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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

More animal encounters - by Bruce

Another mountain lion encounter happened a few years ago when we used to have a gate at the end of our driveway. It is no longer there for this very reason. Living on the side of a mountain like we do everything is roughly forty five degrees - all up hill. We had come home from visiting an acquaintance, and I had let Carol out to latch the gate and I drove on up to the house. As she was fastening the gate she heard something crunch on the gravel a few feet behind her. When she turned around nothing was there and I was up getting out of the truck up at the house. Did I mention that it was dusk and we were in what we call the clouds. For others it would be thick fog but at 9,750' elevation it is clouds drifting through the area.
At that point two things happened at roughly the same time. Carol got to the truck as I was walking around the truck to see if we had a leak in one of the tires as I kept hearing this hissing sound. The tires all looked fine and as we looked around to see where that hissing was coming from we observed about 25' away was a mountain lion. It was coiled up on the ground, yellow teeth all showing where we could get a good look at them and it was hissing and snarling at us. We stood our ground knowing if we ran it would chase us and we had a ways to get to the door. After about three or maybe four lifetimes it stood up, took one jump and was on the other side of the road.
Being that close to a mountain lion with its lip curled back, yellow fangs and teeth, coiled on the ground in a defensive posture gets your blood flowing well. We believe that the mountain lion was as startled and scared as we were.

Then two years ago Carol was walking Gypsy our elderly dog down in front of the house, on the road, and I was up on the deck with our German Shepherds. She was on the down side of the road and just walking along without a care in the world. She looked up at us and asked what was wrong. Not wanting to alarm her I said that everything was fine - we were just watching how calm she was as she stood next to that bear. She thought I was kidding until she turned around and there less than 8' away just off the road from her was a bear just browsing along on some tender vegetation. To her credit she never yelled, screamed or panicked and the next thing I knew she was coming up the stairs to the deck. The bear just went on eating grass and didn't (like myself) realize she had left the area. Never saw her move that fast before or since and it was all up hill. She had covered that 60 yards in the blink of an eye.

Then latter that year I was walking Bozwell down our driveway and as we neared the end of the driveway a bear came out of the ditch, looked at us and sat down. I went back later and measured the distance and it was 21', between us. Bozwell being the extremely good boy he is simply sat down next to my leg when I stopped and he watched the bear with interest. Within seconds two little black cubs came up out of the ditch and there we all were. Mama and two cubs about 10 pounds each all just standing there and looking at each other. When the cubs would get to close to us mama would huff and they would run back to her. This went on for about 15 minutes while I talked to mama calmly telling her how cute her babies were. Finally when I realized they were not going to leave unless we did, I bid her and her babies a good day, and headed back to the house. Neither of us turned to look back and just walked calmly back to the house. I had no thought at any time that we were in any danger. Had she been alarmed she would have shown her anxiety early on.

The worst thing you can do get excited yourself. Jump around and wave your arms yelling bear! Bear, and you are heading straight for disaster. Stay calm, keep your head and you can walk away from a close up encounter like we did.

So there are a few of our wild animal encounters. They are interesting when they happen and something to write about later. We have had so many I can't even recall all of them now, but these are the more memorable ones. I hope you enjoy them...


Bruce said...

After I wrote this Carol reminded me that the reason she looked up to the deck was because our German Shepherd barked. It is so rare that our dogs bark that when they do you pay attention. I forgot that part, like I say, our dogs don't often bark at all.

Joy and Phil said...

Great stories Bruce! Keep 'em coming ...

Barbara J. Galasso said...

I could read your animal stories all day long Bruce. They are definitely my favorites. Thanks for sharing them with us. You get the encounters with them, write about it and I can enjoy reading about it in the safety of my home! LOL!