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Re: [CDT-L] bears

Virginia Owen wrote:
> I'm in the middle of reading Herrero's book on bears. It's very good,
> albeit a bit graphic. It made me wonder though - do any of you have any
> good/bad bear stories? I've had several encounters with black bears - but
> never with grizzlies. Last summer in Glacier we went from paranoia (this
> was only a couple of weeks after a park employee was eaten by three bears)
> to indignation because we didn't see hide nor hair of a bear. So - how
> about the rest of you - any encounters?  What is the closest you have been
> to a wild grizzly?
> Ginny

Scary book, Ginny. :-)

As simply as I can put it, grizzlys are like people. No two are likely to 
be the same, and even a "nice" one can be having a bad day on the day you 
cross paths with it. Most if given a chance, will back away from a bad 
encounter tho. 

I homesteaded in Alaska, trapped, and worked for the BLM. In those years 
I had a chance to meet up with several. Only one seemed intent on causing 
us(wife, me and son)harm. We also had a sow and two cubs sniff and circle 
our tent one night.(you could see the paws under the flap)I can still 
remember the banging of my heart! I was put up a tree once, but "saved" 
by the mad mother moose.(bad sitution!) My fire boss was treed by a 
grizzy on a fire once and mauled pretty badly on his leggs, but never got 
him out of the tree.

The scariest bears I have ever run into were the ones that were hanging 
around campsites. These were camping areas that people were living at in 
hopes of finding work on the oil pipeline. These bears got bad enough 
that we had to move the people out and shut down a couple of campgrounds.

Where all this is heading is this. Wild bears will normally give you a 
wild berth, if they know you are coming. However, bears that loose the 
fear of humans OR link them with food can be a real worry. I believe the 
NPS are doing a good job keeping the bear contacts to the leval they are, 
however, any time you have that kind of exsposure and that many people, 
there are bound to be problems from time to time.

The grizzly is what makes some of this country "feel" wild. You've hiked 
through glacier and even if you didn't have a close encounter, you can 
still feel their presences, right.

Just follow the rules about the clean camp and all, and make noises as 
you head down the trail. That's about all you can do in a place like 
glacier, with its prearranged camping areas. As for other places along 
the trail, and in grizzly country, I'd not sleep in areas that have been 
used alot or not kept clean. Just a matter of time until trouble arrives.

I personally don't trust park bears near as much as wild bears. With that 
said, I sure hope they are here to stay!

If I could offer a piece of advice, beyond all the normal stuff, it would 
be to show the bear its just curtisy sp?. If you find yourself up close 
and personal to one and neither of you (the bear or you)have really 
ackowledged each other(chance incounter), just advoid eye contact and try 
your leval best to act like you never saw it. If it thinks(or plays the 
game with you"and they can play it well")you don't see it, then he likely 
will just let you pass, even if you are too close. I've know this to 
happen on more than one occasion.(the bears and I pretended each other 
wasn't there and just let each other pass) I feel by doing this you don't 
force the bears hand. Bears (and other animals) do it all the time to 
avoid conflicts.

Good hike this summer! look forward to your reports.

James, here in new mexico now

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