Bears, it turns out, don't have much respect for state officials. But at least one state official knows enough to respect them.
On Tuesday, a bear had the effrontery to invade the Lenox home of George "Gige" Darey, the long-time chairman of the state Fisheries & Wildlife Board. Mr. Darey was walking in Kennedy Park when one of the wildlife animals his board oversees entered his home through an open door and trashed the place. (Eagle, August 18).
Mr. Darey took the home invasion with characteristic good humor, but the chairman of the board for 35 years made some serious points. A neighbor, according to Mr. Darey, has been hand-feeding bears, which is unwise for what should be obvious reasons but is also dangerous to the bear by essentially domesticating it and leading it to believe it is safe to approach humans. Residents are inviting bears into their yards, said Mr. Darey, by failing to secure their garbage adequately and by filling bird-feeders at a time of year when birds can find plenty to eat on their own. This essentially turns the bird-feeders into bear-feeders.
Bear sightings are increasingly common in the Berkshires, and lovers of wildlife who don't want to see bear hunting season extended must do their part in discouraging bears from dropping in on neighborhoods, yards and homes. Preventing the latter, as Mr. Darey ruefully acknowledged, also means keeping doors shut.