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Students attacked by Grizzly In Alaska

10:06 p.m. on July 24, 2011 (EDT)
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A female Grizzly attacked a group of teens participating in a NOLS survival skills course in the Talkeetna Mountains 120 miles north of Anchorage. Once again it was a Sow with her young. They were on day 24 of 30.

Here are a few links to the story:

1) Seattlepi.com

http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Teens-mauled-by-grizzly-in-Alaska-1572117.php

2) ABC 12 News

http://www.abc12.com/story/15137983/teens-mauled-by-bear-in-alaska

3) CBS News

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/07/24/national/main20082739.shtml

Apparently a few of them are banged up pretty bad... There were no instructors present due to the point of where they were in their training....

...I personally feel this is a practice that NOLS may need to re-evaluate based on the age of the victims... Regardless if they were at the point in their training where they were unmonitored they are still kids.

Some things are learned through experience over the years. I personally believe there should have been staff present.

If nothing else have instructors observe from a distance w/o providing support unless there is an serious(life or death)emergency such as the one that occured.

These kids could've got killed. 2 of them aren't out of the water yet....

Just my opinion.

10:09 p.m. on July 24, 2011 (EDT)
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Here we go again ....

                                                ~r2~

10:33 p.m. on July 24, 2011 (EDT)
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was this part of the course?

10:37 p.m. on July 24, 2011 (EDT)
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I added a few things to the op...

10:48 p.m. on July 24, 2011 (EDT)
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Ursus arctos horriblus ( I'm not making this up)  ...  2

Hominds ..................................................................  0

                                                ~r2~

11:05 p.m. on July 24, 2011 (EDT)
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iClimb said:

was this part of the course?

 Yes... well the bear part wasn't...

11:31 p.m. on July 24, 2011 (EDT)
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IMO 17 years old is plenty to be out, unescorted, in the wilderness. My dad was 17 when he was in battle. However, in Alaska, one does not venture out in Grizzly country without a firearm capable of stopping a bear.

11:33 p.m. on July 24, 2011 (EDT)
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Migolito-On the whole 17/military thing. That is 2 total different animals. Ya get quite a bit of in depth training before they just throw ya into battle. I really don't believe that is a fair comparison being I recieved 8 weeks of basic training as well as my AIT(schooling for my MOS)... There is a substantial difference in the amount of training time, at the same time I can see your point.

Lets face it, Alaska is not one of the more "hospitable" territories out there. Especially for 17-18 yr olds... I am speaking in reference to where they were. I do believe 17yrs old is an age that is fine to be out alone... One of the students attacked was 16.

...Just not in Alaska when your support/staff is 6 miles away.

Then again this is just my opinion.

11:32 a.m. on July 25, 2011 (EDT)
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Bears hurt people, just a fact of life.  More bears = more chance of becomming bear poo. Plan accordingly.  Being there sans a small cannon, bear spray, Alan Quatermain or whatever you think will deter bears is unwise.   

I'm siding with Migolito, 16 is fine if outdoors are your life.  However, these kids were on a canned "adventure" program and were not likely wilderness people.  I hiked the Alpine Lakes Wilderness 72 miles solo when I was 16. No griz there though.  

12:07 p.m. on July 25, 2011 (EDT)
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FromSagetoSnow said:

Bears hurt people, just a fact of life.  More bears = more chance of becomming bear poo. Plan accordingly.  Being there sans a small cannon, bear spray, Alan Quatermain or whatever you think will deter bears is unwise.   

I'm siding with Migolito, 16 is fine if outdoors are your life.  However, these kids were on a canned "adventure" program and were not likely wilderness people.  I hiked the Alpine Lakes Wilderness 72 miles solo when I was 16. No griz there though.  

My thing is that at the age of 16-17.... even 18 for that matter is just too young to be in this type of environment alone. Plus at that age maturity can play a big factor. I am not saying that these kids were immature, I am saying that as time goes on we get older and better suited to deal with adverse conditions/situations due to our experience levels.

You can teach a person anything ya want from a book or a course. How it is implemented into their activities in an uncontrolled environment in adverse conditions is something that cannot be taught.

How to manage yourself in areas like this is something that comes with experience, time, and exposure to said areas.

I have been doing this kind of thing for quite a long time. I am 34 and I would not go into an unfamiliar area w/o a partner(experienced) due to the type dangers that are present that I am not accustomed to being in on a regular basis. Thats just me.

The backcountry and the mountain will always be there, you on the other hand may not be...

5:30 p.m. on July 25, 2011 (EDT)
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I see where your coming from. However, sometimes it really doesn't count unless there is no net beneath you. If the "parents, rangers, program directors" are 'just around the corner' it removes the reality of whatever the decision making is. What these young folks learned was invaluable and will last them a lifetime; they survived! The medic of the group was 16 years old. They followed an emergency protocol, rendered life saving medical, set up shelter, etc. They dealt with the situation because they HAD to, not because they had the choice to turn to an "adult" and ask what do I do.

Here's a question for you; would you rather go into the wilderness with one of these students, or the average 40 year old off the street?

IMO these guys/gals did very, very well. I'm impressed.

5:49 p.m. on July 25, 2011 (EDT)
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Rick, I usually agree with you however ...

