Last week, we had the unexpected pleasure of discovering black bears in the Outer Banks. Even though our bear-itch had been sufficiently scratched, when we heard a rumor that there had been recent bear sightings in and around our New Hampshire stomping grounds, we immediately made up our minds that our weekend would include another bear safari.
We drove in the direction of the rumored bear sightings, and came across a couple standing in their driveway. We told them we had heard there had been some bear sightings in the area and asked where we would have the best chance of spotting one. “Umm…my porch”, the man replied. “Feel free to come inside. They’ll probably be here any minute.” The whole situation definitely had a “To-Catch-a-Predator” kind of vibe, but everything you learn about stranger danger no longer applies as soon as the possibility of seeing a bear enters the discussion. We decided to accept their invitation. They turned out to be extremely friendly and showed us pictures of the bears, bobcats, and other animals that frequent their backyard. They told us that the same bear had been passing through their yard for the last few nights around 6:00 and they expected he would likely do the same tonight. We hung out on the screened in porch for a while but when we checked the time and saw that it was 7:30, it seemed like he might be taking the night off. Right after saying that we’d stay a few more minutes before calling it a night, a black bear emerged from the trees and crossed the street right into their back yard.
The bear didn’t mind that we were twenty feet away and started eating from the bird feeders while we watched and took pictures from the porch. It wasn’t long before a second bear came out of the woods and joined his brother at the bird feeders. At one point one of them came right up to the bird feeder next to the screen and stood there eating within five feet of us. A group of turkeys was hoping to get a free meal from the bird feeders but they backed down once they realized that they were occupied by a couple of hungry bears. I’ll give the turkeys credit. They got dangerously close to the bears before they backed off.
The bears stuck around for over an hour and we eventually kicked ourselves out as not to overstay our welcome any more than we already had. Everyone is probably wondering where this bear-Mecca is located, but for the privacy of our new friends (the humans and the bears), we’ll just say that it is somewhere in New Hampshire and leave it at that.