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[at-l] RE: Brinks Rd Bear...

Recently --Rhymin' Worm related this... 
>Bears were a problem in that section this summer. I didn't have any trouble
>myself, though I saw several, but one thru-hiker, Mr. Clean, was chased by
>a bear at Brink Road Shelter. I got this firsthand from him. Evidently he
>was eating lunch in the shelter and a bear showed up. He put away his food
>and left the shelter. The bear went in, then came out and started following
>him. He tried to scare it off, making noise and jumping up and down, but it
>was not deterred, so he began walking down a blue blaze trail in the
>direction of a road. The bear followed. He began walking faster. The bear
>followed faster. He broke into a run when he got within sight of some
>houses, and the bear broke into a run too. He ended up vaulting over a
>fence into someone's yard--the woman saw the bear and let him inside.

This is *SOME* story - not to "monday-morning quarterback" but was this the 
best way to handle this type of situation ???   It obviously worked this 
time but...  alarm bells had to be going off at the "he quickened his pace 
and the bear did as well" since this immediately creates a "hunter and prey" 
scenario - i've always heard that bears (at least most) will not "take the 
pack off your back" and i always cring (sp? - shudder) when i hear of people 
throwing rocks at bears especially after the tragic incident out in 
California where some people got "carried away" (and they should have been 
carried away and *PUT away* after doing what they did too).

Is it always necessary to attempt to "scare the bear off" ? - is a simple 
"put the food away, shoulder your pack and stand your ground while making 
noise" or even a "just ignore the bear" approach naively idealistic?  i've 
encountered bears including surprising a mother with 2 cubs up in NJ and 
never felt threatened but i wasn't eating or cooking at a shelter either. 
 What about a quick food dropoff into the bear box ?  i'm thinking that if 
the bear actually came right up to him, that the bear would be more 
interested (gulp, and know this is awful for both bears and hikers long 
term) in the pack than the hiker.
Since there really is no "fight"" aside from a possible initial bluff, 
flight becomes a very understandable response but in the "big picture" 
flight might also be the most dangerous thing to do as well ?

 i remember hiking near Hawksbill in SNP/VA and seeing "Warning - Aggressive 
Bears" signs on the AT - i was actually hoping to see and did see 1 *very 
well behaved bear* but the "hoping" part developed some mixed feelings after 
passing the signs and talking with some hikers/Rangers about their bear 
encounters.  Actually 1 Ranger told me that the signs worked because they 
limited the number of backcountry campers in the area and just that had a 
dampening affect on the bear's bad "people habits".  There was also a story 
about some day hikers being followed (harrassed, if following is 
harrassment) by a bear for something like 20 minutes and, i believe, a tent 
being damaged.
Bears - a true "wonder of nature"

                                                        Happy Trails,
 Running Bear - Downingtown, PA - gnyce@wcupa.edu
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