Big Yogi

Last Sunday night I ventured out onto the front porch.  It was around 11:30 pm and the waxing crescent moon had already set.  Most of our neighbors keep an outside light on during the night so there are always faint shadows even with no moonlight.  We have lived here 22 years so I know where the shadows usually are.

As soon as I stepped onto the porch, I smelled something.  However, there is always some form of wildlife around and nighttime foraging and hunting is pretty common.  However, this smelled really bad.  It was similar to the uncovered beef stew that someone left on the kitchen counter just as you left for a 2-week vacation.  You know, the first whiff you get on return to the house.  You get used to this kind of thing in the country, but still there was something …

Then one of the shadows moved.  That’s not good!  ‘It’s probably a Red Fox, a White Tail Deer, or an opossum, those guys are always out here,’ I was thinking.  However, this shadow was big, really big!  Fortunately, he didn’t have any interest in me and proceeded next door.  As he approached their house, I took a big gulp and the adrenaline started to rise.  This moving shadow was a 400-pound Black Bear.

Now we’ve seen many critters here, but this was our first bear.  Neither my wife nor I had ever seen one, so I knew (in the interest of husband survivability) I had to go upstairs and wake her up.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen my wife move so fast, down the stairs and out the front door.  Very quickly, this Black Bear became known to us as Big Yogi.

Fortunately, Big Yogi was only interested in finding something to eat and that didn’t include us.  It’s getting close to hibernation time for him and he needs all the food he can get.  When we returned outside he was attempting to tip over our neighbor’s trashcan, but it wouldn’t budge.  No problem, he just went down to the next house and looked for another trash can.  About 10 minutes later, to no one’s surprise, we heard the crash.  Dinner is served!  By now it was midnight and it looked like the excitement was over so we went back to bed.

Then, about 30 minutes later, we heard another crash.  Only this one was very close.  We raised the blinds, opened the window, and there was Big Yogi enjoying the contents of OUR trashcan!  I tried to shine some light on him for a picture, but a black bear under a tree with no moonlight is well beyond my meager photographic talents.  And to be honest, I wasn’t going out there anyway.

What we did see was this 6-foot tall bear sitting down on the pine straw enjoying his meal.  He would look at us, with almost a grin that dared us to do something really stupid.  Otherwise, he had no concerns except finishing his meal.  After 30 minutes, he was finished (he had a fondness for leftover Chicken Alfredo and stale Cheetos) and he moved on to the next house.  We could see him go right up to the front door, look around, and then disappear.  Five minutes later, another crash and he had scored his third trashcan of the night.

Now we know that Big Yogi doesn’t belong in our neighborhood, but I wasn’t going to tell him that!  However, one of our neighbors did call County Animal Control to let them know.  Animal Control told him to call the County Police, so he called the County Police.  The County Police thanked him and said they would call County Animal Control.  It appeared that instead of catching this 400-pound Black Bear, we were doomed to Catch 22.  By 1:45 am the excitement was over, sleep was intended but hard to achieve.  I looked around in the daylight and found Big Yogi’s footprints next to our BBQ grill.  I’ll bet the smell of that grill was very tempting for him but it’s against the house and can’t be tipped over.

Monday evening everyone exchanged Big Yogi stories but no one had much real information.  I barricaded the trashcan as did everyone else and our few houses were spared the dining efforts of Big Yogi.  He had moved on down the street and we heard more stories from neighbors further away.  On Tuesday there were more stories of the exploits of Big Yogi.  There were more trash cans tipped over and more meals consumed.  However, everyone seemed to understand to leave him alone.

The end of this story begins Tuesday night.  You see, Wednesday is garbage day.  Since the garbage trucks usually come early to our neighborhood, everyone puts their trash cans at the end of their driveways Tuesday night.  Anticipating that this would represent an open buffet for Big Yogi, most people tried to wait until daylight.  But Big Yogi roamed the streets and the early commuters could tell right away where he had dined.  Since Big Yogi is still roaming the area, I suspect this will not be the last story I will write about him.

© J T Weaver

Related Posts:  RaSHi   Myrtle   The Buck  The Commute to Work  Great Horned Owl

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About J T Weaver

The author of "Uphill Both Ways," a thought provoking series of stories about life, family, and growing up.
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31 Responses to Big Yogi

  1. Pingback: 60. The Commute to Work | J T Weaver

  2. Pingback: 50. Settling In | J T Weaver

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  4. laphillips52 says:

    Have you considered another book made up of anecdotes from your daily life like the ones you’ve written here…Big Yogi, The Buck, Myrtle for example?


    • J T Weaver says:

      haha, noooo. 🙂 You want me to go through this all over again? ha! 🙂 Seriously though, if it happens, it happens. I’m just having a good time writing for now. I didn’t have any plans for the first one either.


