Lots of bear stories

While I have seen bears all over Maine, my most amazing and entertaining encounters were at camp so those are the stories I’m going to tell today.

Walking the perimeter road in Baxter Park, I often encountered bears. One time a bear walked out of the woods and into the road just 10 feet in front of me. He took a quick look at me and then sprinted across the road and into the woods.

On another walk I saw a bear coming up through the woods in my direction so I stopped to watch. If he had kept going straight, he would have crossed the road about 20 yards in front of me. But just before he got to the road he turned and headed in my direction.

As he approached me, I figured out he was going to cross the road right where I was standing, so I shouted at him and he jumped around and ran back into the woods.

Another time, Linda and I were walking with our kids up the driveway to camp when we saw a bear coming down the driveway in our direction. The bear spotted us and moved into the woods and kept walking in our direction.

We actually heard the bear walk by us in the woods and when he got about 30 yards beyond us he came back into the road and continued on.

We often saw bears on the lawn at camp, but one of my favorite stories is the time we spotted a bear swimming across the lake in our direction with a cub on its back and another cub swimming behind it.

We stood on one side of a small stream that flows into the lake and the bear and it’s cubs came ashore on the other side of the stream only about 15 feet from us. The bear took a look at us and then they are wandered into the bushes, apparently in no hurry. That was quite a sight for us and especially for our kids.

One time I was fishing my favorite brook in Baxter Park when I waded around the corner in the brook and heard horrible screeching and moaning in the bushes down to my right. I assumed that a bear was killing a moose. But the screeching and moaning moved away from me in the bushes, crossed the brook out of sight around the corner, and started moving up the other side of the brook in my direction.

I decided to make a hasty retreat back upstream and I headed back to camp. When we got home, I asked a wildlife biologist at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife what I heard, and he told me that I’d done the right thing, because that was mating bears!

One night two weeks ago, a bear tore down and busted our bird feeders, right in front of our kitchen window. Linda quickly put out new feeders which she brings in every night.

I recommend that you do that, because we have a lot of bears (35,000) and they are not just in rural Maine. They’re even showing up in our cities.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.