It took reading all way through the first and second column and into the third, but it was there under Mississippi—a bear story. I have discovered the USA Today State by State page rarely disappoints. I only see the national paper a few times a month when I am on on the road staying in hotels, but have been surprised at how many bear stories I find in its pages.
This spring seemed to be an especially active season across the country for bear/human interactions. The Mississippi story just confirms what I hear in New Mexico and other places across the country: Bear populations are increasing, making sightings and encounters more common.
Earlier this month in Tennessee a sixteen-year-old boy was on a backpacking trip, camping out, when a bear pulled him from his hammock (another story I first heard about in USA Today.) His father scared the bear away and, fortunately, the boy’s injuries were not life-threatening. The incident caused officials to close some trails and back country campsites temporarily. According to the article May and June can be difficult for hungry bears in the Smoky Mountains. As summer goes on the food supply improves (berries ripen) and the frequency of bear encounters decreases.
My favorite bear story can be found in the current issue of Sierra Magazine. Jill Robinson describes her run-in with a grizzly in comic book format—I call it woman on bike meets bear and lives to draw the pictures.
Have a great weekend and drop me a line if you see a bear!