If you’ve ever gone camping before, you’ve learned the rule about safely hiding your food so that raccoons, possums, and bear don’t get into it and disturb your campsite. But you probably haven’t heard the same thing about alcohol.
Let’s face it: most of the time, it would never even cross your mind.
Wild animals don’t usually go after your six-pack of beer or the bottle of whiskey you brought for hot toddies. But for a few unfortunate campers, that was exactly what happened.
There’s one exception to the alcohol rule, and it’s a whopper.
Bears really like beer. Apparently, these larger-than-life animals are fans of certain alcoholic refreshments.
“Pretty well anything that has an odor and digestible calories, bears will be attracted to,” says Stephen Herrero, a professor and author of a book about bear attacks. “Beer — once it’s open — has its own odor, and that odor could certainly attract bears.”
In 2004, a group of campers was enjoying a stay at Baker Lake in Washington.
They were stunned to come back to their campsite after an outing to find it had been torn apart by a bear.
But to their amazement, the bear hadn’t just gone for their food. Instead, it went straight for the beer cooler, downing an impressive 36 cans.
“This is a new one on me,” said Sgt. Bill Heinck of the Fish and Wildlife Enforcement. “I’ve known them to get into cans, but nothing like this. And it definitely had a preference.”
Hilariously, the bear proved itself to be a bit snobby when it came to alcohol preferences.
It passed on the Busch beer after sampling a single can.
“He drank the Rainier and wouldn’t drink the Busch beer,” said Lisa Broxson, bookkeeper at a nearby campground.
Most of us can’t drink 36 cans of beer and live to tell the tale (probably), but the bear did share one thing in common with the rest of us. After its drinking binge, it passed out near the campsite.
One courageous wildlife agent attempted to wake the bear and shoo it away from the campsite.
But the animal wasn’t having it. Once the agent managed to rouse it, it stumbled up a nearby tree to sleep off the booze for another four hours.
Once it woke for good, wildlife agents managed to chase it away. Unfortunately, the bear learned they stocked the good stuff around there. It returned the next day in search of more goodies.
So, wildlife workers did what anyone would do — they attempted to lure it away from the campsite and trap it humanely before relocating it.
Thankfully, they didn’t have to make any guesses on what would interest this animal. They managed to trap it with some doughnuts, honey, and of course, the bear’s favorite: Rainier brand beer.
Thankfully for those campers, the bear was a sleepy drunk. Once inebriated, it wanted to do what most of us want to do when we’ve had too much — just take a nice long nap.
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