A Love of Everything “Bear”

Bears … very special creatures of the north woods.  They are rarely seen in the wild, unless you make a point to visit an unkempt dump at meal time, have numerous oak trees, plum bushes, berries or a well stocked bird feeder in your yard in the Fall, or it has been a very hard year for the bears and they are hungry.

I am not sure where my love of the big black bears came from .. when you actual examine your life, where do most of your loves come from? (future blog topic) When I was small, my grandpa told stories of bears visiting his cabin (a very secluded place) and he had a big bear rug that as kids we snuggled on when we visited.   My family moved to northern Minnesota when I was in my teens. We had one of those yards the bears loved in the Fall … oak trees and plum bushes.  I remember many evenings watching them enjoy dinner from our living room window.  Mother sent her cubs (triplets one year) up into the branches of the oak trees while she fed around the bottom of the tree.  The cubs, climbing around like amazing acrobats, knocked all the acorns down to mom.  A very ingenious process .. the cubs play, no need for a baby sitter because the only danger iss falling down to mom, and mom gets her fill.  I always wondered if the cubs ate much .. they seemed to be having too much fun to eat.

I do love teddy bears and everything “bear”.  I have collected Boyds Bears (mostly figurines) and decorated parts of my house with bear themed items.  However, nothing beats the special treat of seeing a real bear in the wild.

As the years have passed, the sighting of bears in my area have been less and less.  The wild places are shrinking as more and more people are choosing to escape to the woods. The farm land and wilderness are being replaced with lake homes, cabins, and hunting shacks.  Every once in awhile I will see a bear crossing a road as I drive, but I never get very close to them before they are quickly bounding back into the woods.

There is a unique place near Orr, Minnesota where you can observe wild bears in their natural habitat.  The Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary is operated by  The American Bear Association.  Since I love bears, it is hard for me to believe that I did not know about and visit this site years ago – I had a wonderful time visiting this summer.  Now, that I know about it, I am sure that I will go back several times again this summer.

When you arrive, they bus you back to the bears and you can observe the bears for hours in the evening on a large viewing platform.  More than 80 bears visit the sanctuary regularly and have been coming back every year.  While I was there last summer, I observed over 10 new cubs .. so, there are no signs of bears disappearing from this area any time soon.  The wildlife personnel at the sanctuary have named many of the bears and, from a distance, they have been recording the bear’s lives.  If you can not visit the sanctuary in person, visit their wonderful website and learn about all the bears of the north woods .. you can even adopt a bear!

Alphie “the naughty bear” is pictured in the header of my blog. Last summer, he was a year old but still acting like a small cub. He was overly friendly with the wildlife personnel and liked the attention of all the visitors .. he greeted our bus and put on quite a show the whole time we were there. There are numerous pictures of bears at the The Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary website. Here are some more of the photos I took of the bears last summer:

Bears at Sanctuary July 4, 2008


~ by bearyweather on March 15, 2009.

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