The Wildlife (or, Don’t F@#k with Bears)

I didn’t find it in the newspaper I purchased, but my coworker told me about a news item she read about how there have been five bear attacks this season. Some bears will protect their cubs, but others will attack without reason. (Additionally, a friend of hers was taking his dog for a walk up by the lake and found fresh bear scat and huge tracks, and when he found a fresh kill he grabbed his dog and booked it back to civilization. She also mentioned the time her sister was charged by a mother moose, who dented her rental car.)

Us locals all have stories like this. I was told when I went to Yellowstone to not get within seventy-five feet of the bison we may encounter, and I remember observing them down a gentle slope from a distance of a few hundred feet, and leaving it there. And, I’ve always been a little freaked out by the moose. When one hopped the fence when I was little, minding its own, I ran back to the house. When they wander through my complex/neighborhood, I stay indoors and sometimes watch them from a distance. I wouldn’t get too close to them, I don’t stand a chance.

In the past two years we’ve had an influx of outsiders, moreso than usual. They moved here from places like California to escape the pandemic and they don’t know. Last winter was too easy on them and they stayed. But they ask questions to us about “is this [six feet] how close you can safely get to a moose?”, about a sign showing what six feet looks like in terms we recognize (size of a grizzly bear, span of a moose’s antlers). They do shit like pick up bison calves because “they look cold” and cause that calf to be rejected by the herd (true story, though it happened closer to 2007).

I consider myself a cautious person. There are things I know better than to mess with, and large fauna is among them.

(I originally composed this at the start of the month, a few weeks ago, but I couldn’t think of a good ending.)

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