MAY 25, 2007: Lifted from the LIGONIER ECHO column, Looking Back — Echoes of Yesteryear, page 4.
10 Years Ago
May 28, 1997
A bear has been on the prowl in the Laurel Mountain Boro/Laughlintown area, and residents are being urged to take precautions.So what are these “precautions?” Ten years after this warning was published there are 15,000 bears in the Pennsylvania woods. However, chances of being attacked are slim.
A Pennsylvania Game Commission contact provided these “precautions:”
This is the mating season for bears, when mommy bears kick their yearlings (baby bears) out of the nest so she can re-breed.
Nine times out of ten the black bear, which has poor eyesight, will stand on its back legs to get your scent. Once it identifies the human scent, or hears noise, it will leave of its own accord.
The bears people should be most concerned about are the new mommies with cubs. She will be extremely protective of her babies.
IF YOU ARE OUT IN THE WILDERNESS, MAKE NOISE. Carry a whistle with you and blow it occasionally.
TO KEEP A BEAR OFF YOUR PROPERTY: Bears tend to go where there is a food source. It is illegal to put food out for black bears (and elk) in Pennsylvania. At this time of year the berries and fruits aren’t available, so they will seek other sources.
BIRD FEEDERS: If there is a bear at your bird feeders, take them down for at least ten days. This eliminates the food on the ground, thus removing the food supply. A bear will be attracted to any food source.
Ways to be proactive in preventing the bear’s presence:
—Make “water” balloons about the size of grapefruit, filling them with household ammonia or vinegar and smearing them with peanut butter. When the bear goes after the peanut butter, he will get a distasteful mouthful.
—Clean your grill clean and store it inside. A bear will clean it for you if you neglect to do so.
—Protect your garbage.
Note: baby bears, kicked out of the nest to make room for the next cubs, get nosy.
IF YOU ARE CONFRONTED BY A BEAR, remember—give it a way out and it will run—
DO NOT BACK DOWN OR RUN: you cannot outrun or outclimb a black bear. DO stand tall, wave your hands and give the bear a way out.
DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH THE BEAR: The bear considers this a challenge.
IF IT’S A MOTHER WITH CUBS: This is the most dangerous situation. Do not gesture. Back off slowly. She is apt to come after you, hit you and gnaw at you. You’ll have to take it. Do what you can to protect your head.
IF IT’S A MALE BEAR: Give it a way out. However, if it’s cornered, it will likely run toward you, run over you and keep running to escape.
WATCH YOUR LOCATION: Bears go where the food source is, so if you are in a berry patch you are more likely to run into them than if you are walking along the road.
Visit the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s web site for further information on bears and other wildlife: www.pgc.state.pa.us —written by Carolyn C. Holland May 2007