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Bears Beware or Beware of Bears

Yes, its time to be outdoors doing all the fun things that the sunny warm weather permits. My friend and I are making an effort to get out and do something out of our normal routine a couple of times a week. Hitting the pool or taking a picnic out to Bass Lake, just something to remind us what beautiful surroundings we have.

We lucked upon a camp spot out at Bass Lake’s Lupine Campground when our out of town friends declared it too hot; being from Ventura I can understand why.

My friend offered to be camp mama and supervise the overnight camping of our children plus some of their friends. I had to work the next day so my husband and I planned on going out just for dinner, Yahtzee and some relaxing time around the campfire (I didn’t realize how serious my friend is about Yahtzee, I can only assume it is a family thing).

We arrived at about three, and began unloading all the goodies from the car as the kids gathered together and ran off to enjoy some well deserved time roaming away from their parents. As the afternoon progressed, tents were set up, chairs were arranged and awesome food was prepared and enjoyed, seasoned with great stories and local gossip. The children checked in, had dinner and went off to listen to the Ranger’s talk about wildlife.

A great camp fire was started allowing us to sit around and continue to chat. Soon the only light was from the fire and an occasional flashlight. We heard something rummaging through one of the ice chests, and on inspection, it was clear an animal had been trying to take liberties with our food! Thinking the excitement was over we decided to gather up the kids and get the campers settled under the sheen of a polyester tent.

Unfortunately, the critter returned, and it was a four foot black bear, intent on helping itself to the delicacies contained in our ice chest it had missed on the first raid. (This guy in the photo isn’t him, but you get the general idea). Of course, all the bear safety tips kicked in, noise was made and arms held high, and the bear decided it was more trouble than it was worth and eventually wandered off. I can only surmise we were his first stop of the evening, and he had many other stops to make along his route where the food was easier to get and where he could eat in peace.

We decided that camping was probably not the best idea that night so kids were packed up along with food and we quickly made our exit. The next morning my friend called to see if the marshmallows had ended up with me, turns out they ended up with our new friend the bear.

So, yes it’s a wonderful time of year, and it’s great to live in such a beautifully awesome place, but remember, cooking fish and playing Yahtzee while camping can attract unwanted guests. Alright I admit it playing Yahtzee does not attract unwanted guests but it might bring out some competiveness so play at your own risk.

Proper Etiquette for a bear encounter from

If you are in a developed area (e.g., campground, parking lot, lodging area), act immediately to scare it away: make as much noise as possible by yelling or banging pots together (don’t worry about waking people up if it’s nighttime). If there is more than one person, stand together to present a more intimidating figure, but do not surround the bear.

The intent is not to harm the bear, but to scare it from the area and restore its natural fear of people by providing a negative experience.

If you see a bear anywhere else, keep your distance (at least 50 yards, or about the distance four parked shuttle buses would take up). If you get closer, you will be helping the bear become used to being around people.

Bears that become comfortable around people lose their natural fear of us and sometimes become too aggressive; sometimes they then have to be killed.

For even more good tips, click here.

Thank you Keith Sauer for the very life-like photo!

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