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Cats, Bears and Trees

There are many bears in California, and their population is greatly increasing. In 1985, it is estimated there were 5,000; today there are 35,000. Many of them live in the San Bernardino Mountains, and residents here in Crestline occasionally have them wander into their yards. I have never seen any on our street since we have lived here, although Bill reported seeing one cross between our houses last year. Walk through a portion of the woods at the end of our street and you come out in Thousand Pines, a Christian Conference Center. Sometimes we extend our walk through their camp, especially if the grandchildren are here. Once as we did so, one of the workers stopped us and said, "There's a bear right down the way. He's in a culvert sleeping." Adventurous soul that I am, I wanted to go closer. Jerry, wise man that he is, and leader of us all, said simply, "No." …and we headed home. A couple of years ago, a Mama and two babies wandered through the streets of toptown Crestline. Our bears are called black bears, although they are actually a dark brown color. Their weight ranges from 150 to 300 pounds, but they have been known to weigh as much as 600 pounds.

I've told you we have a few cats around here–the tabby kind, although I hear we also have wild cats in the woods. Mary's cat wanders through the neighborhood and occasionally I see one or two others. We have many coyotes, so sometimes household cats don't do too well, left to run free around here. I have mentioned Nancy's two beautiful cats who are so pampered, their precious little feet have never touched the ground.

But I have not heard that in our neighborhood is a cat even closely resembling Jack, the 15 pound orange and white tabby who recently chased a bear up a tree. You heard me right. Yes, chased a bear up a tree. When I heard this AP story yesterday, I resolved to share it with you.

Sat Jun 10, 5:52 PM ET

WEST MILFORD, N.J. – A black bear picked the wrong yard for a jaunt, running into a territorial tabby who ran the furry beast up a tree — twice.


Jack, a 15-pound orange and white cat, keeps a close vigil on his property, often chasing small animals, but his owners and neighbors say his latest escapade was surprising.

"We used to joke, 'Jack's on duty,' never knowing he'd go after a bear," owner Donna Dickey told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Friday's editions.

Neighbor Suzanne Giovanetti first spotted Jack's accomplishment after her husband saw a bear climb a tree on the edge of their northern New Jersey property on Sunday. Giovanetti thought Jack was simply looking up at the bear, but soon realized the much larger animal was afraid of the hissing cat.

After about 15 minutes, the bear descended and tried to run away, but Jack chased it up another tree.

Dickey, who feared for her cat, then called Jack home and the bear scurried back to the woods.

"He doesn't want anybody in his yard," Dickey said.

Bear sightings are not unusual in West Milford, which experts consider one of the state's most bear-populated areas.

Any of you run into bear problems in your yard, call me and I'll give you Jack's number.

By Shirley Buxton

Still full of life and ready to be on the move, Shirley at 81 years old feels blessed to have lots of energy and to be full of optimism. She was married to Jerry for 64 years, and grieves yet at his death in August of 2019. They have 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren...all beautiful and highly intelligent--of course. :)

4 replies on “Cats, Bears and Trees”

The last bear I saw had a beautiful white diamond on his chest I liked him so much, I took him home with me and he now resides in my office.


wow. crazy. u havent seen a wild bear. i encounterd one wen i went on a bike ride in trinty county for vaction. it is an amazin creature. but pretty scary because it is so big. giant.


Wow! I’ve never seen a wild bear. We do have deer in NC. Bill snapped a photo once of seven in our back yard. (We live on the outer edge of the city.) The deer come from the nearby woods, looking for water. Some people complain because they eat the vegetaion, especially azalia bushes, but I like them. I like being close to stores, etc. but surrounded by nature.


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