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What Bear? You Ask

What Bear? You Ask

May 7, 2008

Bear in My Yard

This bear. Right before it picked up my garbage can and stomped on it so all the garbage came flying out. I am so tired of cleaning up garbage every morning. Tonight I took the black bag out of the garbage can and put it into my van for the night. It should smell delightful in there come morning. I am trying to decide if the trade off is worth it. I guess I will know in the morning.

Nice Earrings

Hello there, bear.

This is the “girl” bear. See her earrings?

We also have an untagged bear that comes to visit us. That is the “boy” bear according to my daughter, the ultimate authority of boy/ girl signifiers.

My blog has been down behind the scenes since Monday. I guess it had been sleeping around and not using protection because it contracted a silent but deadly STD. There was much gnashing of teeth and rending of clothing.

Thank you all for the birthday wishes. I read all of them but unfortunately many were lost in the antibiotic/ Lysol frenzy. So if your comment has disappeared don’t take it personally.

Posted by Chris @ 11:58 pm  

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  1. Stephanie says:

    Your blog is a bit of a trollop, no?

    Okay, so the bear thing. I don’t mean to be an alarmist, but um, you do realize that a van or car to a bear is pretty much like a beer can to us, right? They can and will rip that door right off if they are interested enough in the contents within.

    I tell you this with love because one of our friends lost their minivan to a black bear out here in the West due to a box of scented baby wipes and a wayward doughnut left behind.

    Another friend of ours got the car door ripped off when there was a lone french fry left on the floor of the car.

    I imagine that if your bear notices the garbage is missing, it will locate it. They have an amazing sense of smell, and ridiculous motor skills. They WILL get what they want, and if it involves breaking a window, or ripping a door off your car, they’ll do it.

    I speak from experience on this matter.

    I’m just saying, leaving the trash in the van may not be the best idea ever.

    Maybe your Northeastern bears are a bit more civilized and understand car protocol, but up here in the Northwest, they’ll just tear right in to anything.

    Can you get a special bear proof garbage can from the dept. of fish and game? They should give you one since you back yard seems to have become a wildlife preserve.

    Chris says: I think our bears are too lazy to break into cars. And these aren’t grizzly bears.

  2. GG says:

    Small bit of advise. If the garbage is stinky, and the bear wants it, a mere van being in the way won’t matter. It’s amazing what a 300+ pound bear can do to a van window when it’s in the mood for a healthy serving of stinky.

  3. Anna says:

    I know that bear is a pain in your ass but it’s SO PRETTY!

    So who did the tagging?

    Chris says: Yes, the bears are so pretty. You almost want to go cuddle them. The Dept of Environmental Protection tags the bears so that they can follow them.

  4. Rocks In My Dryer says:

    Nuh-UH! That is not outside your freakin’ house? Dear Lord!

  5. Not June Cleaver says:

    That second picture looks like some sort of museum exhibit of a stuffed bear. Weird.

    Gosh Chris, I hope the bear doesnt break your car windows to get to the trash! Our worst wildlife visitors here in Virginia are coyotes (oh and racoons and deer, but were (apostrophe between we and re was attempted) used to those).

    (And why is it that every time I try to type an apostrophe, my browser thinks I want to search? Honest, I tried to put the apostrophes in there!)

  6. Carol says:

    wow what a beauty :-) I love her earrings ;-)

  7. Lisa says:

    Darn that nature!!!! Cute, but very annoying when you are picking up nasty trash every morning ;) Can you store your trash cans in the garage????

  8. Tricia says:

    Holy shaddoobie!!! And your not scared of that she devil???

    Nice shots!

  9. Owlhaven says:

    Wow, she looks very sleek and well fed!

    and scary.

    Mary, mom to many

    PS– We have gophers at our house. Hubby brought the 3 year old out with him to check the trap the other day and she came back in saying, “We taught a dopher and he’s tilled.” (she doesn’t say her c’s or k’s yet)

  10. lizinsumner says:

    Okay, West Coaster here, and I think you’re waaay across the country on the east coast somewhere, so - I’m just curious…..why is the bear tagged, in the first place and, in the second place, why is it DOUBLE tagged??!! I don’t think we tag our bears around here……not that we ever see too many of them to begin with….but, I do have a suggestion, that unfortunately involves money: buy one of those heavy-duty plastic (or metal or wood) locking storage sheds for the yard and lock up the bear-enticing garbage….or, you could just tell me to shut up and mind my own business and I would understand, believe me. But with all of the kids, some still really small - don’t you worry about the roaming bears?? Great, now I have something else to worry about - you and the bears……

    Chris says: I really don’t worry about the bears much. They typically come out at night when the neighborhood gets quiet. They don’t attack people. The bear gets frightened away if you wave in the window at her.

