Journeys with Jim: Bear sightings increase during summer time

Published on Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:08


I haven’t been writing for a couple of weeks as I’ve been on a vacation of sorts. Late spring and early summer is my busy time to collect firewood for the upcoming winter season. I’ve had some good luck with local finds, which is nice as I didn’t have to travel too far around the county looking for wood.

In my last column, I talked about the black bear mating season, which generally occurs in June and July. Male bears will travel quite far from their home ranges in search of females and as a result, human and bear encounters tend to spike during this time.

Within a few days of my last story being published, I ran into a number of people I work with at the hospital who wanted to share their recent bear encounter stories with me. The most memorable story I heard was from a co-worker, who is also a Bristol resident. She explained that on a recent morning, while trying to leave home to get to work, she came face to face with a pretty large bear.

She had just stepped out the back door of her home, purse and car keys in one hand and some cinnamon toast wrapped in a napkin in the other. I guess that wily ole’ bear got a good whiff of toast and it was game on. Luckily, my co-worker spotted the bear heading towards her and quickly escaped back indoors. She said that the bear hung around the yard for a few minutes and went on his way. She snapped a picture of the bear from her kitchen window which I have to share with you.

I took some time off from my wood cutting to accept an invitation to go fishing on my friend Dave’s boat one recent Sunday morning. After launching the boat at the state ramp in Niantic we made our way to the outflow of the Millstone Power Plant. Most days, there are blue fish and stripers in the area. On this particular morning no stripers were present and the blues were a bit scattered at best. We managed to hook into a few smaller fish during our time there. We soon made our course to the southwest to the area known as Black Point.

The morning tide had run out by about 8 a.m., during the “slack” tide time, and we were fishing in about 100 feet of water and it seemed with every drop, one of us had hooked up with a black sea bass. Although we only managed three “keepers,” fish after fish were reeled up to the net. I kind of lost count on how many we caught, over 20 I’m sure.

On one drop, I hooked into something I’d never seen in all my years on the water. The creature that came to the net looked like a fish in the front but the back of its body looked more like an eel. Not very big, maybe a foot long with sort of a spotted body. Whatever it was, I let go back to where it came from. When I got home, I looked online and think the fish was something called a cusk, which is a member of the cod family. You never know what you might find in the outdoor world.

Posted in New Britain Herald, General Sports on Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:08. Updated: Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:11.