The call goes out each spring from the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife: Take down your bird feeders so you don't attract backyard bears. And almost every year, people forget. Even the governor, who had a close encounter Wednesday night with four bears.
"So I thought, I got to get them out of here, get those bird feeders in or they are going to come back every single night. It was dumb of me not to bring the bird feeders in that night, but I got in late," said Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont.
The governor shot footage on his iPhone of the bears from inside the home he rents in Montpelier. He would not release the video to us, but he did show me.
"You can see right there see the bear starting to move right there?" he said.
Turns out this was a mother bear and at least two cubs on the porch. The governor yelled out the window to scare them away and he went out to get the feeders.
"The biggest bear is a long distance away-- starts tearing for the porch as I am grabbing the other two feeders. So I grab them and tear for the porch door and literally it was 7 feet from the door when I slammed it shut. I thought, that bear is coming right through," he said.
Reporter Judy Simpson: There are a couple of things wrong with this story.
Gov. Peter Shumlin: There's a lot of things wrong with this story.
Simpson: First of all, you were supposed to bring your feeders in last month, governor.
Gray Speems is an outdoor guide. He says approaching wild bears is very dangerous.
"It's really bad. Don't do it," he said.
Especially unprepared in the middle of the night.
Shumlin: "Let's just put it this way, real Vermont boys don't wear pajamas. So the bear was better dressed than me.
Simpson: There is a visual for you.
The governor says he has learned his lesson.
Simpson: So, bears and bare feet and barely nothin'...
Shumlin: Bears, bare feet, barely nothing-- it is a bear of a story. Lesson of the story: don't feed birds this time of year.
All kidding aside, Col. David LaCour who is the chief game warden for the state says never approach wild bears, especially a sow who feels she has to attack to protect her cubs. I asked the governor why he went out for the feeders. He told me he wanted to get those bird feeders in or the bears are going to come back every single night.
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