  11. Jennifer says:

    That bear is SCARY! Well, probably not. But to me it is! I’d be afraid.

    I’d also be afraid that he (or she) would rip open the van to get to the trash.

  12. stacie says:

    Doesn’t that scare you just a teeny tiny bit?

  13. Evelyn says:

    If it’s any consolation, you attract beautiful bears! The red really brings out “her” eyes… Her beady little garbage hungry eyes…

  14. Brigitte says:

    Phew! I AM paranoid that I’ve somehow offended you when a comment disappears.

    That is one healthy, strapping bear! Must be all the yummy garbage. Better make Rob get one of those plastic garbage shed-things that can be locked up.

  15. Lisette says:

    My god, what a gorgeous bear. Fantastic photos!

  16. Paulla says:

    Happy Birthday (belated).

    I wonder, do you have a garage or some type of storage shed? Might be useful to buy even one of those small sheds at home depot - just for storing the trash. When I lived in VA years ago, we had a raccoon problem much the same. Ugh - what a mess.

    Cute pics of the girl bear. :)

  17. Kathy from NJ says:

    Here in NJ the bears break into cars for food (a slightly cracked window is all they need to break out the window). They have also entered homes, especially if something good is baking and the windows are open. They are beautiful pictures.

  18. Ladybug Crossing says:

    We keep our garbage cans in the garage because we have silly bears, too!
    There is a lady in our neighborhood who thinks it’s cool to feed them. She’s nuts! When the bear ends up sitting in her kitchen, she’ll realize why you don’t feed them.
    Hope your car isn’t tooo smelly.

  19. chris says:

    i have to admit that the little bits of red do look kind of
    jaunty.(can’t get over how *exactly* she looks like the ones in our museum.) i totally agree that this is just TOO close to the house!

  20. peepnroosmom says:

    Happy Birthday!
    Nice “earrings” on your bear. Please tell me you were using the super duper close up lens and weren’t standing 5 feet from the bear. Or is it that she has eaten so much of your garbage she now feels like she belongs to you and can stand close.

  21. Woman with Kids says:

    …perhaps the rending of clothing is what led to the STD? Just saying..

    Glad you’re back. And what a pretty girl bear. She should coordinate her earrings with her nail polish, give that ‘bear on the go’ look.

  22. B says:

    Are you serious? This is in your yard? Whoa. (Cute earrings, though. A real trendsetter amongst the bears, I’m sure.)

  23. Wicked Stepmom says:

    Wow… sorry about the garbage thing and all - but that is one GORGEOUS bear.

    (Now I know why so many people have those cute little garbage can sheds that match their house.)

  24. Cary says:

    Ok we get excited when there is an opossum in our backyard. I love your daughters logic, and I am sure she is praying for cubs. It must also make Goldilocks a little more meaningful.

  25. Kathy says:

    happy birtdhay..–belated–

    wow can’t they don anything? I would be terrified hanging clothes out and see him running through my yard.. holy moly

  26. Heather says:

    That is one beautiful black bear. We have black bears here in northern Arizona however they dont look as plump as her. LOL. She has the features of a grizzly. Have there been any bears smashing their way into homes in your area at night when all is quiet? That would be my worry.

  27. Rose Farver says:

    OMG you have BEARS….we live in Iowa, raccoons every once in a while, maybe a possum but wowzer I think I’d pee my pants if I saw a bear outside my house and I’m not sure I’d let the kids out to play unless they took their shotguns! LOL!

  28. jody says:

    What a beautiful bear. Their coats are so black they look blue.

    And that little face!! I want to squeeze it………from a distance.

  29. Katie says:

    She is a really pretty bear. Course I’m saying that from the comfort of bear-less neighborhood with all my garbage safely in the cans outside (we don’t even have a raccoon problem.) Have the kids named the bear?

  30. Kathy from NJ says:

    Also in NJ in May 2005 a bear ripped the garage door off a house. I couldn’t find the news article, but this one briefly mentions it.
    When the police & env protection were at the house examining the garage and setting a trap, the bear pooped on the ground next to the police car.

