Flash ! ~ NW New Jersey bear attack injures 2 juveniles

1:43 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Just rec'd phone call from relative in New Jersey.

Two juveniles (ages 11 & 12 ?) were attacked in their tent, by a black-bear.  The site is reported to be Stokes State Forest, in Sussex County.

Injuries resulted.   The young boys were part of an outdoor / camping group.

No details, beyond this ....

Here we go, again ....

Have-at-it, Trailheads ....

                                                         ~r2~

1:56 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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2:13 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Well I'm glad the kids are Ok, but I'm surprised it doesn't happen all the time up there. Hoards of people who have no business being in the woods flock into any easy place to drive in and be outdoorsmen for a weekend. Usually completely disrespectful of the kind of place they're in and pay no attention whatsoever to bear country protocols. I'll bet anything they had food in their tent.

The bear was probably a juvenile who's mother was killed in the last State sponsored hunt before she could teach him how, where  & when to find food.

2:45 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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I am really glad the kids are ok, and that no one was significantly injured.

It doesn't seem like much of an attack, it sounds like the bear was just rummaging around for food and then came upon the kids, at that point things got a little tense on both sides. It's not surprising a standoff takes place with the kids screaming and terrified, and the bear acting aggressive and alarmed. I'd be surprised if the bear wasn't around for quite a few minutes eating and rummaging before the confrontation, and had followed the scent of food into the tent with the boys.

3:03 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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All is well. And two boys will have enviable scars to show off at school in Sept. How cool is that?!

3:09 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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I am happy as well that they were pretty much unscathed. No need of an ER trip is always a good thing.

3:25 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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I just learned through the NY-NJ Trail Conference that the bear ran off after being shot and they have all the trails in Stokes, including the Appalachian trail, closed while they try to find it.

Also, found this article with a bit more detail.

http://online.wsj.com/article/AP220c4fa4100e4565a53764be3a428898.html

"Wildlife officials say the bear is a yearling, the age between cub and full-grown when a bear strikes out on its own"

What was that I said about moma bear being killed before it was taught to survive on it's own... Sounds like it was starving and got desperate

And two boys will have enviable scars to show off at school in Sept. How cool is that?!  - SWEET!

4:04 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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 A lad about this age, was sleeping in a tent beside a hardshelled trailer where his parents were sleeping in the spring of 1993, at the Slave Lake Campground at Slave Lake, Alberta. A yearling Blackie, much like this pulled him out of the tent, killed and partially ate him, about a month before I started my fire season in that area.

Bears, ALL bears, are dangerous, will prey on humans and correct bear protocols MUST be observed if safety is a concern. I do not see the scars as "cool", because they represent a bear killed for doing what comes naturally to bears....and, that saddens me.

4:18 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Hey Dewey, I don't know if I would necessarily be afraid of a Koala(last I checked they did not prey on humans, you did say "all bears.") For the most part though I completely agree with you.

4:21 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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I have to agree with Dewey, I am glad that the boys were not to hurt but it is a shame about the bear.  Hopefully the shot was good enough to kill it sooner then later.  No reason for the bear to suffer.  Did it say who shot it?  Don't have the time to read the articles right now. 

Wolfman

4:45 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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JerseyWreckDiver said:

"Wildlife officials say the bear is a yearling, the age between cub and full-grown when a bear strikes out on its own"

What was that I said about moma bear being killed before it was taught to survive on it's own... Sounds like it was starving and got desperate

 It may have been orphaned and overly hungry, it also may not have been. With the information available in the reports, it is purely unfounded speculation whether it was an orphan or starving. A certain number of bears, both young and old, adopt the habit of campground scavenging regardless of whether their mother was harvested during hunts.

Contrary to popular belief that Wild animals are perfectly behaved “saintly” creatures unless corrupted by humanity, they are very curious and opportunistic, and will investigate anything out of the ordinary or that smells edible.  How people react to and manage curious animals does certainly play a large part in whether they become habituated and problematic.  

5:19 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Rick-Pittsburgh said:

  ...  I don't know if I would  be afraid of a Koala  (last I checked they did not prey on humans

 

Koala are NOT bears, but marsupials, closely related to wombats; ...   are herbiferous, and eat the leaves of eucalyptus trees.

Now,  (Giant) PANDA BEARS, are BEARS.   They eat bamboo leaves, and tender bamboo shoots.   They have an extra digit on their paws to aid in grasping slender shoots.

                                                        ~r2~

5:21 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Dewey,

You were once a young boy. Can't you imagine the delight of the boys in the stories they will have?

