Bear: Another Wildlife Visitor to Our House

I swear to God, I am running at home something of a cross between “Animal House” and an episode of “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.”

You will recall the freaky intruder we had with a bat invading the house. (“I’m Batman”) And that all unfolded while I was on the way back from work from New York City and could do nothing about it.

That was a walk in the woods compared to what happened while my wife and I were visiting her daughter in the San Francisco area.

My cellphone rings while we are visiting Alacatraz and it’s my oldest son, who just graduated from college.

He opens the conversation with “Hypothetically….”

Let me interrupt the narrative here to say that nothing good ever follows an opening like that. And, of course, there is never anything hypothetical about what is to come next.

“Hypothetically,” he says, “what should we do if we had a visit from a bear?”

He proceeds to tell me that the door to the large shed that houses our garbage cans was open and he could see garbage strewn about.

(Take a close look at the bite marks on that Hershey syrup bottle!)



He called public safety, which arrived and assured him that the bruin was gone.

But the thing that kills me is that for 10 years I have preached to the boys about the importance of keeping the lids on the cans securely attached and making sure the garbage bags go INTO the cans. What a concept!

So here I am, 3,000 miles away, trying to coach him through the steps of what to do, which led to this exchange:



My concern is that once a bear is imprinted on a site as a source of food, it will make repeat visits. (Each of the houses adjoining us had been broken into by bears repeatedly.)

Like lamb’s blood marked on thresholds during the first Passover, Michael essentially opened up a fire hose of ammonia (said to repel bears) on the door, the doorway, the footing outside the shed, the doorknob, etc.

That led to this text message:


Yeah, agreed. But it beats the smell of bear scat and rotting garbage.