Grizzly bears prompt camping closure in popular Upper Green River area

Varied and numerous grizzly activity closes national forest camping from forest boundary to well past Green River Lakes-

I remember when the nearest grizzlies were 20 miles to the north of here.  I am glad to see grizzlies have returned in strength to the Wind River Mountains.  I hope they get these problems worked out before long.  This is a very scenic area.

Story from the Casper Star Tribune.

251 Responses to “Grizzly bears prompt camping closure in popular Upper Green River area”

  1. Linda Hunter Says:

    It sounds like they are being very cautious. It is sad that just seeing grizzly bears is such a scary thing to people. I wonder what work they Fish and Game department needs to be left alone to do up there. Are they going to tranquilize and collar all the bears?

  2. pointswest Says:

    …so if the Wind Rivers were inside an expanded Yellowstone Park, the Park could build several economical cabins or shelters in the Wind Rivers and only allow overnight camping inside of them. Each would bear proof and there could be heavy penalties for making any human food accessible to bears.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah…I love virgin wilderness too and like my free standing Jansport dome tent but tents are just not practicle in grizzly country. In popular areas such as Yellowstone, the Tetons, or in the Wind Rivers, you have to camp in designated campsites anyway. In a Park, you could require an overnight permit and require hikers to pass and exam and agree to follow rules.

    I wished the old days were back but they not back and will not be coming back.

    • Ralph Maughan Says:

      pointswest,

      The Wind Rivers don’t have designated campsites in the backcountry, although there are areas close to busy trailheads and in some heavily-used lake basins where no camping or heavy restrictions on camping are in force.

    • Elk275 Says:

      ++In popular areas such as Yellowstone, the Tetons, or in the Wind Rivers, you have to camp in designated campsites anyway. In a Park, you could require an overnight permit and require hikers to pass and exam and agree to follow rules.++

      Exactly why I do not like national parks. I love wilderness areas and my freedom. If your Jans Sport tent is not safe then get some mules. There are those on this forum who swear that they will kept grizzlies and wolves away. I am going to mule school before fall in Cottonwood, Idaho (where ever that is) before fall, you are welcome to join me.

      I have spent many nights camped in Alasks with moose, goat, caribou, dall sheep and black bear meat hung by my tent and never had a grizzly problem. Lucky yes, but I also process the skills to prevent it.

    • pointswest Says:

      I stand corrected on the designated camping sites in the Wind Rivers. I thought the article implied there were designated campsites…at least for some lake basins.

      And yes…I think you are safe with mule and maybe a horse too. I had a grizzly steel my deer near Robinson Creek near Ashton and then came into my camp at night. My horse, which was tied to a tree, nearly pulled its head off trying to get away. But I had a high powered rifle and between it and the horse, I felt safe. I did not sleep well but felt safe.

      But horses and mules are very hard on those high altitude lake basins. Their hooves turn the thin topsoil and they tear up trails. Most conservationist do not like horses (or mules) in pristine wilderness. Lamas are not so bad since they are smaller and have padded tows but I do not think I would feel safe with a lama on guard duty. I am not sure about Wyoming, but in New Mexico horses were forbade from many lake basins. More importantly, however, 95% of wilderness users do not own horses or mules. They just want to backpack. This is the issue in the article. Backpakers are not being allowed to backpack overnight because doing so is being deemed as too dangerous.

    • Ralph Maughan Says:

      pointswest,

      The thing about the Wind Rivers is that most people there head for the tundra. The Beartooth Plateau right next to Yellowstone Park is much like the Wind Rivers. The country down below the plateau is full of grizzly bears, but the bears do not raise havoc among the backpackers up high, although they do have to be what is called “bear smart.”

    • WM Says:

      I spent alot of time in the Winds when I was younger, west side, south and on the west Rez side. Never in the north end. Not hard to get thirty to forty miles in, which means a couple days out. No idea whether griz will make it into the tundra. There are moose there in a few spots.

      My fear is that some camper is going to drain a tuna can or toss the remains of a fish dinner in the brush about the same spot the next camper sets up a tent. Not everybody is bear smart, which means more regulation, bear wires or carrying cans. Probably a few years off, but even the Winds will get hit with it.

      More griz + more campers = more opportunities for conflict = more camper regulations + temporary closings of campgrounds + more backcountry precautions.

      If the regulators fail to be proactive as griz repopulate, as some suggest, things may end badly for some hiker two day’s walk in the backcountry – wilderness the way it used to be. No NP ranger to offer help or a radio. Maybe this will scare away some of those one week a year hikers from Georgia or Ohio. One can always hope.

    • WM Says:

      …east Rez side (not west)

    • Mike Says:

      ++Not everybody is bear smart++

      I would change that to “most people are not bear smart”.

      As for fires, there’s really no need for them in backcountry sites. A camp stove works fine to cook your meals.

    • JEFF E Says:

      Predators eat other predators on a consistent basis’s

      for example.
      eagles eat trout
      sharks eat seals (sharks eat everything)
      bears eat cats
      bears eat wolves
      wolves eat bears
      cougars eat wolves
      cougars eat bears
      most fish eat other fish who eat other fish
      Alligators or crocodiles, nuff said
      on and on and on

      and then consider if it is middle of a bad winter and a predator is starving. do we actually think the thought process goes along the lines of “oh wait, you’re another predator. In that case I’m just going to starve rather than eat you”

      bear is very edible. I prefer spring bear. fall bear is greasy and too sweet for my taste.

      cougar is good if you prefer very lean somewhat fibrous meat.
      very good as jerky, as bear is salami.

      Lewis and Clark ate dog (very much a food source in many parts of the world today) on many occasions and even wolf when going across Idaho.

      Humans need to have “some” fat in their diet. The native Americans, Mountain Men and early European settlers best accomplished this by killing a fall bear.(or having a good salmon season in some areas or both)

  3. Virginia Says:

    I am delighted there have been bear sightings in the Winds! We did a backpacking trip there a few years ago, and the only animals we saw were horses and llamas. They need more wild animals in there.