That in no way relates to the killing of the bear; nothing the boys did caused the bear to be killed, it was the bear's actions that prompted the shot. Had the bear behaved in a manner in accord with the camp environment; e.g., run like mad when shouted at, he would not have been shot. Clearly, staying in the area with one dozen+ people trying to drive it away indicates that the bear was either starving, habituated to man, or insane. Any of these would make it a perpeptual danger at a campground.

Black bears, unlike grizzlies, are known to prey upon humans, even tracking them for miles before attacking and eating them. Adopting the fetal position with blackie is like pouring meat tenderizer on yourself. An elderly husband and wife fishing in the Quebec wilderness, accompanied by guides, were stalked, killed, and partially eaten a few years ago by a black bear.

If dragging a human boy from a tent by the ankle is "doing what comes naturally" for the young bear; then he must be killed. Merely relocating such a bear is like moving a known pedophile priest to another parish to coach the boys wrestling team.

JMO, YMMV,

Reed

5:23 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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No R2, they are bears. They are not Koala-roos, or Koala-sums, etc. They are Koala Bears so huh. lol....(It was a joke R2.)

5:29 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Rick-Pittsburgh said:

No R2, they are bears. They are not Koala-roos, or Koala-sums, etc. They are Koala Bears so huh. lol....(It was a joke R2.)

 

Uhhh ... OK, Rick.    I get it ...  (  I think ? ).

Kinda like "Teddy Bears" ... and "Gummy Bears" .... right?

                                                ~r2~

5:50 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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overmywaders said:

   ...  Merely relocating such a bear is like moving a known pedophile priest to another parish to coach the boys wrestling team.

Reed

 

Interesting analogy ....

                                                      ~r2~

6:01 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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I found this article interesting in regards too bears.

http://thephantomwriters.com/free_content/db/b/rogue-bears.shtml

6:07 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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I can't edit, no tabs so... here are some more on the whole bear thing...

Predatory Bears...

http://thephantomwriters.com/free_content/db/b/predator-bears.shtml

8:50 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Maybe bears around the country are telecommunicating about attacking people.


bear-on-the-phone.jpg

9:56 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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overmywaders said:

Dewey,

You were once a young boy. Can't you imagine the delight of the boys in the stories they will have?

That in no way relates to the killing of the bear; nothing the boys did caused the bear to be killed, it was the bear's actions that prompted the shot. Had the bear behaved in a manner in accord with the camp environment; e.g., run like mad when shouted at, he would not have been shot. Clearly, staying in the area with one dozen+ people trying to drive it away indicates that the bear was either starving, habituated to man, or insane. Any of these would make it a perpeptual danger at a campground.

Black bears, unlike grizzlies, are known to prey upon humans, even tracking them for miles before attacking and eating them. Adopting the fetal position with blackie is like pouring meat tenderizer on yourself. An elderly husband and wife fishing in the Quebec wilderness, accompanied by guides, were stalked, killed, and partially eaten a few years ago by a black bear.

If dragging a human boy from a tent by the ankle is "doing what comes naturally" for the young bear; then he must be killed. Merely relocating such a bear is like moving a known pedophile priest to another parish to coach the boys wrestling team.

JMO, YMMV,

Reed

 I will not take this further except to say that Grizzlies certainly DO prey upon humans, as well as other Grizzlies and they kill and eat Black Bears.

This is established scientific fact and is well known to working professional outdoorsmen in Grizzly inhabited regions, such as BC.

 

10:14 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Dewey,

I believe you regarding grizzlies; perhaps my sources are wrong.

If it is true about grizzlies, then we should fight back when truly attacked by a grizzly rather than playing dead as recommended.

Regards,

Reed

10:26 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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@Gary- Is that a Pizzly Bear?

12:36 a.m. on August 4, 2011 (EDT)
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overmywaders said:

Black bears, unlike grizzlies, are known to prey upon humans, even tracking them for miles before attacking and eating them.

If this is true, then someone needs to update the Wikipedia article on bears, specifically the section on "attacks on humans".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_black_bear

While I don't claim to be an expert on bears, I've noticed that pretty much everything I've read (til the post above) indicates "grizzlies to attack humans" and "black bears rarely do, unless cornered or they/their young feel threatened, or unless they follow sloppy camp habits and smell like food".  In other words, most comments indicate the opposite of what's stated above.

I guess I should watch what I say, or the next time I'm out hiking in the Sierra (no grizzlies, just black bears) I'll be stalked by a bear and eaten :\.

 

7:22 a.m. on August 4, 2011 (EDT)
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bheiser,

I don't understand your reference to that article. Under attacks on humans the article states:

Compared to brown bear attacks, violent encounters with black bears rarely lead to serious injury. However, the majority of black bear attacks tend to be motivated by hunger rather than territoriality, and thus victims have a higher probability of surviving by fighting back rather than submitting.

