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My Wildlife in Montana: True Bear Stories

Updated on January 23, 2015

Life in Montana #6: True Bear Stories

Black Bears in Montana
Black Bears in Montana | Source

True Bear Stories

I have lived in bear country for over twelve years now and I have some favorite, true stories about bears. Bears can be quite funny when they aren't scaring the pants off everyone, so without further ado, here's the first one...

Never Dine and Poo in the Same Place, that's Just Uncivilized.


A Potty Trained Bear

One of my two restaurants is located in a resort lodge. In the summer, the whole area around the hotel lodge is teaming with wildlife. One night, a friendly couple that had dined with us earlier that evening, returned to the lodge looking bemused and befuddled. I asked what had happened.

They explained that they had left a window open in their mountain home when they came to the restaurant for dinner. When they returned home, they could see movement inside the house by the light of the car's headlamps. They watched helplessly as a large black bear ransacked the house looking for food.

They also watched while this bear climbed out through the window, squatted in the bushes to relieve himself, and then climbed back into the house to continue his foray. Really!

The couple gave up and returned to the lodge to relay their story. At least there was one less mess for them to clean up when it was all said and done. Rather polite of the bear, don't you think?

" I don't do lasagna!"

Lasagna | Source

The Food-Snob Bear

Another couple, Ted and Dottie, were dining with us and they also left their window open. The weather was beautiful and really, what were the chances that a bear would just happen along during those few hours that they were out, right? Wrong, sure enough they returned home to find their kitchen in disarray (and their dog cowering under the bed.)

A bear had gone through the refrigerator, freezer and pantry, eating almost everything in his path...almost everything . Now, you should know that Dotty considers herself to be a pretty decent cook and I would wholeheartedly agree. I have never had a bad meal at Dottie's house. Dottie had made a lasagna earlier that day but had left it in the refrigerator, opting to dine out instead.

You guessed it, that bear did not touch Dottie's lasagna. He ate every darn thing in their kitchen except that lasagna, which he uncovered but then left alone. Dottie was so insulted! I think she was more ruffled about her lasagna being rejected than the rest of the evening's calamities.

Woman Fends Off Bear with Giant Zucchini

Giant Zucchini
Giant Zucchini | Source

The Bear and the Zucchini

A woman defends her dog from a 200-pound bear using a giant zucchini, only in Montana! I love this true story.

The woman had let her 12-year-old dog out for his evening "break." The dog was suddenly attacked by a bear, which likely had been attracted to an apple tree in the woman's backyard. Instinctively, she kicked at the bear to save the dog; the bear turned its full attention to her in response.

As she backed quickly into her house and tried to close the door, the bear pursued her and stuck its head through the doorway. Terrified, the woman grabbed the first thing she could, which was a 14 pound zucchini from her garden, and bopped the bear on the head with it. The bear fled.

Both the woman and her dog were OK, but I don't think the same could be said for the zucchini.

Comments: Do you have any bear stories to share?

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    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 6 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Awesome read. I love bears, although the only incident I had with one in Bruce Peninsula National Park had shivers run through my spines. I am sure I will be scared to death if I encounter a Grizzly in the wild. I am training my dog to partner with me in hikes through bear country (covered in my only hub, which by the way, resembles this article, at least in my mind even though it is on dogs). Admittedly, I don't intend to carry Zucchini with me as a defense tool. That may have worked in Montana, but bears in Ontario may snatch one from me and ask for more.

    • Mrs. Menagerie profile image

      Mrs. Menagerie 6 years ago from The Zoo

      Huge bummer...I hate to hear about animals getting hurt. That's so sad.

    • profile image

      DoItForHer 6 years ago

      When I was a kid, I used to feed the raccoons that came around. Watching them eat varieties of different foods was a blast. Grapes were especially amusing. I had to stay pretty still and move slowly to avoid scaring them. When I stood up, they scattered to the four winds. A few even stood up on their hind legs with their front legs on my lap wanting food. Their claws are really sharp; not as sharp as a cat's claws, but far sharper than a dog's.