  4. bob jackson Says:

    Mules and griz? Yes mules, at least mine, do not like griz. But there is a qualifier here. When I was night riding the trails of Yellowstone (which I did a lot…and just about all other back country rangers were afraid to do) trying to catch up with poacher camps before day light I ALWAYS put my mule out front of my riding horse. Rather, I should say my mule did not want to stay behind. I caught the hint fast in my younger days and allowed my mule forever after to stay in front (it is against the Park regs to “free trail’ but so what when put into prospective on something like this). My horse saw the need for this also. My packed mule stayed maybe 20 yards in the lead and cleared the trails of griz. A snort and charge into the brush…then return to formation…. was the normal chain of events during nights doing patrol during hunting season on Park trails.

    In a 15 mile stretch this would happen an average of 3 or so times a night.

    The qualifier I noted above is mules do this on the trail where they need to do it, but not while they are grazing. the bell was always on the mule and I most always let my stock run free at the cabins…no pickets, no hobbles. I also kept a window by the bed open a bit to listen for shots and to keep track of that bell. When one heard the bell a really clanging then I knew the stock were getting out of griz’s path. Then I would here the closer huff-huff- huff of griz coming up the trail going past the cabin to the barn…and oats smell.

    Mules did run off the bull moose, however. I saw it lots of times in broad daylight. Never a griz, however.

    And as for back country users in this high alpine tundra, yes, it is Sound of Music sort of stuff but all those NOLS groups scared off all those elk cow- calf groups. Yes, made those elk leave their secure thousands of years nursery areas and made them flee to the bug infested small wet meadows below. Plus having to leave the high country made these elk much more susceptable to wolf predation. Ya, “the hills are alive” all right, but to humans instead of to those animals where life and death depended on it. But do you think biologists from those mt. hunting states even have a clue what human encroachment has done to their elk herds? No and do you think if they did they would put closures up so elk would have a better chance against wolves? No, of course not.

    So everybody keep dreaming of Julie Andrews and her mts that show no wildlife.

  5. Id Hiker Says:

    The Wind River Range is in terrible condition. Is there a lake on any trail not surrounded by a dozen fire rings? At Mae’s Lake I came across a huge permanent fire pit with benches and seats in a circle of pines. How long do we have to put up with packers, cattle and sheep interests abusing “our” forests for there personal gain? Nice to see a six ft. high pile of horse shit at Trail Creek Park and try hiking the Doubletop Mountain Trail after cattle have trashed every pond and tromped the trail 3 feet deep in some places. It would be a nice start if we banned fires unless equipped with a fire pan, but I’m not holding my breath. Sorry there aren’t more rangers moving campers away from lakes and streams. It ain’t what it was even 20 years ago…
    Disgusted,
    Id Hiker

  6. Leslie Says:

    I love the Winds and haven’t been there in about 5 years. I’ve hiked from the Green River trailhead up through Lozier Lakes and down Porcupine Pass several times. That trailhead is of course, lower at around 8000′ while the attraction to hikers is at 10,000 feet.

    “The thing about the Wind Rivers is that most people there head for the tundra. The Beartooth Plateau right next to Yellowstone Park is much like the Wind Rivers. The country down below the plateau is full of grizzly bears, but the bears do not raise havoc among the backpackers up high, although they do have to be what is called “bear smart.”

    From my understanding, the Beartooths don’t have moth sites. The Winds do and that’s why bears will be going there more and more to the high parts. They just should be finally getting sheep off the mountains.

    ‘In popular areas such as Yellowstone, the Tetons, or in the Wind Rivers, you have to camp in designated campsites anyway. In a Park, you could require an overnight permit and require hikers to pass and exam and agree to follow rules.”

    The reason I love the Winds is just because I don’t have to sleep in some designated campsite, get an overnight permit, watch a backcountry video every year, have a ranger come bye to my campsite in the backcountry and check my permit! I live next to the Park and mostly don’t hike there. Tents are just fine in bear areas. Just be bear aware, keep a clean camp, and carry bear spray.

    • Mike Says:

      Leslie –

      Some might argue the low elevation rivers valleys protected by wilderness for much of their length make Glacier a more intact ecosystem.

  7. Leslie Says:

    Re: Grizzlies. Today I hiked into a drainage where last year I’d stumbled upon a very dirty hunting camp. I dismantled the camp and packed out all their garbage. That was last fall. When I went in there today, there were 4 different loads of fresh, and I mean about 3 hours old fresh, bear scat, all around that campsite, even though it was still clean and no one had camped there since. Bears have very good memories.

    • Id Hiker Says:

      You are a good hiker Leslie and you will go to hiker heaven. I try to pick up junk along trails. Foil in fire rings drives me crazy… double trouble.

  8. pointswest Says:

    I think the Wind Rivers have a well deserved reputation as being the most rugged, scenic, and impressive mountains in the USA. I think grizzlies will only add to their appeal. It is something the Alps do not have. I think it would be great if they remained wildnerss where you could go horse camping with heavy canvas tents and with dogs and guns for saftey but I am afraid those days are about gone.

    I am not worried about destruction by horses or free camping. The area will recover, but I think the days for horses and free camping are numbered.

    Here in So Cal, free camping is completely illegal. I believe you must have both a camping permit and a fire permit and camping in most National Forests is in designated sites only excepting a backcountry permit. This is a far cry from Idaho or Wyoming. California is a glimpse, however, into the future of Idaho and Wyoming.

    • Peter Kiermeir Says:

      Pointswest
      +It is something the Alps do not have+
      Are you talking about the European Alps? Just for the records: There is a small brown bear (grizzly) population in the Italian Trientino´s Adamello Brenta high alpine group and a very large bear population of 500 to 800 animals in the Slovenian share of the alps. The latter stocking populations in Austria (continuously poached) and France (same fate).