 Does age really factor in here? Would it have made a difference if they were older? It appears they were doing everything acording to the book and ran into a difficult situation. They were properly trained, well outfitted, in a group, using bear precautions and handled the resulting injuries as well as anyone. Perhaps bad things happen to good people.

 By the way I, myself, personally think your statement about having experienced partners in this area is a great piece of advice. 

6:16 p.m. on July 25, 2011 (EDT)
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I actually took a look into some of the areas where these students were from. Of the 4 attacked one was from Denver which makes me have some belief that he may have had some type of experience/exposure to agressive bears, the other 3 were from New York City, Richmond California, and Albuquerque N.M....

When exposed to these regions one develops a "hindsight" over time in regards to what to be aware of/what to watch for, none of which I believe possessed this skill.

I hardly think that any of these students w/o the possibility of the student from Denver(when cosidering his age would have been limited at best) had the ability to be on the lookout for any potential threats in regards to bush, terrain etc.

My problem is surrounded with the lack of staff(6 miles away) as well as the lack of over-all experience these students possessed at the time of this incident.

I mean seriously, as a precautionary measure would it really be that hard to have a spotter that is out of site/out of mind with a rifle if nothing else? This would still offer the students the opporotunity to demostrate their skills in regards to self reliance while limiting the possibility of something life-threatening such as a bear attack.

Keep in mind, these are students that are still learning the ropes.

Maybe I went about this wrong with the whole age thing when I should have been more concentrated on the level of experience.

In a situation such as this my gut tells me that an adult that has the same training would most certainly react to this situation in a more proficient manner.

...Then again with all fairness I do realize some things are unavoidable, although the necessary precautions should be taken to keep the possibility of something like this as minimal as one can.

I just don't believe that these steps were taken.  

6:55 p.m. on July 25, 2011 (EDT)
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I think a punter of any age who wasn't prepared with a bear stopping countermeasure in hand would have suffered a similar fate.  Inexperience might lead someone to be less prepared and inexperience correlates strongly with youth.   

The fact that they were on an adenture trip implies that they were not salty woodsmen, though they did survive ok. 

Who knows, some weathered, broken old person might not have the stamina to survive where the kids did.

7:03 p.m. on July 25, 2011 (EDT)
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FromSagetoSnow said:

Who knows, some weathered, broken old person might not have the stamina to survive where the kids did.

 When I said "adult" I wasn't referring to "Father Time" lol....

9:19 p.m. on July 25, 2011 (EDT)
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Here in BC, just a few years ago, a man was attacked and mauled by four yearling Grizzlies just outside his cabin one evening. He survived and was air-evaced to Vancouver for follow-up treatment. He is still alive and still lives in the same cabin.

So what, one might say, this happens frequently in BC and in Alaska and is hardly newsworthy. The point is that this was Jack Turner, a genuine "living legend" among REAL wilderness pros and a man who married Trudy Turner, daughter of Ralph Edwards, "The Crusoe of Lonesome Lake". He actually shot the largest Grizzly recorded to that time, at their very remote wilderness ranch on the BC coast out of Bella Coola, in May, 1965 and has a level of wilderness experience that few here can even imagine.

Yet, this healthy, highly skilled man made an error and got a good chomping because of it...as ANY human could and many have. It goes to show that Grizzlies are VERY dangerous animals and sometimes the sh!t hits the fan, where they are concerned.

I can tell of a highly experienced guide here in northern BC, a friend of a friend of mine, armed with a .340 Weatherby and VERY skilled in using it...and HE got chewed about three years ago, armed and looking for bears........sooo, it CAN happen to anyone and all too often does.

I started going alone in Grizzly country at age 10, went into the wilderness of BC to work and live alone for three-five month stints without a break at age 18 and have never had a problem with a bear...and, I have been very close to lots of them over the years.

So, my opinion is that it is not strictly age, but, a combination of personality type, training and experience that makes the difference and while I am extremely fond of bears, to the point where I never shoot them and love to watch them, I am somewhat "scared" of them, VERY careful and NEVER take chances with one....these kids did very well and I am happy that it all worked out, they seem to "have what it takes" and that is what counts.

10:00 p.m. on July 25, 2011 (EDT)
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What makes a wilderness?  Being wild.  When someone goes out into a wilderness, he needs to understand it's still wild, and with wilderness comes risks.  The lower 48 has done an excellent job in exterminating the grizzly, just look at the history of California's golden bear, and what we have left below Canada is around 1,500 grizzlies on 2% of their former range.  There are many more north of the border and in Alaska, of course.

My point is that with wilderness travel comes risk, just like Interstate highway travel.  I see all bear attacks as accidents, just like car wrecks.  We have 40,000 dead each year from car wrecks, but do we bulldoze up the highways or euthanize those involved or round up all Fords for relocation? And yet even with the risks we still drive. We accept it as just part of doing business---so should the wilderness traveler accept death by grizzly or death by falling tree or death by high water or death by lightning.  In fact, when we hear about such accidents, we should know that the ecosystem there is working as it should be working---and leave it alone.  