Which is basically what I wrote.

Also -

The findings also dispelled a common myth that a mother bear protecting her cubs may be the deadliest type of animal to encounter -- a full 92 percent of deadly bear attacks were carried out by predatory lone males.

"Lone male black bears hunting people as a potential source of food are a greater cause of deadly maulings and related predatory attempts," the study said.

"Fatal attacks do not typically involve bears that are familiar with humans, although some fatal attacks did," it added.

from http://news.discovery.com/animals/black-bear-attacks-north-america-110511.html

7:44 a.m. on August 4, 2011 (EDT)
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bheiser1 said:

overmywaders said:

Black bears, unlike grizzlies, are known to prey upon humans, even tracking them for miles before attacking and eating them.

If this is true, then someone needs to update the Wikipedia article on bears, specifically the section on "attacks on humans".

 

I am on the Wiki editorial board.   Not very active, mind you.

YOU can "update" a revision of an article, yourself.   You should have data to support your revised / edited version.

Although I have not, I know several friends that have posted articles.  One-or-two, were "NEW" (premier entries).   I collaborated on one, but did not credit myself.    Anyone can do it.

A good rule to follow: Don't believe everything you read.

This applies to EVERYTHING ... wherever you read it.   Especially newspapers and the internet.

                                                   ~r2~

1:03 p.m. on August 4, 2011 (EDT)
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Ah, more info. from Stephen Herrero, whom I used to know slightly as he immigrated to my part of BC, in 1969 from Californey. I was stationed in the BCFS Ranger District where he bought rural land and his partner "John", another Bay Area escapee, was on my first silvilcultural crew.

I taught these guys, mostly Yankee "draftdodgers" some basic bear safety at that time and knew Herrero when he could come into my bookstore some years later. I have and have read his book and it is "OK" and he changed the second edition when quite a few BC working wilderness pros simply laughed at some of his suggestions.

Without going into exhaustive detail here and quoting reams of the scholarly material concerning "Ursidae" that are sitting on my bookshelves beside me,or, posting specific details as to my own actual field experiences in decades of work and recreation among bears here in BC, I will simply state that I would/will fight off ANY bear that attacks me and will instantly kill any animal I consider dangerous to humans and I have done so in the past.

BEARS ARE DANGEROUS, use your common sense and read Gary Shelton's book and do as he suggests.

2:03 p.m. on August 4, 2011 (EDT)
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As they say in Alaska, hike with someone else, then all you have to be is a faster runner than your partner :)


Chinese-Fire-Drill.jpg

Chinese Fire Drill with a Polar Bear

2:25 p.m. on August 4, 2011 (EDT)
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Dewey,

As I said, I value your experience. I also have said in the past that Herrero's "PETAesque" interpretation and massaging of data in favor of defense of bears over defense of humans - I also will not repeat myself on this - does us all a disservice.

As we know, there are "Lies, damn lies, and statistics." If we look only at human fatalities, we come up with one set of data. Once we include actual bear attacks - where claws or teeth contacted a human - our statistics change. (Herrero includes anything a camper calls a "bear attack", e.g., a bear thirty feet away rooting through garbage at a campsite. He does this because he wants to show how effective bear-spray is, so no-one will use a gun to stop a bear.)

If we had the stats on all actual known bear attacks, as above, suggestions as to whether to fight back or play dead would still be only a statistical probability -- and I don't want to bet my life on some bean-counting. So, I'll play dead for an animal that weighs 600+ lbs; and fight back with every means against anything smaller. I figure a large grizzly isn't going to notice my attempts at unarmed combat, but some eye-gouging might work on a small black bear who wants me as an easy meal.

Dewey, you said:

will instantly kill any animal I consider dangerous to humans and I have done so in the past.

so, isn't a bear that tries to drag a child from a tent by his ankle and failing that grabs another child by the shoulder, dangerous to humans? Why the pity party for that bear? :)

Bears are dangerous. Bears that attack humans (even small humans) and exhibit no fear of humans should be killed. JMO

3:20 p.m. on August 4, 2011 (EDT)
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overmywaders said:

bheiser,

I don't understand your reference to that article.

Overmywaders,

I don't understand your lack of understanding of my reference. 

All I was trying to say, obviously not very clearly as it was past my bedtime :), was that supposedly "informed authorities" typically advise us that black bears don't hunt people, they hunt our food.  And if we're in the way we get attacked.  Or if they think we're threatening their young, we get attacked.  We're advised that black bears typically eat small plants and various grubs they scrape from the earth, from logs, etc.

