Over the past few weeks, I’ve been given an opportunity to observe a large group of bears. My estimate ranges between nine and 12 bears in this one spot. I thought that there were two in the beginning.
What have I learned?
1.) People aren’t joking when they talk about how poorly a bear sees and how keen its nose is. I’ve been 30 feet from a bear wearing a green shirt and blue pants in front of a green dumpster, standing very still and the bear does not acknowledge me until the wind shifts and it smells me. Their reactions are everything from curiosity to full-blown panic.
2.) Familiar bears play with each other. I’ve watched what I believe to be a juvenile and a mother play fight for ten minutes at a time. It starts as a play fight with shoving, standing and pushing, but in the end, one of the two end up with hurt feelings and walks away.
3.) Unfamiliar bears fight. Like Fight Club fight. Dominance is always the winner and the loser is relegated to the fringes of the forest until the larger bear leaves the site. Juveniles usually lack the mass that provides mature bears the winning edge. I watched an older cinnamon beat the daylights out of a juvenile.
4.) Bears have funny feet. Their feet look like those of a man, but wearing grinch shoes. Many of their physical movements remind me of human beings. I can’t say that for many animals, save primates.
5.) Never let down your guard. Many bears have jumped me by showing up in places I didn’t think to look. Mind you, I’m generally in a safe location while observing, but on my way out to my car (about ten feet from my “observatory”) I’ve found several bears moving in to check me out. I always have a back up plan or someone covering me.
6.) Timothy Treadwell must have been off his freaking bean. While I really enjoy watching these creatures, I do not for one second feel the need to interact with them unless it is in a way to teach them that they don’t want to be near humans. These animals can sprint in short bursts at over 30 mph. I watched one eat steak covered with broken glass and saw the same bear two days later, no worse for wear. I’ve also seen them bite into #10 cans of soup and never flinch. Bottom line is, we can respect them, but we should never try and be a part of them. They have their world, we have ours. Observe at a distance.
7.) Watching bears is better when Gordie LaBoom shows up for a surprise visit and brings a hookah. Then you smoke it in a dumpster. Molasses tobacco is absolutely delicious.
You may have seen in the above videos that several of the bears are brown. They are not brown bears, Brown bears do not reside in Colorado. The “brown” bears are actually black bears that have been sun bleached.
Pax Domini Sit Semper Vobiscum,
Mike, Oscar, Hotel…..out.