Friday, October 11, 2013

A Bruin Came A'Callin'

The front of our house and the whole garden area is enclosed in a 7' high deer fence, a necessity here in the northwoods if you don't want to cater to the culinary tastes of the deer population.  This fence does a good job of keeping out a lot of other smaller animals that could wreak havoc on our garden, orchard or berry patches.

So, we were very surprised to wake up this morning and find two bird feeders within the fencing completely destroyed and one knocked apart but still salvageable.


This tube feeder sporting two big holes and puncture marks most likely made by some animal's teeth was still hanging on its hook on the deck. 


This larger feeder we had fastened from a really, really high branch in a big birch tree hung in the air about 10-15 feet away from the tree or any other structure.  It's constructed of very heavy plastic, and we were surprised any animal could get access to it let alone break it this way.


Out in the yard off the front deck, we had this feeder mounted on a pole.  Everything was knocked off the pole but nothing was irreparably broken.  (Papa Pea had started to put it back together before I took the picture.)  


In the garden, many corn stalks were broken by being pulled down and the ears of corn eaten.

We made two trips around the perimeter of the deer fencing looking for a spot where something could have gotten in . . . and then out.  We could find nothing.  Because we felt a bear would have done a bit of damage getting through or up and over the fencing, we had almost decided that our marauder must have been a large racoon.


Another reason for ruling out an invasion by a bear was our apple trees.  Unfortunately, apples are a favorite food for bears and each year we hear of lovely apple trees being (literally) torn apart limb by limb by bears seeking the fruit.  If a bear had been in our orchard area, why wouldn't it have gone after these nearly ripe apples hanging in plain sight?

Well, my dear hubby wouldn't give up trying to figure out exactly what had happened and upon continuing his walking over the whole area, he found this.


That, folks, is one HUGE pile of bear scat found down near our raspberry bushes.  Papa Pea's size 12 boot in in the picture for comparison.  That left no doubt that our destructive visitor last night had been a bear.

We've been really lucky.  This is the first time in the nearly 18 years we've been in this location that we've had anything get into the fenced in area and do damage.

But the question remains, how did a bear get in and out of the the 7' high fencing without damaging it?  And why didn't it go after the apples?  And . . . how in the world are we going to keep it from coming back??

22 comments:

Susan said...

Oyk! No overhanging branches of a girth that would support a bear? No red cape and blue tights left behind? That is really a condundrum. That is also one BIG pile o' bear poop!

Sue said...

Your apple tree looks amazing--small, and LOADED!
Sorry I can't advise on the bear situation. Maybe it's a Houdini Bear!! Let's hope he "disappears" for good!

Sparkless said...

Bears always get the apples on my parents apple tree. They have decided to cut the tree down so as not to have anything that will attract the bears. They don't have a fenced yard and live on the edge of a valley so their yard is accessible to lots of wild animals. Could your fencing be crawled under? Or maybe there is a section a small bear could crawl through? I'd check around to make sure the bear got back out you don't want to be surprised by a bear sleeping in your wood shed! Good luck figuring it out.

Carolyn said...

Uhm, you can make fun of me about the chiggers all you want.....at least I don't have BEARS in my yard! Freaky!!

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Nope, no branches a bear could hang from. (Wait. Is THAT where the red cape and blue tights came from?)

Mama Pea said...

Sue - If he continues to come in the yard and do more damage, he WILL "disappear!"

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - No, we specifically checked for spots where one might have pushed under . . . and found no evidence of that whatsoever. Our wood sheds are outside the fenced in area . . . otherwise, I might have worried about that!

Mama Pea said...

Carolyn - I guess I'm surprised you don't have bears in your neck o' the woods. You really don't, huh?

tpals said...

I'm thinking bears would be worse than raccoons (which we see all too often)! Glad it spared your apple harvest. Will you be picking soon?

Tami said...

Holy CRAP!!!! (literally) Geez...I hope you find a solution. Do you have a dog anymore? Not that a dog would deter a determined bear.

Stephanie said...

Oh no, that isn't good at all. Hoping it stays away. My mom had one come right up in her back yard last year, while she was outside, and she never saw it because the outside light was on. It was a close call, since it was only about 10ft from her.

Mama Pea said...

tpals - Our usual fall season is hard on our apples in that often we get cold weather and too many frosts for them all to mature properly. This year, we have high hopes (although a very scanty crop on the trees for some reason) because of our lovely, warmer than usual weather. Papa Pea brought an apple in yesterday for us to sample. It looks a little "unripe" to me, but we haven't actually sampled it yet.

Mama Pea said...

Tami - You can say that again! (Literally.) Nope, we've put off getting another dog right now for several reasons. But as my hubby commented yesterday, "We need two really big dogs that live outside all the time in the fenced in area." (Not that either of us really, truly want a dog - or dog - that isn't a house dog.) We've heard of dogs killed by bears but I'm sure they would alert us (to come help!) if they sensed one in "their" yard.

Mama Pea said...

Stephanie - Yep, folks up here have to be very careful about their compost heaps and garbage cans because if a bear finds one, he will come back again and again. There are situations where they can be dangerous.

Our good news is there's no evidence our bear came back last night. (Fingers crossed!)

Tee W said...

We have very few bears in my area of NC so I'm no help with how to keep out bears. Having a bear invade must be scary and I sure hope he says away. I have to say that reading this post made me feel a little better about my Houdini mouse that refuses to be caught. I've tried every trap know to man and he's defeated them all. I'm going go get a house cat next week if he's still here after the weekend! Good luck with the bears.

Tombstone Livestock said...

Don't think a solar eletric fence would deter a bear, their coat is so thick they would have to touch it to their nose, think even their paws are probably so tough they would not feel a shock. Two Great Pyrenees or Maremmas would be big enough to give you fair warning of a bear, but then you add dog food to food stash.

Little Homestead In Boise said...

Wow how weird!

Mama Pea said...

Tee W - Had to laugh at your description of your resident Houdini mouse. Mice we have plenty of around here, too, but my husband hates the thought of them in the house so much that each fall (when they try to move in) he runs a trap line OUTSIDE the house. His reasoning is he catches them before they enter, he's way ahead of the game!

Mama Pea said...

Tombstone Livestock - Actually, electric fencing has proven a real deterrent to bears around here. They have poor eyesight but great senses of smell so they kinda lead with their big ol' wet noses which frequently gives them a shock on electric fencing that sends them the opposite direction. Papa Pea made the comment yesterday that we need two big outside dogs to alert us in case of any more night raids. Trouble is I'd have those two big pups inside at night! (And most of the day, too.)

Mama Pea said...

Little Homestead in Boise - And a little unnerving, too! Before bed last night, hubby and I each had a big spotlight flashlight in our hands and stood on the deck searching all corners of the yard! No sign of the bear coming back at all though.

2 Tramps said...

And we thought the deer here were bad! Sure do hope that he has not been back to visit you. Isn't it hunting season there?

Mama Pea said...

2 Tramps - He came back a week after this first visit. We were both still up, sitting in the living room and heard him banging around. Hubby ran out on the deck and saw him on the grass a few feet out. He yelled and Mr. Bear took off, scaled the fence (!) and went crashing into the woods. Since then we've put electric fencing on the outside of the deer fence . . . and he hasn't returned. Yet. Eeeep.