This is a story about a common Minnesota American Black Bear and a person originally from Indiana, me, who used to believe if you got this close to a Black Bear you were a goner. Obviously not true. Since I did get very close and I’m still here, my beliefs must have been incorrect. Mid September, 2015 I was dutifully taking out the compost to the base of the hill behind our home as I do on occasion. The occasion being when my wife, Betsy, tells me it’s time. She determined that 5:15 PM was about right this evening. Looking up the hill at the back, I saw a Black Bear eating green plants on the hill side not the least concerned about my approach or with my being within 30 feet. The bear just kept slowly moving forward and eating not even looking up. As I walked to the back, not knowing he was there, I wasn’t trying to be quite upon approach and was surprised when I saw him. He (I’ll explain later why I believe it to be a male.) on the other hand couldn’t have cared less about my presence. I took out my ubiquitous smart phone and started taking video. The video at the bottom of this page starts with a short segment of this cell phone video. The video below is a 9:00 minute video condensed from about 1.5 hours of video shot on this first and then a second encounter two days later. Ravens, Crows, a Bluejay along with local dogs barking can be heard in the background. If you listen carefully you can hear Honey Bees buzzing around the camera and can see the little blurs fly by during filming of the video.
Posted this with question about the bear’s wound to Ely Field Naturalist on Google Groups Dec. 12, 2015 The question, 2nd paragraph below, in bold.
As all Field Naturalists know when you get close to nature the experience will change you. This encounter with a Black Bear was a peak experience for me and is now ingrained in memory. The bear was the blackest bear I’ve ever seen. Its fur was clean and luxurious; the young bear looked robustly healthy. And, he was polite and hungry. But, no matter how hungry his hunger didn’t overtake his politeness. He could have cared less that I was within 6 feet of him, but not much. He looked beyond me not at me when surveying the area while looking up from his feeding. He was feeding on the bounty of bird seed from a large freshly filled cylindrical bird feeder. He took it off the hanger without damaging it, thus part of his politeness. I filmed him for about an hour and a half and condensed that video to a 9 min. segment that can be seen at http://www.elyminnesota.com/elybuzz The remainder of his adjudged politeness was exhibited by his not destroying other bird feeders when I told him NO!
Toward the end of the video as the bear starts moving to the water fountain, you can see a patch on his left mid-side that is completely bare, maybe 4-6″ wide with a deep partially healed wound. What ever encounter caused that type of wound must have been intense. Would like to know if anyone might have seen similar wounds on Black Bears and what might be the likely cause.
The last time we saw a Black Bear in our backyard was about 12 or so years ago. Neighbors has seen signs of this bear’s presence a few weeks prior to this event. And, this bear continued to visit until about December 3rd. Haven’t seen him or signs of since.