Tom Kehr has been a customer of bikes@vienna for years and years. He and his family moved to southwest Virginia a couple of years ago. Tom stopped in the store this week and shared stories about his new home.
He sent me this email detailing his recent bear encounter...........
RE: That was NOT a Bag Lady…
That was NOT a bag lady getting into our trash cans yesterday morning… It was a bear. While I enjoy living out here in the “sticks” and fancy the wildlife that goes with it, this is a bit much.
I awoke at about 6:30 am to the sound of crashing metal trash cans. I got to the window in time to see Mr. Bear carrying a fully loaded white garbage bag around to the front of the house. He (or she – like I would know the difference), appears to be a young bear that was pushed out from mamma this Spring to fend for himself (said the suburbanite in expert voice).
A bear enjoying our garbage is not exactly want I want hangin’ ‘round the house. But, first things first. “Hey kids, wanna see a bear?” Recall this is at 0630 hours. Nothing normally stirs around this place at that hour during Summer vacation. I couldn’t have gotten a faster response using an air horn. (Kris is in the shower at this time, missing all the events up to this point, is by the way.)
Now that everyone had gotten a good look at the bear not 30 ft. from their bedroom window, it was time to make Mr. Bear’s stay less pleasant. As I have not yet exercised my Second Amendment Rights, I had to resort to more, ah, “primitive means” of discouragement. I opened the window and threw my shoe at him. Startled, but not persuaded to permanently depart, he returned to his treasure. So I threw the other shoe at him. Ah, Mr. Bear apparently really likes our garbage (featuring last night’s chicken as the main course) and isn’t bothered much by this. So, I did what any good coach would do – I threw a baseball at him. (From the front porch and within safe distance of the front door, mind you.) And then another. And a couple of softballs. I believe the final count was five baseballs and two softballs. Each time, while startled, Mr. Bear came back faithfully to enjoy his easy feast. Let’s try a REALLY LARGE wrench. Nope. Same result. Then some 2x4’s about 18 in or so long. No change. By this point, I’m running out of new ideas for projectiles and we decide to let him finish and go about his business.
In cleaning up what Mr. Bear left behind, we find him to be very through. I cleaned up only trash. No leftovers. Unlike my children, Mr. Bear cleans his plate thoroughly.
A call to the local Animal Control Officer about our encounter reveals that he suggests using a paint ball gun to discourage Mr. Bear. Ummm… Let’s paint the bear. I’m going to have to think that one over. Hopefully Mr. Bear doesn’t have a Concealed Carry permit or I’m in trouble.
So…. This morning, Mr. Bear returns at 0600 hours. Again, he announces his presence by the sound of crashing metal trash cans. But this time, something’s different. We’ve used bungee cords to keep the trash can lids on tight. The combination of this low technology approach and his lack of an opposing thumb thwarts his efforts this morning. But do recall from yesterday’s lesson, that Mr. Bear is not easily persuaded to depart. I next find him on our back deck outside our kitchen as well as my office. What do I do this morning? Still unarmed with any real persuasive means, I open my office door and holler REALLY LOUDLY to frighten him. Again, startled but not departing, he wanders around the house, his nose up against various windows. You know how you might bang on a window to try and get something off the other side? Like maybe your dog has his muddy paws on the glass door? Imagine this scene: Mr. Bear is up against the house with his nose pressed up against my living room window. And I’m banging on the window where his nose is. “Bad bear! Now go lie down!” might be your imagery and you would be correct.
You might be interested to know that the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has a video available entitled “Living with Black Bears in Virginia”.
It’s available if you scroll down on this page: http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/video/?video=1
How very thoughtful of the Commonwealth.