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Bear Poop & Bells

To The Desert Independent

May 5, 2021

It was sure nice, Windy thought. Just sitting out here in Mamie’s yard with my dog, Ramses, and some refreshments Mamie brought out that did not include raw meat or vegetables no one could pronounce.

“Don’t that there sun feel good, Mamie?”

She smiled and nodded and drank more tea.

“Afore you know it, them ol’ bears’ll be out and wrasslin’ around fer somethin’ to eat. Gotta be careful in the woods, ya know. Take a rifle along. What? Oh, a thirty-ought six should be plenty, I’m thinkin’. ‘Course ya hafta place yer shot right. Nothin’ worse than a wounded bear.”

Mamie thought something less than killing the bear should work right.

“Well, Mamie,” said Windy, “there’s two schoolers of thought on that one and one of ‘em’s wrong. Ya see, the hippy dippy folks carry a spray ‘em can of pepper juice with ‘em in the woods. And they wear these here little bells on their belt loops.”

Mamie smiled and nodded.

“The idear bein’ that little bell a dingie-dongin’ ‘round will tell the bear, hey, thass a hooman bein’ and you better watch out cuz he’s smarter’n you are. But les’ jest say that ol’ bear’s got hisself a hearin’ problem and that bell don’t mean nothin’ to him. Wellsir, thass where that danged pepper spray comes in handy. Yep, ol’ Organtic Woodsman hisself pulls out that can and jest lets her rip right in the bear’s face. I’ll jest bet that smarts somethin’ awful, too.

“But later, you know, when they’re trackin’ that bear down, he makes hisself easy to tell from other bears, cuz his poop smells like pepper and its got little bells in it.

“Yep. Thirty-ought six should be enough.”

Brought to you by Sweetgrass Mornings, by Slim Randles. See it at University of New Mexico Press.

"Home Country" columnist Slim Randles won three regional book awards for the two books he wrote in 2014. "Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing" won for best how-to book and best cover design at the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards in Albuquerque. Randles lives in Albuquerque and has a dozen books currently in print.

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