We heard, of course, of the recent bear adventures in Montana. Topping that, our local honey brown wandered through again last week. As youth, our generation was aware that bears were dangerous. They might eat you, and you did not encourage them with food. This wisdom was lost along the way, to the extent that Jeff Cooper felt compelled to state and re-state the Gunsite Bear Rules. Apparently it is again time:
"Bears of all kinds are a great ornament to the wilderness, but you do not want them in your lap.
1. Be alert.
2. Remember that bears are not cuddly.
3. Never enter bear country without a powerful firearm and the skill to use it well.
4. Never camp on a bear thoroughfare.
5. Be alert."
To this warning I would add the text of a delightful sign posted, in a rare fit of humor and honesty, in a park up in socialist Canada:
Due to the frequency of human-bear encounters, the B.C. Fish and Wildlife Branch is advising hikers, hunters, fishermen and any persons that use the out of doors in a recreational or work related function to take extra precautions while in the field.
We advise the outdoorsman to wear little noisy bells on clothing so as to give advanced warning to any bears that might be close by so you don’t take them by surprise.
We also advise anyone using the out-of-doors to carry “Pepper Spray” with him is case of an encounter with a bear.
Outdoorsmen should also be on the watch for fresh bear activity, and be able to tell the difference between black bear feces and grizzly bear feces. Black bear feces is smaller and contains lots of berries and squirrel fur. Grizzly bear shit has bells in it and smells like pepper.