  5. rastelly says:

    Thankfully – the only thing to every raid our trash cans was a Scottish terrier mix with a taste
    for cheese wrappers – every one thought it was raccoons or coyotes – (you can hear them
    howling at night.) Toby was eventually captured by someone who wanted a dog – my mother.
    but it didn’t stop the skunks that came after him.

    Possums don’t scare me – they are smaller then you and can be chased into cage (just watch your fingers) then taken for ride in the country – we have three dogs and two cats hanging around at any given time and are not troubled by the small stuff.

    Bears are creepy – they can tear the door off a meat freezer even if it’s chained shut – and that’s a
    small bear – most could break into a house if they wanted to – but prefer to eat what whatever or
    whoever is right in front of them – at least a puma can’t chew through a wall.

    A black bear was the villain in the movie “over the hedge -” he was done in by his addiction to
    potato chips – and consumerist culture – a lesson for us all – great story any more?


    • J T Weaver says:

      Thank you very much. We’re already in the country so if we catch something, then what? We just let them do their thing and try to stay out of the way.


      • rastelly says:

        I mostly relocate small critters because the dogs
        eat them if I don’t. Either the dogs or the people –
        People in my neck of woods eat everything . . .
        Don’t get me wrong the food is great – as long
        you don’t ask what is . . .

        raccoons and possums find their way into many a
        stew – and as a person with affection for them (who also knows where they’ve been – ) ew.

        Alligator though, is so good you won’t care.

        I try to avoid meat though – It’s the vector through
        which most deep fried food enters my diet.


  6. mamacormier says:

    A family of bears swam over to our island this spring. I’m terrified of bears, even though I’ve never had contact with one. I’m not sure what the bears will do this winter. We’re hoping they’ll swim back to the mainland in the next month or so.


    • J T Weaver says:

      We haven’t seen Big Yogi again after that first encounter. Hopefully he’s moved on or been captured and taken back to where he belongs. In another month or so he’ll be ready for hibernation, so we’ll see.


  7. Catch -22 hahah I know exactly what you meant. A neighbour called the police about a python in his car, and the police called animal control, who referred him to the zoo, who circled back to animal control! Thanks for the funny and interesting post!


  8. Glynis Jolly says:

    I live just outside of a small town. Like you, wildlife in various forms is a daily occurrence. The one animal I wish would just disappear all together is the opossum. I would welcome the bear if he would get rid of this ugly, red-eyed annoyance. At least the bear is pleasant to look at and has the good sense to stay a distance away from the house. Possums are the ugliest and the most annoying creatures I have ever come across.

    I loved your story about Big Yogi. I hope someone can move him to a better location that will be safe for him.


    • J T Weaver says:

      I agree, opossum are just part of the food chain. It’s now been 3 nights since Bog Yogi has been spotted. He may have moved on to a better buffet, who knows.
      I’m glad you liked the story, I really appreciate it.


  9. Chatty Owl says:

    All i see outside my house are Jehovah witnesses, visiting my neighbours. And an odd fox now and then.


  10. Seeing the title, I anticipated something really different. The post came as a pleasant surprise! I really liked the beautiful narration of the incident and the intended pun. Shall wait to read more on this.


  11. Truckinwife says:

    LOL, this was good. It reminds me of how my oldest son when a boy scout told me the story of the troop running into Ma and Pa Bobcat in there shelter. As well as the stories he told of chipmunks stealing candy from backpacks and then going on sugar highs. I enjoyed this and am sure Big Yogi will be back for another visit.


  12. Rebecca says:

    Great post.
    We have a small cabin up north in Michigan. Three years ago we we’re coming back from dinner..It was dusk and as I walked to the back door, I saw a big “something” in the woods, about thirty feet away. Yep, a bear. I held my breath and he sauntered away. That was too close for comfort but I was thrilled none the less. No more walking in the woods for me.
    (BTY, I have a guest post ready. We communicated concerning this a couple of months ago. It’s 674 words. What do I do next? I take it you want to read it first. Also, can I still post it on my own blog as well or is that a no-no?)


  13. Frances D says:

    Wow! I am city girl in the country these days, and it’s all I can do to get used to hawks, big old ground hog-like creatures, and coyotes passing through the backyard – but bears – I would be freaking out. Try and get some video footage for us. I am sure your phone has a video camera. Waving at you from the Cape


  14. Barbara says:

    Cat poop! You need a cat. We are way out in the country and nothing bothers our garbage. The animals are smart enough to move on…It is good to put down gopher holes in the garden too.. Except eventually the poop must lose its noxtious smell because they open the entrance up again..that is an ongoing battle.


  15. We live in an area with lots of wildlife and it is not unusual to see bears and cougars. Amazing to watch, but never want to be too close.


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