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Different options are now official for hunters

Now that summer is upon us there is no time to waste.

There are still many things about which to argue, turkey calls to care for, guns to clean and oil and camouflage clothes to launder in scentless soap and so on.

This year, Sunday hunting will be tried on three different weeks this season. Some of us are rejoicing that our favorite seasons were picked, others are complaining still because their favorites were not picked.

The favored Sundays are: Archery hunters get their extra day on Nov. 15; bear hunters get Nov. 22 and deer hunters on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 29.

It used to be that deer season opened the first Monday after Thanksgiving. This year it’s the first Saturday — as it was last year — with the next day (Sunday) nicely filling the gap the hunters all felt last year.

Black bears will become more visible as the summer progresses. Bears are adept travelers. They can cover 25 or more miles a day while searching for food or a mate. And they search constantly during the summer for both. Sows with cubs will be a bit more confined since small cubs can’t travel so fast.

Occasionally, a bear will make a grand entrance in a town and everyone goes ape, thinking that it is there to eat them or maul them, supposing them to be Grizzly bears and they chase them street to street until the confused and frightened bear runs up a tree.

Usually the Game Commission has to be summoned to tranquilize the beast and catch it in a huge net when it falls out of the tree. Then they transport it to a different location.

Almost always what has happened is this — a bear that has been traveling with its mother for a year and a half suddenly finds himself on the receiving part of a mother that is chasing it, swatting at it, growling, giving the cub the unmistakable message that he is no longer wanted.

The young bear is confused, afraid and bewildered. But, he sets off to find a territory he can call his own. His mother has found a new boyfriend and she wants to consort with him so Junior is no longer welcome. Not only that, the ardor-driven male will sometimes kill the cubs so that the sow will come into estrus again.

Such are the bears that wander into town. It’s a mistake and he is just looking for a way out and a new home.

If folks would just stop and enjoy the sight, instead of screaming and running, the bear would just wander off into the woods and be on his way. I assure you that a confused young bear has to desire to be around you unless you do something that he feels threatens him.

The other side of the coin are those fool-hardy folks who use the rare appearance of a bear as a stage for their antics like taking a photo of their little son or daughter feeding the bear a marshmallow. This is danger waiting to explode. You may only have a half dozen marshmallows, cookies or apples with you and the bear will greatly enjoy them. But he has no patience for waiting for his next snack to appear. This is when he will bite, scratch, swat or whatever to help to produce another goodie.

Bears in the breeding mood are not to be toyed with. If you happen to see a bear or two in the woods while hiking, just stop and freeze and enjoy the sight. Do not throw your sandwich or cookies to him. He will eat them in a jiffy and then get agitated when more is not forthcoming.

NEVER run when you spot a bear. He takes that as a sign that you are a prey animal trying to escape and it could very well trigger him to chase you. NEVER try to escape a bear by climbing a tree, he will be in the top of the tree before you get there.

It is, howeever, exciting to see a newly-born spotted fawn. They are often alone when you come across them but they are not abandoned. A doe usually stays a distance away so as to not leave her scent with the fawn. Black bears prey on fawns as well, and often playing the statue is all that saves many a fawn from becoming a bear’s lunch.

All around us the earth is coming to life again. It’s God’s pattern.

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