small headband all I could make out was vague movement and occasional glowing silver-white eyes. This powerful lamp gave details which I hadn’t expected and made me glad for not following my initial reaction to pursue Papa Bear off my property and into the woods. The new light on the subject revealed a massive bear, of 250 – 300 pounds and standing 30-32 inches at the shoulder. He was happily and nonchalantly devouring three frames of my honeycomb with only an occasional glance in my direction to be sure I wasn’t advancing further. When a couple of times I did make a motion to advance it was met with a loud snort and his standing on back paws to expose his full threatening height of what I reckoned from the separation between us of approximately my height. Clearly this was a sight to see… God’s creation raw and uncensored, so to speak!
I took up the dog’s Frisbee which was lying at my bear feet, pardon the pun, and hurled it at the bear. He responded with a louder snort, a rising on his hind legs, and a tentative advance. Needless to say, this ended any further provocation on my part. So there we stood, eyeball to eyeball for a good half-hour. By this time, the commotion had roused the household and my wife and houseguest were safely ensconced on the deck urging me to come back or at least not go further. Sound advice, clearly. When Papa Bear finished the three frames in hand, or more correctly, in paw, he made a tentative move to amble on back to the hive advancing about three feet but keeping a wary eye on me. He thought better of the idea and decided to wait me out, but I also wanted to demonstrate who was in control and tossed a tomato stake I carried in his direction. This caused him to turn back along the perimeter of the wood-line and eventually back into the deep wood, but not before rearing once again on hind legs and letting out his loudest snort. I guess it was his way of saving face. I checked several times during the night but he did not return preferring to bide his time for a return visit this evening for my final beehive which is closer to the house, off the patio.
For those who don’t know the details of Black Bears here is a brief description from Texas Parks and Wildlife:
The Black Bear is a stocky, large animal, one of the largest mammals in North America. Adults reach a length of 5 to 6 feet, height at the shoulder of 2 to 3 feet, and weigh 200-300 pounds. Although called a “black” bear, colors can range from black to the occasional cinnamon brown. Front claws are generally longer than hind claws. The fur is long and coarse. Although appealing and generally harmless, Black Bears can injure humans when provoked and should be treated with caution.
This morning I will contact the Connecticut EPA and or the Wildlife Authority, to report the incident; not that they will do anything about it, but just for their sightings reports, and also to warn me about shooting the bear, …just in case I had any notions.
Below is the best photo I was able to capture during the standoff; considering the distance, darkness, foliage, and rain.
Through the mist you have a side view of the upper portion of the bear. You can make out his tan muzzle; his mouth, nose, eye, and ear, (his ear is the top); his left forearm is encircling all the above as he tears open another frame of honey.
The question now still remains… Do I continue to be a beekeeper or not?
Meantime, true to my American Indian roots, (after all there is a tribe called the Micmac’s of Maine, to which I now formally attach my clan ☺), I will here after use my new Indian name:
Richard, (Dances With Bears) of Danbury, D.S.G.