  31. maddy says:

    Wow, those bear photos are amazingly crisp!

    I did not realize bears could get into a minivan? If that happens, please take photos! (kidding …I am not wishing that on your van).

  32. Another Susan says:

    I’m laughing because yesterday my son didn’t want to go into the backyard because of the big fat bumblebees … too bad he’s too young to realize we’ll take bees over bears anyday!

    I hope you can find a solution to the garbage problem. I’d be very anoyed too. Have you tried contacting whoever tags them for some advice?

  33. s says:

    What if it picks up your van and stomps on it?

    Chris says: Think of the awesome PHOTOS that would make!

  34. Dani says:

    What I want to know is how much you had to zoom to get that picture! How close does she get to the house?!?!

    What a beautiful specimen of nature that thing is.

  35. Dani says:

    I just thought of something…

    If you are going to be looking to stash your garbage various places, maybe a trash compactor would be a good investment? They don’t take up much more kitchen space than a garbage can does. You can have a week’s worth of garbage in a compacted little cube. Just a thought.

  36. Heather says:

    NY bears wear jewelry? Fancy-smamcy. Our PA bears don’t have pierced ears.

  37. Keri says:

    Holy big bear in your yard. WOW. I knew you mentioned a bear but YIKES “She” is huge.

    Any her red “earrings” I love them!

  38. Tina says:

    Can I say I’m enjoying your comments in the comments ever so much? I don’t often thing to scroll down and read them. And the idea of the pictures of the bear stomping on your huge van–man, that’d be really cool to see!

  39. Nancy says:

    My oh my, but she is gorgeous!

  40. Ann from St. Peter MN says:

    I once spent a summer in my college years in a hunting cabin in northern MN (don’t ask - I thought I was the modern Thoreau). Anyway, the bears got pretty bold because the blueberry crop failed and the fish were not running in the streams yet. The bears were literally taking doors off hinges to get into cabins and eat. That was a little more than I bargained for… Your bear looks so civilized, what with the earrings and all!

  41. Mary W says:

    Aww bear earrings.

    I’ll take your bear over the water snake in my yard last week.

    We thought it was a king snake until we realized how stinkin big it was. The Texas Parks website said it was one of two snakes - neither friendly or safe. I called the town police and stood on the counter with the dog and 5 year old until the serpent was vanquished.

  42. Marriage-101 says:

    Um, not to alarm you, but that’s a HUGE FREAKIN’ BEAR! I almost wet myself just looking at the picture.

  43. Jennifer says:

    Why not keep your garbage in the garage?

  44. Clare says:

    Oh my goodness!! As someone from Australia, who has only ever seen a bear at the Zoo, I am scared just looking at those pics!! My DH says he’d love to work in the US branch of his company, in CT.
    The snow puts me off majorly, and now throw in bears too!!

    I hope your van makes it through the night, from what you said it should be fine.

  45. kalisa says:

    You’d think if they state were tracking them, they would know to come get it the hell out of your yard.

  46. chanelireli says:

    Fun stuff, bears and garbage. Maybe you should leave them a nice roast out in the forest. Or better yet, lure them away with your neighbors garbage. Or maybe you could get animal control to install those nifty smarter than a bear trashcans.

  47. The Simple Family says:

    The tags are freaking me out.

  48. Sarah says:

    I grew up with Black bears. Be careful. They aren’t as aggressive as Brown bears (Grizzlies, whatever you want to call them), they aren’t as violent and they are considerably lazier HOWEVER if they cannot find food, even chapstick left in a car can motivate them to break in. There are plenty of indicators that a Black bear may break in to a vehicle before they actually do, but once they are willing to damage your car in order to get to a smell or a food source then you need to call the appropriate authorities (that could be the Department of Environmental Protection, State or National Parks rangers, it all depends on where you live) because damaging property like that typically indicates that the bear can no longer be trusted around people. Sometimes they will move the bear to another location and sometimes they will wait and see if it happens again, but if they are particularly aggressive or repeat offenders then they may have to put the bear down to avoid the risk of it attacking a person who is carrying a chicken sandwich or a child who is wearing a scratch-n-sniff sticker. I’m usually much more of a lurker than a commenter, and I absolutely believe that Black bears are the safest bear to be around and I am very comfortable around them, but please please please do not underestimate their strength and determination. They are lazy bears, I agree, but they can really do a number when they’re desperate.