And we're taught that Grizzlies do the opposite - that is, that they do stalk and eat humans as a preferred food source.

Your initial comment seemed to indicate the opposite.

So at this point I'm confused.  And worried.  There are a zillion hungry black bears in the Sierra where I go hiking & camping.

 

 

 

 

7:11 p.m. on August 4, 2011 (EDT)
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bheiser,

You should listen to whatever source you choose -- the best is the one that tells you what you want to hear. I don't know about your "informed authorities" but I have never heard anyone say what you did. Black bears, and brown bears, are omnivores. They will eat anything on the menu. You are always a potential entree.

If you don't want to believe black bears will attempt to kill you as a food source, don't read this link - http://www.maineguides.org/referendum/bear_attacks.shtml

Obviously, pulling a college student out of his sleeping bag by the head was a defensive action on the part of the bear. As was stealing a five-month old child from a stroller (those kids have a toxic drool). Obviously, the 93-year-old New Mexico woman was just asking for it by standing in her kitchen when the bear broke in; bruin had to kill her in self defense.

Believe what you will. Enjoy :)

7:19 p.m. on August 4, 2011 (EDT)
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The woods are dangerous, plana ccordingly.

8:15 p.m. on August 4, 2011 (EDT)
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OK, I'll ignore the sarcasm, it's not helpful.  And I'll put aside what I perceive to be "generally accepted understanding" of the situation, and what the authorities tell us, in my part of the world.  So I'll just ask this:

What is it that you feel one should do to "prepare" for the event that they will be dragged from their tent and eaten by a bear.  And let's assume for the sake of discussion that the person keeps an impeccable camp, does not ever, for any reason, bring even a morsel of food anywhere near their tent, they don't clean fish or other game, etc, etc.  In otherwords, assume they don't do anything to "attract" a bear.  Aside from being aware of their surroundings (when awake) and following safe practices, what else could one do?

I see you interpreted my question an authoritative statement (e.g. "believe what you want, listen to what you want to hear"), but that's not it at all.  I read your post that contra-indicated what I've learned over time, and want to understand it more to see if what I've learned is incorrect (in which case, quite frankly, the risk of going camping could very well be higher than it's actually worth).  If black bears in the Sierra are on the prowl for humans for dinner, then sleeping out there is just plain foolish.  OTOH, if it's the occasional rogue bear that might exhibit abberent behavior and attack a human ... well, that's no different than the occasional rogue metro bus that runs over a pedestrian.  :)

BTW, here's a random example of what I consider to be an "authoritative source" as I referred to earlier:

http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass/forest_facts/safety/bearfacts.htm

I figure if I can't trust the judgment of the USFS on such matters, then who can I trust.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10:29 p.m. on August 4, 2011 (EDT)
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bheiser,

Just follow the advice in the link you provided:

In rare instances, particularly with black bears, an attacking bear may perceive a person as food. If the bear continues biting you long after you assume a defensive posture, it likely is a predatory attack. Fight back vigorously.

Check your watch often as the bear is biting you, as you shouldn't make snap judgments about bears. Remember, only if the bear is biting you long after you assume the fetal position can you assume it is predatory. Five minutes would be hasty, IMO; the poor thing hasn't had a proper taste of your spine or any major organs yet, it may find you distasteful.

Yes, the above is sarcasm. But seriously, how much sense does it take to figure out that you are better off immediately fighting a 300 lb black bear rather than giving it kidneys (yours) for lunch? If the USFS is your "authoritative source" go with it! Don't use common sense or reason. If the USFS says let the bear continue to bite you while you ponder the bear's motives, then do it!

Did you read the link I last provided? Did you make note of what the survivors did? 'nuff said.

10:51 p.m. on August 4, 2011 (EDT)
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Yeah, that paragraph is pretty goofy, isn't it.  That's why I don't base my decisions on one source, but on a "consensus" from reviewing a variety of sources.

So who do you consider to be an authoritative source?  Maybe a guide service who's very livelihood depends on promoting the idea that you need a guide to survive in the wilderness? :)

 

 

6:24 a.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Not a good example if the guide gets eaten by a bear ....

"Occupational Hazard" ??

Wonder (?) if the guides carry malpractice insurance ....

                                                  ~r2~

11:30 a.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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It is clear from this thread that the real danger is not bear attacks, but people who have forgotten, or simply discarded from laziness, the process of thinking.

The need for an "expert opinion" is now endemic in the US. This trend represents a level of intellectual laziness that is truly frightening. What will these people do in an emergency with no consultant at hand? I don't know, but I imagine quivering-in-place would cover most cases.

