Bruno Bear Returns For A Snack

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Almost three years ago I discovered Nite Guard Solar Lights to keep predators away from house and barn at night. I placed one strategically in our sun room window, about four feet above ground level, where after dark it would flash in the direction of the bird feeder stand. Our friendly neighborhood bear, dubbed Bruno, immediately stopped his depredations – not only at night but during the day as well. No more rattling the garage doors at 3AM trying to get at the garbage cans either.

Two weeks ago at 11AM one morning, Bruno reappeared and after I brought our black Lab Maggie in off the back deck, I grabbed my camera and was able to get a series of photos of him making his way through our property. The first two above were taken looking down our cliff side from the house to see him moseying across the field to begin his climb up the steep hill. I knew from past experience that he would appear about ten feet from the sun room windows as he topped the crest of the hill in my garden. Once climbing the hill, he could not be seen because of the height of the Crown Vetch and weeds. His progress could only be judged by observing the rustling movement of the foliage on the slope.

He was magnificent when he reappeared over the hilltop and ambled through my raised veggie garden. The sloping windows of the sun room distorted the camera shots so I was unable to get those photos, so I moved out to the kitchen sliding glass door at the deck and took the third photo of him standing up at our bird-feeding station. He grabbed one of the feeders and lifted it down among my day lilies, then he carried it backwards out of the flower bed onto the grass where he could begin his feast on seed.

I got two metal pots and banged them at the door, having opened the slider three inches to let the sound carry outdoors. True to form, Bruno immediately turned and headed west across the yard, not being partial to loud noise. I took three other photos of his departure. In the past, Bruno has even been frightened and distracted by the soft whirrings and clicks of the camera used to take his pictures. So much so that he would start to leave and I stopped taking photos for a moment just so that he would settle down to linger longer and give me additional photo opportunities from door or window.

The slider is twenty feet from the bird feeder station, sixteen feet of that being the depth of the deck. The center post of the feeder station is eight feet above ground. So Bruno was about five-and-a-half feet tall standing upright and probably weighed close to 350 or 400 lbs. He had no ear tags.

Speaking of tags, when I reported the sighting to DEEP online it was amusing to read one question asking if there was an ear tag visible, followed by a second question asking for the number on the tag. I wondered how many folks notice the tags and who would be foolish enough to ask Bruno to hold still for a minute while they examined the tag(s) close-up and wrote down the ID number for the report. Of course if someone hit and killed the bear with a car by accident, obtaining the ear tag number is a piece of cake. But generally speaking, these live sightings do not lend themselves to up close and personal inspections of bear ears. I had to go back to my photos to check for a tag and, had Bruno still been in the yard, we would not have had any discussion about him letting me take a peek at his tag if he’d possessed one.

I am hoping that the solar flashing light failed (he had nailed the feeders at night also) due to lack of sunlight through this very cloudy, rainy season and that with the coming of sunlight it will be effective again at night. We will move it a bit and add another in a different location nearby. The bird-feeders will have to come indoors at night again also.

A neighbor west of us on Rt 112 phoned last Friday midday to say Bruno was in their yard at the moment pilfering birdseed and she added that another neighbor up a side road had seen a female with two cubs this spring – the first local report we have heard of a bear with cubs in Lime Rock. Another neighbor has reported a bear watching her gardening on occasion and she has gotten an air horn to frighten it away. Best beware, put feeders in at night, keep garages closed all the time, stay inside or go indoors if the bears come through and only take pictures from indoors. if there are cubs around, lock yourself in the house and stay out of sight so the mother bear does not attack you to protect her cubs. Personally I prefer second floor vantage points from behind curtains or blinds under such circumstances.

Enjoy the National Geographic or Discovery Channel moment safely. And never argue with Bruno over the ownership of your barbeque. Go indoors, defrost something else, cook it on the stove and enjoy the wildlife from the safety of your home..

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