Luka and his small family moved to a house in the woods.
He was an outdoorsman and wanted the kids to grow up loving nature just like he did. The house was in a remote location and the closest neighbor they had was at least a 10-minute drive away.
Andrea, Luka’s wife, did not think it was a good idea to live so far away from town but eventually caved in. The first couple of days was actually great. But soon, Luka realized that nature was the one getting closer to them – in fact, a black bear was too close.
For the past two mornings, Luka woke up to see a big black bear on their deck. It seemed to know its way around since none of their outdoor furniture was moved or touched. Luka was the only one who gets to encounter it because he wakes up very early.
He had been debating whether he should tell his family about it but he also knew Andrea would use this as an excuse to move back to town. He was also very curious about the bear because every time they locked eyes, the bear would raise an arm and start waving.
Lukas was aware that there were bears in this part of the woods. In fact, he was told that some of them do show up and walk up to the houses when they smell food. But Luka knew the architects of this house had put that into consideration.
The glass doors leading to their deck were reinforced and strong. If the bear would want to come in, it would have a hard time. All the windows and doors are made with security and animal attacks in mind. As long as everyone is indoors, his family would be safe.
Luka was sure the bear did not come to their home looking for food. As a rule, they did not cook anything that would emit a strong smell so they won’t attract wildlife. So he came to the conclusion that this bear must have a different motive.
He decided that if the bear showed up a third time, he would observe it more closely. Luka noticed that the bear would be waving at him and when he approaches the glass doors the bear would jump off the deck and then look up at him from the ground.
The next morning, Luka woke up extra early. He had a cup of coffee while he waited by the glass doors. He noticed the bushes rustling and the big black bear was climbing up their deck again. The bear saw Luka instantly and then waved. Luka waved back.
The bear jumped off the deck again. When it reached the ground, it waved at Luka. It took a few steps towards the woods, stopped, and waved again. Luka realized that the bear had not been waving “hello” all this time. It was more of a “follow me” beckoning.
Luka was not sure what to do. He knew Andrea would kill him if he went out and followed the bear into the woods – that is if the bear does not kill him first. It did sound like a stupid idea but it was also the only way to get answers.
Luka quickly scribble a note saying he went out for a hike and would be back in the afternoon. He took a look out the deck and saw that the bear was still waiting. Luka quickly went out the back door and locked it behind him.
Luka was a fan of wildlife but he never was this close to a wild creature before. When the big black bear saw him approach, it headed toward the woods. It then looked back as if to check if Luka was following, then take a few more steps forward.
The bear checking on Luka was something it would do from time to time. It was clear that the bear wanted Luka to follow all the way. Luka could not believe that he was doing something so reckless but he also was curious about what the bear could want from him.
Luka never heard of black bears behaving this way. This one probably needed help and if it lived in these parts of the woods, then it must have seen what a human can do. He has heard of animals asking humans for help but these are usually gentler creatures.
But then again, what did he know? There was also the possibility that the bear was just luring him deep into the woods. And when they reach a spot where he was far enough from getting any help, the bear could simply attack him and have him for breakfast.
But the longer he followed the black bear, the more confident he was that it meant no harm. If the bear wanted to hurt him, it would have done it by now. There was no reason the bear would wait this long if he was just a meal.
They have been walking for almost an hour when the bear finally came to a stop. Luka thinks his family back home was awake by now and had found that he was gone. But even then, they would not be panicking since he left them a note that he went out.
Luka stopped as the black bear made a halt and seemed to freeze in place. Then, it looked at Luka, as if it was waiting for him to do something. Luka looked around him trying to see what the bear needed him for. But there was nothing out of the ordinary.
The bear was sniffing the ground frantically, as if it was looking for something. It looked frustrated as if it had lost something. This made Luka nervous. He was guessing that this was the place the bear wanted him to see but whatever was there had disappeared.
As the black bear started sniffing around angrily, Luka wondered if this was a good time to carefully make an exit. He did not want to be around an angry bear. But as he took a few steps back, the bear quickly turned to him and showed its teeth.
Luka knew the bear did not want him to leave. He definitely would not dare to challenge it so Luka stayed put. He was starting to regret this decision and knew he would never hear the end of it from Andrea if he makes it back home and she knew the truth.
Suddenly, the bear stood up, its eyes fixated on something in the distance. It looks like he finally found the scent. The bear quickly headed in that direction. Luka stood in place, not sure what to do. Should he follow the bear?
On the other hand, this was also a good chance to escape and go home. The bear was clearly more focused on the scent and getting to whatever it was looking for. The bear did not even look back to check if Luka was following.
Even though Luka was scared, he had a feeling that he should not leave the bear on its own. The bear turned back and looked at him and waved again. Luka knew it wanted him to follow. The bear only started walking again until it was sure Luka was following.
This big black bear clearly wanted to have Luka around. Luka was now sure of his decision to follow it. This time, the bear was moving faster than before and Luka had to jog to keep up with it. It looks like the bear was in a hurry, which made Luka curious.
To Luka’s surprise, the bear led him to a trail. This was a part of the forest where a path has been cleared out. The bear led him to a part of the forest where there were more signs of human disturbance like trash and cut trees.
In the distance, Luka was able to see a wooden cabin appearing through the trees. He realized that this was the closest neighbor to his house – he had talked to the man a lot of times before deciding to move here.
But as they approached the cabin, he found that the house looked eerily empty. His neighbor was nowhere in sight. The bear led him to the garage. The bear started to roar loudly and banged on the garage door.
Luka could hear the neighbor screaming from somewhere inside the garage, asking what was going on. Luka responded and then there was silence. The bear continued to bang on the garage door as if it was fixated on it.
Then, Luka hears a faint sound coming from inside the garage. He was sure it was not human. When the black bear heard it, it got more aggressive. The garage door was starting to bend under the pressure of its paws.
The black bear was clearly angry. The neighbor finally opened the garage door and Luke was able to catch his neighbor sneaking out the back door and closing it behind him. The bear immediately made its way into the garage, roaring loudly.
A bear cub was laying down on the garage floor. The animal did not look great and it was breathing heavily. Luka then realized that this big black bear must be the cub’s mother. But how did the bear cub end up in his neighbor’s garage?
Luka could see his neighbor opening a window so that they could talk. His neighbor told Luka that he had found the bear cub an hour ago while he was hiking in the woods. He assumed that it was abandoned so he took it home to hand over to the vet.
The neighbor thought it was the best thing to do since the cub did not look like it would make it in the wild. Maybe the mother bear felt the same way too that is why she kept coming to Luka’s house to get help. But the only help that would matter was from a professional.
The neighbor told Luka that the vet was on his way. They had to do something about the mother bear. The neighbor used his tranquilizer gun on the mother bear. Luka watched the creature try to put up a fight but eventually fell to the ground sleeping.
A few minutes after, the vet took both mother and cub. They would bring the mother bear to a temporary holding facility and the bear cub would be just nearby while receiving treatment. When the bear cub is healthy again, they will release the two in the wild.
About more than a week later, the vet called the neighbor and asked if he and Luka would want to witness the release of the bears to the woods. The neighbor agreed and he and Luka met up with the vet and the team in an open spot in the middle of the woods.
The vet explained that this will also be a reunion for the mother and the cub since they have been separated the whole time the cub was being treated. The moment the two were released, they ran to each other and started playing and cuddling in the grass.
As the bears walked away, Luka could not help but smile when the mother bear stopped to look back at him and gave a wave. Luka and his family see the mother and cub from time to time and are glad to see that they are very healthy and happy. Unlike before, the mother bears no longer climb on their deck.