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Birdshot and backlashes

It is absolutely incredible the variety of phone calls and e-mails they get at the Chamber of Commerce. Just recently, they received a phone call from a lady in Mora who owns a de-clawed, de-fanged four-year-old bear. She said she had a problem. The bear lives contentedly with her family of five in a mobile home which is kind of ramshackle. The neighbors love the bear because it licks their barbecue grills clean. Yuk.The Mora lady and her brood intend to move from the trailer to a new home, but they find insurance premiums very expensive because of the bear. Seems they lived in the trailer without insurance. Their dilemma is whether to absorb the exorbitant rate and keep the bear or forgo the insurance. Getting rid of the bear is apparently out of the question. The lady thought that since Ely is in the wilderness, the Chamber of Commerce might know someone who would take over guardianship of the animal. Ely bear expert Lynn Rogers apparently has little interest in a bear which has been de-clawed and de-fanged. Another problem is that the bear seems to have an attachment to the two youngest kids, age 8 and 11. She guesses that it may be because the female bear, now at age four, seems to be seeking male companionship. The staff at the Chamber of Commerce had no advice for the lady in Mora, but forgot to ask one question: Does the bear hibernate? If so, how long and where?FEW BEAR PROBLEMS IN THE WOODSUsually, we start hearing about bears raiding camps in the spring, but not a lot of complaints so far this year. Bear problems are often related to a lack of groceries in the woods and there seems to be plenty for the critters to eat. Not only that, but a heck of a crop of blueberries appears imminent. There were countless blossoms on the blueberry plants and there are now oodles of tiny, whitish-green berries forming. If we just get some warm, sunshiny weather we will have one of the best crops in a decade. Facts are, we have spent some time out prospecting the hills, getting some idea where we may do some picking when the berries are ripe in middle to late July. A good blueberry crop means little problem with bears in the fall. It is only those years when there are no blueberries and no hazelnuts that bears become campsite and cabin raiders.WALLEYES COMING UP Veteran angler Bruce Kainz reports he has been connecting with some nice-sized walleyes in shallow water, no more than six feet deep. His best luck has been on leeches which may be now emerging from the shallow mud, attracting the marble-eyed trophies. There are also some mayflies hatching which often brings on a feeding frenzy. Some anglers are of the opinion that when mayflies are hatching, walleyes quit biting. No so. They are eating mayfly larvae but also eating a lot of other stuff, too. It takes a pile of mayflies to even start to fill up a good-sized walleye. It should be kept in mind that summer is when all fish eat the most and put on the most growth. There used to be an old fish wife’s tale that in warm weather, pike shed their teeth and won’t bite. It’s another excuse for not catching anything. It is a lousy excuse but it is better than no excuse at all.MUCH OF BUG TIME HAS GONE In a normal year, black flies and mosquitoes start gnawing on us starting on Memorial Day. The cold weather this spring has apparently depressed the little varmits which doesn’t make anybody sad. Ticks are doing well, however. We can put up with mosquitoes and black flies, but ticks are the pits. The little deer ticks run around with Lyme disease, which is no fun. Several folks in the Ely area have had Lyme disease. It’s fairly easy to beat if caught early, but not once it gets locked into the bloodstream. Deer ticks are tiny and usually leave a red circle around the bite. People at the Ely Clinic know a deer tick bite when they see it and can a take measures to prevent sickness. Anyone concerned with a red-rimmed tick bite should check into the clinic without delay. Ticks are not as easy to kill as blackflies and mosquitoes. Some entomologists believe insects will one day take over the world. Not as long as people can slap.

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