2017-06-07 / Sports

Don’t live in fear of black bears

Struttin’ Time:


Black bears love tearing into your garbage cans and finding food, but are not interested in eating you, says sports columnist Steve Brewer. (Photo courtesy Kentucky Department for Fish and Wildlife Resources) Black bears love tearing into your garbage cans and finding food, but are not interested in eating you, says sports columnist Steve Brewer. (Photo courtesy Kentucky Department for Fish and Wildlife Resources) We are the scariest people on earth. Everything, it seems, sends us into a state of panic.

I am being notified, not once or twice a day, but sometimes three times a day, about people in Letcher County seeing black bears. I tell everyone the same thing: They won’t hurt you, the only exception being a mother with cubs. She doesn’t like you trying to take pictures of her little ones, and will let you know about it real quick.

If you see or hear a black bear getting into your garbage, take a metal pan, stick it out the door, and start beating on it. The bear will head for higher ground.

Hearing about all these bears reminds me of when I was a kid. I was hunting pretty much on my own by the time I was 12; most of us were in those days. I asked my Dad what to do if I saw a bear in the woods. Dad scratched his head and said, “Son, if you see one do just what he does. He will soon get tired of the game, and just leave.”

I was hunting in McCreary County when I was just about 16 years old, and actually had gotten a little lost. My dad told me, “Son, you’re not lost if you can go back to where you just came from.” I’m still not sure, but I think I was lost.

Anyway I looked and no more than 30 yards in front of me stood a big black bear. My dad’s words rang in my mind, “Do what they do.” The bear looked at me, I looked at him. He stood up and growled, and I growled too. He shook his whole body, and so did I. He ran up a tree and came back down, and I followed suit. When he started to answer the call of nature, I looked at him and said, “Beat you to it.”

If you come upon a bear, just make a lot of noise and it will be gone. They are only trying to eat; not bother you.

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