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More on momma and cubs

  We have a cabin on Twin Lakes, where I was staying by myself and last week a momma
bear and her two cubs were spotted near our cabin during the day. Later that night,
I drove into town to grab some dinner and when I came back to the cabin I saw the
two cubs near our main door. As I got closer and looked around, I noticed the momma
bear right in front of the door. When I shined my lights on the area, I noticed
that the momma bear was tearing the side boards off of the kitchen wall. Also, I
noticed that our screen door was ripped apart. After flashing my lights and honking
the horn, the momma and her cubs left and went into nearby brush. After they were
gone I boarded up the side of the cabin where she had torn wood off. 
  On June 13, I was there with my two daughters opening up our cabin for the
summer. We observed the momma bear and her two cubs (who are featured in Steve's
personal video clip on the homepage of website) for most of three days. They slept there two
nights and were not a problem to us. We enjoyed the pleasant company and watching
the cubs play with each other and look for food. Little did we know they would
later become a problem. Two days after we left, we were notified from another cabin
resident that a bear(s) had broken in to our cabin. We called to get the details,
and found out the following.
  The momma bear and her cubs broke a bedroom window that is next to the kitchen. The
only food left in the cabin was canned food in a cabinet. The momma bear took the
cans and tossed them out the window to her cubs waiting below. When we arrived back
in Mammoth about a week later, we had stains all over the floor and outside not too
far from our cabin, there was a pile of opened and empty food cans.
  Hopefully that was the end of visits from our unexpected guests.



-bear enthusiast 
 

Face to Face with a Stringer Expert

My wife is a Bear Whisperer addict and runs your show over, and over, and over on our dvr. She found your website and had me post. I was fishin up at Twin Lakes a couple years ago from the shore of the Middle Lake. It was October and it was right before the first snowfall of the year. I was fishin off the point there down from cabin 37 and had only a single fish on the stringer. My wife was keeping dry in the truck and I barely heard the horn honk and thought nothing of it. Watching my line out on the water, I kneeled down at the shore to readjust the stringer in the rain. As I grabbed the trout to toss him into deeper water, unable to hear anything with the din of raindrops, a dark shadow moved quickly into my peripheral vision and was right next to me at the shore like something from the movie The Edge. I quickly turned my head to the right to be eye to eye with a bear in my face at about 3 feet. This face was saying give me the fish. (The bear looked like either blondie or sow 3 in description with a long narrow snout. Knucklead?) Scared straight and without a beanbag round or a flash-bang device handy, I grabbed the stringer and jumped backward with the fish in my hand and jammed the tip of my pole at the bears head to deter. This maneuver only aggravated the bear more and the it lunged at me as if it was attacking my midsection. Thinking I had been disemboweled and with the combination of fear and this voracious aggression by the bear, I brilliantly threw the stringer with the trout up into a short pine to keep it out of the beast’s reach. The bear went up that tree like a leopard, grabbed the fish and the stringer, ate the fish and disappeared out of sight. Turns out the bear had raided a wedding down at the lower lake, cleaned up several stringers on the shoreline, and then made his way up to me on the middle lake for some more sashimi before he darted off into the campgrounds. This bear was a stringer expert and I had been stringer-jacked. It snowed a day or two later and he came back up to the cabin, and right up the walkway for another look, propped himself up on the window sill and was watching/listening to us in the cabin that evening. I didn’t realize this until the next morning when I saw the voyeur’s paw prints in the snow up near the window. I fished alone out on the boat on the middle lake on the first snow of the year which was pretty enjoyable. Ever since those events we've been bear fans after experiencing first-hand the intelligence and athleticism of these remarkable animals.

-bluff charge victim
 

Don't Bug a Bear That's Eating

We were backpacking in Kings Canyon and set up camp near the Bubbs Creek Trail. In the middle of the night some other hikers showed up and set up camp nearby. For some reason they figured it was OK to tie off a bag of food to the trunk of a tree right next to our tent. I think the bear figured it was OK. In fact he loved it, every last bite of it. He managed to knock down the food bag easily and started munching on the stash. It was about 5 am and I heard some rustling outside. I got up and saw the bear. He saw me but took no interest whatsoever and continued eating. I grabbed some pots and pans and starting making noise trying to scare him away. My threats weren’t very intimidating. He turned quickly, realized that he could take me, and lunged his 500 pounds right at me. I think it must have been three quick steps but it seemed like he was using Jet packs. Before I could even raise an eyebrow his paw was in my face and the hot breath of his primal roar was blowing my hair back. I pretty much $*%# my pants. I was at his mercy. But, he decided that he had made his point and nonchalantly turned back to the food and resumed eating. When I realized what happened and that I still had all my body parts I ran back to the tent and pulled my buddy out to see him. As the bear finished his meal he licked his chops and moseyed off into the dark woods. That morning I learned a little something extra about bears and food. I’ve always used the proven storage techniques and have never had a bear snag my food during 30 years of backpacking but you learn something new every day. Always make sure a bear doesn’t get your food, and equally important, let him eat what he does get or you’ll become his next meal.

