Pine Nuts: Mama bear’s opinion of harvesting

McAvoy Layne
Pine Nuts

I’m a mom with two kids and we live in the Tahoe Basin, but don’t ask me where dad is today, maybe over at Taylor Creek checking out the kokanee salmon. We lead a simple life, there being about 450 of us trying to eke out a living here, though it’s getting more and more difficult with each passing year.

We used to have it pretty easy, even back when Native Americans first arrived and asked us to share the basin. Back then there was plenty of basin to go around.

Then the immigrants arrived, and the times they were a-changing. Native Americans were chased out of the basin, and we original inhabitants had to lay low.

The Native Americans had been good stewards of the Tahoe Basin, but the immigrants were more interested in building, and build they did. They built casinos and residential developments and ski resorts, and started putting their garbage out on the street for pick up once a week. Well that garbage had some pretty good stuff in it. Not since before man arrived did we eat quite so well.

But that was not to last. Some genius invented a bear-proof garbage bin and the glory days of dumpster diving were over for us. When forced to retreat, we shouted to no one in particular, “Hey, we were here first!” But humans don’t understand bruin language.

Good thing I taught myself how to read because I see that man has introduced a hunting season on us from Sept. 15 that allows hunters to “harvest” 20 of us before Dec.1, whichever comes first, and I dearly hope it’s December 1. They call it “harvesting” like we’re some sort of a crop. I would call it “murder,” but a euphemism is a euphemism.

It would be one thing if they were just going to shoot us, but they have dogs to chase us until we can run no further and have to climb a tree, where they will find us and, well, “harvest” us. Our children are then left to their own devices to fend for themselves as best they can without a mother.

Humans, I understand, offer foster homes to children who have lost their mother. That’s what I shall do then, start a foster home for bear kids who have lost their mother. Yes, I shall start on that project today as winter is fast approaching.

But wait just a minute. I hear dogs barking in the distance and it sounds like they are coming this way. I must divert them from my cubs and try to find cover. Should the dogs catch up with me I shall fight them off, and should they not be fought off I shall climb a tree, and should the dogs’ master find me there, well, I guess I shall be “harvested,” unless today mercifully happens to be the first day of December on the Tahoe Basin Bear Harvesting Calendar.

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