    • pointswest Says:

      Hmm…I assumed all bears native to the Alps had been extict since about the 1st century. I guess it makes sense that there would be some of the same species to the east in the Carpathian Alps or further east in the Caucasus. That is interesting. I’ll have to read up on this….thanks.

    • Peter Kiermeir Says:

      Further east, there are quite many bears left in the Tatra mountains of Slovenia, in the mountains of Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine…….All worth a visit, now the iron curtain is down!

    • Id Hiker Says:

      There are also bears elsewhere in Italy… The Gran Sasso refuge in the Abruzzo has a few brown bears.
      Id Hiker

  9. Leslie Says:

    “California is a glimpse, however, into the future of Idaho and Wyoming.”

    Let’s hope not! And grizzlies might just keep it that way.
    Where I live, no one hikes. Many are afraid of the grizzlies here so they go to the nearby Beartooths or swarm into the Big Horns. People come from Cody on the weekends and car camp. They might ride a little into the wilderness, but I find that horses are no problem. Free-ranging cattle are though.

    Pointswest, I completely disagree with you. Try reading “the Abstract Wild” by Jack Turner. It might enlighten you. We need wild places, maybe with a few rules about watersheds, trash, and campfires…but our souls as individuals and as a culture need those place more than ever. All that control that you like in CA…it’s stifling the life out of us, along with TV and mass media consumerism culture. More than ever we need to experience wildness and get MORE in touch with the nature of Nature, our nature, which is about as controllable as a thunderstorm.

    • pointswest Says:

      I absolutely hate the “control” over camping in California. What ever gave you the idea that I liked it. My only point is that the day is coming when Idaho and Wyoming will be the same. Idaho, in particular, is one of the fastest growing states in the Union. It was number three in growth a couple of years ago. I just want to see some of these areas preserved before they are all subdivided and over run. There is no great hurry…but time is ticking and there are more people in the Yellowstone region every year.

  10. Leslie Says:

    And by the way, although its been a few years, I hiked the winds for over 10 summers and never saw people with guns and canvas tents. Mostly its climbers and backpackers. Game is sparse in that high country and canvas tent people are usually hunters.

    • pointswest Says:

      My point about the canvas tents and horses is they make you much safer in grizzly country. The usage of canvas tents and horses have a price tag however. You generally have to cut poles for a canvas tent and horses hooves are hard on trails and on tundra. I think horses and canvas tents are fun. I enjoy them. But as more people start using areas such as the Winds, their impact becomes a problem.

      Light backpacking gear has much less impact but offers no defense against grizlies. I think you are right that when grizlies proliferate in an area, the backpackers or wilderness users in general just stay away. But this does not bode well for grizzlies. If it is going to come down to a choice between humans using an area and grizzlies using an area, the grizzly will end up losing, at least in some cases.

      So wouldn’t it make sense to try and provide some way for both humans and grizzlies to use an area such as the Wind River Range. Grizzly shelters or small cabins is just one idea. Maybe there are other ideas.

    • WM Says:

      PW,

      I am not much of an anarchist, but if they ever start putting up structures in the Winds (unlikely because most it is wilderness), I might have to put on my Heyduke superhero outfit, recruit a Bonnie, Doc and Seldom, and do some “monkeywrenching.”

  11. Leslie Says:

    Wind Rivers is in Bridger-Teton National Forest so it will not be subdivided.

    So you might be even saying we need more wilderness areas and more national forests.

    I actually am of the mind that grizzlies and humans can experience the same spaces without tons of conflict. Hiking in Grizzly country is a wonderful experience because you actually have to be ‘aware’. Hiking in Southern CA (where I grew up by the way and hiked all over the San Bernadino mountains and Sierras) is completely different. The awareness meter is much lower there. Just watch you don’t twist your ankle or get lost in a snowstorm.

    We were meant to be aware, not afraid, but aware. Wilderness teaches us that. I feel that its the same for cattle on our forest lands as for us…if you want to hike the wilderness areas, then you take your chances; be aware, be safe by carrying bear spray etc.

    I don’t feel its the place of the government to protect us from every possible death!

    • Elk275 Says:

      ++Hiking in Southern CA (where I grew up by the way and hiked all over the San Bernadino mountains and Sierras) is completely different. The awareness meter is much lower there. Just watch you don’t twist your ankle or get lost in a snowstorm. ++

      From what I have read the awareness meter should be much higher — pot farms. They are not here yet.

    • JEFF E Says:

      elk,
      don’t be too sure of that

  12. monty Says:

    In terms of the degradation of wilderness areas, does not the forest service have $’s to hire “wilderness crews to cleanup & attempt to educate some of the Litter Bugs? Some of this crap is kindergarden basic education that should be part of our DNA. I spend a lot of time in the 3 Sisters Wilderness in Oregon and, to date, I find very little litter but most of the wilderness use is by foot. Most litter I find is left by the “Big Truck Crowd” who throw their beer cans along the roads being too lazy or dum to keep the cans & collect the deposit.

  13. Leslie Says:

    “Most litter I find is left by the “Big Truck Crowd” who throw their beer cans along the roads being too lazy or dum to keep the cans & collect the deposit.”

    Amen to that!

    The forest service no longer seems to have $$. The beautiful forest service cabins down the road from me used to have 2 or 3 rangers in it. They’d patrol the car campers, ATV’ers, etc. and work the trails. Now there are no rangers, the cabins are rented out online at $300/day for anyone who can pay, the firepits are full of glass and foil, when grizzlies in the spring head to the campground (knowing there was some food or salt licks in there last year) they get in big trouble and sometimes killed. My old neighbor says the rangers used to ride the backcountry. Now, he says, they never get out of their car.

  14. pointswest Says:

    Many grizzly attacks occur at night when people are alseep in thier thin nylon tents. Grizzlies will also snoop in unattended tents in the daytime just because they are a curiousity and might tear them up.

