More Bear Sightings in the Neighborhood

Clearly we’re dealing with a bear who enjoys suburban living. I’m not going to be surprised if this bear swam across the Delaware from New Jersey and ended up downstream of where he put in. We’ll have to see if this bear exhibits the typical MO of Ursus americanus jerseyus and ends up mugging someone for a sandwich. These sightings are just about a mile from my house, by the way the crow flies, or perhaps the way the bear walks. He would seem to be living in the wooded parts along Neshaminy Creek. I’m thinking of doing some smoking this weekend, so I guess we’ll see whether Mr. Bear decides to come over for some ribs and beer later. I’m only half a mile up from the creek!

14 thoughts on “More Bear Sightings in the Neighborhood”

  1. This is a perfect time for you to buy a Mosin! (if you don’t have one that is)

    That’s the real reason why the communist gave them such long bayonets, they weren’t worried about Capitalists invading or anything, they built them because Bears are scary and are the Russians arch enemy.

  2. It amazes me that something that size can wander around in a heavily populated area like ours and be sighted so infrequently.

    Actually, bears have been sighted in our area occasionally, as long as 45 – 50 years ago. (For those not familiar with our area, bears were much more rare in eastern PA back then, than they are today. Spotting a bear, even in the mountains of the northern counties, was a big deal.) When I away in the Army during the winter of 1966 – 1967, my parents wrote that they found a bear track in the snow behind our house in northern Middletown Township (Bucks County). Prior to that I do not remember earlier bear reports, coming from anywhere closer than the far northern end of the county.

    There are a number of species, such as beavers, coyotes, bears and bald eagles, that were totally unknown in these parts a half-century ago, that now turn up fairly frequently — now that the population of people is much higher and denser! I suppose that’s good, but for me the result is that a lot of the “romance” surrounding them has been lost. On the other hand, ringneck pheasants, which were once so plentiful that some farmers considered them pests (they pecked tomatoes) have totally disappeared — leaving a hole in my heart. Their calls were once a standard backdrop for the sounds of rural Bucks County.

    1. Not a mystery. Suburbanites think that the wildlife is “cute”; it doesn’t impact them, save when it eats their azaleas or their kids. To the left, wildlife directly competes with farmers for crops and livestock; farmers take a dim view of that, and tend to express that view by way of high-velocity lead.

      (When I moved from Connecticut about a decade ago, crows were just getting over their wariness of people; orchardists had found that an effective way of discouraging murders from raiding fruit was to hang a dead crow by one leg in the grove.)

      1. Expanding on my narrative above, back in the early ’60s the farmer that rented our property for growing grain and corn, used to allow a local varmint hunter (with a very nice M70 .220 Swift, with 20X Super TargetSpot) (nostalgia!) to shoot pheasants in his tomato fields a few miles away. I could have, had I wanted to, but it didn’t seem very challenging to me, and I liked shooting the pheasants with shotgun come the fall. Anyway, the PA Game Commission permitted active farmers to kill game all year round, pretty much without question.

        I think a bigger factor than what suburbanites “think” is, that you just cannot hunt comfortably, or in most cases, legally, in much of the local area anymore. But, the critters can live nicely in the woodlots between developments. (There may very well be more wooded land than there was 50 – 60 year ago, because many, many farm fields there weren’t suitable for development have grown up into second-growth forest — but you still can’t find many places far enough from houses to shoot, and you can’t hunt with rifles in this part of PA anymore.)

        One reason the explosion of the deer population interests me, is that I can’t completely understand why it didn’t happen when I was a kid and everything was rural. I never heard about that many deer being bagged in season locally, when hunting was common and rifles were legal, but then, not many people heard about the deer I and my family bagged in our “extracurricular” seasons. Perhaps everyone was out there covertly filling their larder, and keeping the population in check, and we just didn’t know each other were there. Gunshots at night would only pique our interest for a minute or two.

  3. We’re here! We’re clear! We don’t want any more bears (h/t The Simpsons)

  4. Just yesterday, as we were arriving to our old house to continue cleaning it (since we have just moved, and are getting ready to sell our contract) my daughter screamed, and said something about a deer. Sure enough, there was a deer staring back at us in the far corner of our back yard.

    My wife went to get her camera, but the deer jumped the fence before she could get a picture of the deer in our yard. We still managed to get a couple of pictures of it, though.

    A neighbor drove by and said that he lived in that neighborhood for thirty years, and had never seen a deer there before.

    Last night we were speculating about where that deer might have come from, or how it managed to get so far into the heart of Orem, Utah, without many people seeing, when there were so many busy streets to cross. We suspect that she may have wandered through following canals, or that the deer simply have wandered through the night, when there wasn’t nearly as much traffic as there is during the day.

    At the very least, since it wasn’t a bear, we didn’t have to worry about it eating anyone…

    1. I’d be more worried about the deer running into my car =P

      They might not be scary like bears, but they’re a lot more harmful to people in general.

      1. I completely agree! We hit a deer once, and it wasn’t fun, and we regularly travel roads where this could be a problem.

        I wasn’t too worried about this encounter, though, since we weren’t driving at the time; I simply told all my kids to stay on the back porch, and stay away from the deer. I figured that the most danger they were in, was to spook the deer and have her charge us (which I figured wouldn’t happen, if we kept our distance).

    2. “we didn’t have to worry about it eating anyone…”

      We have friends who live in a small development that borders Core Creek County Park here in Bucks County, PA. Many times we have sat in their back yard and deer have walked within 20 feet of us, unconcerned by our presence. They are quite tame.

      What I am waiting for to happen is, a “tame” buck to go nuts on someone during the rutting season and possibly kill them — especially if it’s a little kid. Under the circumstances, I don’t know what can be done about “tame” deer, and of course they are charming most of the year. But I know they can potentially become dangerous.

  5. I lived in the town in the linked article for 9 years, only moving out a few months ago. I’ve encountered black bears many times in my neighborhood, while hiking, and while hunting. I thought i might share some of what i’ve learned.

    I’ve never encountered a black bear that wouldn’t eventually wander away if I clapped my hands and shouted at it. I never tried this without having a gun handy.

    For such big animals bears are suprisingly quiet, especially at night. I once got with in 10 feet of one before i noticed it, walking from my car to my door at night. Later i realized that i had heard alot of neighborhood dogs barking and paid them no mind. After that i always noticed barking in the neighborhood, and found it to be a fairly decent warning of bears in the area.

    Once while small game hunting a large male followed me for about an hour. It was not the first time this had happened. I think they are mostly just curious, but this one got a little to close for comfort, so i fired a shot in the air. He ran like heck, fastest i ever saw one move.

    Bears are very clever about getting at garbage. My condo complex eventually adopted all steel dumpsters held shut by a carabiner on the latch. That works well as long as everyone closes it properly.

    Im aware of a number of bear attacks that have taken place in Vernon, and most of them happened when the victim was taken by surprise. Situational awareness while outdoors is your best defense.

    1. I had a variety of wild animals as pets when I was a kid (but no bears!) and one thing I learned is that they can be sweet pets, but a wild animal will always remain a wild animal in instinct — and you can’t generalize about how they will behave. They will surprise you sometimes, in a nasty way.

      So, if I encounter an animal that can kill me, my first tactic is to avoid it. And hopefully to have had the foresight to have a gun handy.

  6. My wife and I stayed in a cabin in the mountains of California way back in ’95. Previous occupants had (stupidly) used the snowbank outside to store food.

    The next morning the bear tracks in the snow on the porch were the size of dinner plates.

    It being California, and us being tourists, we were unarmed. I am just glad that we didn’t meed to use the communal toilets during the night.

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