If we wish to be prepared for emergencies in the outdoors, it behooves us to exercise at all times, whether in city or backcountry, a high level of independent thought. In all probability, we will have only seconds or minutes to makes life-saving decisions during a wilderness crisis. This does not allow time for consulting the latest "expert" or developing a consensus opinion of the group. 

Using the immense capacity of human reasoning skills, an individual can usually find a solution to each problem encountered. That applies only, of course, to an individual accustomed to rational thought.

The preceding words may seem harsh, but if any of us, myself included, actually adopt a life of conscious thought and independent decision-making, it will provide us with immense intellectual benefit, constant enjoyment,... and could save lives in the backcountry.

Alicia, you may wish to delete this post or me the poster. First, however, do me the courtesy of re-reading it. It has value far beyond this particular thread. Just my opinion, of course.

11:43 a.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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bheiser,

You said:

So who do you consider to be an authoritative source?  Maybe a guide service who's very livelihood depends on promoting the idea that you need a guide to survive in the wilderness? :)

I don't look for authoritative sources. I outgrew that in my salad days. I don't look for consensus opinions -- ever since I learned that the Earth was not flat, nor the center of the solar system.

Indeed, scientific truth by consensus has had a uniformly bad history.

David Douglas

The Maine Guide page has validity, despite any agenda the Maine guides may have, because it contains only newspaper articles about actual incidents. Despite the possibility of cherry-picking, the link offers sufficient facts for making one's own plan of action, based upon reason.

11:48 a.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Au contraire, Reed ~~

I feel you are correct in pointing-out the "intellectual laziness" aspect.

I have done so, myself, in other topics.   For example:  the "laziness" of the "ultra-light crowd" in NOT getting in top physical-condition ... and, believing that spending a few hundred dollars to save a few ounces of weight in their gear, in lieu of achieving better conditioning, is 'smart' or 'clever'.

I don't apologize one whit for pointing that out.

Back-on-topic:  I am re-thinking my hiking protocols, based on these encounters with bears.  I have ONLY (?) encountered bears twice in all my years of hiking / backpacking.  Black bears in the Smokies.   They scurried away, lickety-split, fortunately for me and my partner.

NOW --   I am thinking of using a hiking STAFF, instead of ... or, in addition to trekking-poles.   This STAFF would be a weapon; with a sharpened point of some-sort.   Something like a spear ... or, perhaps a quasi-sword affair ... something akin to the spear / sword invented by the  brilliant , tactical genius, Zulu warrior- king, Shaka ... which revolutionized close-quarter combat / warfare with the occupying British expeditionary forces in the 19th Century, in what is now South Africa.

  A "STAFF" of this ilk would be a useful weapon against any attacking creature, since it would already be in-hand.    Of course, if would have to be MOST USEFUL as a hiking aid.

"Rotsa-Ruck" getting it past security at airports.   Would have to have a covering "sleeve" to disguise its function.

                                                    ~r2~

11:57 a.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Robert Rowe said:

NOW --   I am thinking of using a hiking STAFF, instead of ... or, in addition to trekking-poles.   This STAFF would be a weapon; with a sharpened point of some-sort.   Something like a spear ... or, perhaps a quasi-sword affair ... something akin to the spear / sword invented by the  brilliant , tactical genius, Zulu warrior- king, Shaka ... which revolutionized close-quarter combat / warfare with the occupying British expeditionary forces in the 19th Century, in what is now South Africa.

  A "STAFF" of this ilk would be a useful weapon against any attacking creature, since it would already be in-hand.    Of course, if would have to be MOST USEFUL as a hiking aid.

                                                    ~r2~

 I would think you would be just as well off pelting the animal with rocks. Bears are pretty fast. If it is that close I don't know if a staff would do ya much good. First off what if ya swing and hit the animal in the shoulder? Even if ya crack it upside the ol noggin there is still a pretty good chance ya may do no nothing more than enrage the animal more. Luck would definitely have to be on your side. 

I personally am not worried about blackies. I have seen them many times. I use to see them on our property when I lived in the mountains. 

On the eastern side of the country, if ya pay attention to where ya are, listen to what is going on around you, and by all means when encountered respect their space I don't see a bear being anything more than a photo opp. I saw a sow and 2 cubs on my last trip in a very large area of fern. They were maybe 75-100yds away. They saw me too. I hit my whistle twice and off they went. 

I also use too hunt blackies. From what I have learned over the years blackies want to avoid us probably more than we want to avoid them. 

In the scenario that these kids ran into I don't see anything such as a staff being much use unless you are sleeping with it in hand. I would think the best thing to have would be spray. 

Something tells me that there was some type of wrapper or food inside the shelter. I may be incorrect but its just a hunch. 

I always bear bag and take the necessary precautions when I set camp. 


