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  • Writer's pictureDunsmuir Hardware

'bout black bears being bold

Here's a Flashback Friday post about bears from Dunsmuir Hardware owner Ron McCloud. Originally posted SUNDAY, AUGUST 08, 2010.

'bout black bears being bold

An interesting thing that seems to happen as the weather starts to warm. Customers repeatedly come into the store and relate stories of bears being a nuisance. It's easy to see around town on trash pick-up days - can have been knocked open and trash scattered. Driving to work recently it was like driving through a war zone - had to zig-zag around cans on both sides of the street and trash spilled out into the street. Warm weather has our native black bears on the move - usually at night - and they're looking for easy pickings. By the way - from what we understand, all bears here are black bears although there is some variation in color and folks often see "cinnamon bears" - which are actually an off-color black bear.

Customers are usually looking for a bear-proof garbage can or a way to make their can bear-proof. Those heavy-duty cans issued by the City of Dunsmuir are very tough and can stand a lot of bear-abuse but the lids can be easily flipped open. The lids can be secured with heavy-duty bungee cords or chain or rope but - understandably - the folks who pick up your trash can't be bothered with having to stop at every can and undo the bear-proofing. Some folks have put a container of ammonia on top of the trash and then close the lid with the theory that the bear shoves his head into the can and gets a face-full of fumes that will discourage him from coming back. Unfortunately, this doesn't work if he simply knocks the can over and then picks over the contents. The best solution is still what we've always been advised. Don't put smelly garbage in your can and set it out - it's an invitation to your neighborhood bear.

We're told that bears are repeat offenders. Once they find a tasty trash can they'll return over and over to savor it. Many folks are beginning to avoid putting wet and smelly garbage in their can at all. Things like fish and chicken and other fragrant scraps can be put in plastic bags, sealed tight and kept in the garage or popped into the freezer until the morning of the trash pick-up. Trash pick-ups are early so that might mean you'll have to get up at the crack of dawn - or before - on those days - but its probably better than having to pick up garbage scattered all over your yard, the street, and the neighbor's yard.

The picture is one that we took just yards from our home in north Dunsmuir in the summer of 2008. It was taken in the middle of the night and we had to manipulate it a bit on the computer to bring out the image - played with contrast and color which gave it that red tint - intensified by the red clay of the ground where he (or she) was walking. But you can see that he's pretty intent on cruising the neighborhood - looking for a midnight snack.

Customers have told us of sightings in virtually all parts of town - even right in the center and neighborhoods where you wouldn't expect to encounter them. They obviously cruise a lot of territory on their late-night strolls.

Very very important also - be careful. Bears are wild creatures with big teeth and long claws and are not to be taken casually. Don't take any chances.

Things haven't changed much regarding bears since this post, they still roam the area and love trash. One thing has changed though, Dunsmuir Hardware Store is now for sale.

The present owners have operated the store for over 40 years and are ready to pass it on to a new owner who appreciates how special it is. Want to learn more about this amazing business opportunity?

We’re open for business from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Saturday and 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Sundays. Come and see us in person? We’re at 5836 Dunsmuir Avenue Dunsmuir, California 96025 Want to phone us? It's (530)235-4539 If it is after-hours there is an answering system so you can leave a message. We’ll get back to you. You can fax us at (530)235-2378. The fax machine is always on. email us. Just use this address –

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