I’ve been thinking about that bear that killed a hiker in Yellowstone lately. I don’t generally keep up with the news – I figure current events are going to happen whether I know about them or not and most of the time when I read the news, I get depressed about the state of man. We’re a vulgar lot.
Anyway, I’m not sure how I first heard about it, but the story about that bear piqued my interest. Maybe it is because I like to be outdoors, and I like to hike. While it isn’t common here in the northern Atlanta suburbs, we do have occasional bear sightings. Not the same type of bear that the hiker encountered, but I am sure our bears could do some damage if threatened or cornered.
I found myself pondering the bear on my Sunday run. I love running in the dark, especially on our local greenway that stretches through swampland that can’t be developed. If it could possibly be sold and developed there would be two houses per acre because our county commission says no to builders about as many times as Suzy Heckman said no to football players back in high school… but that’s a different story.
Somewhere about mile three, there was a rustling in the bushes beside the path accompanied by a strange, guttural sound. I had yet to see a human on my trek so I reasoned it had to be animal. Since I had been thinking about that bear, I picked up my pace. The chances were slim, but why take them.
Soon I heard it again! Was it a roar? Whatever the noise, that thing was following me. And that smell… what was that? Oh, that’s me… My new cologne – FEAR!
After another mile, the branches to my left shook, not a little chipmunk-sized shake but a massive crepitation that nearly uprooted the plant. This was either a huge bear or a tornado running parallel to the path. I could see traces of sunlight filtering down. Dawn would soon be upon us and at least I would be able see my stalker before it killed me.
I moved on as fast as I could and approached a weeping field where my attacker lunged out of the high grass. It wasn’t a bear, but rather an overfed bunny looking for blood. It was the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on! A rabbit with a vicious streak a mile wide! A killer! He’s got huge, sharp fangs, he can leap about…
Okay, sorry, I got carried away. But you get the point.
Needless to say, through cunning and stealth, I survived the ordeal relatively unscathed. I have no idea why, but the bunny (I dubbed him Tornado) decided not to make a meal of me after I turned back toward the truck screaming like a little girl. I arrived home to find a new story about the hiker and the bear – one informing me that the bear had been destroyed.
I’m sorry. I find that revolting! Here’s a bear, in a park where bears live, doing just what bears are supposed to do. After a hard day of meager tips, she comes home to hungry cubs and spots a meal just walking through her family room and she’s supposed to break all bear instinct and let it cruise past? Seriously?
I read the reasoning of the Park Rangers and still don’t like it, Yogi. When you’re walking through the bear’s house, she gets to make the rules. She might make you take your shoes off so you don’t soil the grass. She might have you hang your coat in the closet, and she might eat you. Her house, her rules and I think that most who love nature would agree. When you visit nature, you are a guest and have to abide by nature’s laws. I am sorry the hiker is lost, but he knew the risks and decided to take them. That’s not the bear’s fault.
So, here’s my point: If I am ever attacked and killed by Tornado the Bunny on one of my runs through his domicile, I hereby absolve him of all blame. He is merely doing what bad-tempered rodents were made to do. Feel free to mourn my loss, but don’t take it out on Tornado. After all, he’s just a vicious bunny with a taste for blood and a family to feed.
Photo attribution: Diliff – creative commons license via Wikimedia Commons