106.jpg



12:00 p.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Rick ~~

I am going to be "enraged" that the critter is attacking me.   What have I got to lose?

"The best defense ... is a GOOD OFFENSE".

Re-read my post.   I would first attempt to poke it in the face with the sharpened-end ... hopefully, in the eye.

                                                            ~r2~

12:17 p.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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I understand what you are saying but what I am getting at is I would want something that is effective at a greater distance. If the bear is that close you are in for a pretty rough time to begin with. Even if ya injure the animal you may do nothing more than enrage the animal. They posses fight or flight instincts just as well as humans do. 

12:52 p.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Rick,

Perhaps R2 was stating what he would do in the event of a sudden, unforeseen attack by a bear which considered him prey; e.g., attacked him while in camp or resting, not when R2 threatened the bear's territory or offspring, or startled it.

Accounts of attacks by predatory animals seem to indicate that when the predator encounters an animal that indicates a willingness to fight back, the predator usually seeks dinner elsewhere. Economy of resources is an animal trait. Expending more energy on the pursuit or attack than will be repaid by the potential meal, soon leaves a predator thin and weak. Even poisonous snakes have this instinct; hence, rattlesnakes warn away large animals which they couldn't possibly eat, in order to save valuable venom for its proper purpose.

The above is practical instinctive behavior. Black bears are not acting with malice when they stalk foresters, elderly women, or small children. Food is where you find it or it finds you. Let the bear know that he/she is going to work hard for dinner and they may choose a different first course than Rick or R2.

1:22 p.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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I wonder how many of those here discussing this issue have had any close contact with bears and killed one or more and skinned it and eaten the meat. I get the impression that actual "hands-on" field experience is not very commonplace among this group and so I suggested reading and practicing Gary Shelton's first book, because his techniques WORK.

The other issue is predatory behviour by bears and Cougars almost always involves an attack from BEHIND and a staff will not be of much use in this scenario. A gun CAN BE, BUT ONLY if you are truely expert in it's use and very few are.

Around your camp, one can use one of the UDAP or the other brand of electric fences and they seem to work well. I may well buy one when the budget allows and use it so I can cook in my basecamp tent.

Since bear attacks are increasing and especially here in BC and in Alaska, give some thought to backpacking in parties of three or more and use the book, fence and airhorn as I have repeatedly suggested  here on TS.

There is no confusion in my attitude toward all bears, I love bears and always have and love hunting them. I just hate killing them and while I WILL do it if I must, I will not unless I deem it necessary. I would protect anyone from a bear and have done, more than once....well, politicians, paedophiles and gun control advocates, excepted, of course! 

1:26 p.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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A few clips from the link I posted previously, illustrate that predatory black bears may be dissuaded by a strong defense:

Margaret Montgomery, 81, the owner of a farm on Highway 540 near Gore Bay, had released her dog for a run just before bedtime.

The dog surprised a bear eating apples from a nearby tree. The bear chased the dog back into the garage, where Montgomery was waiting.

She attempted to protect her pet by holding on to the bear and punching it.

Eventually, the animal was scared off, but the woman suffered injuries in the struggle.

By the time Ministry of Natural Resources officers responded, the victim had been taken by ambulance to Mindemoya Hospital.

Montgomery is recovering from claw marks to the face and chest, as well as a puncture wound in her thigh.

MNR spokeswoman Carol Trepanier said Montgomery had the presence of mind to hit the bear with a garden hoe in the garage.

“She is a very resourceful woman,” Trepanier said. “She displayed a lot of courage, given the situation.”

or this one from NJ:

She was a 5-foot-3, 105-pound hiker, out for a Sunday walk. He was a 400-pound hulking young bruin officials described as “predatory,” looking for a meal.

She said he came up behind her on a trail in Wawayanda State Park in Sussex County, chased her down and tackled her.

She said she did the only thing she could. She threw a hard elbow at his snout, and caught him flush, stunning the bear and giving her time to escape.

“This bear was in predatory mode,” said Jack Kaskey, a state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman. “This was classic predatory behavior. The bear was out to eat her. She had to fight for her life.”

The 18-year-old woman, whom wildlife officials refused to identify, escaped with only a set of 4-inch welts on her midsection after the encounter, which wildlife experts say is rare.

“Predatory black bear attacks are extremely rare, and I've never heard of one quite like this, in which someone punches or elbows the bear and is able to get up and run,” said Lynn Rogers, a renowned bear behavior expert with the North American Bear Center of Wildlife Research Institute in Minnesota. “It's baffling that, if it was a predatory attack, anyone could escape a bear so easily and without injury.”

