Cow Chases Bear Off Pasture

Cow, Bear Touch Noses Before Bear Scared Off

Cowabunga! Who needs a guard dog when you have a cow?

A bear trying to grab apples at a pasture in Hygiene was scared off Sunday by the homeowner's heifer.

Nancy Dayton said a young black bear was in her apple tree and was starting to roam the area when her black cow, Apple, confronted it and chased it off.

Dayton wasn't there, but her two tenants, Jack McDonald and Penny Cox, saw it happen. McDonald said he had heard a ruckus outside, at about 5 p.m., so he went to investigate.

"I looked inside the apple tree here and instead of seeing the cats fighting, I saw a bear," McDonald said.

"And there's the bear looking at him from the tree so he backed off and he saw Apple moseying over," Dayton said.

The bear climbed down from the tree, and climbed over the fence to get a closer look at Apple. The two stared each other down for some time, McDonald said.

"When they saw each other, you thought there was going to be some kind of massive encounter -- a fight," McDonald said.

"They touched noses and I kept thinking, 'This is a bear and a cow,'" Cox said.

The two sniffed each other out, and then Apple chased the bear back up the apple tree.

"They hung out by the apple tree for a while and then the cow chased him to the fence. It was hilarious," McDonald said.

"She herded him up to the north end of the pasture and away from the apple tree ... She took off on a full run," Dayton said.

The encounter lasted about 30 minutes. Both animals were curious, not aggressive, witnesses said.

"It could have been that she was brave and chasing the bear off or it could have been that she was trying to keep up with the bear," McDonald said, laughing. "It was really cute."

Dayton named the cow Apple because the black angus loves the fruit, and eats them all the time when they fall off the tree.

"She was protecting her apple tree," Dayton explained.

Officers with the Division of Wildlife were called to Dayton's home, but by the time they arrived, the bear was long gone. Officers told Dayton that a big bear and her two cubs had been spotted in Hygiene earlier in the morning. The bears were spotted three times at Hygiene Elementary School the day before school started.

Dayton said it was a good thing that the momma bear wasn't around or Apple could have been hurt. She also noticed that the cub had tried to get into her Dumpster since the lids were collapsed.

Dayton said she bought Apple a year ago from a rancher, never thinking the cow could one day protect her property.

"I kind of joke that I'm going for 'farm ambience.' I'm not a rancher or a cattleman. She's something of a pet. Now, she's a star," Dayton said.

Not only a star, but a cow with an identity crisis.

"She thinks she's a dog. Anybody or anything that comes up to the fence, she would want to say, 'Hi,' to and then beg for food," McDonald said.

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