Charged by a bear?

9:42 p.m. on February 15, 2012 (EST)
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Anyone ever had a bear charge at them?  My new video below talks about bear safety.  Would you add anything to my advice?  I didn't mention bear spray, but that is a very useful tool.

youtube.com/watch?v=77-z8Q4z_nI

12:41 a.m. on February 16, 2012 (EST)
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Been around bears, but never charged. Not seriously. Closest was at a camp ground where the bear came in and I was standing near the lake edge as campers sorta surrounded him and he felt trapped and did a slight lunge before turning and leaping into the lake. So...don't corner a bear.

3:03 a.m. on February 16, 2012 (EST)
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Your tube describes measures taken when you come upon a bear.  It is worth noting such encounters can be reduced by being noisy while in bear country, precluding a surprise encounter altogether.

On the other hand if a bear comes upon you and starts physically interacting, they probably have undesirable intentions (people as food) in which case you are fighting for your life.  This is rare but requires a different response nevertheless.

Ed

6:42 a.m. on February 16, 2012 (EST)
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Ed, you are right, the vast majority of the time it's a space/territory issue (or cubs). It can be a predator situation (though very rare)... especially if the bear is sick or desperate for food. Making noise as you hike is always good. Gab, glad your cornered bear found an escape route!

9:06 a.m. on February 16, 2012 (EST)
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I was bluffed by a young blackie years back. He stopped about 20 maybe 25 feet away from me, stared for about 5 seconds, did a 180 deg turn and took off. 

It was a good thing. I had a Ruger Super Red Hawk pointed right at him. 

Gotta say, it definitely got the blood pumping. 

I have been trying something new for the past few years. A hand held air horn. I have yet to run into a bear close enough to really use it but as loud as it is I suspect it should work. 

Its louder than banging on a pot and the tone is deeper than a whistle etc. 

1:30 p.m. on February 16, 2012 (EST)
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I got bluffed by a sow who had two spring cubs near Cathedral Peak in Yosemite. I could see her eyes bounce up and down in the light of my headlamp as she ran. It was however, just a threat, she didn't clack her teeth or rock back and forth. I did see Art Wolfe, who is not very big, charge a two year old Alaskan at McNeil River. It was fun to see a human chase a bear!

1:48 p.m. on February 16, 2012 (EST)
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I had a yearling black watch me for a minute or two, then run away, then come back within 30ft, then run away again. That was in the Tetons. I have not been bluff charged yet, though. I mostly hike in areas where there is a hunting season, so they are quite wary of people. I imagine if I hiked more in the GSMNP I would have had more encounters. 

2:35 p.m. on February 16, 2012 (EST)
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I almost stepped on a very small, but obviously mature black bear a couple of months ago. She was probably a runt, seeing as how tiny she was. But judging by her body shape she was definitely an adult. Anyways, I was hiking through some waist high grass near my gold claim when I literally came foot to nose with her. She looked up at me, couldn't have cared less that I was there, and went back to munching the grass. So here I am with my heart getting back down to where it's supposed to be. (As in; not in my throat.) And standing right over this little bear that was completely comfortable with my presence. It was surreal! And it definitely wasn't a cub, just a true runt. A beautiful little bear too. All nice and glossy and healthy looking. Her fur was almost blue it was so shiny. Lovely, just lovely. So I stood around watching her for at least 10 minutes, cursing myself for not having brought my camera along, but absolutely enraptured by what I was being gifted with. It was just amazing! Anyways, that my only up-close-and-personal bear experience. 

Later!

2:40 p.m. on February 16, 2012 (EST)
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Coming up onto a knoll one morning in the George Washington NF, I was whistling and watching the sun rise.  Right in the middle of the trail was one of the fattest black bears I have ever seen.  It's muzzle was shot with white, and it's massive blubbery rump was white too.  I totally surprised the bear, and when it saw me it let out a nearly human sigh, got up, and wobbled away.  What struck me was that the bear's body language seemed to communicate frustration and inconvenience.  If it could speak, I swear the bear would have said, "My lord, a human? Bothering me? I suppose I'll have to leave my comfy seat now and retreat to the woods.  Wonderful!"

I nearly laughed out loud.  It reminded me so much of my college roommate's attitude when forced to get up off the couch.

2:44 p.m. on February 16, 2012 (EST)
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Seth said:

and wobbled away.  

 That's funny. 

2:51 p.m. on February 16, 2012 (EST)
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TJCeeJay said:

So I stood around watching her for at least 10 minutes... absolutely enraptured by what I was being gifted with. It was just amazing!

 That is so very cool, TJCeeJay. I am envious of the moment. 

2:57 p.m. on February 16, 2012 (EST)
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Seth said:

What struck me was that the bear's body language seemed to communicate frustration and inconvenience.  If it could speak, I swear the bear would have said, "My lord, a human? Bothering me? I suppose I'll have to leave my comfy seat now and retreat to the woods.  Wonderful!"

This made me smile, I can picture it quite clearly :)

When I was up at Marion Lake last September, there was a family of Moose that clearly regarded the whole area around the lake as their private living room, so to speak. The cow was completely indifferent to the hikers, and the calf was rollicking and curious. The Bull however, had the demeanor of an old WW2 vet who was just waiting for you to dare stepping on his lawn so he could let off a few shells your way loaded with rock salt!  

