How to talk to bears
May 25, 2018 4:43 PM   Subscribe

What to do when there's a bear in your yard? As in any other interpersonal/ursine situation, communication is the key. Here are some practical demonstrations on how to establish boundaries with your furry neighbors. Canadians like to do it politely, while we Finns like to be a bit more assertive. Via SATW.
posted by severiina (24 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Love it.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 4:53 PM on May 25, 2018

"I need you guys to go, K?" AND THEY GO. I think I'm in love.

The Finnish guy needed to scare off that bear for good because he had a little dog back there, judging from the borks, and you know that a little dog thinks he is perfectly capable of tearing up a bear if he gets the chance.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:54 PM on May 25, 2018 [7 favorites]

a little dog thinks he is perfectly capable of tearing up a bear if he gets the chance

There is a rule about this: all dogs think they are as big as the dog they are looking at.
posted by dazed_one at 5:16 PM on May 25, 2018 [17 favorites]

If any mefites know John McPhee they should point him to this thread, just in case.
posted by TedW at 5:43 PM on May 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

One day when I was leaving the house for my morning commute, I noticed a black bear slouched with its back against a tree on the other side of my car, maybe 40 ft away from where I was standing. It was casually munching away at something from my neighbor's garbage can (which was tipped over with trash scattered around it).

I stopped dead, ready to book it back to my door, and called to it "Whadda you think you're doing?" The bear snapped out of its food coma, looked at me, then got up and started ambling off in a vaguely resentful manner, looking back every once in a while. "Yeah, I'm still here, keep moving." I encouraged.

I waited until it had moved into the trees and brush along the far back of our properties, got in my car, waited for my heartbeat to slow down to a normal level, and went to work. I never saw it again.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:19 PM on May 25, 2018 [21 favorites]

I stopped by one time to visit our friend the Maine game warden and found her and her husband recycling some dead animals to make dinner for their neighbors, including one stew from a moose that had been hit by a car, and another from a bear that had been shot while raiding an elderly man's bird feeder.

She told me that the old guy, overly excited, didn't even bother to open the kitchen window when he fired, which left him with a) a large hole in the glass and b) a wife quite upset about the powder burns on her curtains.
posted by LeLiLo at 9:41 PM on May 25, 2018 [4 favorites]

Hello, am bear.

In speaking to bear most important to be polite. And avoid controversy. For example, bears think Jordan Peterson is an idiot. So please do not mansplain idiot to bears. Liable to cause biting.

Bears are fluent in all human languages so no need to shout. Bears are surprised but delighted that every human spoken language is almost entirely made up of words describing how noble, sleek, well groomed and admirable bears are. Thank you.

Last tip, always best to baste yourself before speaking to bears. Only polite

Thank you

I am a bear
posted by fallingbadgers at 11:04 PM on May 25, 2018 [30 favorites]

I just want to know what that polite and therefore clearly Canadian bear was doing in Finland.
posted by flabdablet at 1:15 AM on May 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

What I've noticed with black bears is that they appreciate being directly addressed. Nobody talks to them anymore.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 1:46 AM on May 26, 2018 [10 favorites]

Don't do it like in Vermont.
(Polite reports say the then-governor was 'barefoot', but rumor had it that the feet were not the only bare parts)
posted by MtDewd at 4:49 AM on May 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

And people say Australia is dangerous. We don't have bears in our yards!

Loved the Canadian guy. He seems kind of worried maybe he was rude, like, he didn't mean now, now, guys come have a donut first.
posted by kitten magic at 5:33 AM on May 26, 2018

I don't know Finnish, but is Hugo the dog perhaps?

I think I heard somewhere that black bears are less tetchy than grizzly bears (but that there might be some coloration confusion due to natural variations in each); could this have helped?
posted by inconstant at 6:19 AM on May 26, 2018

Yeah they tell hikers to try to scare off Black Bears. Play dead for grizzlies. Don’t fight and above all DO NOT RUN. Neither really want anything to do with you but grizzlies are way more aggressive.

That Finnish guy looks wonderfully isolated out in the woods. I’m jealous.
posted by AFABulous at 6:51 AM on May 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

Oh hey, bear! Big fan of your work!
posted by Countess Elena at 6:52 AM on May 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

I think I heard somewhere that black bears are less tetchy than grizzly bears

That would explain this difference in their scat.
posted by flabdablet at 6:52 AM on May 26, 2018 [5 favorites]

See Australian person trying to hide existence of drop bears.

Sad. Drop bears help remind Australian friends to wear hat when leaving house.

Being helpful, like all bears.

Australian friends should also wear proper sunscreen. BBQ flavour if possible.
posted by fallingbadgers at 7:03 AM on May 26, 2018 [8 favorites]

Well if you absolutely positively have to confront a mother with kids you better be polite about it if you want to live to tell the tale. This Canadian guy must value his job very high.
posted by hat_eater at 7:23 AM on May 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

Bear in mind...
posted by y2karl at 7:45 AM on May 26, 2018

Bear with me
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:51 AM on May 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

I always wondered what the best way to talk to my father-in-law was. Thank you MetaFilter!
posted by pxe2000 at 9:42 AM on May 26, 2018

So.. I'm sitting in my living room at the moment, assembling some flat-pack furniture I shipped from down south, and just got a phone call. It was my next-door neighbors, wanting me to know that there was a bear on my deck.. That's about 20 feet from where I am at the moment but of course I was completely engrossed in trying to decipher the pictogram instructions for the medicine cabinet I am assembling and completely failed to notice a large wild animal right outside the French doors to the deck.

At least it's better than the most memorable occasion on which a bear visited my deck..
posted by Nerd of the North at 2:24 PM on May 26, 2018 [5 favorites]

My interactions with bears - all brown bears - have been unremarkable.

The most memorable was one which I'm glad didn't happen: On the door of a solidly-built concrete washroom at a campground in the Ozarks was a sign:

Bears can push
open door from
outside to get in
but cannot open
door from inside
to get out

I opened that door very carefully.
posted by clawsoon at 3:13 PM on May 26, 2018 [11 favorites]

I would hold my pee in that scenario.
posted by AFABulous at 8:17 AM on May 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

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