Friday, September 23, 2011

The problem bear


By CHRIS MILLSPAUGH

It's getting cold at night, folks. The animals in the forest are preparing to settle into winter. One of our animal friends is the black bear, and as the temperature dives, he has to eat a lot to pack on the pounds for his annual hibernation. Many of the bears stay hidden up in the mountains and go about their daily lives without ever seeing a human being. Some, however, will go anywhere there's a free lunch to bulk up. These are the "problem bears."

One "problem bear" likes to roam through the Sawtooth NRA campgrounds and forage for Fritos. He has frequented many of the southern spots of the SNRA around North Fork in the last month and has caused quite a stir with the campers who have neglected to stow away their food supplies or have allowed cooking aromas to penetrate their clothes. He arrives in the dead of night and cleans up the campsites that have been left unclean. On occasion, he likes to rip a few tents for laughs.

During the day, he has been seen sunning himself on the banks of the Wood River enjoying life and scarfing up an absent-minded trout. He means no harm; he's just a bear preparing for the "big sleep." But, since he is near the human population, most likely because he is lazy and a lousy hunter, he has been labeled the "Problem Bear." Instead of expending all that energy chasing prey, he prefers to go for the easy pickings or "picnics," if you will. He has unnerved the populace. He has become a problem.

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So the bear traps are brought to stop him and he sleeps right next to them at night. What a problem this bear is. Finally, as the nervous campers pack up and leave, he moseys down the river searching for more "treats," uplifts trash cans by the highway and, generally, has a ball. He doesn't even consider that he has a problem.

Well, he'll be gone in a few weeks. He'll be in his den like most of us until spring. Then, it starts all over again—when the campers return.

I kind of like him, but that's my problem.

Nice talking to you.




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