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4/5/2022
Please connect with this link to read all of On Wisconsin Outdoors reporting on the wolf issue over 2021/22.  We will continue our work and our commitment to bring you nothing but the truth to the best of our ability. To have a PDF of our work e-mailed directly to you, please e-mail us at ellis@onwisconsinoutdoors.com. You are welcome to share this link or our PDF with anyone concerned with wolf management in Wisconsin or the future of ...
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The Bear. What the heck was he thinking?

Tom Luba

Some days you just have no inkling whatsoever what will happen until it’s entered in the column designated as “your life” by the heavenly powers. A splendid example is one fall Saturday morning last year.

Like many other days in October, I hooked up the boat and was ready to reacquaint myself with a number of smallmouth bass in the Wolf River, downstream from New London. I pulled out of the drive, made a right on Werner-Allen, a boulevard separated by a nice line of colorful trees that bordered Hatten Park.

When I turned, I noticed a black dot emerging from the park. As it started to cross the street, I thought it was somebody’s Black Lab. However, as I got a bit closer, I could see that whatever it was it kind of loped along and was a lot bigger than your average dog.

It ducked between two houses before I could figure it out. But there was a right turn just down the block and I was pretty curious. I quickly recounted that what I saw was on all fours, so I immediately discounted Bigfoot.

When I turned, I was parallel to a few houses with an athletic field behind them. I cleared the houses and stopped the car. There, staring right at me was a pretty good-sized black bear.

Transfixed, the bear and I gave each other the eye. Then he snuffled a couple of times, turned and started walking … across the field, right toward where my house, and a whole lot of others, were located.

I thought I better sound the alarm and headed back home. The bear went as the crow flies, but my car had to go as the road is paved, so I lost sight.

On my way home I didn’t see much foot traffic. But when I pulled up in front of the house and got out, I did see a lady, about 30 years old, decked out in shorts and tennis shoes, power walking my way. Since the bear was headed toward us, I intruded and said, “Excuse me. You might want to change direction. On my way to the river I saw a black bear come out of the park. And it was headed this way.”

Maybe she thought I was joking or that I was one of those fruit things you get in a round tin during the holiday season. The look she gave me said I was not to interfere with her morning exercise. Since it was possible that blundering into an adult black bear could have serious consequences, I tried one more time. She just kept walking. At least I tried.

I made a second, more successful attempt at getting to the boat landing. I never read anything about a bear/person altercation in the paper—or anywhere else.

A check went in the box that said “good Samaritan” on my mental good deeds sheet. It wouldn’t have surprised me if, had they met, the bear would have been the one to move out of the way.

Tom Luba is a freelance outdoor writer and bass fishing fan from New London, Wisconsin. Tom fishes as much as he can and never gets tired of setting the hook.