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When bears attack

The first two days of last week were hot and mucky. The kind of days that tell me it is time to stay indoors and watch TV or do housework (perish that thought). Our Old English Sheep Dog, Maggie, and I were curled up in the family room watching the College Baseball World Series. I switched to a news channel to catch up on national and world happenings.
There I saw a story about an eleven-year-old sleeping boy who had been dragged from a camping tent by a bear and killed. He had been sleeping in the tent with his brother and parents. The event occurred in the mountains of one of our western states. Certainly our hearts go out to the boy and his family after such a tragedy. Bears and humans don’t mix well and we are hearing more and more of these encounters.

At this morning’s breakfast Linda and I were talking about the growth of the bear population across the country. This attack has caused a number of TV, radio and newspaper articles about this growth in bear population and increasing encounters with humans. According to one article, every state in the union now has a bear population. It is only a matter of how many and what kind. Most, I imagine, are black bears that seem to be in abundance across our country.
One evening about dusk several years ago we were resting in our family room. It has two outside corners that adjoin our deck. Suddenly we felt it vibrate and heard a rubbing noise. I went to the outside door to find out what it was just as a black bear ran from our deck down the hill and into the river. He must have been scratching him/herself on the corner of our house. We were rather amused by the event. It was the first, and last time, we have seen a bear around our house.
Just a few years ago we were returning from a vacation down south and came through the two tunnels on I-77 between Virginia and West Virginia. Just as we came out of the East River Tunnel we saw a black bear running along the pavement, I guess looking for a way out. His problem was to the delight of the motorists heading in both directions on the interstate as traffic slowed significantly to watch the bear. We remarked at the time that the state tourist officials were overdoing it if this was a planned event.
We have been to our state parks on a number of occasions and have seen a bear or two on several trips. Most often it has been around the park lodge where they search for food.
We are infringing on the habitat of bear and other wildlife more and more and we are going to hear more and more about bear or other wildlife attacks. In the case of the recent bear attack out West the bear was killed, cut open and some parts of the boy’s body found inside. Yet black bears are not usually known for attacking humans.
While I hate these attacks I find it hard to always blame the animals. Their habitat is getting smaller and smaller as we push further and further in their direction. I guess the only answer, if we are going to travel on their land, is vigilance and common sense. I’m not certain we humans consider either one at times.
Such are the people, places and things that have touched my life in my West Virginia home!