There is no doubt about it.
I have received more phone calls and emails this summer than at any previous time about bears.
Harry Spiker, bear biologist for the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service, said recently that Allegany County has the fastest growing bruin population in the state and that is certainly reflected in the number of contacts I am getting.
People are often excited when they call. A number of those calls have been from people who have been around for seven or eight decades and they report that the bear they just saw was their first.
It pains me to tell them that there are so many bear sightings that we don’t report them in Bear Watch, our regular feature about bears, both dead and alive. To make Bear Watch, the bruin has to eat your cocker spaniel or enter your kitchen seeking an apple pie or something like that. Of course, bears that get whacked and stacked on a Maryland highway make Bear Watch for sure.
If someone decides to pick up a cub and take it home, that gets even greater attention, say Page One. That also gets the attention of the Maryland Natural Resources Police and eventually a judge.
When I hear about a sighting in Allegany County, I pass it along to the state wildlife agency. Sightings of Yogi and Boo Boo or Smokey in Garrett County are so commonplace that they are no longer counted by the wildlife people.
In the photos or emails that I receive, it is often evident that the bear has come to that location because of a food source, especially birdseed.
A black bear will walk past a dead deer and a garbage can to reach birdseed. You will not get much sympathy from the wildlife staff if your French doors get broken by a bear who slipped trying to get to the birdseed you had hanging nearby.
Don’t get angry with me. I didn’t make the policy. I’m just telling you about it.
The carcass of the second gobbler I got this spring was in a garbage bag and the bag was in a garbage can behind our house in Rawlings. When I went to bed that night, I thought, “You know. I should probably bring that can into the garage.”
Too late. Overnight, a bear got the whole bag, stepped on and smashed the lid and moved off. I eventually found the bag and some feathers 100 yards into the woods, but what was left of the turkey was already inside a bear’s belly somewhere else.
Living with bears around is a challenge and, in my mind, a danger. Bears don’t know their own strength and are equipped to kill.
Here is a link to the DNR’s advice about living with bears: www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/Hunt_Trap/blackbear/bblivingwith.asp
It is, you know, illegal for you to feed bears in Maryland even if you are not hunting them. People have been convicted of that violation.
I get the feeling that we are going to see and hear a lot more about bears in Allegany County this summer. I have contended for years that one will show up on the bricks of Cumberland’s Town Centre on a Thursday morning when the Farmers’ Market is in progress... especially when corn on the cob is available.
I hope we have a photographer on duty when that happens.
Contact Outdoor Editor Mike Sawyers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is no doubt about it.
There’s no place like home, or Hagerstown
It took 40 minutes and was an uphill struggle, but in the end Allegany turned what had been a house of horrors into one full of high fives and joyful celebration.
BJ Curtis fires 795
BJ Curtis rolled a 300 game on his way to a 795 series at White Oaks to lead area scoring. Darren Durbin was just one pin back with 794, also at White Oaks. Troy Smith shot 782 at The Bowler, Cary Lowery had 772 at White Oaks and Aaron Courtney shot 300 on his way to 763 also at White Oaks. Mike Sipple rolled the third 300 of the night in White Oaks Industrial League during a very high scoring week.
If you can sleep well at night, here’s why
One of my companions excused herself and said she wanted to go to the toilet and wash her hands before our lunch arrived.
New ‘Cosmos’ debuts on television tonight
Now that our clocks are on daylight saving time, today’s sunrise and sunset are coming about an hour later than yesterday. Yesterday’s sunrise was about 6:38 a.m.; today’s sunrise is about 7:36 a.m.
Beatles return us to what might have been
Here’s a a free gift from Goldy (to your left), and it should get us going with a good laugh, that both my readers will approve of. Then, after that (fair warning) I am going to turn a little sour.
Gobbler stuff can get crazy
Tough, old bird
The third gobbler I killed was in 1990 while hunting on Pond Hill near McCoole. Relatively early in the morning I sent out a couple yelp calls. Immediately, 75-100 yards away, what sounded like three gobblers got into a fight.
Maybe his name will be on the list some day
Even if you have no idea who Doris “Dorie” Miller was, you may have seen him portrayed an old movie. The audience wasn’t told who he was, but some of us recognized him.
I looked for him on a list of new Medal of Honor recipients and was disappointed not to find him there.
What do these vital measurements mean?
A while back, I wrote a column on how the U.S. has firmly held onto British units that the British themselves have abandoned (inch, pound, quart).
Learning from the Masters
Four 300 games highlighted area scoring this week, with CP Sines and Derek Yates shooting 300 at Rainbow and Troy Cubbage and Larry Gable rolling 300 at White Oaks. Apparently, Larry took my article on home court advantage to heart.
He still walks the floor ... but there’s no floor
Here’s a question you probably never expected to hear:
What’s the strangest thing that ever happened while you were sitting on the toilet?
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