Sunday December 8, 2013
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Before someone criticizes the Forest Service people who have mistakenly killed three bears without getting the one they were after, I'd just like to point out that there isn't the slightest doubt in my mind that no one is feeling worse about it than the Forest Service people who are most closely involved.
It wouldn't hurt to let them know how much we appreciate what they are trying to do, how sorry we are that it has caused them so much pain, and that we know that what they are doing, they are doing for us.
Animals usually run in packs, or groups, what ever you want to call it and there will be more bears at the same place. Are they going to kill all of them that come to that spot?
I think they are torn between two opposing viewpoints: One is helping the bears and the other is helping humans. Most of the time what's good for one is good for the other. Right now they have a problem because the bears have nothing to eat. It would be nice if there were some way to just feed them, but that would inevitably lead to their associating food with humans one way or another, and it's not in accordance with the normal way of handling wildlife, which is to leave them to themselves as much as possible. Lot of hard decisions have to be made.
We do have an overpopulation of bears here. I'm willing to be it has to do with the fact that so much of the trash that people toss into the forest is at least partly edible. And there's no doubt that if this were happening in earlier days people would just pick up their rifles and clean house.
I have seen bear tracks just back of my house (in Pine Creek) ever since I came here. There are blackberries growing along the creek bed. Anyone who goes wandering to those patches of berries when they're in season without using great caution is asking for trouble.
And one thing that people do not know is that black bears are responsible for a lot of attacks on humans in any year, not just a dry one. They attack using stealth, usually charging from behind or attacking a sleeping human. Wisdom would suggest that this is not a good time to be camping up here. A hungry animal has to eat. After all, what would you do if you were out of food?
Now does the Forest Service win? If they kill any more bears the level of criticism is going to rocket, and if another human is attacked...?
About all we can do is support them and let them know we understand their problems. I've had two friends that worked in the forest Service. Back in the 50's and 60's, they told me, people treated them like friends, but one of them--he's retired now--told me that toward the ends of his years with the Forest Service all he got was frowns and dirty looks.
Why is Game and Fish staying out of this? Aren't they in charge of animals and sell the hunting and fishing permits? If there are to many bear, have a hunting season on them.
Forest Service is supposed to manage forests not people and wild animals.
Managing people is why the public doesn't like them. I remember when there was one Ranger here and an assisstant. We have much less forest now and think about how many FS personel are here now. Managing people!
I am not counting the fire fighters when they come in.
I don't think the bear are into the camp grounds because they are hungry, but they know stupid people are leaving food there for them. The bear have been living there a long time.
My son's fence seperates his back yard from the golf course here in Payson and several yrs. ago
he heard a noise in front of his house. When he went out to check, a bear was getting into his garbage can. It wasn't a matter of no food in the forest. Wild animals roam and we are getting into thier territory. People just don't always see them. Herds of elk are on the golf course every night.
People drive down on Doll Baby Ranch Road to see them and shine thier spotlights on them.
Since I came back to Payson in 1993 I have had javelina, elk, deer, and raccoon in my yards. I always look around before I go outside.
Move into thier territory put in plants, fish ponds etc and they will come. A herd of javelina crossed the road in front of me one night by the nursing home on Longhorn near McLane.
Elk were jumping the fence at the Pioneer Cemetery, so they built a higher fence. Don't know if it has stopped them or not. The cemetery has been there since the late 1800's.
Either kill them all and not have to be careful or watch where you go, sleep in a protected place, and clean up after your selves.
"Why is Game and Fish staying out of this? Aren't they in charge of animals and sell the hunting and fishing permits? If there are to many bear, have a hunting season on them.
Forest Service is supposed to manage forests not people and wild animals."
Beats me, Pat.
I've given up trying to separate out the thousands of different federal people.
"Managing people is why the public doesn't like them. I remember when there was one Ranger here and an assisstant.'
Dick Campbell's old house was the ranger station in Pine. It was the only place with a phone. They would let you call down to the ranger people in Phoenix to pass along a message.
" People just don't always see them."
That's true. I don't know how many times I've told people about bear tracks in the creek bed and have them look at me like I was crazy. I haven't seen but two bears since I came up here in 98, but I've heard a lot of them. I just don;t go poking around looking for trouble. Never had one in the yard though. Had a lot of other animals**, but no bear.
"People drive down on Doll Baby Ranch Road to see them and shine thier spotlights on them."
I always feel bad for the elk when people do that. You can see them well enough without a spotlight.
**Elk, deer, raccoons, skunks, gophers, squirrels and so on. Not to mention a bunch of snakes. I saw one poor raccoon that was dying of rabies. Horrible thing to watch. It groaned, and sounded just like a human.
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