On the Bangor City Forest Facebook page yesterday, they posted a photo showing a tree that had been pretty much ravaged by hungry black bear. They are warning about how they've seen an increase in recent bear activity in the forest, but that it's nothing to be overly alarmed about. It's the time of year where they're all out of the den, and already working on packing on fat for the winter, in addition to feeding their newborn cubs.

So the bears are out tipping trees, and turning logs, scanning the area looking for food. They mostly eat insects and grubs as one of their main sources of protein. Unlike grizzly bears, they're not out doing any crazy animal hunting, nor will you see them in big dramatic stances, trying to run up a tree to catch an animal. They're far more  likely to try and make an easy score off the ground.

Generally, they don't pose a direct threat to people. Even a mama black bear is unlikely to aggressively defend her cub. Often, if you wave your arms and make a lot of noise, they will just run away. Although, just this past winter, there was a man from Orrington was attacked as he tried to defend his puppy. So one should still approach a bear with caution. But often, they are docile creatures that are far more afraid of you than you are of them.

In fact, the City Forest says in their post, that in most cases, if you did happen upon a bear, remain quiet, watch, and maybe even snag a quick photo. If the bear does begin to approach you, stand your ground. Then wave your arms, and hoot and holler if the bear gets closer than you feel comfortable with.

If you're in the City Forest, they also suggest you limit the number of snacks you bring in with you, as the bears have a better sense of smell than a hound dog, and will smell your delicious treats from hundreds of feet away. Really, why give them a reason to come check you out? It's one thing to just stumble upon one, but why tempt fate?

It's weird to think about sometimes, knowing that there are animals the size of people in our local woods, just hanging out. But hey, it's Maine. There are probably almost as many bears as people in this state. So really, it's up to us to maybe stay out of their way. Besides, all they're really searching for out there is a UMaine hockey jersey, but it'll have to smell like food for them to find it!


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