      Momma was always close by and she continually growled at me, but if I threw my food down, she rushed over and took it from her kids, but she wouldn't get closer than two feet from me. It was funny watching her eat and growl at the same time. Then when the cat got brave and jumped up on the porch, the nearest raccoon would aggressively chase it away.

      Then one day Momma Coon came with only two kits and one of the kits was missing half a tail. Someone was probably trapping them or some such thing. Shortly after that, they stopped coming either from the harassment or from being killed. It was a bummer.

    • Mrs. Menagerie profile image

      Mrs. Menagerie 6 years ago from The Zoo

      Hi DzyMsLizzy! What a bummer that the developer did that! Boo, Hiss from me too!

      I used to live next to a boarded up home in Boston (it was actually beautiful in a sad, dilapidated way)which was the residence of a huge clan of raccoons. I loved to watch them although I was told to be careful. I guess they can be dangerous.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 6 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Yikes!! Sounds pretty scary to me. The worst we've ever had to deal with in this semi-rural suburb where I live are skunks and raccoons. The latter are more frequent visitors, although, not so much since a developer razed an old orchard that used to be behind us, then ran out of money leaving just an empty dirt lot. Boo, Hiss!

    • Mrs. Menagerie profile image

      Mrs. Menagerie 6 years ago from The Zoo

      Thanks for visiting Tina and Kitty...I'm glad you enjoyed these stories...I love, fear and respect the bears all at the same time!

    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 6 years ago from Sweden

      I enjoyed this hub very much, the stories are amazing! There is a contradiction with beers since they look cuddly and sweat but they are also dangerous and to have them around must mean constant watchfulness. Thanks for this fantastic stories and a very good hub! voted up, awesome


    • profile image

      kitty 6 years ago

      Awesome stories! Absolutely love bears...voted up and awesome.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Never had to deal with bears or other wildlife much. Interesting story.

    • Mrs. Menagerie profile image

      Mrs. Menagerie 6 years ago from The Zoo

      Hello my fellow Montanian! Great to hear from you again. Thank you for sharing your bear experiences!

    • profile image

      DoItForHer 6 years ago

      I was born and raised around Black and Grizzly bears. We had few problems with bears as we had a dog and always burned our garbage, but every once in a while a black bear would tear down the bird feeder to get at the seed. I would run out and scare the bear off.

      This probably sounds crazy to city people, but that is how we handled our bear problems. We kept attractants to a minimum and simply ran them off on the occasions they did cause mischief.

    • Mrs. Menagerie profile image

      Mrs. Menagerie 6 years ago from The Zoo

      Thank you Eiddwen! I'm so glad you enjoyed this hub.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      A beautiful and interesting hub that I loved.

      I am a sucker for anything to do with wildlife/nature/etc so this one was a treat and I am bookmarking plus push all the buttons for this one.

      I now look forward to reading many more of your hubs.

      Take care


    • Mrs. Menagerie profile image

      Mrs. Menagerie 6 years ago from The Zoo

      Thanks Mary Ann, I love them too!

    • profile image

      THAT Mary Ann 6 years ago

      I know I'm supposed to be afraid of them...but I can't help loving the bears! Love the photos too.

    • Mrs. Menagerie profile image

      Mrs. Menagerie 6 years ago from The Zoo

      Thanks Charlu, you're right, it is cold..It just snowed more last night. I can't wait for warm weather.

      Hi Susan, thanks for sharing your story! I think I should request shared stories on this comment it!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Enjoyed reading about these Montana bears. My favorite was the house trained one.

      My husband last summer was doing some renovation work at a YMCA camp. There was this bear that kept coming around and so the camp set up a live trap with a fish in it. The bear smelling the fish went up to the trap looked at trap and walked away. Smart Bear.

    • Charlu profile image

      Charlu 6 years ago from Florida

      Those are awesome stories and what a polite bear. I would have to agree with Dotty if he didn't eat my lasagna I would probably be insulted. I wish I could handle the cold better I would live out there with the bears in a heartbeat, (well in a house with a fireplace close to the bears lol) Funny awesome and up thanks for sharing.