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    How to decorate with a stuffed black bear

    Lately, I’ve been accosted at auction houses by the sight of life-sized mounted black bears. Some were posed in quiet unmenacing positions – standing atop a stack of boulders or planted on the floor as a display in an antiques booth – while another showed its teeth in what was supposed to be ghastly terror.

    I normally stop to take notice of mounted animals – many of which have come up at other auctions over the past few years – but I see very little use for them as decoration. They seemed tailor-made for a man cave as a symbol of power and prowess.

    As more and more of the animals kept showing up recently, though, I began to wonder how I would decorate with them.

    stuffed and mounted black bear

    A black bear, which looks like a cub, ready for auction recently.

    Maybe not decorate, but use them as security to keep out intruders, burglars, my neighbor’s cat that used my yard as its litter box, the dog-walker who thinks it’s okay to drop his/her bag of droppings in my garbage can on trash day and those folks who knock on doors on Saturday mornings handing out religious pamphlets (well, maybe not them, nor the postal carriers).

    As usual, I was also curious about how the previous owners had gotten their hands on these specimens, and found out that it wasn’t so hard to do. You could get a mounted bear the easy way and buy it from a taxidermist: I found sites selling them for $225 to $6,900 (for a full-sized bear). Or go out in the woods and hunt one down for yourself: I found articles by hunters who told of their feats of capturing a bear.

    Some mounted animals, including a bear, sold at auction two years ago.

    Hunting a black bear, as one writer noted at biggamehunt.net, was “one of the most challenging and intimidating pursuits in North American hunting.” The perfect time to hunt, according to the website, was the spring when the coats were thick, making for good specimens when mounted. And you can get the coats not just in black but in different colors of brown, according to the article.

    States have their own rules and regulations for hunting bears and other animals, including tagging them, disposal of the meat and transporting them. The New York Department of Environmental Regulation pointed out on its website: “Bear hunting is an arduous task requiring patience, persistence and hard work.”

    An article by a hunter on gameandfishmag.com offered what he called “proven ways” to hunt: spot and stalk – know where the bear will be filling up with food before bedding down for the winter and wait for it, and do predator calls (with a hunting partner) that mimic the sounds of a bear’s prey.

    I wasn’t around when the black bears were sold at auction, but I was at an auction two years ago when a mounted head went for $110. I didn’t buy it, obviously, but now I was ready to find ways to use black bears around my house. Here’s what I came up with. In these places, they’d be better than a guard dog, but I wouldn’t give up my home security system for them:

    stuffed and mounted black bears

    A black bear guarding my front yard.


    stuffed and mounted black bears

    A black bear up in the beautiful Japanese maple tree in my front yard.


    A stuffed and mounted black bear

    A black bear guarding my back steps.


    stuffed and mounted black bears

    A black bear inside my back yard, on guard.


    stuffed and mounted black bears

    A black bear smelling a single red rose while he guards.


    stuffed and mounted black bears

    A black bear on my porch roof.







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