Bear Wars

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Once again, I am weighing in on the bear situation in Granby. Wild animals are interested in three things: food, sex, and self-preservation. The most important of these is food. Please don’t feed the bears or racoons. You are endangering them and us. There is ample food for them all in the wild, otherwise they would not be here. 

I have educated myself and fought the bear wars for nearly 20 years. They are smart and adapt to change and challenges. They have become more bold, less fearful, and more ingenious. If I hadn’t witnessed a bear standing on top of my deck railing and jumping five feet to my bird feeder pole, I wouldn’t have believed it possible. The 15-foot, three-inch iron pipe in four feet of concrete resisted the attack. Greasing the pole didn’t work, they wiped it off and climbed the pole. I beat them by attaching spike strips to my deck railing and feeder pole. 

Pepper spray from Beman’s Hardware Store proved to be 100 percent effective as a deterrent. I’ve had some “huffy” encounters with bears and sprayed them to send the message that kind of behavior was not acceptable. It sent them fleeing and also prevented their return. I do not work outside without it. 

I fed the racoons to keep them off my deck and out of my gardens before I realized my error. Now I have a motion sensor sprinkler—100 percent effective—and an electric fence, also 100 percent effective. 

Keep your garbage in the basement, garage or shed until collection day. If bears are still a menace, douse it with ammonia or another strong offensive odor. Bears have the most sensitive noses in the animal kingdom—it’s their weakness. Use it! 

Remember bears are wild animals, not “Teddy Bears” and will defend themselves and their young if threatened. Do not approach a bear, especially a sow with cubs. When hiking or working alone in the yard talk or sing to let them know you’re there so you won’t surprise them. Turn your back and slowly walk away to let a bear know you are not a threat. 

Bad bear encounters are never because bears are behaving badly, but because people are behaving badly. I’ve seen videos of curious bears approaching people and people trying to kick them and being aggressive towards them. You are on their turf, act accordingly, or they will defend themselves as I would. 

I have had bears come up on my deck and touch my leg with their nose with no aggression or adverse reaction. I had pepper spray in my hand but didn’t have to use it. I understood as they did, it was just curiosity, and they went on their way. 

The reports of those who claim to be attacked by bears are false. If you were truly attacked by a bear, you would be dead. They are curious or responding to your bad behavior. Please prove yourself smarter than them, educate yourself, be smart and live peaceably with our wild and precious neighbors. Please accept an ordinance prohibiting the feeding of bears or other wildlife and punish those who defy it.

Phil LaPointe