Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A What in the Road?

Subtitle: Why dogs do not go out at night.
I stayed in town after work yesterday for a kennel club meeting. It was after dark when I was coming home; a little before 9 p.m. I drive carefully at night out here as you never know when there might be wildlife in the road. Hitting a deer would be very hard on my cute little Prius and if it hits a skunk it has to sleep outside instead of in the garage. We used to see lots of 'possums in the road but it seems like their numbers have decreased lately so extinction-by-car may be having an effect.
Anyway, just as I rounded the corner from Old Sam's Valley onto our stretch of Ramsey, I saw a large dark beast ambling up the center line. The ambling changed to a gallumping. Uh . . . that's not a dog. No dog has that much bone or is that massive. I turn the headlights onto high-beam and my initial suspicion is confirmed: a bear cub is gamboling up the road toward our house. When I say "cub" I don't mean the age that would still have a mama-bear nearby. This one was perhaps a yearling, with back level about the same as the hood of the Prius.
The bear cut left down to the creek at the corner of the next-door neighbor's pasture. I'm sure s/he had wandered down the creek eating blackberries.
Nearly 20 years on this property and that's the first time I had actually seen a bear here. Deer, coyotes, skunks, 'possums, raccoons . . . There's a herd of elk that lives up the canyon which comes down in winter. And we saw a cougar up the road once. But that's the first bear.