The sun goes down, the grizzlies walk by.
Depending on the time of year, seeing bears in his yard in Malakwa can be a regular if not daily experience for Peter Rowbottom.
Because the grizzlies now often walk through after dark, Rowbottom has set up three night cameras.
He moves them around to try to get different views of the bears.
The cameras have captured images of several grizzlies as well as a coyote and raccoons.
A few years ago Rowbottom’s property seemed to become something of a thoroughfare for grizzlies on their way to a food supply.
“Last year they were in our yard every day for two months straight coming earlier when it was still light. Many times I was still working outside when the mother and three cubs arrived…,” he writes in an email. “When she and the cubs stopped coming to our yard I asked around and discovered from a fellow who worked on the railroad that they had been hit and killed by a train. I walked the tracks until I found her body and only one leg of one of the cubs.”
Rowbottom says he and his family are very cautious regarding the bears and are aware they can have a chance encounter with them at any time. Another mother and her two cubs started coming through last year.
“She did not even like us looking out the window at her and would growl at us if we did. One time I went out the door without having a good enough look around and she was too close and growled and chased me back inside. We were glad when they all went into hibernation last year.”
This year the grizzlies have been coming through after dark. Except for one day.
“My daughter and I were returning from getting our mail before the sun had set. Before we made it home a mother and her three cubs stepped out on the road from behind some trees about forty feet in front of us. I sent my daughter to a close neighbour’s house while I stayed to see what the mother might do. She reared up on her back legs and looked at me and then thankfully ran with the cubs into the nearby corn field which was their destination. I do carry bear spray but do not want to see if it really works.”
He says he has identified 12 different grizzlies this year.
“We are careful about going outside after dark because we can see from the time on the trail cams that they are in our yard at different times all night.”
Rowbottom issues a warning about the dangers of trying to be near them or see them. He says his yard will soon be safer.
“They will be going into hibernation fairly soon depending on the weather so then things will return to normal around here for another winter.”