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Thread: Bears

  1. #1
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    Default Bears

    So I was walking around on our land, and I heard some crows making some racket. Usually this means they have a hawk or an owl cornered or there is some sort of multi-clan discussion going on. I walked over, looked up and there about 15 feet up in a large pine tree about 30 feet away from me was a good sized - but probably youngish - adult bear with a shocked look on its face. I back-pedaled at warp speed as the bear slid down the trunk and hustled off in the opposite direction. We were both on the south side of a small hill, so when I got around to the west end of the hill, the bear - farther away this time - came barreling along the north side of the hill. I shouted hey! and the bear slammed on the brakes, turned and ran back the way it came.

    That, I would say, was a good bear encounter. I've sweated a bit thinking about what could have happened. I had no chance if the bear came out of the tree after me. I had no chance if the bear's route around the hill was to ambush me. But that bear didn't want to have anything to do with me.

    Thank you Bear.
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: Bears

    We were driving on Moose-Wilson road north of Jackson, Wyoming last September. We stopped at a lookout to watch some moose with calves feeding in my pond then headed on. About 300 yards down the road, traffic was stopped and there were park rangers yelling at people to get back in their cars. A grizzly sow and her cubs were eating berries next to the road and people were approaching to take selfies. I'm glad the rangers were there, I would hate for a tourist to get mauled and the bear euthanized because someone was stupid.
    Weight Doper

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    Default Re: Bears

    Dad took Grandpa to Canada on a moose hunting trip when I was a kid. Guide tells them, walk down this trail through head-high brush, take the second trail to the left. Dad and Grandpa walk down there, can't see anything but the trail in front of them. They arrive at the second trail to the left. They're hit with an overpoweringly strong smell. As Dad said, it smelled bad and it felt bad.

    He looked at Grandpa and said I don't like this, we're not going in there. They went back to the guide and made a different plan.

    He's convinced a grizzly was in there. He waited until last year to tell me this story.
    Dan Fuller, local bicycle enthusiast

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    Default Re: Bears

    A couple years ago the wife and I bought a small piece of land in north Asheville. Last summer we were clearing a small part of the land, near the street. My wife called out, 'look!'. I look up to see a large turkey walking across the street. This was about 10 meters from where we were standing. As soon as the turkey crossed the road, an adolescent bear walks the same path but in opposite direction. Not knowing the exact age of the bear I was afraid momma bear would soon follow. So I suggested we jump in the car. While in the car, wife grabs her phone and starts to record the encounter. In the video you can hear her whisper to herself and in the sweetest voice, 'maybe the bear was coming after the wild turkey'.
    I died laughing and thought of the old shift change of Ralf Wolf and Sam Sheepdog cartoons.
    Rick

    If the process is more important than the result, you play. If the result is more important than the process, you work.

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    Default Re: Bears

    15ish years ago, hiking in glacier national park, we crest a little hill and see a grizzly about 150 yds up moving perpendicular to the trail. it stops to look at us. i wave my arms and shout. not exactly the recommended grizzly avoidance behavior. it runs off into the woods. my friend lectures me on what to do if we see a grizzly and we continue on. when we get to where we think the bear was, we see huckleberry bushes all over. grizzlies love huckleberries more than i like chicken parm. we lived on adrenaline triple timing it out of there for a few miles.

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    Default Re: Bears

    You should just get a bear bell on you pack or something. Or carry bear spray if you are worried.

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    Default Re: Bears

    Black bears are so timid... especially the non-habituated ones. You have to go out of your way to be in danger. Bells and spray all the time in grizzly country however.

    Had a lot of encounters in the backcountry, but the silliest encounter was of course in yosemite valley. I was heading back to the park after an off day in my wilderness first responder class and the alternator died with the battery finally running out at tunnel view. Got the tow back to the garage in the valley and was waiting for a ride up to crane flat at 2am when I hear some banging coming from the other side of a truck. Round the corner to see a bear trying really hard to defeat the bear-resistant trash can. I ask "Hey! What do you think you're doing?" and the bear turns and looks at me, visibly shrugs and slowly saunters off in the other direction. 5min later I can hear it trying to hit up the grease trap port on the back of the degnans.

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    Default Re: Bears

    My (very limited...) bear experience: black bears are pretty shy and avoid humans EXCEPT if they are accustomed to humans and human food, if cornered without an escape route, or if with cubs. The closest I ever came to a wild black bear was on a road bike ride, climbing to Lake Desolation in Saratoga County, NY. As I rounded the last major turn at the top of the climb early on a summer morning, a black bear ambled across the road a few feet in front of me. They casually looked over the skinny cyclist and decided that I was not a worthy meal. They then continued to mosey across the road and into the woods. As the adrenaline pumped into my body, I went from "fried from the climb" to "I'm ready to sprint!" instantly.