"If people persist in trespassing upon the grizzlies' territory, we must accept the fact that the grizzlies, from time to time, will harvest a few trespassers."
Edward Abbey


Abbey also wrote something like this, to paraphrase:  "We should all have the right to die by grizzly".  Which is to say, we should keep our wilderness areas and make certain we still have wild places in North America where it's still possible to be killed by a bear.  Sounds crazy, but if we lose this possibility, well, then we end up with empty third-growth forests scarred by logging roads and parking lots.

8:16 a.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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A BIG DEAL is being made of this.   Kinda like when someone is attacked by a shark.   The media pounces on these things.   Sure, it reminds us how horrifying it is to be in a life-or-death circumstance with "Mother Nature".

Fact-of-the-matter, one can die or have a near-death experience ... or, even a lesser one that requires medical attention ... as a result of an encounter with an animal or insect or reptile ... or, even another human-being.

I was riding my mountain-bike through a nearby park yesterday.   Public park ... not a State or National park.

Happened upon a young couple I know.   The young lady had just been bitten by a brown recluse spider.   She was started to experience the symptoms of the venom, and they were debating whether it would require medical attention.   At that exact moment, a "cow killer" went scurrying right by us, not 3-feet away.

So there you go -- two potential life-threatening encounters ... in a PUBLIC PARK, for Goodness Sakes !!   Within an hour.

Didn't make headlines.   But, I gotta tell you, it DOES make you think.

No one went "over the falls" ... or, was mauled.   BUT ... still life-threatening.

                                                        ~r2~

9:19 a.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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Robert, I hear you.  Doughnuts are still more dangerous than bears.

9:48 a.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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Absolutly agree Robert. There are 'risks' everywhere. There are 'risks' the second you step out your front door. As humans we choose which are acceptible risks, and our 'comfort zone' is created. Some would not feel comfortable in the wilderness, some aren't comfortable in a big city. Just the other day my friend was on the bus when a man with a knife held up the bus. Luckily no one was injured, later turned out the man had mental health issues.

 I much prefer the company of animals! Animals, for the most part, are predictable. If there is a negative encounter it is because people have acted in a way they feel threatened. Now I'm not saying what happened to these kids is deserved, but we do need to remember the wilderness is their home, we are just visiting. It is our responsibilty to be prepared, physically and mentally, as to what COULD happen.

I understand what you are saying Rick. This is kinda a "walk before you run" scenario. Yes these boys were prepared and educated, but was it too much too soon? I don't know, I don't know them personally and thats a tough judgement to make over the internet. When you are taught to swim though, you aren't just pushed into the deep end. You get your water wings and spalsh around in the shallow end. Eventually, no water wings, just shallow end, then the deep end. Alaska is certainly the deep end as far as wilderness is concerned.

Bad analogy- yes.

11:03 a.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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What earlier reports didn't mention was the screaming and running. Today we read - http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/186951/20110726/alaska-bear-attack-alaskan-wilderness-grizzly-anchorage-hospitalized-teens-survive.htm

So, though the kids did well after the attack, they may well have transformed a bluff into a bite through their panic. Most large carnivores - including dogs - find a fleeing, screaming human a target to pursue. It is instinct. Of course, the flight of the teens was instinctive as well; but they had been told to override that instinct and play dead.

So, the training was correct, the execution was flawed. I'm not blaming the kids, I might have run as well, but the training should have included the admonition to think as individuals in any situation. Teenagers today are taught to act as part of a group/team; this is good in many situations. However, in this scenario, when one panicked and started screaming and running, the rest followed - mob mentality. (Of course, as the saying goes "You don't need to be faster than the bear, just faster than your buddy.")

12:38 p.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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I can't say with certainty what I will do should I be charged by a grizzly, but I sure as heck don't think I will flee screaming. At least I hope not. I don't tend to run when $#!% goes down (car wrecks, out of control fire, attacking dogs, frantic horse, etc) but I did once have my amygdala completely take over my actions before I realized what was going on. I was working on a pyrotechnics team at an air show- one of the explosions was the “wall of fire” replicating a napalm drop. I was so focused on putting out grass fires that I forgot to pay attention to when the drop plane was making its run. It was huge. And hot.  I was running from it before I processed what it was. In the absence of cognitive memory that it was coming, and not having a cognitive grasp of how large it was going to be, my instinctual and entirely physical response was to get away. I had made no volitional choice to run, I just found myself running. I only took about two or three steps before my prefrontal cortex caught up and reminded me “Hey I’m completely safe; there is no reason to be scared!  And why the heck am I running??”

I was mildly embarrassed. I was also only 17 years old.

Experiences since then suggest I wouldn’t react that way again, and helped me learn how to handle things like that better. But it made it plain to me that I cannot be sure how I will react to something until I am actually faced with it.

1:14 p.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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Gonzan, it's called Fight or Flight.  Stumble on a yellow jacket nest?  Better run.  Bear running towards me?  I will run.  I sure won't fight.  Then again, I probably WILL fight.  We won't know until it happens.  The experts like Doug Peacock have interesting things to say about grizzlies.  His quote:

"Being among grizzlies forces humility. And that's what I needed, because that's the emotional posture behind learning: humility."  DOUG PEACOCK.

