Clawing: Evidence of a Bear’s Presence

clawing
Recent clawing marks on a telephone pole. Image by Marcus Elam
While we were out and about, a few friends and I spotted evidence of a bear. Yes, we live in Virginia in a county with a healthy bear population. Driving along the country road, Marcus called out, ‘Do you see that telephone pole? A bear did that.’

He was referring to claw marks, but he also pointed out on the other side of the street a pathway the bear would have taken to get to the pole. Clawing trees and telephone poles sharpen the claws nicely!

Clawing – How Convincing?

Were the claw marks convincingly those of a bear. Well, you can see the marks for yourself in Marcus’ images, the one being an overall view, and the other a closeup of the clawed portion. Notice the height is a reasonable height for a standing adult bear. And what else would make such localized claw marks? If the pole had been torn over a large vertical area, one could possibly conclude lightning was at work.

Close Encounters of the Bear Kind

clawing
Closeup. Image by Marcus Elam
Not more than a few miles away, in Wintergreen, Virginia, the ski resort, a girl perhaps about 16 years of age some 35 years ago spotted a bear cub. Naively, she approached the young bear without realizing Mama was near at hand. The adult bear swatted the teenager across the mouth. Thanks to plastic surgery, I am told it is hard to tell the girl was severely hurt.

My Own Experiences

I moved from an area where bears are an oddity. But I, myself, have seen three bears. One in the middle of a shallow river, apparently fishing. One young bear along the Blue Ridge Parkway, running when he saw my vehicle coming. And there was a third bear at somewhat of a distance from me, again, crossing a road. At first I wondered why it was the “black French Poodle” was running so funny. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed.

Do you know of or have you had any such experiences with bears in the wild?

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One Comment

  • Vincent Summers Reply

    Various other stories are surfacing concerning the bear attack on the young girl. Was she really attacked by a bear?

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