Thomas Hook: Rural beasts moving in on exurbia

Photos and text from Thomas Hook, in Southbury, Conn., a   frequent contributor to New England Diary

I was sitting in my den downstairs reading the newspaper when out of the corner of my eye I spotted something moving. Turning my head, I saw a black bear shambling towards our garage. He or she is a large animal (average size is 250-300 pounds). The bear was literally less than 10 feet away and the size, bulk and actuality of him astonished me. 

My first thought was to get a picture. I ran upstairs, got my camera and looked out the window to where the bear might be but I couldn’t see it. I went out the front door and suddenly saw it coming out of our garage. I noticed both ears were tagged as it stared at me from 20 yards away. It quickly moved away into a copse of small trees in our front yard.

It was raining hard and the visibility wasn’t good and so when it suddenly appeared from the foliage (moving fast) all I got were two blurry shots, but get them I did! I would have taken another few but was interrupted by our 30-pound dog, Reggie, running out the door commencing to chase the bear into the woods. I furiously screamed for him to stop because one whack from the bear’s paw might have been the end of our dear little friend. 

Reggie stopped 30 yards into the trees and came back, doubtless sensing how upset I was. My last glimpse of the bear was it looking back at me from down in the wetlands.

I got Reggie inside and then walked into the garage to inspect the damage (we’ve had bears visit us before). It only had time to open one can used for storing birdseed before it must have grown alarmed and shifted into flight mode. 

With the bear now confirmedby the pictures, I now can look forward to photographing some of the other animals normally associated with truly rural areas, and nor our exurbia, that have eluded me but have been seen in the neighborhood either by me or others: moose, fisher cats and bobcats.