Bears

The last few weeks our neighborhood has enjoyed visits by a number of black bears, including a mother with three cubs. Here they are in the back yard of a friend who lives two houses down. Aren’t they cute!

Of course, my next door neighbors have taken in their bird feeders (which may have been what attracted the bears) and we’re all being careful about sending our kids out to play right now, but no one is seriously worried. Under normal circumstances, black bears aren’t aggressive. My family and I have had a few encounters with them while camping and each time they shambled away from us. Though obviously a mother with cubs should always be treated with caution!

There haven’t been any wild bears in England since the Middle Ages. However, Regency folk might have seen captive bears in menageries or at various events. Bear baiting (tormenting a chained bear with dogs, etc…) was waning in popularity by the Regency. Many people had recognized by then what a degrading sport it was, however it was not made illegal until 1835.

Regency folk might also have seen performing bears at fairs and such. Given that handlers were unlikely to be treated the bears in anything approaching a humane manner, I doubt it would have been entertaining to anyone like our heroes and heroines.

I don’t think I’ve read anything about bears in a Regency. One could perhaps imagine a hero or heroine freeing an abused bear, but that really could be way too Disney (there was just such a scene in the Pocahontas sequel). Though it could be amusing to picture the havoc caused by a bear running loose in some genteel locale, sadly I doubt it would end well for the poor bear.

I’m much happier just continuing to watch our woods for deer, wild turkeys and possibly more glimpses of these black bears (at a safe distance).
Have you had any interesting experiences with bears, real or fictional?

Elena

About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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