Sunday, December 28, 2014

Joni Saves a Bear...

On Friday Joni was out raking leaves when she heard a commotion. A pickup truck with an enthusiastic Redneck driver, was chasing a bear up our road. More than likely, he was trying to run it over. The harassed bear chose to climb about 75 feet up into a Ponderosa tree on the edge of our property. This was not a small bear: he was a good sized adult.

Joni went over to the man who was staring up at the bear. He wanted to kill it.

"Is this bear hurting your livestock?" he asked. Joni said no, we don't have any livestock.

"Is this bear eating your garden?" he asked. By garden he meant pot garden. Many of the pot gardeners, of which there are around 5,000 in Butte County, shoot anything that comes near their gardens, worried that the deer or bear will eat their precious and pricey plants. Fish and Wildlife Officers tell me that there has been about a 50% reduction in the numbers of wildlife in the past five years because of this poaching.

Joni told the man we don't have a garden.

In order to defuse the situation, Joni mentioned how cute the bear was. The man wanted to kill the bear in order to put him in his freezer. Joni explained to the man that the bear was more than welcome on our property; they were here first. In the end, the guy figured out that Joni wasn't going to approve of the bear being killed. The man left.

Joni returned later with binoculars and watched the bear for awhile. She then left. He was gone the next morning.

Of course, we are infuriated by the Redneck's behavior, chasing a bear with his truck. Trying to run it over and then wanting to kill it for no good reason. Looking for any reason he could find to kill the bear as a nuisance.

Does this bear know that Joni saved its life? I think so. He will remember her going to bat for him. She made another friend that day.


  1. Commenting anonymously - but actually The Joni discussed in this blog. I don't share the culture of pick-ups and eating bear meat, but neither do I share my husband's obvious disdain for California's 'hillbillies.' Certainly I generally will speak up for wildlife in any confrontation with humans, especially on the edge of my property. But I know it's tough to make a living up here in these hills, town is 45 minutes away, and fresh meat is a rarity in too many homes in this 'food desert.' I don't condemn the man for hungering for some meat, but neither can I condone him for harassing and threatening wildlife, a large animal who is likewise trying to stay alive in a difficult environment. People have so many choices which bears and other wild animals don't have: Costco, dumpsters in town, free meals at churches, asking for help with food... Hunger sucks. But bears aren't to blame, and already have it tough finding a simple meal of grubs or worms without getting shot at or chased. Bears become problems around here when people don't keep a 'clean camp' - some leave food-covered trash available, or pet food outside. We've only attracted bears when we tried to raise chickens. Poor birds lost out on that hard lesson. Bear and coyotes ate well off of us till we smartened up and knew we'd never win that battle. Do miss those marvelous fresh eggs, but I can't keep feeding chickens to wild bears and coyotes - gets them in trouble eventually, and my heart bleeds for the poor birds. Yet if I ever did try raising chickens again, no doubt my new 'friend' would find them tasty.

  2. The legal California Black Bear hunting season ended on December 28th.

  3. Chasing wildlife in a motorized vehicle is illegal even if there were bear left to be taken in California's quota---as the game warden informed us. Plus the property owners on this ridge do not allow hunting.