Last night around 7, while watching TV, I was startled when I heard my trash container tumble over in the driveway. Jumping to my feet to get a glimpse of the problem, I saw a black bear retrieve the garbage bag from the container and walk out of my view with the bag in its mouth. My first reaction was to grab my camera but I had to go outside for a better view. From a safe distance, I walked on the grass toward the road hoping to zoom in on the bear and its dinner. But it had already disappeared into the brush off the side of the road. I remained poised with my camera far enough away on my front deck in case it decided to come back for seconds. After a short while, when the mosquitoes tried to make a meal out of me, I went back into the house. The overturned trash container would wait till morning.
The next morning, it was around 7 again when I sat quietly with my cat, Zena, and read by the coolness of the open window. It wasn’t until Zena spotted something that I looked up from my book to see the bear once again at the trash container. I don’t know how long the bear was there but it seemed to be satisfied that there was not much to hang around for, so it slowly left in the same direction as the previous evening.
Don went out later and found no garbage in sight, on the ground or in the container. He is now at the store to purchase an air horn. At least, if we see the bear, we can hopefully chase it with the loud horn. I don’t want to harm this bear, only chase it away, for good! Maybe the heat of the last few days depleted the ammonia we sprayed and intensified the garbage smell. We’ll continue to spray ammonia in the garbage bags and the containers as a deterrent and hope that it will work once again.
I think I’m learning a few things about bears and garbage: If you spray ammonia in your garbage, it might stink up your kitchen so that you don’t want to go near it, but it still might not be good enough to deter a hungry bear.
If you wrap your trash securely, double-knotting it tightly, the bear will easily carry it off without spilling it all over the driveway and road. It can prove beneficial for you for not having to clean up the mess, and beneficial for the bear because he can eat in privacy. (I think there’s a trash bag commercial here somewhere.)
If a bear cannot be deterred, it will get bolder over time and think that your place is a safe place to visit. You will have to throw away that cute welcome mat with the bear paws on it at your front door and anything else that is beary cute.
For bear safety and your own, instead of grabbing your camera first, reach for the air horn or even your car horn. A picture's worth a thousand words but only if the camera (I meant photographer) survives the ordeal.