Sometimes a bear encounter can feel oddly like petty crime.
I felt that way when I was working as a treeplanter near Hearst, Ontario. This meant 11 hour days carrying big bags of saplings on my hips and planting 3,000-odd trees on a good day. It was hard work. I was always hungry.
I kept my backpack in a van to protect it from the bears. That particular morning I had packed six peanut butter sandwiches, many cookies and an assortment of fruit for lunch. Did I mention I was always hungry? I came back to the van only to find that someone had left the van window open. My backpack was gone.
I didn’t mind about the backpack, but I did mind about my lunch. A search ensued.
When I finally found my backpack, it had been tossed into a ditch at the side of the road. A bear had used a claw to open the top of the backpack, a perfect slice in the nylon ran alongside the zipper. The tupperware container had one puncture hole in the lid where the bear had inserted a claw in and lifted. The food was gone.
This was no ordinary crime, but that of a practiced expert. I’d been mugged.
This video shows a bear getting into a truck using the door handle (there is a short ad at the start). It is amazing to see how the bear can use a paw like a hand. How much of our fascination with bears stems from their almost human-like qualities?