    Which is kind of like me on PMS with regards to any chocolate bar within a five mile radius =)

    Great pictures, by the way!

  49. Lilly says:

    I hear tell that the black bears in Yosemite hop up and down on the cars ’till the doors pop open….

  50. The 6-S Ranch says:

    I do the same EXACT thing when I’m hungry!!!

  51. Jes says:

    I love the bear :) Around here (CO) when a bear gets tagged it’s because somebody reported it as a nuisance. Once it gets called in 2 or 3? times it is killed. Sad. I like to see the bears and don’t call them in :)

  52. Kim says:

    “Chris says: Think of the awesome PHOTOS that would make!”

    Ok, that made me spew diet Pepsi!

    I think it’s time for hubby and the handyman to test their masonry skills by building one of those ginormous 10 foot brick estate type fences all the way around the yard. Maybe the bears will think it’s the zoo and run in the opposite direction.

  53. Moose says:

    I once saw a bear cub. Highly cute and highly alarming. Seeing a bear cub without mama bear means mama bear is probably lumbering up behind you, paw raised to take off your head. (My head remains attached, thankfully.)

  54. maggie says:

    I wish I had a pretty bear outside my window. That bear is so pretty!

  55. Courtney says:

    Well that’s fairly scary to have outside of your house! I think I’d get a barbed wire fence! LOL!

  56. Mrs. Dub says:

    For the record, I think your blog and mine belong to a swinger’s club because my blog has been looking a little bloated as of late, and I don’t think it’s water retention. I’m afraid she’ll have a laptop soon - and we all know who will really take care of it.

    As for the bear, I dig her earrings.

  57. Christy says:

    Hmm. Methinks my family would be moving very quickly if I found a giant bear in my backyard.

    But damn isn’t it a pretty thing?

  58. Leanne says:

    all the cool girl-bears wear earrings.

  59. Sue says:

    LMAO - we don’t have bears in PA so I never knew about the tagging- that is friggin’ HILARIOUS. Why 2 tags? Is it one tag for every capture? So the bear with 30 tags on is like a total tool? I need to know.

  60. Michelle says:

    All I really have to say is…Holy Crap!!!! There is a bear in your yard!!

  61. Amanda says:

    I have to add to the garbage in the van warnings. When hubby was at annual training one year they were adamant that absolutely no one take food to the field with them becuase of the bears. They had the kitchen trucks bring it in and out of where they were at eveyr day. One unit who was there thought they’d reward their soldiers with pizza. They had the pizzas locked in a 15-pack van. A bear sniffed them out, and no more pizzas and completely trashed van.

  62. Shannon in AK says:

    Wow. We are not allowed to leave our trash cans out here for that very reason. We have a lot of black bears around, and the garbage attracts them. So, many places are required to have bear proof/resistant cans.

  63. megan says:

    WOW. Ok, so seriously were you that close, or do you have a major zoom lens? That is scary! My 2 cents: how about keeping the garbage in your garage? I would seriously be a little nervous about a bear that gets that close to humans (I’m assuming it’s fairly close to your home) in the middle of the day!

  64. Marie in St Paul says:

    She’s probably the same bear who was so taken with Miles’ dirty diapers. Too bad he’s toilet trained.

  65. Wendy says:

    What do your kids think of the bear - the little ones in particular? Mine would be terrified - and probably never sleep in their own beds again. Heck, we don’t have any bears near us (at least none that I know of) and they still have bad dreams about bears.

  66. Kathy from NJ says:

    Here in NJ the bears will do almost anything to get to the garbage. In May 2005 a bear destroyed and tore off a garage door. While the police & environmental protection were surveying the damage and setting a trap, the bear pooped on the driveway next to the drivers’ door on the police car. Here is a news article that mentions the garage door:

    www dot njherald dot com/283488459780977.php

    We send our problem bears to Connecticut, after we put earrings on them….

  67. Tricia says:

    Nice bear!
    I live in an isolated town with lots of bears (and other wildlife), and we have a bylaw that doesn’t allow us to put our garbage out the night before for the garbage truck, or we could be fined…I can’t imagine garbage out all night - the bears would have a feast!

    The upside of the bylaw and all of the bear aware programs here is that the bears prettymuch know that coming into town does not mean a free meal, and they stay away.

  68. Debbie says:

    Did Miles see the bear? What is his comment? He always has something cute to say about everything. It isn’t even dark out. I would be jumping at every sound I heard outside after seeing that in my yard!

