Tonight was a tough one. The Narrator nabbed a summer-time cold which has him pretty beat, but the worst part is that he managed to hand it off to my wife, and its knocked her flat. To assist for a bit, I took the boys out, headed over to my folks’ place, nabbed some Subway for dinner, and gave her a bit of a respite. When we came home it was bath, dinner, and bedtime, for all of them. I put the two boys down and sent the Mrs. to bed as well to get some more rest.
Tomorrow is one of my 18 hour days, so I need her rested. I took the trash out and settled down with a beer, Netflix, and a snack.
The TV droned on for a while as I watched some God-Awful Segal movie. Then, from outside I hear a fairly loud “THUD.” It sounded like a car door being closed. Curious, I muted the movie- which to be honest I should have done as soon as I turned it on.
Who is visiting at this hour? Why was there a…… “THUD. SCRRRRUNNCCCHH.” That sounds like plastic being dragged across the…..OH SHIT.
The reality of the situation came to me all at once, and I sprung from the couch and into the bedroom where my wife was working on her computer instead of sleeping.
“I have to run off a bear.” I answered as I grabbed my service pistol and flashlight.
– To be clear, I had no intention of killing a bear. Using a pistol as an offensive tool against such a creature is a ROTTEN idea. More often than not, all you do is end up pissing him off to the point where he might want to come over and have a frank discussion with you about the matter. No, the gun was either to be used defensively, or as a noise-maker if my mere presence and voice didn’t run it off.
Thankfully, I had no use for the gun, but when you’re traipsing through a dark yard in the middle of the night, clad only in a pair of shorts with a small flashlight…it was a comfort.
I get outside and see the heavy plastic garbage bin flipped perfectly upside down. No scattered or torn bags, No mess. Just completely upended. As I get closer, I hear it.
“thump-thump thump-thump thump….” Something heavy running across the yard.
Now, any sane man would have flipped the can back over, and gone to store it in the garage or on the deck away from the hungry scavengers.
Idiot me though decides that I wanted to SEE the rascal, so I FOLLOWED the damn thing down the lawn playing the light beam along the tree line until I found what I was looking for.
The shine of two eyes glinted back to me. The glowing eyes were surrounded by a black mass that- for the sake of the story I wish I could say was terrifyingly huge. But no. A juvenile bear stared back at me. 80 to 100 pounds, it was a youngster. He stood frozen looking at me, when I hear some crunching leaves off to the right. Light moves. More eyes. ANOTHER one!
Yogi on the left is still watching me, not moving. Boo-Boo, the second one, moves out of sight into the treeline. I play the light back to Yogi who still hasn’t moved. As my old defensive tactics instructor would say, it was time to “Talk, fight, shoot, or leave.”
Shooting was out, no threat. Fighting a bear is stupid, and leaving wasn’t an option since I wanted to make sure that HE was gone first. I chose talk. Yell actually.
Ever yell at a bear?
Well, I’ll tell you, nothing will make you feel more like a dope than yelling “GET OUTTA HERE! HAH! GO ON!” at a creature that is biologically equipped to take you apart. It did the trick though. I yelled and stomped closer to him.
Thankfully, Yogi decided that investigating the strange, half-naked human flailing a flashlight and a handgun in the middle of the night wasn’t as good an idea as leaving.
After he left, I stashed the garbage bin in the garage and went back inside. I think something’s still poking around out there because there’s rustling of the grass in the lawn. But there’s nothing he can get to or anything I can do about it.
– This is the first time in three years that we’ve seen any evidence of a bear being around. There was some poop in the yard once, but that was it.
– However, this is NOT the first run-in I’ve had with bears where I decided to chase one. When I was in high school, a few friends of mine and I were in a chinese restaurant in the middle of main street in one of the neighboring towns one night. As we were ordering, the man behind the counter suddenly went crazy, yelling all kinds of things I didn’t understand, and pointed to the big window behind us. There, staring in the window was a black bear, a big one this time. 200-300 pounds. Being stupid kids, we ran outside and CHASED the damn thing DOWN MAIN STREET in this town until he outran us and vanished into the night.
Bears are amazing and fascinating creatures. I love seeing them and I don’t honestly know if I could shoot one if I came across one during hunting season. They are, however….best observed from a distance, and any forms of interaction, physical or social is to be avoided.
Anyway…that was my night. Or the start of it at least. Mini-Me is showing signs of not sleeping at all tonight, he’s been awake twice since I put him down and is stirring again.
If you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go take care of that.