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Friday, July 18, 2008

The bear necessity for experimenting

Out of the land of the blue-sky waters, my daughter Carrie called me collect last week from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area wilderness region in the far north of Minnesota. The group of Girls Scouts led by her and another counselor were forced back to the start of their trek by a bear who took all their food. Evidently this particular creature learned via trial and error experimentation that by pulling on the rope it collect a tasty cache of treats. In any case, it did not scare when Carrie yelled and brandished a rain pancho. When the bear advanced menacingly – growling with teeth bared, the Girl Scouts decided they really did not want their food!

Apparently mid-summer is not as bountiful for bears as the spring or fall (when berries abound). Carrie told me that the bear pulled so hard on the nylon rope that it melted the surface from the friction! A friend of mine who grew up in Duluth told me that a bear in their area got so good at collecting food from campers that it collected up dozens of packs that were eventually discovered in an astonishingly large discard pile out in the woods.

Perhaps this unbearably bad behavior could be extinguished by a dousing like that experienced by the monkeys noted in my blog of July 09, 2006. However, the bear in the picture would probably enjoy the option of a shower over a bath.


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