About a decade ago a bear visited our backyard in the middle of the night.
Stuffed bear head, literally, on my office wall. This bear is not the nocturnal visitor.
It was in the Fall. Around 11:00 you could hear the bear out back making some racket. At the time, my wife urged me to get up and check it out, but I figured it was just a cat or something knocking something over, so I didn't.
In the morning, when I opened the curtains to the sliding glass door, I could see his muddy paw prints on the window and the deck. Further investigation showed muddy footprints left on the deck steps and a place where he scratched the deck going over the fence. He also turned, rear end to the glass window, and deposited a big pile of "skat", which apparently suffices for an ursine calling card. It was a large amount, and full of partially digested berries and seeds.
As we thought we ought to, we called the Game and Fish to note it, and a Game Warden came out and confirmed what we already knew, yep, that was a bear. Apparently it was a slow news day, as the story ended up on one of the local television news broadcasts, with an interview of the Game Warden warning people that bears this time of year (Fall) will wonder about and hit people's bird feeders and whatnot. We didn't have a bird feeder at the time. In thinking about it, I suspect the bear was going from backyard to backyard looking for dog food, and that's why he came up on our deck.
I've always thought the bear was probably a juvenile. When they're young, they wonder, including into town. Just before Winter they're really hungry, and there's food in town. We've had them down in our neighborhood since then. Last year one was hanging around for a day or so just a block away, apparently convinced that shrubbery made it invisible. But we haven't had any back in our yard, at least that we know of. Snakes in the backyard, and lots of rabbits, but no bears.
Our entire neighborhood is rabbit central.
Well, that changed the other day and we had a bear stop by late at night.
Like the first time, he was noisy. I heard something about 1:00 am but I thought my son had gotten up for some reason so I went back to sleep. My wife went out the next morning and found:
Android photo of bear calling cards. Apparently Androids change coloration a bit in photos. The actualy sample was quite green. Again, packed with seeds of some sort. The wood decking is made from 1 1/4" x 6" decking.
No muddy paw prints this time, but for some reason this bear also left his calling card right up against the glass door. Weird. It must be a bear thing.
He also overturned a mat at the bottom of the steps and flipped it up on the steps. Probably hoping for beetles or something underneath it, and he batted the bucket of clothes pins clean across the yard. Apparently bears to do not approve of clothes pins, or perhaps the bear lacked a means of otherwise expressing his displeasure over the lack of snacks.