Here's another good source of the Guru of grizzlies:

http://e360.yale.edu/feature/a_fierce_advocate_for_grizzlies_sees_warning_signs_for_the_bear_/2361/

Read his comments on carrying a gun and his "it's not my place, it's their place" policy.  All people who go into grizzly country should study up on Mr. Peacock.  This is especially in reference to Migolito's comment.

3:20 p.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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If a group of teens ranging in ages of 16 to 17 wanted to go on a backpacking trip without "adults", most of us would think nothing of it. These boys were not alone for the entire 24 days, just a portion. I dont really see the difference.

 

As far as to how they acted the may have made the attack worse, I would probably run, scream and cry. Just sayin.

 

5:28 p.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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With my confrontational personality (I've actually been in therapy for it), I'd probably have charged the bear.

I did just that to a real "junk-yard" dog.   It worked.

R.I.P., r2

                                                     ~r2~

5:33 p.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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It depends on my mood Robert. Some days I may charge the bear for having the nerve to charge me. But, until it happens, I cant know for sure. I suspect seeing a 700 lbs hunk of muscle bearing down on me at a speed I cant match would make me run. I say this after having watched the movie "The Edge" Sunday night.

7:17 p.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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Alaskans take guns into the woods. Grizzly attacks are very common there. Most communities have them enough that it's always in the back of your head. We are hearing about this attack because it was on people from the lower 48. When it's locals it's not as big of news. Alaska may be a big state, but everyone pretty much knows everyone. No more than 2 degrees of separation so when someone gets attacked by a bruin it's usually quite personal. Alot of good peaceful people have met there end. So when your going out with the kids to pick low bush blueberries or heading to the copper river to dip reds, You take a gun! You take 2 guns! You load your own shells because your lucky if you even get a shot off. It's like putting your seatbelt on when you get into a car. Except in Alaska it's like a car with a really drunk driver.

I lived in the interior of Alaska with my uncle and his family for a little over a year. When his wife and kids would go out to harvest they were accompanied by someone with a gun. I worked in Delta for a month and handled sled dogs in Two Rivers. I saw bruins at every location and never felt like I needed to defend myself. But if I needed to, I could have. For mysake and those around me. It's everyones responsibility.

We (homosapiens) have been picking blueberries and fishing and walking in the woods for thousands of years, I don't recall hearing of a treaty deeding it to the bears. I'm happy to share and give all wildlife great respect. Except black flies Mosquitos no seeums and deer flies . No ones perfect.

7:50 p.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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The "Guru of grizzlies" believes "it’s not my moral option to do that" when asked about using a gun to protect his life against a grizzly. I'm good with that. As long as he doesn't recommend his morals to me, for each his own.

However, it's been my experience that those who have a moral imperative to be a pacifist, who shun violence against another person or animal, readily use the telephone to dial 911 and summon those who have no such moral imperative to their aid.

9:32 p.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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I feel the kids and parents took a risk, by having them learn the great outdoors at the highest level first.  I feel if you had a gun, you may get 3 shoots off before it's to late.  I also feel no one can say how good of a shoot they're going to be until they get attack.  You may have shoot your gun 10,000 times, but until you need to use that gun for saving your life or someone else you'll never know.  With the number of people on the trail they were talking a lot, and didn't know what was going on around them.  It also looks like more than one hiker was in the river at the same time?  I think this a failure of there training and parents.  You need experience which takes years and for myself I would like to look at grizzlies in the wild with high power scope (on a tripod) or on PBS, not the zoo.  I have problems with black bears and coyotes, not ready for the big times.  It's easier to judge after the fact, but attack I also feel that I may run, I hope I wouldn't but I'm not sure.

10:10 p.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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Being around any animal or creature that can easily "off" you is unnerving; especially if you are defenseless.

I have been in the ocean (surfing) with a couple Mako's about 20 feet away from me.  I assure you, the hair on the back of my neck was bristling.   I was retracting my appendages, best I could.

They are very, very fast fish.  THE  fastest sharks.  It has been said they MAY be able to reach 60 mph.   Up to about 12-feet long and 1000 lbs.    If one had make a bee-line for me, school would have been out in an instant ... and, I would not be typing this now.

We ( surfers ) occasionally dine on fresh broiled Mako, caught regularly around Montauk point (fav surfing spot)  ... so, I guess they might want to even the score.   Which I believe they have done, from time-to-time.

                                            ~r2~

10:14 p.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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Sirpatrick said:

Alaskans take guns into the woods. Grizzly attacks are very common there. Most communities have them enough that it's always in the back of your head. We are hearing about this attack because it was on people from the lower 48. When it's locals it's not as big of news. Alaska may be a big state, but everyone pretty much knows everyone. No more than 2 degrees of separation so when someone gets attacked by a bruin it's usually quite personal. Alot of good peaceful people have met there end. So when your going out with the kids to pick low bush blueberries or heading to the copper river to dip reds, You take a gun! You take 2 guns! You load your own shells because your lucky if you even get a shot off. It's like putting your seatbelt on when you get into a car. Except in Alaska it's like a car with a really drunk driver.