    • Leslie Says:

      The majority of grizzly attacks occur when you suddenly surprise a bear, or esp. come between or close to a mom and cubs. Grizzlies aren’t into attacking. They just need their personal space like we all do. Like I said, get your awareness meter working much higher and carry bear spray.

      You take your chances every day when you get into your car. Should we now have cars that won’t turn on unless you’re seatbeated? God forbide!

    • pointswest Says:

      I grew up 15 miles from Yellowstone in an area that probably had the highest density of grizzlies. I know the reasons they attack. But they often snoop smelly areas like camps and tents and if they startle a camper, she might start screeming and provoke an attack.

      The camper killed on Hebgan Lake in the 80’s was killed and partially eaten with other campers nearby inside of a hardshell camper. Many bear supporters gloss over this fact and blame reasearchers for capturing and drugging this bear several times but learned aggression towards humans does not explain why the grizzly at Hebgan Lake ate a large portion of the victims body.

  15. pointswest Says:

    Why did they close the area for camping. This is what the PR staff for the Bridger-Teton said:

    From Bridger-Teton public affairs assistant Nan Stinson.

    “I would say this is a rare event and it’s not a typical action we take,” Stinson said.

    “I know in the past we have moved campers because of bears, but as far as I know, this was our first closure for bear activity.

    “There were no problems per se, but just to play it on the side of caution … and for public safety, we decided the best thing to do was to close the area to overnight camping and let the Game and Fish Department go up there and do their work.”

    These rare events are starting happen about once every week in the Yellowstone region. I’ll bet they just didn’t want another grizzly story in the news after the death at Kelly Creek and the problem bears at Norris.

    • WM Says:

      I just want to know who will move the campers when the griz start to occupy the Winds backcountry in greater numbers. Lots of fish meals prepared by hikers in the Winds, and you know they are not going to do meal preparation 100 feet or more from where they sleep. And, how will you know where the last camper prepared their meals?

      And no, griz go wherever they want to, and doesn’t always take a suprise to set them off. You just need to determine how far the bear will take an encounter. Tough to do from inside your nylon tent.

      Griz are curious just like black bears and attracted by ripe aromas we cannot smell.

    • pointswest Says:

      If you had shelters or small cabins, you could confine all cooking to inside by the permit agreement. Bears would be attracted to the smells at the shelters but you might employ the trick of planting bait near the shelters with non-leathal poison several times each summer that would make the bears sick. If this was done consistently, I would guess the bears would associate the food smell at the shelters with the sickness and lose interest. The non-leathal poisoning would have to be done consistently each summer, however, as there will always be new bears each spring.

    • Leslie Says:

      Should we start building shelters in every national forest from here to the Canadian border? Much of that a grizzly corridor? If you like that idea, then you better make sure the forest service, as well as the national park service, gets a much bigger budget. And then maybe you might want to lobby for that money not being spent on massive logging of beetle kill (they’re closing campgrounds for logging preferences now), and instead build these cabins for hikers. I would have to say ‘dream on’.

      My dream might be more like Jack Turners…to have large tracts of land, and corridors, that are ‘go at your own risk’, no wildlife studies, not fully mapped, more unexplored. Our children into the future might still experience a truly wild nature and the heartbeat of the land. All the other places can have the cabins.

    • pointswest Says:

      No…you only build them where there are plenty of backpackers who can pay fees and where they might have grizzly problems. The Wind Rivers are probably not there yet…but they will be.

      I am not talking about four star accomdations with jucuzzi and big screen HDTV, I am talking about a shelter constructed from logs, block, stone or some other inexpensive building material. It would need bars on windows, a heavy door and bear-proof latch, and maybe vent hood for cooking with gas.

      Some might be built with voluntary labor over the years.

      Hey…if the economy keeps going like it is, maybe we can ressurect the CCC!

    • WM Says:

      PW, See my 1:35 post below. Sorry, I went to the wrong reply prompt.

    • Leslie Says:

      I do have to say even though I live in Sunlight Basin, I would consider the Winds my ‘spiritual home’. It is an incredible place.

      I don’t know if you’ve been there Pointswest, but one of the greatest things about it is its inaccessibility. There are so few places left like that in the lower 48. Almost any trail head requires driving 20 miles on a dirt road. Now you’re at the trailhead, but not in the high country yet. You’re just starting at around 8,500′. To get to the continental divide and the attraction of the Winds, its another 11 miles or so of hard hiking. The main trailheads are located at very large lakes i.e. Green River above with the bear problem, where trailer campers go. The backcountry is another thing.

      In the past I’ve only seen backpackers, climbers, NOLS, and once I saw a man with goats carrying his stuff. I know you can rent horses to drop your stuff off while you hike in or ride in to a general location. Maybe the answer is not to build cabins and charge the low-impact hikers, but to prohibit the easy access people on horseback.

      Last time I was there, by myself with my dog, I went to Pinedale to the ranger station and asked if they wanted me to register. ‘Huh?” they said. They could’ve cared less. Its a wild place where a snow storm can come anytime and you are with the elements.

      I do have to say that if the grizzlies get up to those 10,000’+ moth sites (more power to them), then I still think the main thing you have to worry about in the Winds are not the grizzlies but the mosquitos.

      Also, I don’t understand what the work was the G&F had to do? Collaring again?

