An unwanted visitor, a little more meat in the freezer.

Last week Ashlee came out of the house, face to face with a black bear about 15ft away. Needless to say, it surprised her. The next night we heard the dog barking her “bear bark” whenever a bear is in the yard. We got up, but couldn’t see the bear. The next morning, I left the house to get some coffee and fill up the gas tank. Once I got back, I came inside for a about twenty minutes and then went out to check on my chickens. In the span of those twenty minutes, the bear had gotten into the trash (which had not been properly latched) and had spread garbage everywhere. Understandably, I was on edge to have the black bear visiting in the middle of the day.

About two hours later, I came outside again, and there was the black bear, sitting in the yard looking at me. I ran inside, grabbed the gun, and shot him as he sauntered up our driveway. (Black bear hunting is open year-round where I live.) It was a clean shot and he didn’t go far.

The neighbor came over and helped me drag him into the driveway where I could butcher him.

The boys looking tough next to the unwelcome guest.

This bear had been harassing the neighborhood for weeks. It had killed another neighbor’s chickens and had been getting way too close to humans. Upon skinning him, I found that this wasn’t the first time this bear had gotten himself into trouble either. I found 80-90 pieces of bird shot in his face and one of his front quarters. It had been there a while, so this bear had taken a shotgun blast to the face and had still not been deterred from eating garbage and killing chickens. Needless to say, a number of neighbors are glad to see him gone.

The meat is really good too! It’s the first bear I’ve eaten and it’s very mild, if a bit chewy. Above all, it’s nice not to have to worry about a troublesome bear in the yard with my kids.

In other news, we’re done fishing for the year. I went dipnetting on the Copper River (with only marginal success) and spent a week dipnetting on the Kenai River, which is enjoying a record run. The freezer is getting full, the garden is starting to produce nicely, and there’s a tinge of fall in the air.

Next up: berry picking in order to make my annual currant-raspberry mead.

4 Comments

  • craig

    July 26, 2011 at 8:25 pm Reply

    nice shot on the bear. glad it not only tastes good, but it is being eaten. the kenai was awesome this year. one day i wil have to get to the cooper river. i still want to invite you over next time we make mead.

  • Liam

    August 12, 2011 at 11:53 am Reply

    Wow, that is disgusting slaughtering a animal in such a carelesss way and then encouraging to the children. Making it as ‘tough’ you sir are the complete opposite you sir are a pussy who took advantage of a wild creature.

    • Erik

      August 12, 2011 at 7:06 pm Reply

      While I’m sorry you don’t see things my way, I find it a bit offensive that you would be so quick to judge. (I hope you’re a vegan, because if you find industrial-raised meat, eggs, dairy and fish to be ethical, I would find your statement to be a little hypocritical. Even then, one could argue mono-cropped soy is “taking advantage” of what nature has to offer.)

      As far as my kids are concerned, I feel that I am teaching them a nearly forgotten culture of self-sufficiency and connection to the land. When we sit down to eat some bear (or moose, caribou, ptarmigan, or home-grown chickens), not only do my kids eat the cleanest, most unpolluted meat in the world, they also understand where their meat comes from. They understand the gravity of taking a life so that we can eat. They are connected to the cycles of life and death that kids in suburbia cannot understand. “Slaughtering an animal is such a careless way” could not be further from the truth.

  • Liam

    August 15, 2011 at 8:07 am Reply

    Sometimes you’ve got to shake the tree and see what falls out.

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