I lived in the interior of Alaska with my uncle and his family for a little over a year. When his wife and kids would go out to harvest they were accompanied by someone with a gun. I worked in Delta for a month and handled sled dogs in Two Rivers. I saw bruins at every location and never felt like I needed to defend myself. But if I needed to, I could have. For mysake and those around me. It's everyones responsibility.

We (homosapiens) have been picking blueberries and fishing and walking in the woods for thousands of years, I don't recall hearing of a treaty deeding it to the bears. I'm happy to share and give all wildlife great respect. Except black flies Mosquitos no seeums and deer flies . No ones perfect.

 Excellent post and I agree, totally. The wilderness is as much human habitat as it is that of Grizzlies or Chipmunks and the lack of understanding of that is the real problem we face in our situation in the Biosphere at present.

10:25 p.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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Migolito said:

The "Guru of grizzlies" believes "it’s not my moral option to do that" when asked about using a gun to protect his life against a grizzly. I'm good with that. As long as he doesn't recommend his morals to me, for each his own.

However, it's been my experience that those who have a moral imperative to be a pacifist, who shun violence against another person or animal, readily use the telephone to dial 911 and summon those who have no such moral imperative to their aid.

 I damn near wet myself as I laughed so hard when I read this. I spent many years working in some rather violent parts of Greater Vancouver, BC, in private security and your point is SO true!

I have suggested REAL expert advice on dealing with Grizzlies and Black Bears here in previous posts and will just reiterate. The BEST current advice is given by James Gary Shelton, a Yank who came to BC about the time I began working in the wilderness for the BCFS. The book to buy is:

 

Bear Encounter Survival Guide

Partners Publishers Group

Holt, Michigan, USA  1-800-336-3137

 

This gives advice that, if understood and followed will keep you as safe from bears as is possible in Grizzly country.

I would also caution against any display of a "confrontational" type of temperament as Grizzlies, in particular, are NOT animals to "macho" around with, such idiotic behaviour will get you a coffin before you are ready for the final exit.

10:32 p.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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One additional small point, a Grizzly is extremely fast in short distance runs and can easily outrun a Moose and kill it with a single blow to the spine. We once chased a yearling male up the old Elk Valley Road in our BCFS patrol truck and we were hitting 60 mph, and he was pulling ahead of us,

Before some urbanite starts commenting on this, we always deliberately frightened Grizzlies any way we could to keep them away from roads, campgrounds and other human areas, so that attacks would not be as likely and we would not have to shoot the bears. This, WORKED and still does, except some "experts" now sit in computer crowded offices in urban headquarters and tell guys with fifty years of real bush experience not to do practical bear behaviour controls like this.

Typical.

10:51 p.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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With Blackies, 90% of the time they charge it is entirely a bluff charge, and will abort when met with load noises and a lack of fleeing. They do this especially in the high traffic areas of the GSMNP, as many bears have learned hikers will abandon camp, packs, dinner, etc. Easy pickins'. It has been demonstrated quite well that when they do not halt on their own, they will do so when met with blows to the head from a hiking staff or poles.  It is only a very, very small percentage of the time will they truly follow through with violent intent when a person holds their ground. Dwight McCarter, a GSMNP backcountry ranger and legendary tracker experienced many hundreds of black bear encounters in his 27 years of service. In only a handful of his countless confrontations bid he have to climb a tree to because a bear wouldn't relent.

Such a tactics with a Brown Bear, however, would be suicide.

10:53 p.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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Not to change the subject...Am I Mean?

OK, I'm just common law-step dad.  My 14 yr old, who is indestructable, was warned once when I discovered a can of pringles in his tent one morning.  His reply, "That's just what boys do".  Showed him pictures on google of people who have been mauled, "Cool!".  On the next outing, after he was sound a sleep, I found a cliff wrapper outside his tent.  Mad as hell, after I cooled off and thought about it for a while, 3:00 am I snuck over to his tent, reached in and grabbed his foot and drug him out yelling "OH MY GOD, IT'S AN EMERGENCY! GET UP! ETC! etc.  I then took every thing out of his tent and backpack, turned it inside out, and scattered it on the ground and made him help me look for more bear bait and then repack everything.  All I can say is "You should have seen his eyes" and "Haven't had a problem since!"

11:09 p.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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Migolito said:

The "Guru of grizzlies" believes "it’s not my moral option to do that" when asked about using a gun to protect his life against a grizzly. I'm good with that. As long as he doesn't recommend his morals to me, for each his own.

However, it's been my experience that those who have a moral imperative to be a pacifist, who shun violence against another person or animal, readily use the telephone to dial 911 and summon those who have no such moral imperative to their aid.

 I agree, while we can say "it's the bears habitat and not ours" in an effort to understand bear behavior, we must also realize that even humans are essentially part of the animal kingdom and when we are in the wilderness we are responsible for our own survival in an encounter,  not necessarily that of another species.

I think we have a responsibility to educate ourselves so that we can avoid problems to begin with, but the right to defend ourselves if no other option is available.

I have never seen a conflict there in my own thinking, I do understand differing viewpoints of others, I just don't agree.

11:31 p.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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Ben Cerise said:

Not to change the subject...Am I Mean?

