The second-hottest topic in the woods in Union Parish behind deer is bears.
Bruin numbers are growing and, from a wildlife perspective, a lot of folks see that as a good thing.
Union Parish deer hunters aren’t so sure.
“We have bears everywhere, but really concentrated in the river bottoms,” Kelly “Dump” Patrick said. “They are tearing up feeders, and have even gotten in a few deer stands and caused some damage.
“The wildlife folks stocked some bears, but originally we had some that came down from the Felsenthal area in South Arkansas. Now they are moving farther down into the Iron Bridge and Dean areas.”
Some of the bears are getting pretty large, as shown in photos from Patrick’s deer feeder.
But there’s also another nuisance driving deer hunters crazy — wild pigs.
Both groups of critters seem to thrive on food put out for deer.
Patrick said some of the photos and videos of the bears are funny, with the animals often just laying down in the food and eating until they are full.
The hunter said it would be interesting to see what happened if everybody quit feeding for a year or two, but he doesn’t think that will happen.
“It’s amazing we haven’t had some serious incidents with hunters and bears,” Patrick said. “The bears are not afraid of humans. I’ve had them see me and start walking toward me. I get out of there and let them have it.
“I know a man who was squirrel hunting and saw a momma bear and two cubs, and she ran at him, snapping kind of like a wild hog. She stopped; he got out of there.”
Click here to learn how to remain safe when hunting in deer country.