  16. pointswest Says:

    I will share a story about grizzlies I heard from one of my friends in Ashton, Idaho where I grew up. It took place around 1968. My friend’s uncle ran sheep up Squirrel Creek southwest of Bechler Ranger Station. One day the uncle wanted my friend’s help to kill a grizzly that had been rampaging these sheep. It was perfectly legal to kill grizzlies in the late 60’s without so much as a hunting license. The bear had been killing sheep for several nights. On the worst night, it killed something like a dozen sheep. In total, it had killed nearly 30 sheep over a three or four night period. This was before the days of compensation. The bear had to be killed, as they saw it. My friend and his uncle staked out the pasture where the attacks had taken place. The bear showed up about 10PM, relatively early in the night. They shot and killed it and it was a giant boar grizzly. They dressed the dead bear because its hide was valuable. I do not recall if they intended to preserve the meat for eating…some like bear meat, especially from fat grizzlies since it makes nice sausage. In their curiosity to understand why the bear was killing and leaving so many dead sheep, they cut open the bear’s stomach to inspect the contents. The bear’s stomach contained gallons and gallons huckleberries. There was a bumper crop of huckleberries that summer and this bear had been gorging himself on them. They also noticed, however, the strong smell of alcohol. The conclusion was that the bear had eaten so many hackberries that he could not digest the fructose fast enough and it was fermenting into alcohol inside of his giant stomach. That is, the bear was drunk and was killing sheep as part of some kind of drunken grizzly rampage.

    My point is that I agree that, as a rule, grizzlies do not normally attack humans and only kill for food. Most attacks on humans are probably are defensive. As with any rule, however, there are exceptions. There are all kinds of extraordinary situation that can arise and they do arise and will continue to arise.

    • WM Says:

      PW,

      I don’t know what common practice is these days in Alaska NF backcountry, but here is what I remember from about ten years ago. Maybe we can learn from their experiences and techniques. Some high density griz areas near heavily fished lakes I visited, had a very sturdy small “A frame” shelter or two for sleeping. It was a twelve mile hike into one lake, where I was all alone until a float plane showed up (disappointing to see my long morning effort could be eclipsed by someone in a few minutes). You might even wind up sharing the A frame with somebody (4 bunk ledges). These guys left, so I had the place to myself except for mosquitoes the size of crows.

      The thing was, you didn’t cook in the A frames. In fact, it was prohibited from keeping any food in the shelter. There were designated cooking areas – usually 100 feet or more away, back from the water and the shelters, the area cleared of any vegetation, with a cooking surface on a cedar log with a flattened top, and maybe a 2×12 fastened along its length. or a couple of stump logs with a 2×12 between them. Also a fire pit. Nothing near the A frames. You hung your food bag from a bear wire about 20 feet off the ground. Remember the griz is a bit taller and with a higher reach than a black bear, as well as 4x as strong (my unresearched guess)

      My experience is, if a griz wants in a shelter or cabin very badly it gets in, especially a big boar, or a mama. Maybe your experience is different.

      As for deterring bears, my cousin the civil engineer/surveyor working for the FS in MT, who I have talked about before here, had bears constantly stealing food and destroying stuff in their 6-8 person field crew camps, regardless of prevention techniques (cans and iceboxes hung from ridgepoles on ropes, watermelons weighted down in the bottom of a deep creek hole). After a few bear raids, which meant no dinner for the young and hungry crew, and about 4 hour or longer hike and drive to get food they got creative. They smeared and wrapped bacon around cans of Off mosquito repellent (and later somebody brought in hairspray or other aerosols). Bears like to puncture can, but don’t know about pressurized cans. PFFFFFFFTTT! sound and bad taste. Worked sometimes, but then others, over the years did not, and they had to resort to a little 3S (with MTFWP just saying we just don’t want to know or hear about it). That was thirty years ago, or so, and mostly black bear, I think. Although, he did mention a griz or two, however. I don’t know what one would use for a “non-lethal” bad tasting deterrent these days.

    • pointswest Says:

      WM

      Yes…my ideas are conceptual and people who have more experince or understanding might have better ideas. The main idea is to make areas usable for both grizzlies and humans. I think humans would be at risk even with shelters but can envision the Wind Rivers, for example, become a hot destination for the avid backpacker because of the grizzlies. Risk, as long as it remains small, can be part of the attraction.

      Myself personally, I do not mind walking in grizzly country as long as I have a gun or spray and am fully awake and alert but I have trouble sleeping there knowing a grizzly could come into my camp snooping while I am asleep…even if we have horses or dogs. I had it happen once so it is not some unimaginable event for me. Grizzlies can be completely unafraid of a camp. They can act like the camp just pisses them off and they are going to come crashing in to see if anything can be done about it. I’ve experienced it.

    • pointswest Says:

      I remember the 80’s when ranchers were having some success with non-leathal poison and coyote predation upon their sheep. They would put non-lethal poison on a sheep carcass that made coyotes sick for a couple of days. The coyotes learned that sheep made them sick and avoided them.

      I’m guessing that this method would have limitation with coyotes since they reproduce rapidly and have short life spans. Every year, probably 20% to 30% of coyotes are yearlings and are hunting for the first time.

      With grizzlies, that have life spans of 25 or more years, non-lethal poisoning may be very effective in detouring them from certain food sources.

    • WM Says:

      See PW,

      That is the developing issue. More people + more griz creates potential for more conflict. I am not particularly afraid of bears, I do respect them. I have shared some of my black bear stories here, and my few griz encounters, as well. Yeah, I know, I’m not popular here for some of my views, but I don’t have the overwhelming desire to create more and more forest-wide risk by having griz range expanded so much. Meeting ESA requirements, yes, but beyond that, let’s go slow and be smart about what we do.

      I just wonder if, after a few hikers get slapped around and maybe killed in fortuitous encounters (bearspray or gun available or not), the appetite will be as high here for griz repopulation? If it is any consolation, I don’t sleep that well under the stars in griz country either, whether in AK or the West. Black bears don’t bother me.

      Maybe some like Leslie, who I think just started commenting here, finds all this exciting, but he/she has not really shared any real close up and personal bear experiences. Maybe he/she will, and we can see how deep the committment is to having griz or black bears snooping around the camp in the dead of night.

    • JEFF E Says:

      Jon,
      prove it does not happen,
      I can post videos of Apex predator eating Apex predators all day which is what you contend (now) only rarely happens. that video is merely an example (i really need to clarify that to you???).
      Yes Jon, predators, apex or not eat other predators, apex or not every day somewhere.
      Prove me wrong

  17. bob jackson Says:

    I checked backpackers and horse parties for 30 years in YNP. The worst slobs were the horse users and the worst of the lot, by far, were outfitters hauling summer time dudes.