-Dave Titus


 

 

Quiet Up There, I'm Trying to Sleep!

scottbernardbearstoryHello Steve,

I am writing you today after returning from our family vacation home in ML. My wife, two daughters and I were awakened @ 0300 on Sunday, January 30 to the eerie sound of clawing underneath the floorboards of the room my daughters were sleeping in. From the combination of clawing on wood, grunting and heavy breathing it was evident the culprit was none other than a bear. Let me tell you it was a pretty traumatizing way for two young girls to be woken up. A short while later, and the girls sleeping in the living room, the bear settled down. For the remainder of our stay we only heard an occasional grunt from our unexpected house guest. The kids nicknamed him/her "Grunter."

Later on the morning of the original discovery I notified Mammoth PD and they dispatched two of their officers. When they arrived I showed them to the only access panel at the rear of the cabin to find it had been screwed shut with about 20 drywall screws. We decided to take down the access panel and let the bear retreat on his/her own. Problem was I had to dig a few feet of snow and find a cordless drill to take out the screws. Enter our neighbor Michael. He offered his Dewalt cordless and the story of how this past fall two male bears were found under the cabin.  He stated you and the police were dispatched to our residence on Shady Rest. He went on to tell of how after using pepper spray, not one, but two male bears exited the access at the rear of the house. It was determined that after the two bears retreated, and there were no others underneath the house, the wood panel was secured in place.Well, I've got news for you, I think those two males had some company and he or she has been there ever since. There has been only one other visitor to stay at the family vacation home since, and after speaking with them, they did not know of the bear incident last fall let alone of the unwanted guest underneath the cabin.

Before leaving for a day skiing on the mountain, I had taken the panel down and left. After returning from a powder day on the hill, it was difficult to tell if the bear had retreated. I secured the panel back in place and went about our evening. The next day I decided to take some digital photos of views under the cabin from an access panel in the kitchen floor (used for turning on/off the water supply when de-winterizing before vacating). Sure enough the photos revealed what appears to be an adult sized bear [see photo here]. Just before leaving town, I took the screws out of the access panel and left it secured by a few small latches. Ones which could be easily pushed out when and if our hibernating bear wishes to leave. Only problem would be if the bear is too big to get out. Enter The Bear Whisperer. Would you be able to check things out when you return to town? I don't know when others will be using the cabin, but it would be nice to know if and when it is safe to return. Thank you for your concern in this matter.


Sincerely,
Scott Bernard
Ventura, Calif.


 

No Photographs Please!

Late one night I was walking home after covering a Mammoth Lakes Town Council meeting. It was deep into summer and the temperatures were warm and friendly. As I passed by a familiar dumpster I heard a noise. Not thinking much of it, I glanced in the general direction and to my surprise (and, I must admit, delight), I saw a large bear rummaging for food. I'm not very lucky when it comes to bear sightings, so I felt like I should make the most of the experience.

The dumpster had a staircase running alongside it that led into the building that utilized the dumpster. The bear was at the top, perching on the edge of the big garbage can. I figured he was far enough away from where I was, at the bottom of the staircase on the curb of a semi-busy street, that I could inch in for a closer look. It was then that visions of snapping an awesome bear photo to show off to my friends and potentially run in the newspaper where I was employed popped in my head. So I pulled my camera out of its casing and began to move in.

I thought the bear was busy enough with his food that he wouldn't even notice my approach ... wrong. I'm not sure if he could hear, or if I had an unfavorable breeze blowing my scent in his direction, but as I reached the lowest stair his head snapped up and he looked straight at me. Telling myself to remain calm, that he wouldn't be interested in little old me when there was a feast just under his nose, I raised my camera and prepared to take the photo from where I was just to be safe. However, as the camera neared by face, the bear began to charge down the stairs!

I was caught so offguard that I followed my first instinct and turned and ran ... right into the street! Luckily for me there were no cars careening by and I made it safely to the curb on the other side. However, when I turned around I could see that the bear had begun to follow and had just stepped off the original curb. Luckily, a car came into view and its bright lights scared the creature and he ran off in the opposite direction (away from me).

Lesson learned, bears in Mammoth enjoy similar celebrity to famous actors, athletes, etc. and dislike being plagued by paprazzi just as much!

- Lara Kirkner

 


Don't Feed Our Bears

Co-existence with bears comes with responsibility. Do not approach animals in the wild, respect their habitat and above all, never feed wildlife.

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