Clawing: Evidence of a Bear’s Presence

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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

Closeup. Image by Marcus Elam

Not more than a few miles away, in Wintergreen, Virginia, the ski resort, a girl perhaps about 20 years of age some 35-40 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 a “black French Poodle” was running away. Then my son said, “That’s not a French Poodle, it’s a bear!”

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

Black Bear
Bugs Bunny: “Hey, Bruno.” Bruno: “Did somebody call my name?”

Note: You might also enjoy Honeybee Swarm Caught on Film in Spring 2016

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