    The outfitters always had tight schedules and were always hiring drug store cowboy orangatans as help. Thus, when the dudes and outfitter pulled out in the morning heading for the next camp …or days excursions…it was left to the flunkies to clean up horse manure and garbage. Cleaning to them meant burning as much stuff, plastic plates and all …. or finding the depression behind blown over trees to pile in the trash and then shovel it over. Or better yet if they were by camped by the Yell. River it was throwing it all in to wash down stream.

    And it was the outfitters themselves who condoned it all. Maybe one out of 100 outfitters, I felt, had any respect for the land. And the big ones out of Jackson were worst. They had been throwing cans behind trees since the beginning ….. and never stopped.

    I got great satisfaction nailing these guys. And they never stopped at one violation. Maybe around camp but most had their “secret” fishing lakes where illegal fires and catches were partaken the same as in the “old days”. This is where the most blatant resouce, garbage and manure violations occurred.

    By knowing where they officially camped I could figure out where the days travel…and fishing would happen. Then I’d stake out above and glass the flop house activities. Such basic foul, decayed human behavior I observed by help away from the fishing dudes. Everything from putting baked potatoes under mules tails, wiping their rear ends on horse blankets and mantees to …you name it.

    After the afternoon had passed I’d ride on down to hear the stories, ask the questions and answers of “oh no , not us” and then ask them to walk with me to those trash stashed heaps. As I have said before, all outfitter poachers I caught except one always cried and if I could get the outfitter and guides away from the dudes these summer violators cried too. tough titty.

    They deserved it all and it is a shame the Forest Service and now the NPS administration are such wimps they throw away field rangers citation on influential outfitters. For myself in those last years I would have to check up on my citations issued because if I didn’t most would be changed to warnings. The reason for ad min throwing out those citations? … because a second violation meant that outfitters concession permit would have to be reviewed and if the violation was followed by another…or this outfitter had another violation from another agency his permit was to be revoked.

    When $500,000 camps are at stake those administrators (FS and NPS) found it easier to sit in the office chair rather than deal with those outfitters.

    And as noted above by others, there are not many back country FS. law dogs today. But don’t acept the FS arguments there is no money for these type employees. The real reason is the desk jockeys don’t know anything about the backcountry anymore. Thus they are at a loss to counter point what an outfitter says in his defense. So instead of now having to throw citations out they can save face by not even having to capitulate…because there are no more tickets.

    What one sees now? money spent on still another pallet full of reams of paper. Everyone writing from their desks…so much so they actually start to believe what they write is fact….And they start thinking they are the experts. such as it is as to why the Winds…as part of the BT has the envcironmental human use problems described by others above.

    And what a crock of s…. for the FS. to say they are closing the area so G&F can go in and do their thing. Why are they subjugating themselves to a state agency? The FS should be taking care of it themselves…or at least do a joint effort. The old time FS rangers would be rolling over in their graves if they heard how much the FS has fallen. So there.

  18. Id Hiker Says:

    Some years ago in the Sawtooths, I and a pal were threatened by a lone packer leading a horse train who had his hand on his rifle as he accused us of leaving a dog unleashed. The thing is: We were not traveling with a dog (something else I’m against, but that’s just me). It put me off of packers forever… the level of hostility was very very high – he was clearly a psychopath. I wrote the Forest Service but never heard back. The selfish commercial exploitation of the few should end. Maybe llamas and goats are the answer. The day will come when I can no longer go on my own steam, and I hope to have the grace to let it go (it’s not far away).
    I’ve been off topic in this thread but I’ve been going to the Wind River since I was a teenager in Pocatello (a long long time ago) and think it’s the most beautiful range.
    Is Stephen Herrero (Bear Attacks. Their Causes and Avoidance) still a fundamental text? If I remember correctly, a lot of brown bear behavior is still a mystery. I love knowing they are there, but I make a huge effort to keep clean camps (including smells) and everything goes up a tree or over a cliff at night a long way from the tent. Maybe their presence will make for lighter impact, cleaner campers in the Wind Rivers?? Cautious optimism.

  19. Leslie Says:

    “Maybe some like Leslie, who I think just started commenting here, finds all this exciting, but he/she has not really shared any real close up and personal bear experiences. Maybe he/she will, and we can see how deep the committment is to having griz or black bears snooping around the camp in the dead of night.”

    Well, yes I did have a very close encounter in Glacier with a young black bear who actually bit my friend sitting next to me. At that time, in the 70’s, we did all the ‘right’ things you were supposed to do, including hanging the food, etc. There are many more right things they tell you now, like cooking in different clothes than you sleep in, or not cooking near your tent, or that bears like toothpaste. They didn’t know that then.

    I’ve hiked in black bear country with bears for years and had different bear encounters, though never as close to that, literally, nose to nose encounter…think black bear 2″ away from my face.

    So I do have some real life experience, although I’ve only seen grizzlies from afar and would like to keep it that way. But from my understanding, if a black bear charges, watch out because they will kill you, vs. a bluff 90% of the time charge from a grizzly.

  20. Leslie Says:

    Also, although I am not a frequent commenter, I am a daily reader. The discussion about the Winds is near and dear to my heart as its my favorite place on this Earth. The idea of paying for designated campsites there, and building structures there got me going enough to participate in this discussion. Thank you.

    • WM Says:

      Leslie,

      You (and others who just read) should participate more. Things get a little stale around here sometimes, and you seem like a knowledgeable person.

      _____________

      I know this is a bit off topic, but still has to do with bears, habituation, and danger to humans.

      Recall the earlier news piece from a week ago, about the 10 WA black bears near Oysterville (Longbeach Peninsula on the coast) that had been fed by a homeowner; five were destroyed and five relocated to Mt. Rainier NP, with actually up to 15 bears involved. Also recall the homeowner spent over $4,300 per year feeding the bears,…eh … dogfood.

