How to Coexist with Wild Animals



We have resided in our small cabin at an elevation of 9,800 feet for over 23 years full-time. We do not have any close neighbors and with an absence of human activity, we do have many animals around us. During that period of time, we often saw deer, elk, bear, bobcat and the occasional mountain lion. We carefully observe their behavior and conduct ourselves accordingly so as not to disturb their lifestyle and maintain a safe environment for ourselves. We also have abundant small critters which can be far more dangerous than the larger predators.


Our experience has not been consistent with all the articles and stories I’ve read about bears. During those many years, we have not had encounters that posed an immediate threat to our safety. When we are out working, we will often be surprised by a bear but we don’t panic or get excited. Instead, we let the bear take time to realize we are not a threat to it. After the bear has evaluated the situation and assured itself there is no threat, it will inevitably amble off. Most of the bear activity is at night, and we only know they were around because of the clawed-up tree stumps, logs and large rocks turned over.

Mother bear with cubs. Encounters have included mother bears and cubs. If the mother bear senses any danger to her cubs, she could become aggressive quickly to deal with the danger. I couldn’t count how many encounters we have had with mother bears and cubs, but some as close as 12 to 15 feet between us. Most of those encounters were where the mother bear would teach her cubs how to avoid humans.

Bear behavior. When the mother bear sits down and uses us to train her cubs, we realize we are simply being her tool and she means no harm. These episodes have lasted for up to 20 minutes. If, however, a bear lowers its head and swings it from side to side, you need to slowly back off and give the bear room. Sometimes they will rock sideways from foot to foot and that too is not a good indication, nor is huffing at you. If they feel threatened, they are very powerful animals and could become aggressive quickly, so we just talk in a calm tone and back away slowly.

10/1/2020 7:35:20 PM

great pictures!

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