Sean Spicer, AKA “Blackpacker,” is living in the woods of Mendocino County and recounting what he’s been up to at his Guerrilla Camping Blog. One recent post notes the existence of wild animals in his neighborhood:
The Original Inhabitants
I made no mistake when I moved up here that my property was occupied. Packrats, grey foxes, bobcats, quail, rattlesnakes, deer, ticks, two black bears and a mountain lion frequent our property. Thus far, I have seen all of them, but the only truly hazardous moment was when I thought a fox was trying to get into our food locker. I threw on my slippers and ran naked out the front door. As soon as I jumped down the steps I realized that I was not hearing something small outside our window, but something large across the driveway. I shouted, and what I got in return sounded like a 300lb man rolling down the hill behind our trashcans.
After that we got a lot smarter about cleaning everything that goes into the trash, and while the bears return NIGHTLY all summer long, they have not returned to the trashcans. They do occasionally raid our compost bin, and I have changed from trying to make the bin bear proof to making it easy for the bear to pop open the side. They don’t make much of a mess, and tend to turn the compost for us. This will probably be problematic when the garden area is fenced and the bear has to rip down our fencing to get at the compost.
The mountain lion is another matter. Probably 12-14 feet long including the tail, it’s 200 lbs of pure sleek muscle. I managed to catch a glimpse of it at the end of our property line about a year ago while driving off the hill. Since then, it has only made it presence known by scat and occasional prints and screams. My best friend was alone on our hilltop about six months ago and just as he began to sit down, he heard the unmistakable scream of the mountain lion behind him. I have been stalked down our driveway in the early evening, and found a killed deer in one of the remote clearings here. From dusk til dawn, I do not leave the main clearing without a spot light and a sharp stick.
Spicer, a veteran of the U.S. military, notes there are firearms on his property. “Yes, we have bear mace, and it is close to the bed as well, but if the bear is IN the camper, I’m changing his name to rug.”
He’s been out there for two years now; the blog has tons of info on trying to live on the land in our h high-tech age. One of the most fundamental insights, though, has been true for as long as there have been people: be nice to your neighbors and they’ll return the favor.