      I just learned today that the jerk responsible will likely not be punished much for his poor judgment, costing bears lives and $$ to WA for investigating, destroying, and relocating the bears.

      It seems, under current state law, prosecutors are unable to do much except charge him with “reckless endangerment” and a violation of the 1996 (Iniative-655) bear baiting law, with a potential for minimal misdemeanor fines. There will be push to get stronger law for this kind of thing next legislative session, now that they have a high profile text book example of what can happen without proper deterrents.

    • Leslie Says:

      Thank you WM. I suppose I’m shy.

  21. pointswest Says:

    Now I am a father and would like to take my son into some of these beautiful places. He is only seven now but in a few more years, maybe we can go. Am I going to take him into the Wind Rivers and risk his life camping in a flimsy nylon tent…no I will not. So your idealizaion of a pure and pristine wilderness limits the options for others…I am sure you do not care.

    • Leslie Says:

      I am not saying all wilderness should remain wild. Why, you can take your son camping in Yellowstone…the only complete ecosystem in the lower 48. You will be given a campsite and, yes I agree, that is a great thing they do in Yellowstone as it really helps the bears as well as the people.

      But please, read Jack Turner’s book, if only for the very first chapter which is a gem. If we do what you suggest with every ‘wilderness’ and very few are left, then we will have completely lost our connection to wonder and mystery, our basic spiritual connection to the earth. His first chapter tells the whole story that I am pushing here.

      I hope your son someday will be able to experience nature in an unmanaged way, directly. So yes, I really do care.

    • Id Hiker Says:

      Actually, the drive to the trailhead is, statistically, far more dangerous than the risk from a griz. I have hiked in the Beartooth for 30 years and the Wind River for 40 and have had but one close encounter with a grizzly – she ran away with her two cubs. Although I have turned around and hiked out when I spot steaming scat. I’ve seen lots of families with children hiking up trails – without fear. The lower 48 will never be pristine – the ecosystems are too small and scattered… now the Brooks Range – that’s different. Leslie is certainly right – the Wind River is very special although it is looking worn out – to change that in any way to make it “safer” would be a sad thing.

    • pointswest Says:

      Leslie…we have been to Yellowstone several times. Yellowstone is even worse for bear danger because there are more of them, they are losing any and all fear of man, and guns are not allowed in the Park.

      Also, Yellowstone and the Wind River Range are very different places. I would like to take him to both…or I might have 20 years ago.

    • jon Says:

      pw, why do you think the bears are losing their fear of man? Just because a few isolated incidents that happened between bears and humans does not mean bears are losing their fear of man. I think we have to be realistic in knowing that bears might attack a person if they feel threatened somehow. I think this fear of man thing is overhyped. No one can predict a wild animal’s behavior.

    • jon Says:

      pw, do you know who chris servheen is? You can’t teach a dead bear to fear man because it’s dead. He said this in a magazine. Bears will generally leave people alone. Bears will attack if provoked. So if they attack out of defense, does that mean the bear lost its fear of humans? Last I checked, bears defend themselves when threatened. Try to get close to a grizzly mother and her cubs and see if she fears man. I guarantee you you will likely be charged.

    • Save bears Says:

      PW,

      Yes, guns are now allowed in YS as they are in all NPS units…you really need to brush up on current events..

    • Leslie Says:

      PS, Yellowstone is set up exactly as you are suggesting all backcountry be set up…there are fees for back country permits, you have nice designated campsites, places are already provided to hang your food and your campsite is in a different place than your food. You might, as I did last year at Heart Lake, have a nice ranger come bye at dusk to check your permit, make sure you’re in the right spot and you’re legal, and tell you that a bear was spotted hours ago by the lake.

      So why are you complaining about taking your son to Yellowstone? This is exactly how you say all wilderness experiences should be set up. Unless you just don’t want Grizzlies at all in the wilderness.

  22. pointswest Says:

    BTW…I have had many encounters with black bears…dozens. I have fed them with my hands and I have even killed a few. Black bears are not much of a risk and do not worry me very much. Grizzlies are a completely different story.

    A black bear you should yell at if charged. You can bluff them by acting fierce and unaffraid. Grizzlies, on the other hand, meet aggression with aggression. They are well aware that they are the top preditor. You best bet with grizzlies is to slowly back away and if charged, to hit the ground and prepare to be mauled by curling into ball and placing your hands over the back of your neck.

    NEVER try and bluff a grizzly. It will only hit you harder.

    • jon Says:

      And why did you kill those bears? Have you tried bear meat?

    • Leslie Says:

      There is always new ideas about grizzlies charging. Luckily I haven’t had to deal with it, but several people I know have. The latest they tell you is NOT to hit the ground immediately at all, but to stand your ground in a charge, not look the griz in the eye, and if they don’t bluff then, well hit the bear spray can, but then hit the ground.

      I work at the BBHC draper lab a day a week. The assistant curator had a few things to say about bear spray I hadn’t heard before (always new stuff going around). He said that you don’t aim for the bear, but for the ground in front of the bear about 10′ away from you. What you are doing is creating a cloud of spray. You want that spray to disperse like a screen in front of you. If you aim for the bears face, that’s a small target. I suppose get it out there however you can.

      The game warden told me he recently was in heavy brush, didn’t have a gun because it was wet, but had his spray in his hand when he ran 7′ from a sow with cubs who was ready to pounce on him. He sprayed her and that was it. The dog helped him as well. But in his case, and also in another I’d heard, just the sound of the bear spray going off frightened the griz.

    • jon Says:

      Just curious pw, why did you kill those bears? Have you tried bear meat before? I have heard some say that bear meat doesn’t taste that good. Feeding bears sets a bad example. As they say pw, a fed bear is a dead bear.