OK, I'm just common law-step dad.  My 14 yr old, who is indestructable, was warned once when I discovered a can of pringles in his tent one morning.  His reply, "That's just what boys do".  Showed him pictures on google of people who have been mauled, "Cool!".  On the next outing, after he was sound a sleep, I found a cliff wrapper outside his tent.  Mad as hell, after I cooled off and thought about it for a while, 3:00 am I snuck over to his tent, reached in and grabbed his foot and drug him out yelling "OH MY GOD, IT'S AN EMERGENCY! GET UP! ETC! etc.  I then took every thing out of his tent and backpack, turned it inside out, and scattered it on the ground and made him help me look for more bear bait and then repack everything.  All I can say is "You should have seen his eyes" and "Haven't had a problem since!"

 Ben had the same exact experiance you did to your stepson when I was 8. No harm no faul. If anything it was a great learning curve. May sound mean but it's not. It even happens to adults in the Military with not taking care of their rooms. They sleep on the lawn by the Company barracks. With children expecially with the potential for critters you have to be vigilant and approach it the best you can. So now I am nameing you Big Meany:)   It's all good Ben.

11:37 p.m. on July 26, 2011 (EDT)
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Ben Cerise said:

Not to change the subject...Am I Mean?

OK, I'm just common law-step dad.  My 14 yr old, who is indestructable, was warned once when I discovered a can of pringles in his tent one morning.  His reply, "That's just what boys do".  Showed him pictures on google of people who have been mauled, "Cool!".  On the next outing, after he was sound a sleep, I found a cliff wrapper outside his tent.  Mad as hell, after I cooled off and thought about it for a while, 3:00 am I snuck over to his tent, reached in and grabbed his foot and drug him out yelling "OH MY GOD, IT'S AN EMERGENCY! GET UP! ETC! etc.  I then took every thing out of his tent and backpack, turned it inside out, and scattered it on the ground and made him help me look for more bear bait and then repack everything.  All I can say is "You should have seen his eyes" and "Haven't had a problem since!"

 Somewhere in this vast repository of posts, I quoted from a boot-maker  (Randy Merrell), and I find it apropos to your comments.  He has this sign in his shop:

Hire a teenager ... while they still know everything.

                                                    ~r2~

1:33 a.m. on July 27, 2011 (EDT)
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FromSagetoSnow said:

Robert, I hear you.  Doughnuts are still more dangerous than bears.

 damn I was wondering what that was attacking my stomach.  It does not seem to have left either.

On a serious note.

It is sad news to hear of thjis though they were in the wild and exhonerations of responsibility would have to of been acknowledged.

I did not read the news reports.  How much bear spray was on hand ?

12:15 p.m. on July 27, 2011 (EDT)
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FromSagetoSnow said:

Robert, I hear you.  Doughnuts are still more dangerous than bears.

 

I just saw about two-dozen people suffering the after-affects of these dreadful substances.

They are truly doomed.

                                                      ~r2~

12:29 p.m. on July 27, 2011 (EDT)
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Dreadful? I posit there may be no cake-like product better than a glazed doughnut straight off the Crispy Creme line. All in moderation, no?

I hate most cakes and cake-ish things (and will actually turn down birthday cake), but a warm Crispy Creme...wars have been started over food that good...

Back on topic: The bears won. NOLS needn't change a thing.

1:01 p.m. on July 27, 2011 (EDT)
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trouthunter said:


 I agree, while we can say "it's the bears habitat and not ours" in an effort to understand bear behavior, we must also realize that even humans are essentially part of the animal kingdom and when we are in the wilderness we are responsible for our own survival in an encounter,  not necessarily that of another species.

 Not to bicker, but if it is true we are part of the bear's kingdom (or the animal kingdom), why have we reduced their numbers to such an extent in the lower 48 and why do grizzlies only live on 2% of their former "kingdom"?  So, the question is, how many humans are "essentially part of the animal kingdom"?  Or, a corollary, do we have the right to play God?

1:14 p.m. on July 27, 2011 (EDT)
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gonzan said:

With Blackies, 90% of the time they charge it is entirely a bluff charge, and will abort when met with load noises and a lack of fleeing.

when i was on my NOLS course they told us that.. and the instructor said, so if a black bear is charging at you, don't even bother reaching for the bear spray, cause he'll most likely pretend he's gonna strike you then, do a juke move around you.. and all you gotta say is HEY MR. BEAR firmly and he'll probably run off

I'm just thinking, "**** THAT! IMMA MACE HIS @$$!!"

And after that when ever we heard any mysterious noise in the woods, a kid would talk firmly, "HEY MR. BEAR!"

We'd also yell that whenever our very hairy instructor took his shirt off! hah

But my dad said one of the kids was on the news, wish I could have caught it, and he said he literally did everything wrong he was so scared.. he didn't play dead, he fought back, he tried to run! He was just so scared that it was the only thing he could

So kinda makes me wonder, what would I do?

5:50 p.m. on July 27, 2011 (EDT)
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I was bluff charged by an angry wild pig once, he was the alpha and the others scattered into the meadow fog---so here's the thing:  It happened so fast all I could do was smile and gulp.