What we can learn from that instance is that "experts" seem to think that all bears must act in a particular manner and anything outside the statistical norm is simply an aberration. Of course, anyone who has ever raised a litter of pups knows that each animal has a different temperament/personality/capabilities. This is not anthropomorphism but critical observation true through the ages. Animal husbandry is based upon such knowledge. Obviously some renowned bear experts disagree.

Expecting a particular behavior from all animals of a species is dangerous, IMO. A horseman will ask about a strange horse's character/proclivities before mounting, he won't make assumptions based upon statistics. Why should we treat feral animals any differently, expecting consistent behavior en masse? .

1:35 p.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Dewey said:

I wonder how many of those here discussing this issue have had any close contact with bears and killed one or more and skinned it and eaten the meat. I get the impression that actual "hands-on" field experience is not very commonplace among this group and so I suggested reading and practicing Gary Shelton's first book, because his techniques WORK

I have hunted, been a part of the processing(black bear,) as well as eaten the meat on many occasions other than just what was obtained on our hunts. I am a regular at wild game dinners so I have gained a taste for alot of different critters. I have not bagged a Grizzly but have gone on hunts in Wyoming etc for Mules, Elk, blah blah blah.

My grandparents raised me with a rifle in hand. On a side note. I was also introduced to spear fishing in the keys awhile back. 

Like I said in another thread I have become more of an observer as of late. 

I also should add, I have been a part of the whole "mounting" of said animal. I have a rather close friend who is a taxidermist. 

1:36 p.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Dewey,

I certain admire your restraint regarding politicians and paedophiles; keep up the good work. Gun control, however, means different things to different people in different locales, so I will reserve judgment on that.

1:47 p.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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The first encounter posted above WAS NOT a ...predatory... attack and it demonstrated why we in the BCFS, were not allowed to take dogs into the field with us as the dog caused the problem. The tree also should have be protected by a proper "bear proof" enclosure and, IMO, this incident was really the old lady's fault. I am pleased that she did EXACTLY what one should do in such circumstances, but, her behaviour precipitated the problem and should be modified.

I would NOT kill this bear for this behaviour and doubt that THIS bear will ever become highly aggressive toward humans. I favour greater human responsibility and the lack thereof is our real problem.

The second incident has several aspects that I can see ameliorated through behaviour changes. I have not time just now to explain as my wife is still ill, but, will try to post in detail later today.

2:00 p.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Overmywaders, your point is certainly well taken regarding "intellectual laziness".  For example I admit I have come to rely heavily on Google.  Don't know something?  Pull out the phone and look it up - voila, thousands of potential answers, right at hand.  Scan thru them, look for the commonly agreed ideas, and you have a good idea what is generally believed to be the answer.   But, while I do agree it is a concern overall, I don't think it applies to the specific situation we're discussing (if anyone thought they could stop at the time of a bear attack, and look up the solution, then that of course would be pretty dumb).

I think it is a huge leap, and quite presumptuous actually, based on a few comments, to jump to the leap that people who "build up their knowledge based on input from experts" are being "lazy".  I would argue it's exactly the opposite at play here.  It's not about being lazy.  It's about *education*.

We can't be experts in everything.  We build up our knowledge by leveraging experience others have already gained, or based on our own experience.  Even a skilled outdoorsman may have never had a close encounter with a bear, and would lack the experience of repeated such events.  So we draw on the experience of those who are experts to make decisions for ourselves at time of need.  When the bear appears on the trail, we quickly scan our thoughts for what we've learned from those who are expert in bear behavior - and we make a decision - do we turn and run?   Do we offer the bear a snack to make him happy?  Do we stop and make ourselves look large?  All of the knowledge we've gained by reviewing the opinions of experts helps guide our decision.  I don't think this is laziness in any way, shape, or form.

In fact, Dewey's comment above illustrates my position exactly.  Most (well, many) of us have never (knock on wood) had a close encounter with an aggressive bear.  Even fewer of us have had repeated experiences such that we could develop our own "body of knowledge" on "bear behavior" to enable us to make the "right" decision.  Instead, we rely on knowledge gained from the learnings of others.

If you think people are being lazy by gathering knowledge to inform them in time of need, I'm curious how you think we should learn the proper behavior?  Clearly going out without any learnings [from experts], and subjecting ourselves to potential attacks, and learning the hard way, isn't likely to be very efficient, especially if we get maimed or killed on the first try.

Maybe I shouldn't have brought this up in this thread by raising the question of black vs brown bear behavior ... it's taking us astray from the original topic...

2:12 p.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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overmywaders said:

“Predatory black bear attacks are extremely rare

This is actually exactly the kind of thing I referred to when I mentioned "generally accepted understanding" and "expert opinion". I'm not even saying it's right (or wrong), just that this is what we're taught by the experts.

