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O/T: a strong bear and 20th anniversary

Joe Michaels

Diamond
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Location
Shandaken, NY, USA
I looked out the bedroom window this morning and saw that a heavy bluestone topped table was on its side on the lawn. The table is under the tube framework for a canopy or shelter we put up during warmer weather. In cold weather, after the bears den up, we hang bird feeders and suet blocks from the ridge of this framework. In order to make refilling the feeder easier, I had it on a piece of garage door wire rope, run over some pulleys, with an old sashweight as a counterweight. The pulleys were tied to the tubular framework with the heaviest nylon wire ties (zip ties). I had deliberated using geared hose clamps to fix the pulley blocks to the framework. I had taken the bird feeder in, and a couple of weeks back, got the bright idea of hanging a bunch of dried Indian corn (decoration left from Thanksgiving dinner) off the same hook. The bear evidently got on the bluestone table to get to the corn. He succeeded in breaking one of the heavy nylon zip ties in tension, lowering the corn and getting at it, and toppling the table. I have no idea of the actual tensile strength of a heavy nylon zip tie, but that bear parted it in tension. My wife is now on me to mount a wildlife or trail camera. Word to the wise: if you live in areas frequented by bears, these bears are hungry, smart, and persistent. They will tear into doors and windows of homes if they know there was food around the property. A buddy from the powerplant had a chicken coop. A black bear kept opening the door and helping itself to the chicken feed and eggs. My buddy got some steel angle and flatbar and welded reinforcements which he bolted to the door of the coop and the door jamb. He also made a strong steel latch. The bear returned, didn't even attempt to get thru the door. Instead, the bear ripped off some of the wood siding on the coop, gained entry and took revenge by killing and devouring every chicken (leaving the feet) and tearing up the inside of the coop. These bears are persistent and smart as well as incredibly strong.

We have black bears, and they are kind of shy so we do not see them often. Last spring, I had a black bear amble across the lawn, and he poked his head and shoulders into my blacksmith shop. That bear evidently decided there was nothing in the smithy worth going after. We coexist with the bears and other critters, but know the bears, however human-like, cute or amiable they may appear, are nothing to encourage. I figured dried Indian corn would keep the birds happy, my wife being a 'birder', but was not anything that would attract a bear. WIfe is wishing I had put up the trail camera, so it's on the honey-do list.

In looking at the sidebar information about myself, I noticed I joined Practical Machinist on 3 April, 2004. That is twenty years. Seems impossible that twenty years of contributing and enjoying this 'board have slid by. To a dinosaur like me, it also seems incredible that I've been using personal computers for more than 20 years. This site has been a very good thing in my life, and I thank the folks who put it together, manage it, and I thank all the great friends I've made on this site. My morning routine includes visiting the Antique Machinery 'board first thing after breakfast, and again sometime after supper. The internet is incredible to someone of my years. Making friends and acquaintances with people in other states as well as other countries on different continents would have been unimaginable not so long back. I am of an era where, if you wanted to contact someone some distance away, you had to call "long distance" (and ask for 'person to person' to avoid paying for the call if the party you wanted to talk to was not there), or get an overseas operator and wait for the call to be placed... or, you wrote a letter and sent it via postal service. The only people who had the luxury of freely contacting people overseas or in other states without worrying about long distance charges were the 'ham' radio operators. Now, we have the world at our fingertips, literally. Quite an evolution in my generation's lifetime. Thank you again to everyone on this 'board.
 
I always read your posts Joe, I wish I could have experienced some of the projects you worked on, at one time you sounded like you had a few health issues, I hope all is going well for you now.
 
Pete Deal:

My wife and family like the bears, and we figure we built our home in their natural habitat. On the other hand, I have no use for coyotes. I don't know how the coyote population is doing in your neck of the woods. In our area, the coyotes seem to have gotten considerably larger in size in the past 30 years. They are also more brazen and will take their sweet time when out in the open. Years ago, coyotes were furtive, almost never seen in daylight in the open. I am guessing it's next to no hunting or trapping pressure on the coyote population, and a larger deer population as well as more city people with weekend homes. This latter group squeezed the natural habitat a bit, and likely have plenty of pet dishes on their back steps to attract critters in the coyote food chain. My wife and daughter were walking on our road one day, and heard a sound like a baby. It was a fawn being run to ground by two coyotes. I shoot coyotes every chance I get, with our bedroom window being a good vantage point. Either they get a load of number 4 shot or a .30-30 round. No need for a backhoe. If I go into our woods, I have my .45 pistol on me. I put the coyote carcasses on a flat rock in our woods. In 24 hours, the carcass is gone without a trace, no blood trail, no signs of it being devoured right there. Maybe the coyotes feed on their own kinfolk, or maybe black bear take the whole carcasses as banquet meals to go.
 
My understanding is that killing coyotes will cause them to breed more. They are very adaptable animals. I saw one once in south philly just north of the Navy yard.
 