Another time I came on two black bear cubs climbing up a tree by the trail I was on.  The mother and another cub were somewhere off on the left side of the trail.  I immediately stopped about forty feet from the cubs and started making noise---loud mutterings about dayhikers--- and calling out "Bear" real loud, or "Hey Bear!".  The cubs heard me, descended the tree, and one of them actually ran towards me thinking maybe I was his Daddy.  The youngsters are curious and trusting and near harmless, as far as I could tell, but I was worried about Mom.  The squirt came right up to me and then ran back to his brother, so I pulled out the video camera and figured I might be there for a while.

I didn't move until I saw Mom come down out of the woods with her third cub---and made sure she didn't come down out of the woods BEHIND ME---and then they all scattered to wherever they wanted, but away from me.  Score:  Bears 0, Human 0, just the final outcome I like to see.

6:06 p.m. on July 27, 2011 (EDT)
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Tipi,

Our species is not from mars, at least most of us aren't. Hence, we (humans), the bears, the fish, the birds and yes even most politicians are part of the exact same ecosystem (earth). The reason "we reduced their numbers" was to make more room for us. It's that simple and yes, that brutal. We have thumbs, can reason (usually), build weapons and fire, much better that a bear, and darn it, we needed  bigger diggs and the bear was in our way. Besides, we are the Apex predator, not the Bear. We won, he lost. A guy named Darwin put it better than I in a book he authored called Origin of the Species. He postulated that survival of the fittest accounts for various species survival or extinction. Another way to put it is nature provided that only the fittest species DNA was moved forward or survived in a particular ecosystem. Although on occasion I must admit I question Darwin's theory sometimes...but, that's just human reason kickin in.  So, I guess you can say based on Darwin that we humans are acting exactly as nature designed us and requires us to act. We have no choice in the matter, no matter what we think.

8:01 p.m. on July 27, 2011 (EDT)
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Tipi Walter said:

trouthunter said:

 I agree, while we can say "it's the bears habitat and not ours" in an effort to understand bear behavior, we must also realize that even humans are essentially part of the animal kingdom and when we are in the wilderness we are responsible for our own survival in an encounter,  not necessarily that of another species.

 Not to bicker, but if it is true we are part of the bear's kingdom (or the animal kingdom), why have we reduced their numbers to such an extent in the lower 48 and why do grizzlies only live on 2% of their former "kingdom"?  So, the question is, how many humans are "essentially part of the animal kingdom"?  Or, a corollary, do we have the right to play God?

 I think they are both true although you make a valid point. I think we are part of nature & technically part of the animal kingdom but we posses an intelligence that allows us to escape and manipulate the natural world over time whether that be through management of land, species, etc. or by building and creating. We are also capable of destruction, some of it really fast.

We have certainly created our own world, separate in many ways from the natural world and I believe we (as a whole) have also lost touch with how that world works and that leads to unecessary  accidents, incidents, or encounters when we go into the wilderness. Those of us who spend a lot of time in the wilderness are (I would hope) much closer to nature and should understand how it functions to a greater degree.

I guess you could argue whether being in the wilderness makes you part of the animal kingdom or not, or if it is merely a biological definition. Other members of the animal kingdom besides humans can go extinct due to their own population growth and over hunting of a prey species and humans are certainly capable of creating population problems as well as making poor management decisions.

This is why I think we (backpackers etc. as a group) have an obligation or responsibility to learn more about how the natural world works and how we can be a closer part of it since we are going to be in it, and I would extend that to animal behavior, especially large predators like bears.

As far as playing God, I think humans are not truly capable of playing God because we lack the wisdom, but we certainly muck it up all the time regardless.

8:16 p.m. on July 27, 2011 (EDT)
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Migolito said:

Tipi,

Our species is not from mars, at least most of us aren't. Hence, we (humans), the bears, the fish, the birds and yes even most politicians are part of the exact same ecosystem (earth). The reason "we reduced their numbers" was to make more room for us. It's that simple and yes, that brutal. We have thumbs, can reason (usually), build weapons and fire, much better that a bear, and darn it, we needed  bigger diggs and the bear was in our way. Besides, we are the Apex predator, not the Bear. We won, he lost. A guy named Darwin put it better than I in a book he authored called Origin of the Species. He postulated that survival of the fittest accounts for various species survival or extinction. Another way to put it is nature provided that only the fittest species DNA was moved forward or survived in a particular ecosystem. Although on occasion I must admit I question Darwin's theory sometimes...but, that's just human reason kickin in.  So, I guess you can say based on Darwin that we humans are acting exactly as nature designed us and requires us to act. We have no choice in the matter, no matter what we think.

 An ecosystem is a part of the "Biosphere" and can be defined as even your personal skin and has been. An ecosystematic approach to understanding nature is an empirical and functionally based one and is essentially on-going as the Biosphere is constantly changing...as, from our small understanding, is the "Universe" or, my preference, "The Cosmos".....damn, there is that RC private school, Graeco-Roman based education, again.

However, WE CAN CHOOSE how we behave and are NOT subject to what some seem to consider "Darwinian" pre-destination. THIS, actually, is THE intellectual mechanism whereby humans can learn to live in "harmony" with "nature" and it is why we might yet, "overcome" in the '60s sense.

