A large black bear walks behind a house in this trail camera photo. Credit: Courtesy of Laurette Young

During the winter months, I enjoy walking the dogs out behind my house, where I often find evidence of wildlife that I’ve never actually seen visit the property.

Various footprints appear in the days after a fresh snow, and I often pause to wonder where the various critters are coming from, and why they’re going in the direction they’re going. A little mound of sand where a snapping turtle laid her eggs last year is still popular to some four-legged animals, which sometimes circle the spot as if they can still smell the eggs that must have hatched months ago.

While I’m sure there are bears nearby, we never see tracks from them, as they’re all denned up by the time the snow flies. I’ve been promising to set up a trail camera out behind the barn to document the comings and goings, but haven’t yet.


Well, how would the family react if, come spring, I end up with a photo like the one Laurette Young sent in?

Young, who lives in Belmont, New Hampshire, captured this photo of a handsome (and pretty rugged-looking) black bear that was walking behind her house in September.

“This critter had gotten into our bird feeder, and rummaged through our neighbor’s garbage,” Young said. “He had to tear down part of our fence to get to the feeder. Never had a problem with a bear that close to our house, so we never worried about the feeder. Lesson learned. Now it comes in at dusk. We were so thrilled to finally get a pic of the culprit on our camera.”

I’d be thrilled to see evidence of a big bear on my own trail cam, I guess. But knowing one is out there would make each after-dark dog-walking journey a bit more exciting. And all of those bumps in the night? Well, they’d surely be the bear, trying to break in and raid the fridge, wouldn’t they?

Sometimes, it’s good to not know exactly what’s going on out on the back 40, I figure.

Do you have a trail camera photo or video to share? Send it to jholyoke@bangordailynews.com and tell us “I consent to the BDN using my photo.” In order to prevent neighbors from stopping by to try to tag particularly large bucks, moose or bears, some identities and towns of origin may be omitted.

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. He spent 28 years working for the BDN, including 19 years as the paper's outdoors columnist or outdoors editor. While...