I like bears too but only to a point. We have them here but no problems yet. Raccoons have a similar type intelligence and learn very well. Shooting one now and then helps round out their education. It works.
 
I looked out the bedroom window this morning and saw that a heavy bluestone topped table was on its side on the lawn. The table is under the tube framework for a canopy or shelter we put up during warmer weather. In cold weather, after the bears den up, we hang bird feeders and suet blocks from the ridge of this framework. In order to make refilling the feeder easier, I had it on a piece of garage door wire rope, run over some pulleys, with an old sashweight as a counterweight. The pulleys were tied to the tubular framework with the heaviest nylon wire ties (zip ties). I had deliberated using geared hose clamps to fix the pulley blocks to the framework. I had taken the bird feeder in, and a couple of weeks back, got the bright idea of hanging a bunch of dried Indian corn (decoration left from Thanksgiving dinner) off the same hook. The bear evidently got on the bluestone table to get to the corn. He succeeded in breaking one of the heavy nylon zip ties in tension, lowering the corn and getting at it, and toppling the table. I have no idea of the actual tensile strength of a heavy nylon zip tie, but that bear parted it in tension. My wife is now on me to mount a wildlife or trail camera. Word to the wise: if you live in areas frequented by bears, these bears are hungry, smart, and persistent. They will tear into doors and windows of homes if they know there was food around the property. A buddy from the powerplant had a chicken coop. A black bear kept opening the door and helping itself to the chicken feed and eggs. My buddy got some steel angle and flatbar and welded reinforcements which he bolted to the door of the coop and the door jamb. He also made a strong steel latch. The bear returned, didn't even attempt to get thru the door. Instead, the bear ripped off some of the wood siding on the coop, gained entry and took revenge by killing and devouring every chicken (leaving the feet) and tearing up the inside of the coop. These bears are persistent and smart as well as incredibly strong.

We have black bears, and they are kind of shy so we do not see them often. Last spring, I had a black bear amble across the lawn, and he poked his head and shoulders into my blacksmith shop. That bear evidently decided there was nothing in the smithy worth going after. We coexist with the bears and other critters, but know the bears, however human-like, cute or amiable they may appear, are nothing to encourage. I figured dried Indian corn would keep the birds happy, my wife being a 'birder', but was not anything that would attract a bear. WIfe is wishing I had put up the trail camera, so it's on the honey-do list.

In looking at the sidebar information about myself, I noticed I joined Practical Machinist on 3 April, 2004. That is twenty years. Seems impossible that twenty years of contributing and enjoying this 'board have slid by. To a dinosaur like me, it also seems incredible that I've been using personal computers for more than 20 years. This site has been a very good thing in my life, and I thank the folks who put it together, manage it, and I thank all the great friends I've made on this site. My morning routine includes visiting the Antique Machinery 'board first thing after breakfast, and again sometime after supper. The internet is incredible to someone of my years. Making friends and acquaintances with people in other states as well as other countries on different continents would have been unimaginable not so long back. I am of an era where, if you wanted to contact someone some distance away, you had to call "long distance" (and ask for 'person to person' to avoid paying for the call if the party you wanted to talk to was not there), or get an overseas operator and wait for the call to be placed... or, you wrote a letter and sent it via postal service. The only people who had the luxury of freely contacting people overseas or in other states without worrying about long distance charges were the 'ham' radio operators. Now, we have the world at our fingertips, literally. Quite an evolution in my generation's lifetime. Thank you again to everyone on this 'board.
Joe - I never miss an opportunity to read anything you post. It is always well-written, and I usually learn something from it. Thanks again!
 
I have heard park rangers say the problems with bears in state parks involves the idea that there is considerable overlap between the intelligence of the smarter bears and the stupider humans.

Bear story, true:

We spent summers at a biological research station in a pretty remote area in arizona. There was a family that lived a ways down the canyon in an even more remote area. The husband (former director of that station) was away, and the young wife with 3 small kids was was living in the cabin. Medium large black bear was hanging around, and tried a couple of times to get into the cabin. She went to the local ranger station and they asked if anyone had been hurt yet. No.
"Then we can't do anything about it.'

The wife mentioned this in passing to the staff at that research station. The present director and the aptly-named handyman Joe Remington went down to her cabin and dispatched the bear with the above-mentioned 30-30 round.

Which was all well and good (not for the bear, who was just doing what comes naturally to bears) and went a bit sideways when Vince, the director, and Joe took the bear carcass down near to the ranger station, tied it to the back of the truck with a long rope and dragged it back and forth a few times in front of th ranger station, and cut it loose right in front of it.

Vince was known to make gestures like that and these often got him in hot water and I think there was some kefluffle over this. But less than would have been if one or more of Mrs Cazaer's kids had been killed.

Happy anniversary Joe!
 
I have heard park rangers say the problems with bears in state parks involves the idea that there is considerable overlap between the intelligence of the smarter bears and the stupider humans.

