Monday, October 17, 2011

A Real Bear Story

Living in Alaska gives one an opportunity to view bears in the wild. Unfortunately, one also has the opportunity to view bears in our own neighborhoods.


This picture was taken from my deck this past summer. The bear was in a neighbor’s yard across the street from where we live.

Although bears are amazing and fun to watch, what you don’t want to see is a bear in your yard or in your neighbor’s yard.

BearJul06A (1)

This picture was also taken from my deck in July of 2006. The bear was right below me as you can see from the following picture.


We have a big problem with “garbage bears” here in our community.

A few weeks ago, our neighbors were continuing to have problems with a bruin who had gotten into their garbage weeks before. Once a bear has found what he is looking for in your yard, he is very persistent and will continue to frequent the vicinity until he is removed.

After numerous visits from what my neighbor referred to as “a very aggressive bear,” Fish and Game was called in to set a “live trap.”

A few days after the trap was set, I awakened to loud clanging sounds at approximately 11:30 p.m. on a Friday night.

The bear was caught. As he continued to clang and struggle to get out of his cage I felt scared for sure, and sorry for him that his path in life had led him to a cage and subsequent transport into unfamiliar territory.

Fish and Game arrived within the hour to attach the cage to their truck and cart the bear away from our neighborhood, hopefully to an island far away from people, where he can live out his life in peace.

To my surprise after conversing with my neighbor the next day about the bear, he admitted he was angry at the bear. He was angry because the bear continuously came around his yard and showed no fear when confronted by the man. My neighbor told me he wanted to torment the bear and punish it for getting into his garbage.

Although my neighbor didn’t follow through on his desire to torment the bear, I was taken aback by his comments.

The bears are not the problem. People are the problem. My neighbor’s garbage was accessible to the bear.

A bear’s sense of smell is many many times that of a human and this particular bear was able to smell my neighbor’s garbage through the shed that the man had it stored in.

Consequently, the bear broke into the shed.

Bears are simply following their instincts. We have moved ourselves into their territory. And we provide easy food.

I am sorry for the bear. Sorry for my neighbor. And sorry for all the other garbage bears out there that we have forced into our properties.

My neighbor didn’t know what was to be done with the bear. Normally Fish and Game will try to transport the bear to a vicinity unpopulated by humans. My hope is that is what happened.

The second alternative is to put the bear down. Especially an aggressive bear that is not afraid of humans. My hope is that this alternative was not taken.

I watched as the Fish and Game truck transported the wheeled cage containing the bear down the hill from our house. I felt good and bad at the same time. I felt bad for the bear’s uncertain fate; I felt good that we no longer had to worry about a bear in our neighborhood, at least until next time.

Because there will be a next time.

At least once a year a bear wanders into our neighborhood and finds what it is looking for.

It’s up to us humans to ensure that doesn’t happen.

I wonder how we’ll do next year.


  1. Wow, great story. I'm like you - I feel sorry for the bears cause they only are hunting for food, but at the same time you have that fear of a bear doing
    harm to a human. Bears or no bears you still live in a beautiful place. Take care and beware of the bears! The real ones and not your beautiful handmade ones!


  2. Great pictures! I still have yet to see a bear in my yard. I've been told by my neighbors that a mom and 3 babies enjoyed playing on our deck numerous times this past spring and summer.

  3. Hi Pat and thanks for the visit. Yes, it is beautiful here and like everywhere else, we have certain challenges...

    Hey Angie... hope you don't see those bears on your deck... I hope you see them from afar. Have a nice rainy day today!

  4. Yes, I agree. We should not blame the bears or other wildlife. I have always wanted to visit Alaska. Maybe someday will get to. Thank you for the nice post with the bear photos :)

  5. Hi Danice, Thanks for coming by my blog and taking the time to post a comment. Hugs to you, Vicki

  6. Oh wow Vicki, what inspiration for your bears but I have to admit that I would be so afraid if I saw a bear on my property! Nevertheless, they are absolutely magnificent and what a pity that they have to be disturbed.

    Lots of warm hugs from the South.
    Pat xx

  7. Hi Pat! I'm so happy to hear from you. I've missed you, my friend. Hope all is well in your world. Take care, Love and hugs, Vicki

  8. Hi Vicki,I understand fear for a bear when he is in your backyard,but I really hope this bear is safe,they are so beautiful and they do not understand.I love those bears!!


  9. Hello there from the UK - and thanks for commenting, twice this week, on my blog at

    Your points about bears are heartily supported. Like you, I prefer the ones I make to the real McCoy! However, if they can be safely removed - never to return - that is the nicest way to handle it. Alas, Bears and humans were never intended to co-mingle!

    Look forward to future contacts - am hoping to use the new camera today or tomorrow to illustrate my next post - this time about my rabbit! If you (and you friends who've posted here) would like to pass by, you'd all be most welcome!

    Thanks again. All the best to you all. Isobel

  10. Hey Leny, thank you so much for coming by to visit the "real" bears. From one bear lover to another! Take care.

    Hi Isobel! I love reading your blog and the way you write. It is so refreshing and feels like I know you, even though we have never met in person. Good luck with your new camera. I'll be by your blog to visit and thank you for visiting mine.

  11. Wow, I'd be taken aback by your neighbor's remarks, too. As you said, the bear was only doing what comes naturally. Plus, it's very confusing for animals, since we're the ones in their homes with our wood or brick houses. :(

    I know I'll be seeing some bears soon as the area where I'm moving to has bear hunting and borders on the Superior National Forest.

    Take care, my friend. Hope you're having a great weekend. :)

    Tracy Screaming Sardine

  12. Hi Vicki! It must be scary having a bear in your garden or your neighbours garden. I absolutely agree with you and also hope that the bear has been taken to a happy place where he can live out the rest of his life in peace. Great photos, thank you for sharing them!