Bear Necessities

by Jim Mize

Backwoods travelers learn many skills, some not because they plan to use them, but because they hope not to. In this category, you can include administering first aid, living without toilet paper, and running into bears.

Learning about bears requires not only picking up new ideas, but forgetting a few preconceived notions. For instance, when I was growing up, I thought three kinds of bears roamed the woods: black bears, grizzly bears, and Big Ol’ Bears. Black bears ate honey, grizzly bears ate fish, and Big Ol’ Bears ate people.

Usually Big Ol’ Bears showed up in late night stories told under the questionable notion of pumping a kid full of scary stories to put him to sleep. The story usually went like this:

“There we were, minding our own business, when suddenly out stepped a Big Ol’ Bear!”

Just as an aside, “minding our own business” was also a key phrase, and along the way I decided this was a prerequisite to trouble and something I have since tried to avoid.

As most naturalists know, bears are actually quite tolerant, and if you want proof, look at the tale of Goldilocks. She broke into the bears’ house, ate their food, damaged their chairs, slept in their beds, and was then caught on the premises. The bears had her outnumbered three to one and let her off without so much as a warning ticket. Even Goldilocks must hold bears in high esteem.

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Author: Brian Cope

Brian Cope 5200 Borden Rd. Rembert, SC 29128 803-422-7626 Brian Cope is a retired U.S. Air Force Combat Communications Specialist and has been writing about the outdoors since 2006. He received a B.A. in English Literature with a Concentration in Writing from the University of South Carolina. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, videography, and podcasting. Brian is the editor of Carolina Sportsman Magazine and, and is host of The Sportsman Weekly Podcast.