Bear story, true:

We spent summers at a biological research station in a pretty remote area in arizona. There was a family that lived a ways down the canyon in an even more remote area. The husband (former director of that station) was away, and the young wife with 3 small kids was was living in the cabin. Medium large black bear was hanging around, and tried a couple of times to get into the cabin. She went to the local ranger station and they asked if anyone had been hurt yet. No.
"Then we can't do anything about it.'

The wife mentioned this in passing to the staff at that research station. The present director and the aptly-named handyman Joe Remington went down to her cabin and dispatched the bear with the above-mentioned 30-30 round.

Which was all well and good (not for the bear, who was just doing what comes naturally to bears) and went a bit sideways when Vince, the director, and Joe took the bear carcass down near to the ranger station, tied it to the back of the truck with a long rope and dragged it back and forth a few times in front of th ranger station, and cut it loose right in front of it.

Vince was known to make gestures like that and these often got him in hot water and I think there was some kefluffle over this. But less than would have been if one or more of Mrs Cazaer's kids had been killed.

Happy anniversary Joe!

Generally better to apply the double-S rule.

Shoot it and shut up.

Which, incidentally, is my attitude to crocodiles that may or may not have wanted to hang around the stern of my boat back in the day.

PDW
 
Joe, I have always enjoyed your stories [when is the book coming out?] and your very PRACTICAL knowledge when you help solve someones problem here. My faith in modern engineers is pretty f#$%in' thin but you are the exception to the rule. I am sure I have read multiple comments you wrote every year of the past twenty. I fully expect to be reading your forthcoming pearls of wisdom and anecdotes for the next 20 years at least! Regards, Merrill
 
Years ago, a couple whom I was friends with staked and worked a gold claim in the Yukon Territory. During the fall/winter months, they owned and operated a machine shop and steel fabrication shop in the Lower 48. I lived upstairs from them, and we got along famously. They built a trommel and other equipment for processing the gold ore at their shop. They also bought and overhauled an excavator and a D-9 'Cat bulldozer. This lot, along with plenty more equipment and supplies was trucked to their claim in the Yukon. They also hauled up an Airstream travel trailer to live in at the claim site.

The first season working the claim, they had a bear attack. A large bear, either a grizzly or 'cinnamon phase' bear, decided it wanted to get into the Airstream late one night. My friends were inside the Airstream. They said they awoke to the whole Airstream rocking and bouncing. The bear was ripping out a window from the side of the Airstream. Knowing the grizzlies were protected, being in Canada, and they being US citizens, they first tried to drive the bear off by making noise. This had no effect. The bear was determined to get into that Airstream. Realizing this bear would likely attack them, my friend took his rifle and killed the bear. The side of the Airstream was ripped apart. There was a large dead grizzly partially thru the hole he'd opened in the side of the Airstream.

My friends had been made aware of the Canadian laws concerning killing grizzlies and use of firearms. This was in the 1970's, so laws may have been different as to allowing US citizens to bring in firearms. My friends did not want to get on the wrong side of the law, so went 'by the book'. They went into town the next morning and reported the incident to the law. I believe this may have been the RCMP. The police took statements from the couple, each in a separate room. After that, they told my friends they were not to leave the town until the police had done an investigation at their gold claim. This took most of the day. The police returned from the site and cleared the couple, telling them they had been justified in killing the grizzly. My friends returned to their gold claim and realized the grizzly attack had cost them a couple of days from a relatively short season for working the claim.

They patched the Airstream and got back to work on their claim. They had two more bear encounters, but followed the double-S rule. If a bear showed up on the claim and lingered, my friend shot that bear dead. Immediately, the wife got the excavator and dug a hole. The husband got on the D-9 and shoved the bear carcass into the hole and pushed a load of rock tailings and dirt over it. My friends had some success working their claim, long before reality television series about this sort of thing were even thought of. My friends told me the grizzlies were bad enough, but there was another cross bred bear called a "cinnamon faze". This bear, while not so big as a grizzly, was even less predictable and more likely to attack humans. Their policy after that first bear 'visit' was to follow what PDW refers to as 'the double-S rule".
My friends worked their gold claim for a number of seasons, and eventually had a cabin built there. It was a solid cabin, a lot stouter than the Airstream for resisting bear break-ins.
 
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Bears are incredibly strong. I've heard them described as a sensitive nose attached to a huge appetite, equipped with all the tools needed to obtain food.

I've seen photos of vehicles where they had hooked their claws into the top of a door and then folded the window section down like it was aluminum foil after smelling food inside, even inside of plastic bags, coolers, etc.

In parts of Alaska they put spiked boards outside cabin doors to prevent bears from standing on their hind legs and using their front legs and body weight to batter down heavy strong doors.
 
We're unlikely to be threatened by a crocodile in the US. Those are old world animals.


OK it's an alligator not a crocodile.

The only difference is, our crocs grow to close to 20' and mass ~4X as much.

And, BTW, crocodiles are right through northern Australia, PNG, Solomons, most of Indonesia and further. I suppose you could class all of that as 'old world'.

FKT
 








 
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