What’s bigger news: the bear market, or the bear in Custer?
The Custer County Sheriff’s Department spotted a black bear in the Black Hills less than a half-mile south of Custer yesterday:
The bear is not known to have wrought any mayhem on the non-indigenous population of greater Custer. To the north, however, Black Elk Peak claimed two casualties over the weekend:
Custer County Search & rescue posts pix of their rescue operation, but none of the lady hiking down the mountain with a stick sticking out of her upper leg—darn!
Sure, don’t leave your food sitting out for the bear. But watch out for the real killers: Trail 9 and sticks!
If history is any guide, locals will just kill the offending bear like they do with moose, elk, cougars and their kittens.
$20 bucks says the black bears, wolves, and moose sighted in the Black Hills are migrating from the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming down the Tongue River across the Powder to the Pumpkin Buttes where the Cheyenne and Belle Fourche Rivers begin, go up Beaver Creek near Newcastle into upper Castle Creek and down Rapid Creek to the Black Fox/Rochford area or north across Minnesota Ridge on the upper Limestone into Lawrence County.
So, if there are moose, wolves and bears in the Black Hills why doesn’t it automatically make them candidates for endangered species protection?
Because Republicans are evil.
Mr. Kurtz is probably correct about the migration of an occasional black bear, moose wolves, and mountain lions from the Big Horns to the Hills…they’ve been making that trek since time began. Black bears are as benign as any wild animal, very unlikely to attack a human. We have had a house in northern Wisconsin, near the Brule River for 30 years and black bears were never wiped out there but have maintained a healthy population. They wander into town in the early spring, when they’ve just woken up and have cubs. There isn’t enough food yet in the woods and they survive on road killed deer, dead fish along the rivers and lakes, bird seed from feeders, dog food and scraps from unattended garbage cans. Folks give them some leeway and as the berries ripen and grass comes up they head for the deep woods.
A few years ago, we had a sow and two cubs set up camp in the city park. When no campers arrived with coolers filled with ham sandwiches and apples, they moved on to a swamp on the outskirts and then, as the days lengthened moved further into the forest. There is a hunting season on bears in Wisconsin though hardly any locals participate (unlike Minnesota)…bears in Wisconsin are hunted by bands of raucous southerners from Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas who come up with packs of hunting dogs equipped with radio collars. The dogs take to the woods, on public and private lands, chasing the scent of the bear, while the nimrods drive along on county and forest service roads tracking them with radio gear. When the bear tire, they climb trees, the hunters pick up a stable radio signal, go into the woods, and shoot the bears out of the tree.
Locals consider these hunters a plague. Permissive laws allow bear hunters access to private land to “shoot and retrieve bear.” Legislation is introduced to restrict radio assisted hunting with dogs but, as the out of state hunters pay a premium for a license, Republicans resist any further control of the hunting practices of their Trumpist buddies from the south. It is a curious controversy. Black bears and wolves (introduced to northern Wisconsin though a few wander in there from the UP of Michigan) are remnants of the wild and any sighting is welcomed by most residents.
Just give Ranger Smith a buzz. He’ll get things straight.
Arlo, the largest black bear ever recorded in Wisconsin was killed by a car on US 53 just outside Bloomer one summer, after having spent the previous Winter hibernating in my Aunt’s woods just West if the highway.
Know Bloomer well, Richard…don’t miss the Main Street Cafe for pie…Bloomer is a German dairy farm where the average diner weighs in at about 300 pounds…great folks..did Bloomer Blackhawks vs. Northwestern of Maple play by play foortball and basketball for twenty years…a great rivalry.