Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Betty Jo Bouvier's Sedro-Woolley Big Brown Bear Brouhaha

Last night in my email inbox there was an email from the Wild Woman of Woolley, Betty Jo Bouvier.

Among the things Betty Jo mentioned in the email was the fact that a Big Brown Bear had moved in to town, with that town being Sedro Woolley in my old home zone of the Skagit Valley.

The Big Brown Bear had taken up residence in a tree a couple blocks from Betty Jo's house.

Now, you reading this in Texas, particularly in the Dallas/Fort Worth zone, likely think this is probably not all that unusual, particularly if you are aware that the Cascade mountains are a bear habitat, with lots of bears living there.

However, though Sedro Woolley is somewhat close to the mountains, it is located in the river zone of the Skagit Valley, as in the Skagit River flows by the town.

For a Big Brown Bear to get a couple blocks from Betty Jo Bouvier the bear would have had to cross multiple roads, gotten around multiple fenced off farms and residences. Plus Betty Jo pretty much lives in the center of town. Was the bear not seen by anyone as it walked the streets of Sedro Woolley before climbing up a tree?

All my years living in the Skagit Valley I do not recollect a bear showing up in any of the Skagit Valley towns. I do recollect, decades ago, a big moose creating a sensation by wandering around the valley. I recollect seeing that moose whilst driving on Interstate 5.

To be clear, that was me driving on Interstate 5, not the moose.

Years ago, I think the year was 1996, I floated the Lady of the Lake from Chelan to Stehekin in North Cascades National Park. Soon upon checking in at the National Park Lodge we saw a small brown bear climbing a nearby tree. That was to be the first of dozens of bear sightings.

Soon thereafter we were riding our bikes through an abandoned apple orchard to find a herd of bears having themselves a mighty fine time gorging on delicious apples.

On our last day in Stehekin a small brown bear, it may have been the one we saw upon arrival, was having fun playing on the second floor of the lodge. A crowd gathered, rangers showed up. The rangers captured the bear and mortified the crowd by informing us the bear had to be destroyed due to the fact that it had lost its fear of humans. This news did not go over well with the crowd.

I made three webpages of that visit to Stehekin, on one of those pages you can see a photo of the soon to be executed bear.

As for Betty Jo's Big Brown Bear.

Another email from Betty Jo arrived this morning. That email included the picture you see above of the Woolley Big Brown Bear, plus the news that in attempt to get the bear out of the tree it had been shot with a tranquilizer, which caused the bear to fall out of the tree, rendered dead from the fall.

What did the shooters think was going to happen? Shooting a bear in a tree with a tranquilizer? Did they think the tranquilizer would just calm the bear down with the bear calmly climbing out of the tree?

Bigger question is what would cause a Big Brown Bear to leave the safety of the mountains? Is this the start of a trend?

1 comment:

Steve A said...

Why is that "brown" bear jet black? I've never seen a brown bear in Washington outside of the Woodland Park Zoo.