12:59 a.m. on July 28, 2011 (EDT)
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trouthunter said:

Tipi Walter said:

trouthunter said:

 I agree, while we can say "it's the bears habitat and not ours" in an effort to understand bear behavior, we must also realize that even humans are essentially part of the animal kingdom and when we are in the wilderness we are responsible for our own survival in an encounter,  not necessarily that of another species.

 Not to bicker, but if it is true we are part of the bear's kingdom (or the animal kingdom), why have we reduced their numbers to such an extent in the lower 48 and why do grizzlies only live on 2% of their former "kingdom"?  So, the question is, how many humans are "essentially part of the animal kingdom"?  Or, a corollary, do we have the right to play God?

 I think they are both true although you make a valid point. I think we are part of nature & technically part of the animal kingdom but we posses an intelligence that allows us to escape and manipulate the natural world over time whether that be through management of land, species, etc. or by building and creating. We are also capable of destruction, some of it really fast.

We have certainly created our own world, separate in many ways from the natural world and I believe we (as a whole) have also lost touch with how that world works and that leads to unecessary  accidents, incidents, or encounters when we go into the wilderness. Those of us who spend a lot of time in the wilderness are (I would hope) much closer to nature and should understand how it functions to a greater degree.

I guess you could argue whether being in the wilderness makes you part of the animal kingdom or not, or if it is merely a biological definition. Other members of the animal kingdom besides humans can go extinct due to their own population growth and over hunting of a prey species and humans are certainly capable of creating population problems as well as making poor management decisions.

This is why I think we (backpackers etc. as a group) have an obligation or responsibility to learn more about how the natural world works and how we can be a closer part of it since we are going to be in it, and I would extend that to animal behavior, especially large predators like bears.

As far as playing God, I think humans are not truly capable of playing God because we lack the wisdom, but we certainly muck it up all the time regardless.

 Well stated.

1:06 a.m. on July 28, 2011 (EDT)
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Dewey,

Do we choose, or are we naturally selected to gravitate towards what we believe is choice, but, in the end are destined to follow?

5:13 p.m. on July 28, 2011 (EDT)
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Natural selection operates largely by happenstance and not by some predestination as empirical study of natural phenomena demonstrates. Anyone who actually thinks that "choice" and "destined" are in any causative way related has no undertanding of factual natural processes and would benefit from obtaining a "major" in environmental biology at a good university.

While, Jean's observation that "the Universe seems as if it were a great thought" and I am paraphrasing here as it is 30+ years since I last read this, may well stimulate discussion of and even belief in some greater power involved in cosmic affairs, there is no evidence of this in the Biosphere of which we are a small part.

If, anyone chooses to think that he has a "destiny", well, so be it, I choose to think that I will go and watch "Criminal Minds" and visit with my wife just out of hospital! That said, if you really WANT to know about Grizzlies, you need to spend several years among them and learn just how magnificent, loving, ferocious, courageous, cannibalistic and generally freakin' NEAT they are!

5:46 p.m. on July 28, 2011 (EDT)
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And you actually thought you had a choice in responding. Nope, your DNA left you no choice what so ever.

4:54 a.m. on July 30, 2011 (EDT)
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A well trained dog could have saved the day.

Another piece of equipment we would take into bear country was Solo, a husky from my uncles kennel, who's eyes, nose and ears could detect a bear long before I could. I have to think that if those kids were accompanied by a trained dog their chances of avoiding an encounter with a bear would have been far greater. Just the occasional bark of a dog will usually alert a bear or moose(actually a greater threat because of their aggressive nature) and send it on it's way. I hate to think about a dog getting into it with a bear but if it comes down to it.... and a smart dog will keep it's distance and use it's speed to distract a bear.

12:11 a.m. on July 31, 2011 (EDT)
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If the noise of a dog bark would notify bears of one being in the area then in essence a whistle like a Fox 40 or an REI Tri-Power should work as well. The REI whistle I just bought is 120 decibels. You could always sound off with an air horn periodically. Both I believe are louder than a Husky bark.

My last Husky Sasha.

sasha.jpg

12:53 p.m. on July 31, 2011 (EDT)
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Moose, especially a cow with a newly dropped calf or, sometimes, a bull in "rut" CAN BE dangerous to humans and are best avoided when on foot. However, Moose are NOT predatory animals, Grizzlies ARE and they are FAR more dangerous than Moose.

I have on a number of occasions stalked within 35 yds. of Moose and then slowly revealed myself to them and have NEVER had one be aggressive to me, although it does happen.

I got up close to a big bull in remote wilderness in northern BC on a hunt twenty years, ago and he had a few cows with him. I expected some trouble and one of my custom .338WMs was in my hands, ready to put him down if he got ugly about life, but he just looked at me and slowly began to feed and I finally walked away. I did not have enough horses to pack him out and I consider killing an animal and leaving any edible portions thereof to be as vile as molesting children.

I would NEVER deliberately approach ANY Grizzly, EVER and in a family situation, while the dynamics are far different than with Moose, I am even more cautious. Grizzlies, are the most dangerous land animals in North America, excepting certain poisonous snakes and should ALWAYS be treated as such.

BTW, rutting bull Elk are MORE aggressive than rutting bull Moose, in my 55+ years of hiking among these animals and ALL wild animals are best treated with caution and kept at a distance.

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