  69. natalie says:

    ‘oh, SNAP!’ is my first thought when i saw that bear. woah.

  70. jennifer says:

    Chris, I do not know much about bears,but I do know that dogs will not get into your trash if you put mothballs in your trash can.This also works with cats and other critters.Thought I would mention it might be worth a try… Good Luck,Jennifer

  71. Mrs. Schmitty says:

    Now I don’t feel so bad about the squirrels in our garbage. YIKES!

  72. Charlotte says:

    I’m a staunch city girl but that bear is so frickin’ adorable. And clean looking. And shiny. I would have to resist the urge to put out food for them at night. Have you named them yet?

  73. Carolynn from Western Australia says:

    She is one Magnificent looking Bear that is for sure. Have you tried to paint her at all Chris.

    Enjoy them but Keep Safe
    Love Carolynn xx :-)

  74. Angela says:

    I’d say you should go out there with a peace-offering pie, sit him/her down and tell him that the next time he messes with your trash you are coming out with a shotgun instead of a camera! ;)

    When we travelled through Canada and Alaska we did a lot of singing (the noise is supposed to not startle them…but in my case I’m sure I scared a few with my singing) when we were out and about in bear populated areas…oddly enough I wasn’t too afraid for our safety but I had to stop sending pictures to my mother…she was sure one of those bears was going to get us!

  75. k says:

    Holy shit.

  76. robbin says:

    OMG I cant believe that is in your backyard…scary but kind of amazing to see ok maybe just to see once and then he could go away quietly.

  77. vanessa says:

    Wait, wait. You actually have BEARS? That is s fucking cool.
    I mean in a really annoying way. And all that. But cool!
    Where d you live? Can we come visit and see the bears?

  78. Frugal Carol says:

    I hope that is one photo op we never have at this house!!!
    Frugal Carol

  79. lisa says:

    i’ve read you for years, but never left a comment. however,your “thirty-nine” post has driven me to it. and not because of the f-bomb,either! but are you really,actually,truthfully 39? i have shown your picture to my husband several times, and said,”see this is the lady that has seven kids!” and then wondered for days how you look so darn hot. but i always pegged your age in the late 20s or very early 30s.
    i’m just in shock and awe of you,over here in my little corner. you rock.

  80. Susan says:

    We live in the mountains in Colorado and have lots of black bears that seem to thrive on garbage in the spring. The only thing that has worked for us is pouring ammonia over the garbage when we put it in the can, and then again sprinkling some on top of the can. You have to remember to do this every time - but it seems to have worked! They haven’t bugged us for awhile now. Hope it helps you too!

  81. readersguide says:

    What a beautiful bear! And so sleek and well-fed –

  82. Nextcommercial says:

    A pair of red pumps would look really good on her. (well, two pairs I guess.)

    All we get are crickets and coyotes around here.

  83. Stephanie Chance says:

    So does your auto insurance cover bear damage?

  84. Beth says:

    Bless. That’s a fine bear you have there.

    And happy birthday.

  85. BetteJo says:

    Okay, that bear could teach my cats a few things about grooming! She looks like she just got done at the spa!

  86. April says:

    Clearly you are throwing some fine, yummi things away because girlfriend is lookin’ GOOD! Shiny and black and oh so accessorized.

    I assume the Dept. of Fish & Wildlife knows her whereabouts? If she becomes a nuisance, her life will be threatened too.

    Fantastic pictures. Some of the clearest I’ve seen and I was a wildlife biology ajor in college.

  87. brookem says:

    first they start wearing earrings… next thing you know they’ll be seen canvassing the neighbourhood on your daughter’s bike (you did warn her after all)

  88. kathi says:

    Here in the AK my girlfriend and her hubby watched as a bear opened a cooler, grabbed a beer, ran down the deck, pierced it with it’s paw then consumed it one gulp. This went on for hours. The bear left the soda and consumed a half rack of beer! My favorite is the dirty diapers. For whatever reason we always had the worst problems when the kids were in diapers and that’s all they wanted to take from the trash can.

  89. Steph says:

    Holy moly! This bear comes around every night? I would be so freaked out!

  90. Carrie says:


    Happy Belated Birthday, bear or not!

  91. mama's got moxie says:

    a bear?? in your garbage??? it’s funny that you kinda write about it like it’s a pesky little squirrel!! hahaha… i’d be terrified to leave the house. i’d be terrified to be IN the house!!