Black bears may look fluffy and cuddly, but they are still wild animals. They can move much faster than you would think, and are amazingly powerful. The bear in the pictures is a second year cub that has been appearing regularly at my grandparent’s bird feeders since his mother brought him as a bouncing ball of black fluff. He showed up yesterday afternoon, casually knocked down the feeder, and lay down to lap up the high protein snack with his long pink tongue. We all stood on the deck and watched him eat.
My Dad has been keeping bees here in Sanbornton, with hives in New Hampton and elsewhere on occasion, for twenty years now. He’s lost a lot of hives to bears. A black bear will casually tear apart a hives for the honey and larvae inside it. We use various methods to keep the bears away from the hives. The recommended method in New Hampshire is to use electric fence, the mesh sort is best. Once the bear has zapped his or her nose, they will keep their distance. Dad also uses a bee house, a sturdy wooden shed. For hives in a fixed location this is ideal. The last method we’ve used I don’t recommend at all…
One morning bright and early Dad woke up to a ruckus in the bee yard. He jumped out of bed, grabbed his pistol and ammo, and ran toward it trying to load 38 slugs into a 44 revolver. That not working, he remembered what he’d been told that a bear will be intimidated if approached by a bigger bear, so he put his arms up in the air and ran toward the yearling bear yelling. He got close enough to plant a good solid kick in the bear’s backside, and then he says the bear “Ran away a little bit, then turned around and looked at me as if to say why’d you do that?”
I don’t think I need to tell anyone they should never approach a wild animal that closely, especially one as large and dangerous as a bear. But Dad gets called Bear-Kicker to this day and he admits rather sheepishly that he wasn’t quite awake and was mad about the bees, or he wouldn’t have done it.