FYI: About Those Bears?

Ken AshfordLocal InterestLeave a Comment

More from the Winston-Salem Journal:

Tom Mutton was almost certainly among the last unarmed people Monday night to encounter a small black bear that wandered through a neighborhood in northwest Winston-Salem.

As he was getting ready to go out to dinner about 7, Mutton heard a noise coming from his garage. A second rustling sound prompted him to investigate.

"I didn't see anything at first, but when I walked around my car I saw it by the back of the car," Mutton said. "It turned and looked at me, then went out on the lawn behind my house."

Then the bear did exactly what Mutton has been told black bears will do sometimes when they encounter humans: It took a few steps toward him in a bluff charge, an attempt to intimidate.

"That's when I remembered that you're supposed to stand your ground, but look away from them," said Mutton, an experienced hiker who has seen bigger bears in Alaska. "Doing that is supposed to be a sign of aggressiveness to the bear. If you run away, I've been told, they'll chase you."

Whatever he had done worked, Mutton said, because the bear fled into woods that separate his property from the house where police officers killed a black bear about an hour later.

When he heard that bear had been shot, Mutton naturally wondered if something had gone wrong.

"I would have thought that maybe they could have tranquilized it," he said. "I hate that it got killed like that."

Okay.  So that's what you do.  Now we can stop shooting them.