Bears in the Garbage
We moved in 2006 to the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Now, we are not unfamiliar with the wildlife. I was raised on a farm in the south and my husband spent his summers in the Northwoods. We enjoy seeing the beautiful woodpeckers, not so smart porcupines, and the graceful deer that abound around us. One inhabitant of the woods is the awesome black bear.
They are gorgeous and rather solitary animals. We have only seen a couple in the day time as most of them come out around our house at night. We learned real quick to bring in our birdfeeders at night if we wanted the birds to have any the next day.
I've personally seen them within 10 yards of the house. In fact one day, my daughter was sitting on the couch with her back to the picture window telling about an episode at school. I looked up and just at the edge of the woods was a lone bear. I calmly stated that there was a bear. She must have assumed that I meant right outside the window ready to bounce on her, because she threw herself flat on the couch and screamed, "Where?" We got a good laugh out of that one.
But the one thing that they do that puts us over the edge is ripping our garbage open for us to clean up the next day!!!
One morning we woke up and found the trash can shoved up under my car. The bear had pushed it up under there as she tried to root around in it. That was fun getting out. Made me late for work.
My husband was really getting upset with having to do this every day. We tried keeping the trash in the garage and tolerate any smells. We kept forgetting to put it out for trash pickup then.
So he came up with a brillant idea. He took some bunji cords and strapped the lid of the can shut. That should keep her out.
That night I was unable to sleep. Probably due to the excessive snoring next to me. As I lay there counting sheep, the sheep began to make the funniest noises. They started thumping and bumping around. That's not the sheep! It's the bear!
I jumped up on the bed so I could lean against the window screen and listened closely. It had to be her. I shook my husband. He would not budge until I told him what was happening. He jumped up as though struck by lightening and jerked his pants on. When he grabbed his gun, I stopped him. Didn't he know that it was not bear season and he did not get a tag this year? He reassured me that it was just a pellet gun and wouldn't hurt her but could save our trash!
We both went to the front door. If you have ever been in that area of the country, you know that at night it is jet black. Even the porch light only goes so far.
Now you have to imagine this scene. My husband who has just woken up in only his jeans, me in a robe holding onto our small dog who might run out and became an appetizer, one lone porch light that just reaches the edge of the porch, no stars out, and a BLACK bear someone out in the vicinity of our trash can. This just screams comedy or disaster waiting to happen!
I'm right up against my husband because for some reason I think that I might be able to see if a bear is charging us before him, not thinking also that I was the one between him and the door to safety.
He raises the gun to his shoulder and shoots where he thinks the trash can is. We hear the pellet bounce off the can and then a very distinct, "Umph!!!". We should have been part of a comedy act. We both turned to run through a closed door each of us wanting to be the first one in and just could feel the breath the bear on our necks.
We got in and closed the door. As we looked out the GLASS door, we could see nothing but our cowardise on the small porch. He stayed at the door and I ran back into the bedroom hoping to hear her. Nothing!
We usually see them in the back yard. So I ran there. Still nothing. Well, where did she go. We looked out every window. I have a very vivid imagination. So whenever I put my face to a window, I kept expecting a black fuzzy one to be looking back.
We had pretty much given up and I headed back to bed while he went to get a quick drink of water. He yelled from the kitchen, "There she goes." I got to the picture window and saw the mama bear and a one year old cub hot footing it out of there. They were beautiful.
The next morning we found the trash can overturned but completely full. The cords worked. We haven't see her back yet, but our neighbors have been getting a visit. Since they are periodic weekenders, we are still picking up the bears treasures!