Spring is here!!!  I live just a little West of the Continental Divide in Archuleta County Colorado, where also a lot of bear live.  It’s time for them to come out and start moving around looking for something to eat.
They like the fawns, sheep, goats, and our calves.  As well as the chockcherries, snow berries, service berries, acrons and the grubs under logs etc.  When I am out riding at home or on the National Forest Permit I keep my eyes peeled for the scat, tracks, or where they have broken down the chokcherrie or oak brush getting food.  I have had some very close encounters and I mean so close I don’t want anymore.  Two times on two of my most wonderful horses and one time in the dark.  This story is about the dark. 
We have a good sized hill very close to the house on the west side.  My son had a little bunch of 4-H sheep that he penned every night to keep coyotes from killing them.  We didn’t think about a bear. Duua!!  Suddenly we were aware of something bothering the sheep.  None were killed but I guess our dog was the reason.  She would raise holy cane in the night but we could never see anything.  Until one day on a Sunday we were all relaxing in the house when all of a sudden Shadow started barking in that special bark that spelled trouble.  We all ran for the windows and coming off that hill in broad daylight right by the house comes a big old bear.  Headed straight to the corral.  By the time Bob got the rifle, got to the yard where he was hoping to get a shot without shooting some of the domestic animals the bear was leaving out on a dead run.  You could see his fat hide bouncing as he ran.
So that solved the problem of what Shadow was barking at at night.  My son decided to move his sheep down the road to his grandparents corral because the corral fence was higher and made out of logs, where ours was woven wire.  So we did.  All was good for a night or 2 so we thought we had fooled the bear.  Ha!!
Bob had gone to town to a meeting and the kids and I had gone to bed and were sleep so very sound.When I was woken with my son yelling:  “MOM!! MOM!!, SOMETHING IS THE MATTER WITH THE SHEEP!!  THEIR OUT HERE IN THE YARD!!! So we pulled on our jeans as fast as a streek of lightening and off to the pickup we went on the double to the lower barn.  THERE IT WAS!!!! The bear in the corral with the sheep!!. We didn’t take the rifle with us so my son ran to his Grandparents house and woke up Pa to come shoot the bear.  I stayed at the corral and kept the flash light on the bear.  Out of the house comes Raymond and Pa in his shorts,and slippers, no shirt no notha, just shorts and a rifle!!!! Just as Raymond and Pa got there where I was with the flashlight there was so much camotion that the bear litterly climbed the fence like it was a latter.!!!  We took off after him in the dark with my one flash light.  I was running as fast as I could over rocks, a ditch full of water and what ever else was in the way.  Not thinking about anything but keeping up with the bear.  All of a sudden Raymond starts yelling Mom, Mom, slow down wait for me I can’t see shine the flashlight back here so Pa and I can see.  So I did.  When the caught up with me we could hear the bark on a pine tree in front of us being peeled of the tree.  It sounded kinda like a paper sack being scrunched.  But Glory Be the bear was in the tree.  So I held the flash light and Pa shot the bear and he came down out of that tree with a big ol’ thud.  After we were sure he was dead and out of commissione we went back to the corral to see about the ewes.  LORD HAVE MERCY you would never want to see the sight we seen.  Dead ewes, ripped up ewes and wool all over.  Pa had to shoot some of the ewes we knew we could never save.  What a heart breaker for all three of us. 
Next morning Pa, Raymond and Bob strung that darn ol’ bear up and skinned him out so we could render the fat out for oil to rub on our leather work shoes.  He was the one.  After that we never had any more visits from a bear.
What a laugh we have now when we tell the story about Pa shooting a bear out of a tree in the night with flashlight light in his shorts!!!  Wasn’t funny for a while, but now it’s o.k. Just life on the ranch.  Such a beautiful life. We are so fortunate we are one of the ranch familys of Colorado.