So this morning I am bopping around, doing my morning computer things, when the dog and the cat both come piling into the dog door like the Three Stooges minus one. And Rosie, the more demonstrative of the two, runs to the dining room and starts staring wildly at something out the window, so I figure something's up.
Sure enough, there's a moving black form between the garden fence and a line of an impenetrable thicket of blackberry briars. A bear. And I'm still in my bathrobe.
But what the hey. I go outside, careful to keep the door open. (It locks automatically, as I once discovered in my bare feet in the middle of winter. And thus far we can't figure out how to change this "feature" short of buying new locks.) Walk about six feet away from the door, where there's this low brick wall about knee high. The bear is completely ignoring me. I shout at him: "HEY!"
He looks up. Dadgummit, he's tagged. DOUBLE tags, an orangey-red tab stapled to both ears. I've never seen a tagged bear before, but I know he's trouble. So he raises his head and looks at me and pricks both ears, and presents such a picture I consider going back inside and getting a camera.
And then I think, no, that's not wherein lies my Civic Duty. I have to scare this bear away until he begins to re-equate the presence of humans with Unpleasant Things instead of easy food. Which is what got him in trouble with the first place.
So first I just yell at him. "Get outa here!" He just looks at me, idly curious, still chewing whatever vegetable matter I interrupted him chewing on. So clearly THAT's not gonna work.
But just inside the door we keep the AIR HORN we purchased YEARS and YEARS ago, when another (untagged) bear began using our yard as a daily path. (As much as Mojo likes wildlife, some things you Just Can't Have. Like a bear walking past your door, not five feet away from you.) A horn that, until today, has remained unchristened and unused. I stroll back to the house, get the horn, and come back out.
"One last chance!" I shout at him. Because frankly, I don't like the sound of the darned thing, either. When Mister Bear still just looks at me, I say, "Okay, pal" and let 'er rip. Two good blasts, followed by a longer chaser to speed his retreat.
Man, I sure wish THEN I had a camera. You should have seen his face. He just about fell over backwards making his hasty retreat. It was highly amusing. I will go out later to inspect the giant hole it looked like he punched in the blackberries while he ran away. ("...aaaand STAY out!") For now I am still in my bathrobe, ready for my baff, and NOTHING prevents Mojo from enjoying her tub time. (And besides which, okay, I'm a little chicken, so I at least require CLOTHES to feel braver.)
I came back into the house to a hero's welcome. Rosie was watching the whole thing from the safety of the dining room, and she seemed pleased (and perhaps a little surprised) that I survived the encounter. This has been my first time seeing her with a definite bear (she's been frightened inside by lots of unexplained phenomena, which I call "ghosts") and I was VERY glad to see both her and the cat run for the house instead of doing something stupid. The cat came inside, but I haven't seen him since. No doubt the horn was just as unpleasant for him as it was for the bear.
Funny, this morning on FB my Favorite Younger Sister reported seeing her first bear of the season in her neighborhood. And after my Favorite Husband's report last week (and that's been the third or fourth bear he's seen this summer) I was starting to feel a little left out. But now I'm more concerned about a double-tagged bear. I'll have to keep an eye out for his return, until he finds out that the folks around here dish out unpleasantness instead of tasty garbage and bird seed...