In Sunday's paper, Police and Fire listed 16 animal encounters, all bears. One was seen taking a nap in the middle of the road near Taku and Ptarmigan Streets. Not long ago, while shooting at the Montana Creek Rifle Range, a bear lumbered out and walked slowly in front of the 100-yard targets as seven riflemen were firing.
Clearly we are the problem, not the bears. For 20 years bear hunting has been increasingly restricted, bait stations outlawed and distance from the road increased for rifle hunting in the Juneau Area. Furthermore, Canine Control has banished Spot and Rover from the street. Really large dogs, those most adept at chasing away bruno, are incarcerated and their human partners fined.
Compared to the Frontier landscaping of the '60s and 70s, Juneau looks like Martha Stewartsville. I don't see the garbage; heck, even the dump in enclosed.
Bears are intelligent territorial animals who learn their behavior from their mothers. Evidently the Juneau bears have no fear of humans; and why should they, we've become wusses.
Soon there'll be signs in the street reading, "Quiet! Sleeping bear zone!"
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