    As for grizzlies, I hope to never meet one up close and personal. A group of cyclists in Glacier NP ran into one Sunday, thankfully with no harm to bear or cyclists: https://cowboystatedaily.com/2022/05...yone-survives/

    Greg
    Old age and treachery beat youth and enthusiasm every time…

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    Default Re: Bears

    Years ago on a road trip through Waterton, Canada's side of Glacier Park, we were up early for drive through the park. A truck had stopped in the road so we knew somthing was up. Sure enough, not 50 feet in front of the truck was a mama bear with her cub working their way down the tree. I pulled up behind the truck, threw it in park and jumped out at a run with my camera in hand to get a closer picture. Just as I got even with the cab of the truck, literally flashing right before my eyes I saw the headline, "Idiot Tourist Eaten by Mad Mamma Bear". Without losing stride I made a perfect pirouette 180 degrees back to the car and shut the door quick. Lost my mind for about 60 seconds. Recovered in time, thankfully.
    bruceking

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    Default Re: Bears

    You saw the bear on the way up Desolation? Damn you! Do you know how many times I've gone up that hill hoping to see it especially now that some dork trashed the turtle rock?

    One morning a few years ago I ended up on an unplanned route as in starting out and deciding I wasn't in the original mood and went up Rynex Corners Road out of Pattersonville and almost to the top I said to myself that isn't what it looks like then oh yes it is as a very large black bear ambled across the road. I thanked my lucky stars that for once in my life I got out of my channel and did something different so something cool happened. The best part was the two big dogs at the house a couple hundred yards further that alternately challenged me to a fight or laughed at me for being slow every time up that hill were totally keeping mum this time.

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    Default Re: Bears

    I am ashamed to say that I had a nano-second long thought that the crows were on a bear that was up to something, and I immediately disregarded my gut and decided it was an owl. A Great-horned Owl has a nest somewhere in the vicinity, and I greedily hoped the crows had found it for me. There is a certain noise the crows make that sounds like excitement more than anger or fear when they are around a bear, maybe because they are hoping the bear will expose a bee hive or something else good to eat. I think those gut feelings are the things that you really have to keep tuned into. I was getting too incautious.

    My dad and I and a couple other birdwatchers had a close call with a grizzly in Glacier. We had wandered where we shouldn't have been - not paying attention while birdwatching - and got told sternly to get the eff out of there by a ranger. 5 minutes later a big bear appeared exactly where we had been. So spooky. Had he been there the whole time? Chills me even now.
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: Bears

    Quote Originally Posted by bigbill View Post
    I would hate for a tourist to get mauled and the bear euthanized because someone was stupid.
    Question from a clueless european. Is it a common thing to kill a bear when he has killed? and why? Is that a medieval eye for an eye rule or are bears more likely to repeat if they killed someone once ?

    I know in europe there are places where local governments accept to kill a wolf (regardless if it is the culprit) after reports of killed sheeps and DNA test. I just don't understand that. To me either we have to accept the consequences of having them in the wild or we don't at all. They are not aware of our own rules.
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    Default Re: Bears

    Quote Originally Posted by sk_tle View Post
    Question from a clueless european. Is it a common thing to kill a bear when he has killed? and why? Is that a medieval eye for an eye rule or are bears more likely to repeat if they killed someone once ?

    I know in europe there are places where local governments accept to kill a wolf (regardless if it is the culprit) after reports of killed sheeps and DNA test. I just don't understand that. To me either we have to accept the consequences of having them in the wild or we don't at all. They are not aware of our own rules.
    Here in the East (where only black bears exist), bears have historically not predated humans and are typically very shy around people. Those (very) few examples of black bears killing people are almost universally attributable to people feeding them. At this point, the bears equate people with food and, from there, might equate people as food, or, short of that, don't want people around their food which results in the bears' doing something outside of their typical behavioral repertoire. So you can see why problem (black) bears often have to be put down - for these bears, their template for food is people-shaped. Not good. That's why feeding them is often a death sentence for the bears, but (dumb) people do it anyway. Infuriating.

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    Default Re: Bears

    Quote Originally Posted by sk_tle View Post
    Question from a clueless european. Is it a common thing to kill a bear when he has killed? and why? Is that a medieval eye for an eye rule or are bears more likely to repeat if they killed someone once ?

    I know in europe there are places where local governments accept to kill a wolf (regardless if it is the culprit) after reports of killed sheeps and DNA test. I just don't understand that. To me either we have to accept the consequences of having them in the wild or we don't at all. They are not aware of our own rules.
    In the west, if a grizzly bear kills or seriously mauls a human, that bear is considered a threat and euthanized. The exceptions I've seen are a human that was mauled because that person and the bear surprised each other the bear took a reactionary swipe. In that case, nothing will be done because the bear didn't escalate the situation. Best case for a bad situation, a bear that has come to associate humans with food, the bear is trapped and relocated. There is/was a grizzly bear in the Grand Teton area named "399" that has had dozens of cubs over the years and teaches her offspring to avoid people, look both ways before crossing a road, and how to hunt elk calves for food. She has expressed no interest in being around people. She has her own wiki page.
    Weight Doper

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    Default Re: Bears

    Quote Originally Posted by sk_tle View Post
    Question from a clueless european. Is it a common thing to kill a bear when he has killed? and why? Is that a medieval eye for an eye rule or are bears more likely to repeat if they killed someone once ?

