Last spring as I was coming up the hill in front of our log home, I had a 450-pound surprise waiting for me. First, let me explain that I have vertigo so I am careful where I step or I might fall. Naturally, instead of looking around me I was peering at the ground under my feet. When I reached the top of the hill and holding onto the fence railing, I took the moment to look around and to my surprise saw the biggest black beer I have ever seen or even imagined seeing in Minnesota. It was standing on the bottom step that lead to the deck in front of our home. I had no doubt that it was planning to smash in the partial glass door that led into our sun room and tip over our refrigerators and freezers and enjoy a good meal. After all it had probably been hibernating all winter and dreaming of a satisfying meal when it woke up. In the past bears had confined themselves to our garbage cans and bird feeders but those would be a mere snack to this fellow.
I was so close to him by the time I became aware that he was standing there, that I didn’t have many choices. Since I walk with a cane and have vertigo, running was obviously not a choice. Also, bears are predators. Running brings out the chase instinct in them and they are much faster than humans. So, I really had only one choice. That was to proceed as if he wasn’t there. So, as I mounted the first step, with his nose about a foot away from me, I turned toward him and said in a loud, mean voice: “GIT!” He made an indignant huff as if he had been unjustly accused and then turned and ambled off down the hill into the brush and trees.
Waiting inside the house completely unaware they were in any danger were my wife, Christine and the family pet, Kitty. Neither would have been much of a match for a hungry bear. For that reason, I called Wayne Krueger, a master carpenter and a fine gentleman. He arranged with Shawn from Izzy’s Iron Works to construct the metal grill to prevent bear intrusion. Once in place we all breathed somewhat less anxiously. Though perhaps not the bear who had been denied a hearty meal.