Monday, July 06, 2009

When Molly Met Bear

We headed out later than usual on our loop walk, which starts up the road past the survivalist's shack. (He's been away for a while.)

Just as we passed his shack Molly took off, and we could see she was after a cinnamon BEAR that was heading in the reverse direction a bit farther downhill from the road. We could see the bear really clearly, not just some orange blob and then gone.

We called her back repeatedly. She kept running until she was only fifty feet away from the bear and then she turned back and ran to us. Never once did she make a sound. The bear, an adult, just kept on walking the way it was walking, headed down the hill towards our house. There were no cubs following the bear.

If I didn't know that black bears can be cinnamon color I would be mighty scared it was a griz, but there are no grizzly bears in Colorado. We'd always wondered what Molly would do if she encountered a bear. We were SO PROUD of her.

Later on the same hike we saw some elk and a fox skull (I think). It was still too fresh to bring home. I hadn't brought my camera today, but even if I had I was way too busy getting excited about the bear to think of taking a picture.

Do you think it might be a bear that's been eating our hollyhock blossoms?


Linda said...

You are surrounded by spectacular animals. I'm sure the bear knew Molly was running toward it even though Molly was quiet, don't you think so? When you're calling her, does she really really not want to come back, but does anyway because she respects you--or does she figure out the bear is a little larger and have second thoughts, or both.

There was a great show on NPR last night on animals/intelligence/language.

It's funny that black bears can be cinnamon color.

Mean Jean said...

The cubs don't always follow the mother, especially as they get past the baby stage. They sort of roam around her, so be sure to do a 360 check.

Do you have woodchucks out there? Woodchucks consider hollyhocks to be a gourmet salad bar ingredient.

Sally said...

Linda, I'm sure the bear was aware of Molly. I think on Molly's first charge the primitive part is on fire, and then she hears the voices and returns.

Good point, Mean Jean. I remember seeing some amazing videos of bears in your yard last year.

We don't get woodchucks but do have chipmunks. There are marmots around but never seen this close. Do deer like hollyhocks?

Namowal said...

How far away was this bear? That sounds scary!
Are black bears more docile than grizzlies?
I'm glad Molly changed her mind about meeting it!

Sally said...

Namowal, it was about 150 feet away but travelling on a parallel/reverse track and just didn't show any stress signs.

Mean Jean said...

Deer eat hollyhocks. Bears eat a lot of things as well. I'd put my money on the deer.

Black bears are not as dangerous as grizzlies but you still don't want to mess with them. They don't relocate them around here unless they have complaints of them threatening people. Usually they just go through garbage cans, compost heaps and snack on a small dog every now and then. 3 schnauzers were killed here last year. Molly was very good to come back when called.