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The bears are all right; humans too

May 4, 2012

Steve Searles says the town’s wildlife is doing just fine.

In his first report of the spring season, the town’s wildlife specialist on Wednesday evening told the Town Council that the human population is doing just fine, too.

“The community is doing a great job of locking the dumpsters,” he said. “There are very few issues out there. A few people are forgetful, but in general, people are doing a great job.”

As for the bear population, Searles said the biggest concern is with the second-year cubs, prowling around town with their moms.

“Today, I was with several bears. All five sows that went into den with cubs last year and all but one, which was hit by a car last year, came out successfully out of den.

“So when we talk about first-year or second-year cubs, these are second-year cubs. The mother has stopped lactating. They’re still in tow and they will be for the next 60 days.

“We have one sow with three, one sow with two, and three sows with one.  I have personally seen them, and they’re all in good health and all doing well. 

“But again, they’re not feeding off their mothers any more. They’re very, very inquisitive. If you leave stuff open—if your garage is open or the back of your pickup truck is open—they’re apt to hop in there and peek around. The mother will sit and watch. The mothers are really well-mannered compared to those young cubs.”

As for the big bears, they’re still hanging out on the fringes of town in natural habitat, but they’ll be here soon, Searles said.

“As the summer starts to heat up, then they’ll do the transfer. The sows and cubs will move to a secondary habitat and the large bears will come into town.”

As for newborns, he said there are none in evidence yet.

“So far, as was predicted, there is no cub-of-the-year, the brand-new newborns in the 10- to 12-pound range. 

“We haven’t had any sightings of those, but we have seen all five sows with second-year cubs, and they’re all healthy and well.”

As for other wildlife, Searles said much of his attention has been focused on raccoons.

“We’ve trapped 10 in the last 14 days from under homes,” he said. “They cause more property damage in the homes than the bears do, those silly raccoons.  Call the Police Department or me and we’ll see what we can do to move coons from out under homes. It seems to be really prevalent this year.”

Other critters also seem to be doing well.

“The coyotes seem to be on good behavior, cougars seem to be doing well.”

He said his biggest concern is with vehicular traffic meeting the deer in the migration corridor, and he’s hoping the migration won’t be the bloodbath that it was in the last two years.

“Maybe, with a lot less snow we’ll see the deer be able to disperse and not be bunched up in Murphy’s Gulch,” he said. “Last year was brutal and it was brutal the year before.

“I’m prepared for the worst and hope for the best. It’s really up to us. Again, and I know I sound like a broken record, but if you have friends or family coming this way, keep on harping about the collisions. 

“When people hit a deer it’s just tragic what goes on, what with the number of people who were injured last year.”

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