First I will give you a tiny piece of history. Before retirement, I worked as a police and fire dispatcher and Sunday mornings were always very quiet and very boring. Sometimes we would hear from people, who although we doubted their sanity, we always had to check things out Many calls would give us a chuckle, and if it happened on a Sunday morning....well, it just was a bonus to break up an otherwise quiet day.
I will also tell you that its 40 degrees outside today, with showers and very windy.
So back to the present and the topic of my post. My daughter and her family live about a mile and a half from me. They live in a subdivision. It would not be described as "country" or even "rural" anymore....its the suburbs. About a year ago they started noticing a herd of deer coming through there. Sometimes there is only a couple and sometimes as high as 15 of them at once are walking around in the yards of the subdivision residents. Its a mystery where these deer come from. They sail over fences like they weren't even there. My granddaughter has gotten used to seeing them and also knows better than to go outside when they are around.
This morning she was looking out her bedroom window and suddenly started yelling to her mom that there was a black bear in the yard between their house and the house next door. What? My daughter rushed over to the window and looked where she was pointing. Sure enough....there was something big and black and it was moving. The bushes and trees kept her from getting a good look and she was afraid now to go outside. So she calls me. What do I do, what do I do. The old man next door might go outside with his little dogs and that bear will attack him. Do you know his phone number I ask. No, she says....I barely know his name....he's not sociable. She says I'll call the guy across the street and see if he knows it. Then she says, I'm going to call the police.....but I don't want them to kill this bear.
So while she calls our local police, I call the County, hoping to get ahold of Animal Control....even though I figured that, with all the recent budget cuts, on a Sunday they would be closed. Animal problems are not supposed to take place on the weekends.....we all know that! The County dispatcher had that tone in her voice that said "oh brother...I've got one that's missing a few cards".....but she humored me. ....and passed me off to our local department. I then called the department where I used to work and got ahold of one of my old co-workers.....actually, I trained him. I told him what was going on and asked if they still kept the list of DNR volunteers. They do and he gave me some numbers. Thank God I didn't have time to call them before my daughter called back with the end of the story.
The neighbor she called across the street went outside and looked over and he saw it too....so he went back in and called a bunch of other neighbors. They were coming out of their houses and going across the street to get a good view; some of them had long guns. By now our local police sent ONE female officer to check it out. My daughter was near panic by this time.....so afraid that this bear was going to ravage a dog or worse yet, a person who may just be going for a walk. She went with the officer to the location only to discover......a huge black piece of plastic that the old man next door had used to cover his woodpile....probably in anticipation of all the rain that's in the forecast for today. (heavy downpours) The strong wind was moving it around, had billowed it out and the bushes concealed enough of it that you couldn't really tell WHAT it was, other than big, black and moving. My daughter felt like a fool....she apologized over and over. The officer laughed and said that it was ok...."its SUNDAY and besides that it gives me something to tell my kids and future grandkids. This is a happy story". Then she looked down in the snow and said....''are these deer tracks?". Yep, my daughter says....we have all kinds of them that come through here. She said, "I can see that....I'm surprised".
I guess my little granddaughter figured.....if deer, why not a bear? She really did believe it was a bear. You just never know anymore. My first thought was that maybe one had escaped from a circus....we have traveling circuses that come through in the winter and set up INSIDE at the stadium that isn't that far away. The thing that struck me though is that we've encroached on wildlife so much....built up their natural habitat, taken their homes away.......where are they to go? If it really HAD been a bear, what would have happened then? I fear it probably would have been killed. I know we have coyotes here now and we never used to.
Anyway, I feel like a fool too. I called my ex co-worker and told him the details. He was laughing so hard he could hardly contain himself. Remember what I said about Sunday mornings? Anyway, I said.....now, Marty, this stays between just us at work and he said....ah yeah....sure...right. (gales of laughter). Oh boy....I'm in for it now. Anyway, it sure did liven up Sunday morning for more than a few people. Black bear, indeed!