3:53 p.m. on February 16, 2012 (EST)
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Video looks good to me and echos the advice you get from Rangers in the National Park System.. I do hike in the GSNMP a lot and have had dozens of black bear encounters over the years.

 

I've never been charged but have had bears "turn me away" by refusing to leave or be scared off by my boisterousness. One time the bear had small cubs and stared me down until i backed way off. The other time the bear was eating berries and I had no way to give it a wide berth on a narrow trail and I decided to alter my route (would have had to go within a couple feet of it).

In the Smokies we've only has one fatal attack in my life time that I know of.

8:22 p.m. on February 17, 2012 (EST)
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Seth, that is why I love bears so much. They are all individuals. On the Cassiar Highway(just a dirt road in Northern BC) I was coming back from the Yukon, when an adult walked nonchalantly out onto the road from trail on a hill. On the other side of the road and about a 100 meters further, the trail continued down to the Dease River where the bear was obviously going. He, or she, obviously knew this trail and probably used it regularly. As well, the bear considered the road part of his(or her) trail. So I slowed to a crawl, as the bear sauntered along in front of me, right in the middle of the road. There was only about 30 feet between the butt of the bear and the nose of my van, but that bear would not hurry at all. Once or twice it stopped and turned its head to look in my direction. When it finally reached the trail to the river, it turned and slowly descended.

It was if the bear was saying, "Hey, this my trail, and my section of road and I ain't hurrying fur nuthin' nor nobody."

8:26 p.m. on February 17, 2012 (EST)
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gonzan, there are far more human fatalities from moose encounters(not counting hitting them with a car) than there are fatalities from bear encounters. I'll take a bear any day over a moose. I like to see them both, but a moose is as likely to run through you to get away as it is to simply run from you. Bears almost always go the other direction.

11:13 p.m. on February 17, 2012 (EST)
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Well, I wouldn't, a Grizzly is FAR more dangerous than any moose and even Black Bears are potentially more dangerous to humans in most circumstances than any moose is.

The Stewart-Cassiar Highway is a two-lane asphalt-paved all weather road and has been for quite some time. We drive up and down it and see a fair amount of wildlife, but, not nearly as much as in north-eastern BC, although bears are numerous.

I would rank bears as being the third greatest danger to hikers in western Canada, falls, avalanches and then bears are what one needs to be concerned about and "Hymenoptera" stings for those susceptible, as I tend to be.

2:01 p.m. on February 18, 2012 (EST)
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Seth said:

Coming up onto a knoll one morning in the George Washington NF, I was whistling and watching the sun rise.  Right in the middle of the trail was one of the fattest black bears I have ever seen.  It's muzzle was shot with white, and it's massive blubbery rump was white too.  I totally surprised the bear, and when it saw me it let out a nearly human sigh, got up, and wobbled away.  What struck me was that the bear's body language seemed to communicate frustration and inconvenience.  If it could speak, I swear the bear would have said, "My lord, a human? Bothering me? I suppose I'll have to leave my comfy seat now and retreat to the woods.  Wonderful!"

I nearly laughed out loud.  It reminded me so much of my college roommate's attitude when forced to get up off the couch.

 makes you want to walk around it in the woods.

12:16 p.m. on February 19, 2012 (EST)
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Dewey, while the Cassiar is oiled and certainly the southern section is asphalt and sections of the northern part as well, the Stikine crossing, and along Dease Lake is still not paved( as of the last time I traveled it in 2009. The dust and mud on my car has been testament to that.

6:09 p.m. on February 19, 2012 (EST)
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YUp, but, they were working on it in the summer of 2010 and I am told it is now finished. My best friend works in that region and is back and forth from Vancity to the Yukon and northern BC constantly. I lived and worked there in 1972, for the BC Forest Service and my other close buddy also lived at Dease Lake and we do get up there quite often.

I have spent a lot of time working in northern BC, in government resource management agencies and much of that was in periods of months on end, no breaks, alone in the mountains. This, has led to the first gentleman I mentioned pestering me for some years, subsequent to my early retirement at 55, to come to work for him in northern BC and the Yukon, to manage some of his camps and check on various mining production flows.

So, I expect to be up there, again, this year for a couple of months and I quite frankly wish the road was as it was when I first saw it in May, 1972, keeps the "touristas" away and the wildlife safe. Too much traffic and foreign hunting and fishing in that region, as with all of BC and this impacts our wildlife and wilderness in many negative ways.

 

1:19 p.m. on February 20, 2012 (EST)
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Yes, Dewey, much has changed up there and not for the better. I have worked for the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition, a group made up of locals, Tahltan elders, as well as Gitxan and Wet'su'etan, and local whites. The biggest threat to the area is resource extraction, which is why the road is so important. Shell wants to put methane gas wells in an area the aboriginal people call "The Sacred Headwaters", the source of the Skeena, the Stikine and the Nass Rivers. Unfortunately, though their voices are strong, the conservative federal and provincial governments, are keen on revenue from what many see as a land ripe for the picking. Fortunately the Enbridge Pipeline Project from the tar sands of Alberta to the coast at Kitimat, seems dead at the moment. Resource extraction is nothing new, but the scale that I've seen in that last ten years is astounding, in areas that few know exist. Few know that BC's largest natural lake, Babine Lake, has water that is so polluted it is undrinkable. All from a mine that shut down in the 1950's. If you know it, you know that pollution of such a huge body of water is astounding. 

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