Da Bear Chronicles

December 05, 2014  •  6 Comments

What would make a little girl look so sad and worried like this??


Well, let me tell you a tale of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears...

Check out the date and time on the bottom of the next two game cam pictures:



There has been an illusive bear around since we moved into our home about 6 years ago, but this year was different.  There were 3 separate ones that didn't mind showing themselves not only to the game cam at the end of the trail, but sometimes minutes from when we were just there.  Or even better, at our house!


This 'big dude' was the culprit at our home:


During late August, Tim was out on his 3rd two week wildfire assignment of the summer.  Therefore, I was at home with the kiddies, barking dogs, frightened chickens, and hungry bears.  


The first photo in the blog:

     was taken on 8-23.  That's when I realized we had an issue...  We had been keeping the cat and chicken food in that big 'Brute' garbage bin out by our carport.  Well, we found it smashed and empty on the ground.  That explains why the dogs had been going nutso outside the previous few nights.  I set up the game cam in the carport and got the footage of it on 8-24.  Here's another:



Being the tough gal I always tell myself that I am, I still insisted on going for our evening walks...me and the two kids.  I thought that carrying bear spray would save us all.  Well, watch the next video.


The evening of 8-24, we went out for our walk.  I stopped by the carport to fiddle with a few things and the game camera caught it. The bear spray I had put around my waste was not strapped in properly.  I had carried this container many times (like hundreds) but today, the strap had fallen off the top somehow and it was dangling there...an accident waiting to happen.  It's a pretty embarrassing mistake, but I don't want this to happen to anyone else...so I'm sharing this. 

As we walked down the driveway, all of a sudden we heard a loud boom-chhhhhhhhhhhh.  I thought we were getting ambushed by a bear.  I looked down, the bear spray had fallen out, gotten a small pin prick hole in it and was spraying out everywhere at an extremely high pressure.  It sounded like an explosion.

"Run!"  I screamed to Amelia and grabbed her hand.  We got about 4 feet and all wiped out.  Tripping over fear, or rocks, or something...I honestly can't tell you.   

"We have to get up and run!"  I yelled again, grabbing Amelia's hand and flipping her in the air down the driveway.  

"What's happening?!?"  She asks, her face totally void of color.

"I will tell you in a minute, we have to get away from the bear spray."

We made it to the end of the driveway...Henry was wailing, Amelia was crying, my heart was audibly beating.  

I crouched down and told Amelia what happened.

"The bear spray fell out, went off, and we had to run away so that it didn't burn us."

I put Amelia on my shoulders and we walked around the spray that was still going off and through the woods.  The mist had been carried on the wind and we all started coughing from the pepper spray.  We made it back to the house and I realized that Henry and I had taken a direct shot from the spray.  His left side and the backs of my legs were red and searing.  

I was trying to suppress my 'what have I done to my kids' thoughts...

I got my $5-a-half-gallon-organic-whole-milk out and proceeded to wipe Henry down.  He was still screaming, but it was getting less.  

Long story long, we all took a bath, wiped the exposed areas with lots of milk and cried to each other, but we were going to make it.  My legs that took the brunt of it did burn for a good 24 hours though.  But, really, it could have been a LOT worse....the kids legs....our eyes...

I called Tim later that night and started the convo in tears by saying, "Something really bad happened." 

...looking back, that was definitely not the thing to say, but it seemed 'really bad' at the time...as he immediately thought a lot worse things than us having to take a milk bath.

I clarified, regained composure, and told him the story.

And since that night, I've had to tell Amelia the 'bear spray story' 987 times, because, for some reason, she really enjoys hearing it.

Moral of the story.......if you are carrying bear spray in a holster, double and triple check that it's secured properly. 


Later that evening...

Like a horror film, I watched out my bedroom window.  The carport light flicked on around 9:00pm.  There was this bear, the size of my car, walking it's big fat self around the carport.  I thought...I should do something.  I opened my window and yelled at it.  Well, it jumped down TOWARDS the house and into the darkness.  My immediate irrational thought, it's mad and coming towards the house to barge in and eat us.  I locked all the doors, because that should hold it off.  ????  I swear.  

The dogs started barking.  The babies woke up crying.  Ahhhh, just another night in the Ozarks!


The end.


But, not really....because I have lived in a mild state of paranoia ever since.  I suppose it's these kinds of life experiences that shape a person...right?  sure.


Here are more bear pics from our game cam at the end of the trail...this is the 'big dude' that visited our house:



And, here are photos from a cinnamon bear that came there as well (we had one more different one visit as well, but no good photos of it):



And, a few other game cam highlights from this year:



Thanks for visiting and sharing this traumatic experience with me.  I can see why people become more conservative as they get older.  the end.



Great story, Terrs. I was just fishing with Chico in WY when we saw a black bear gallop into some willows ahead of us. I was fingering the trigger of my bear spray until we saw it booking it back up the mountain side. Best to you and your family.
Wow! Quite an adventure. Amelia and you will remember this forever and both of you will remember to make sure all is secure.
Lillian Wenger(non-registered)
Wow!!! What a story. That will be something that Amelia will tell her grand kids - out in the wilds of Arkansas. Up here in Montana, all I have going thru my front yard are deer, I live in the city. Have had two bucks, two does and twins fawns and another fawn all at one time. Though I don't have a camera, so who knows what comes by at night, but I know it is not as adventure some as you have. As I carry bear spray when we hike, I will now be much more careful about how I carry it. Please don't go out at night any more. I guess you need a new bear proof can for the feed. Thanks for sharing your incredible story and photos. Take care.
Ray Benjamin(non-registered)
Isn't that first bear doing the downward dog in one of the game camera photos??
Aunt Judy(non-registered)
What an ordeal with photographic proof to boot! I'm somewhat relieved to know that my pioneer woman niece is human, too! You're always so cool, calm, and collected that I worried a bit. A great story, Miss Terra, and it's hysterical that Amelia loves to hear it over and over!
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