20 Apr 2018

Enter Pursued By a Bear*

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* Antigonus in Winter’s Tale, Act III, Scene 3.

It is a standard hazard of life in Appalachia that, in mid-to-late April, Ursus Americanus, the native, killed-off-by-the-pioneers-but-returned-by-the-conservationists Black Bear wakes up hungry from his winter slumbers and embarks on a temporary annual reign of terror, leaving no bird feeders or garbage cans left outside safe.

It must have been a young, apprentice bear who showed up Tuesday night. He could not bend the pole reinforced-with-rebar that holds up two feeders, and he was also foiled by the sturdy pipe holding the much-bear-destroyed-and-then-always-repaired ancient red feeder that predates our 30-year ownership of the farm. He merely bent down the un-reinforced, limber pole, pushed open the bottom of the tall, tin feeder with his nose, and inhaled its sunflower seed contents.

He must have taken bear lessons before he returned Wednesday. The rebar-reinforced pole was bent. The pipe pole was pushed so hard that its cement base was tilted out of the ground, and a piece of board from the bottom of the old red feeder was artfully removed. Every single feeder was emptied.

All this criminal activity on Tuesday and Wednesday nights took place discreetly late at night after the humans and dogs had gone to bed.

Last night was different. Karen and I were sitting here, around 9:30, watching a movie on tv. The ten-month-old Taigan puppy was outside exploring. Suddenly, the door flew open, in came the puppy who ran all the way across the room to a position of comparative safety on the stairs at the far end of the room before he began barking.

This puppy has been notoriously unperturbable. Nothing has seemed to intimidate him previously. Certainly, not me. Not even his older brother, Uhlan, who once sent him to the vet for stitches.

So, I got up, took the loaded Model 629 from the bookcase by the door, stepped outside and applied a little .44-caliber fumigation to the general vicinity.

Amusingly, both dogs were still leery and looking around carefully last night and again this morning.

There was one small (mildly appalling) denouement. This morning the puppy was out running around for the second time, and after a bit came trotting down the slope from behind the cabin with something black in his mouth. “He’s playing with another black walnut from last fall.” I thought. But, no, he sat down, and I saw it was too large. He had found himself, and was dissecting and devouring, a black bear turd.

5 Feedbacks on "Enter Pursued By a Bear*"


Yep, when the dogs are in retreat mode, it is time to bring out the big bore.

Spurt Reynolds

A few extra pictures of the damaged feeders or the puppy would really add some color to the story. Nothing exciting ever happens in an office (sigh). All the fun and excitement seems to go on in the great outdoors. The 629 is a handy tool.


You can see the red feeder earlier here: http://www.klmimages.com/p1034966920/h9fc5040d#h9fc50c25 Note the bend in the pipe from previous bear attacks in years gone by. Latest puppy photos are two months old: http://www.klmimages.com/p1008200728 He’s bigger now.


Actually, true Shakespeare scholars (such as myself, of course, of course) have come to understand that Winter’s Tale quote as actually illuminating a more important moment in Hamlet which has been misconstrued due to a typo in the originating folio… Indeed, it is a missing comma which, when placed correctly as in:

“Who would these fardels, bear?”

reveals that this is not a soliloquy, but that Hamlet is in fact addressing a bear onstage.

It’s one of those things where the Globe wanted to get maximum use out of its bear costume.

Go, my son, a sin against the bard no more.




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