My earlier bear post generated some emails from the faithful readership. Apparently Kykr13Steve and his paddling buddies from Illinios were some of the first on the scene of the Manitou campsite closing and found the above note on the fire grate. Apparently, and this is what I had heard as well, another sick or possibly injured bear was dying between the fish camp and the campsite on Manitou. The NPS closed the island to let Yogi live out his last days in relative peace. Apparently this bear died but another bear had been pestering the volunteer at the fish camp (shades of the legendary Katie outhouse incident from a couple years back!) and the island was once again closed. The image in yesterdays blog was what I assume to be the younger, smaller Manitou bear and the one below is the larger bear that we spotted and photographed the next spring on Manitou. I'm not sure which one took the dirt nap, but the survivor seems to be up to his old tricks. Kykr13Steve said that they also saw bear and bear sign at the other campsites they visited. I'm trying to think of a beach that we've stopped at for lunch this year that didn't have bear sign and I can't really come up with one. Typically one of us, generally not me, combs the beach for beach glass in both directions at our lunch stops, and its pretty easy to find bear tracks. I guess we need to come to expect bear sign and bears on the islands and learn to deal with them. Make yourself big, wave your hands, make noise, and 99 44/100ths % of black bears will take off running. That's all well and good for island camping in the ostensible wilderness area, but what about in the heart of downtown Herbster, WI?
The GurneyGranny, a woman feared by most wild game from red squirrels and chipmunks to 8 point bucks, was at her semi annual Wild Womyn weekend in the heart of Herbsters high density population area. Whilst lounging around the campfire Tuesday morning, she spotted Mr. Bear strolling around the garage and peering at the relaxing wild womyn through the hammock. Since her trusty .257 Roberts bolt action was back in Gurney, all they could do was leap to their feet, which caused the bear to head south as they say. Apparently this boy had been found twice in the garage and once with his nose on the kitchen window, smelling home baked bread cooling. It's pretty obvious to me that this is a problem bear that has lost his fear of humans and could present a problem for garbage cans, bird feeders, and coffee drinking Wild Womyn all over uptown Herbster. My guess is that he's already visited Isaakson Lumber, Woody's Bar, and Northern Lights Gifts and its only a matter of time before he stumbles on to the Herbster Camprgound on Lake Superior. I think we all know the logical outcome to this situation. Herbster must be closed.
I can have fun with this, and believe me I do, but I don't have to deal with the myriad of regulations, bureaucracy, nut case interest groups, plaintiff's bar, and ignorant members of the general public like the NPS does. The fact of the matter is that bear attacks in Wisconsin just aren't' much of a problem. The last ones that I heard of were 11 years ago, other than the drunk woman that got her fingers bitten off this spring when she stuck them in the bear cage at the Manitowoc Zoo, another prime example of the rank stupidity of the general public. Maybe we need to sign a "Yeah I know there's bear activity but I still want to go there" wavier of some kind and then sit through some sort of bearmanship training, perhaps like the info in this Wis DNR article. A scheme like that would likely need to be approved by a battalion of government lawyers, administrative law judges, park service bureaucrats, and maybe even Ken Salazar after a lengthy and repetitious series of public hearings. Nope, I think I'll just camp at the sites, bearproof our camp, deal with any bruins that show up, and keep my mouth (and blog) shut when it comes to any close encounters of the Ursus Americanus kind. If don't ask, don't tell works for the army, why not the National Park Service, right?