Spring Is Here!
[Here is another gem for all you journalism students out there – I was asked by the boss to write something on the bear problem here in Franklin County – This appeared last week in the Franklin Comical … I mean Chronicle]
by Richard E. Noble
Ahh yes, once again it is spring - tweet, tweet, tweet. The Robins are here with all of their little friends; the Blue Jays, the cooing doves, the Mocking Birds, the bees and the Humming birds. The Bald Eagles and the Ospreys are building their nests. The birds are all a-flutter, the Cyprus are turning green and “I’m as giddy as a kitten up a tree”. You might think that I have spring fever - if you didn’t hear me cursing every morning as I gather up all the broken egg shells, coffee grounds and gooey garbage that had been strewn about my front yard by the raccoons and black bears that are now an integral part of this - the Franklin County Wildlife Preserve.
Last month, a little past twilight, as I sat on my screened-in porch, I happened to notice that a fourteen or fifteen hundred pound Black Bear was standing there on my septic tank. Naturally I was somewhat apprehensive, so I did what any macho-man would do - I called my wife. She took one look at the bear standing on our septic tank eyeing her garden, and ran out into the yard to confront the bear. She clapped her hands several times and yelled; shoo, shoo you bad old bear.
I was, of course, still inside the house. I decided that since this was just a big, old, dumb animal out in my back yard, I would take some intelligent thoughtful action. “Honey, are you out of your mind!” I screamed.
While my wife continued to play patty-cake with the two thousand pound Black Bear, I called the Florida Fish and Wildlife (888-404-3922 or “bear guy” 850-265-3677). I told the man on the phone that there was a bear in my yard. He chuckled.
I said, “What do you suggest that I do?”
He said, “Stay indoors until the bear goes away.”
I was expecting something a little more than that response.
“Yeah, but what if the bear decides to come inside and join me?”
“Oh wow! That would be something wouldn’t it,” he said laughing.
“Right now my wife is out in the yard clapping her hands and shoo-ing it.”
“Yeah, lots of people have been doing that.”
“Is that a good thing to do?”
“I wouldn’t say so. I heard about this lady who rubbed peanut butter on her arm and tried to get a Black Bear to lick it off.”
“Oh my god!”
“Yeah, she didn’t do well. I saw some pictures.”
“Well the only weapon I have is a BB gun. Do you think that if I shoot it with my BB gun …”
“Oh, don’t do that!”
“Why, does that make the bear mad?”
“No, but you could hit the bear in the eye or something and then you might find yourself before the County Judge getting a stiff fine.”
“Oh yeah. You hurt the bear and you could be in big trouble.”
“Well, what if the bear eats my wife?”
“You shouldn’t allow your wife to harass the bear.”
“Honey, honey!” I yelled. “The wildlife guy says that you should stop harassing the bear.”
“But the bear is stepping on my daffodils.”
“Yes, but if the bear eats you and then develops heart problems and dies from having too much cholesterol in its arteries, I could be prosecuted, fined or imprisoned or both.”
Eventually, my wife chased the bear out of her daffodils, but I sat her down and gave her a good talking to. I said: “You know honey, I took a vow “to death do us part” and it has always been my intention to honor that commitment. Not only that but as the alpha male in this “herd”, I have always considered it my responsibility to love and protect you from all harm. But, I must say that if a two thousand pound bear decides to eat you, there really isn’t that much I can do about it. Nevertheless, you have my word that I will remove your mangled body from on top of the septic tank - after the bear is gone.”
“Thank-you,” my wife responded. “You have always been my hero - the wings beneath my feet - I’ll cherish your concerns and sentiment.”
In any case, if you have a two thousand pound bear in your daffodils, you too can call “the bear guy”, Robbie Edalgo at 850-265-3677. He is a lot of fin - not a lot of help - but very funny.