Yes, there are exceptions.  And maybe what's being suggested in this thread is that things are changing, bear behavior is changing, and these types of attacks are no longer "rare".  

If they are rare, then like I said before, it's like the risk we take walking down a city street. A bus can (and occasionally will) veer off the street and mow us down. But (if we're not in San Francisco) it's very rare.

Almost nothing is absolute, and everything has some level of risk.

But if it's true these events are no longer "extremely rare", then as I also said earlier, that casts a whole new question on the sensibility of sleeping out where we're being hunted.

I wonder, as someone else suggested, whether some of the attacks being reported are due to food smells.  e.g. did the person in the tent bring a candy bar in for a snack, and leave the wrapper there when they went to sleep?  Did they hover over the campfire while they roasted their steak, letting their clothes absorb the tasty odors?  Did they use a body lotion for dry skin (yes, I've seen people do this while camping).

Anyway, again, sorry if this is going off topic, but it's interesting discourse anyway :).  Oh, and the "interesting" aspect for me is that I was planning to go backpacking this weekend.  As it turned out, my stomach feels unsettled, so that plan was scrapped.  Hmmm, coincidence? :) 

3:35 p.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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bheiser,

You clearly didn't understand my post. You said:

I think it is a huge leap, and quite presumptuous actually, based on a few comments, to jump to the leap that people who "build up their knowledge based on input from experts" are being "lazy".  I would argue it's exactly the opposite at play here.  It's not about being lazy.  It's about *education*.

We can't be experts in everything.  We build up our knowledge by leveraging experience others have already gained, or based on our own experience.  Even a skilled outdoorsman may have never had a close encounter with a bear, and would lack the experience of repeated such events.  So we draw on the experience of those who are experts to make decisions for ourselves at time of need.

Again you look to experts and consensus. If you look long enough you will find "experts" to contradict every statement put forward by other experts. Today coffee will kill you, tomorrow coffee is a panacea.

Yes, it is about being lazy. Do you know what "education" means? "To draw out". Yes, it means that from available input and innate curiosity and understanding, we derive for ourselves operable truths for the conditions of the day. It doesn't mean looking for others to tell us what we should believe.

You are making a strenuous effort to avoid thinking for yourself. Given A "a bear is an omnivore" and B "I am ambulatory protein", anyone can deduce that C "A bear might find me desirable as a food source" is logical. That is called reasoning and doesn't require any experts or general consensus.

Certainly gather facts, but then immediately use them in a cognitive process and determine for yourself what actions are appropriate. The opining of experts is not a fact; oftentimes it is merely the results of a statistical anal-ysis. Others' experiences are facts, but indicate only their methodology or good fortune. And each bear is unique, so each bear/human contact is unique -- one size doesn't fit all.

Learn to think for yourself and you will carry with you the most powerful weapon and tool we have - a well-trained mind.

3:39 p.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Reminds me of the story ... you may have heard this one ... about the "expert" sales-clerk at an outdoor-gear store, who was blind."

Self-deleted ....

                                                       ~r2~

3:39 p.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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overmywaders said:

Learn to think for yourself and you will carry with you the most powerful weapon and tool we have - a well-trained mind.

 +1 on that.

4:25 p.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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This has gotten way off topic... away from whether or not black bears typically attack people, and turned into a personal attack on a way of thinking (or, as accused, supposedly, "not thinking").  

Meanwhile now I continue to wonder about black bears since apparently there are conflicting views, and there are hoards of them in the Sierra.  I'll just keep following clean-camp and other standard safe practices for bear country... and watch my back...

arrrgh.

 

 

4:35 p.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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I was agreeing with the statement in general. So many people fail to utilize what they have. First thing that comes to mind are a few of the recent threads(waterfalls, etc.)

When it comes to anything associated with the back-country I would like to believe I know alot from experience, at the same time there is alot that I don't know. I dissect the threads here to no end. I always seem to gain useful info from them and offer what I can. 

6:15 a.m. on August 6, 2011 (EDT)
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 Gun control, however, means different things to different people in different locales, so I will reserve judgment on that.

 Have you heard what the morons at the U.N. are trying to push-forward?

A world-wide registry.

Gonna circumvent and trample upon our 2nd Amendment to the Constitution.

"Piano Legs" Hillary better not be on-board with this crap.

                                                      ~r2~

3:57 p.m. on August 6, 2011 (EDT)
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Another one.

A 50-yr old hiker (male?) was mauled by a Griz in Glacier Nat'l Park, Montana.   Yesterday? (Friday).

He survived, I think.   No further details, yet.

                                              ~r2~

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