    I know in europe there are places where local governments accept to kill a wolf (regardless if it is the culprit) after reports of killed sheeps and DNA test. I just don't understand that. To me either we have to accept the consequences of having them in the wild or we don't at all. They are not aware of our own rules.
    There is a common wives-tale that once an animal has violated the taboo of attacking or killing a person, they are more likely to do it again. Usually, however, most bear attacks are the result of human activity and ignorance, and the bears are just defending their space as any bear would do. However, with bears, what usually does them in is the discovery that people and tasty fatty food are in the same place. Bears are all about packing on the calories for winter, and easy to get high calorie food is their favorite, which is also a favorite for people. And people are lazy slobs and leave food and food garbage all over the place. So that often brings bears and people into the same space, and that's never going to end well for the bears.

    I could go on and on about wolves. I think the reaction to wolves is partially a business model based on low(er) cost open range grazing (at least in the US,) but most of it is drawings-on-the-cave-wall psychosis. Wolves have been our forever boogey man. The eyes staring out of the darkness just beyond the light of the campfire. Unfortunately for wolves, they have highly developed social systems with a keen preference for privacy and large expanses of territory that are torn asunder by the use of automatic weapons. Which is why I like coyotes so much. They give fuck all about what people do to them. They just make more.
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: Bears

    Adding to the issue with black bears is how their psychology appears to work. I’ll try and dig up a source… but I do remember reading that black bears have a very strong positive reinforcement reaction and an almost non existent negative reinforcement reaction. Meaning that once a bear associated humans with food it is almost impossible to get them to think otherwise, regardless of what you try to do to make the bear learn differently. Feeding bears, or even making it easy for bears to be around people, is a virtual death sentence for bears.

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    Default Re: Bears

    Thanks guys!
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    Default Re: Bears

    Quote Originally Posted by gregl View Post
    My (very limited...) bear experience: black bears are pretty shy and avoid humans EXCEPT if they are accustomed to humans and human food, if cornered without an escape route, or if with cubs. The closest I ever came to a wild black bear was on a road bike ride, climbing to Lake Desolation in Saratoga County, NY. As I rounded the last major turn at the top of the climb early on a summer morning, a black bear ambled across the road a few feet in front of me. They casually looked over the skinny cyclist and decided that I was not a worthy meal. They then continued to mosey across the road and into the woods. As the adrenaline pumped into my body, I went from "fried from the climb" to "I'm ready to sprint!" instantly.

    As for grizzlies, I hope to never meet one up close and personal. A group of cyclists in Glacier NP ran into one Sunday, thankfully with no harm to bear or cyclists: https://cowboystatedaily.com/2022/05...yone-survives/

    Greg
    In the Navy, I spent seven months doing nukelar training at Ballston Spa. I lived in a rental in Rock City. I arrived in January, but around March, I had to start making lots of noise when I hauled the trash out so the bears would hear me. I saw so many bears in that area but never had one approach me and never felt inclined to get any closer. We were cool with each other.
    Weight Doper

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    Default Re: Bears

    Quote Originally Posted by bigbill View Post
    In the Navy, I spent seven months doing nukelar training at Ballston Spa. I lived in a rental in Rock City. I arrived in January, but around March, I had to start making lots of noise when I hauled the trash out so the bears would hear me. I saw so many bears in that area but never had one approach me and never felt inclined to get any closer. We were cool with each other.
    Small world! I've spent a lot of time hiking and biking in that general area, particularly in the Lake Desolation area and the Kayderosseras Range. Besides a healthy bear population, the area has become home to a growing moose population. There are some great photos and videos posted to social media of moose in the Great Sacandaga Lake and Lake Desolation areas. A recent example: https://www.facebook.com/AdirondackC...58936334382979.

    Greg
    Old age and treachery beat youth and enthusiasm every time…

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    Default Re: Bears

    When my daughter was 11 or 12, she woke up with a black bear in her bedroom. Her mom had gotten up early to garden and opened both doors to let fresh air in, and the bear wandered in. My daughter woke up and at first thought the bear was her shaggy black standard poodle and said good morning to it, then smelled it and realized what it was and pulled the covers over her head. The bear went back out of the house, and the dog chased it away. From that point on my daughter was clear that she was done with rural living and would be going to a major research university in a major city.

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