    • mikarooni Says:

      Seems like Leslie is more knowledgeable about bears than old pointswest. For the record, most bear meat is very greasy, stringy, and they carry trichinosis worse than pigs. So, you have cook the grease out of it, hence all the references to bear grease being used in the past, and cook it enough to kill the trichinosis and, when you’re finally done, you have overdone, waxy, tough fibrous meat. The poor campesinos on the ranchos in Mexico can mix it with corn and other things to make it better and they eat it because they have to eat everything available to them to make ends meet; but, from my experience, the only people eating bear in America are more interested in proving something silly about themselves than making a decent meal. Some Americans do lots of things just to show off.

    • jon Says:

      I have heard from many that bear meat isn’t edible. I am curious as to why he killed those bears. Hand feeing a bear is a big no no. He should know that a fed bear is a dead bear. Californians should know that feeding bears will give them a death sentence. Eating the meat of a predator doesn’t sit right with me.

    • pointswest Says:

      Jon…when I fed the bears, it was long before anyone frowned upon it. This was back in the 60’s when everyone fed the bears. I have not fed bears for the past 40 years, however.

      The bears I killed were killed in bear hunts in North Idaho near Potlatch on private land using hound dogs. Yes, we ate them. When they are fat, they make good breakfast sausage.

    • pointswest Says:

      mikarooni…I think many people do not like bear meat. My dad liked to tell a story of feeding bear meat at a Lion’s Club banquet in Ashton, Idaho with no one knowing it was bear meat. In the middle of the dinner, he asked in a loud voice how everyone was enjoying their bear meat and several of the men about puked. According to my father, they were enjoying it up until they knew what it was, however. He loved that story and I must have heard it a hundred times.

      I have only eaten the bear breakfast sausage and I believe the butcher mixed it with some pork fat. It was good; not really different from pork sausage. I suspect that as with many foods, it depends on how it is cooked. Who would think escargot (snails) might make a gourmet meal?

      I killed a giant of an old buck once (the largest the game warden had ever seen) that was about the nastiest meat I have ever had. No one would eat it and it sat in our deep freeze for a year. We finally tried feeding it to our dog be he wouldn’t eat it either. From that time on, we always made our mule deer into jerky. Deer jerky is great. Friends and relatives would always be asking for it and even in years when we had killed four or five deer, the jerky was usually gone by New Years.

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      How many times do we need to talk about this, bear meat is edible, and if properly prepared it is quite good, I have eaten bear meat on several occasions and it really tastes a like like wild pig, it needs to be cooked right and seasoned right, who ever is telling you it is not edible, has no idea of what they are talking about.

      PW, it sounds like your talking out of your ass, because most of what you have posted the last couple of days is getting out there..

    • Save bears Says:

      Just to add, one of my favorite meat meals is actually horse meat, but it is not politically correct to say that now a days…so I stick to venison and elk meat…

    • pointswest Says:

      SB…like what am I talking out my ass about? I far as I know, everything I’ve said is true. Can you give me some clue as to what I’ve said that you have doubts about.

    • jon Says:

      Actually, the people who said it wasn’t edible were hunters sb. I doubt they would lie about something like this. It is an individual thing, either you like bear or not. I am sure there are some hunters who have tried bear and disliked it.

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      I am sure there are some hunters that don’t like bear meat, but that does not make it inedible, heck I know people that don’t like chicken, beef, pork, etc. but that still does not make it inedible…heck I don’t like spinach, but it is still edible…

    • jon Says:

      Those are their words, not mine sb, but I have a question for you, have you ever tried wolf meat or mt. lion meat? If you haven’t, would you ever? Do you prefer elk to bear? What about grizzly meat?

    • Save bears Says:

      Nope,

      Never have tried wolf, but I have eaten Lion and it was not bad, it just depends on how you cook it, just like with any meat.

      I like elk better than bear, but that is just personal preference.

      Now of course when I was overseas, we were at times served meals by the locals in various locations, and I can’t say for sure what we were served, so I might have had dog somewhere along the way, with out knowing it..

    • WM Says:

      I once had a very famous Nakota Sioux Indian author say a young Sioux warrior’s idea of a seven course meal was a six pack of beer and a puppy. He smiled when he said it. I honestly didn’t know how to take the comment at the time, and it left me speechless in the conversation.

    • pointswest Says:

      I watched documentaries about the poaching of chimps and gorillas in the Congo and some of the men there believe bush meat (chimps and gorillas) are a real man’s food and that beef and chicken are wimpy white man’s food.

      Here in Los Angeles, a Cambodian friend would talk a lot about some underground restaurant in Korea Town that would bring a live monkey to the table that was strapped down to a board. The chef would pull out his meat cleaver and lop off the top of the monkey’s head and the object was to grab out the brains and pop them into your mouth while the monkey was still screaming.

      I am not kidding. Several corroborated his story. And don’t attack me as I am only relaying the story.

    • jon Says:

      I believe there was a place in FL that sold african lion meat, yes, african lion meat. There was a lot of controversy about that and people told them to stop selling it and they did.

    • pointswest Says:

      In about 1967, there was a gruesome story about some so called hippies from San Francisco that visited Yellowstone and were so impressed by the pristine nature of it that they decided to stay. They (probably wacked out on acid) believe they could live off the land as nature intended man to do. They built a shelter in some remote location but, being hippies (and on drugs), did not have much luck in finding hunting for food. Half starved, they decided to kill and eat a tourist. A fisherman found the torso of a dead tourist floating down the river and reported it to Park Rangers. A large scale manhunt ensued. Law enforcement quickly found the hippies camp and found the arm and leg bones of the dead tourist that the hippies had been roasting on the fire. The most shocking thing to me was that when they brought them in and searched their clothes, they found half eaten fingers in the pockets of one of the hippies that he had been snaking on.

      I was just a kid when this story came around and I am not certain if it is true but everyone, including parents , were talking about it. It seems like it happened about the same time as the Manson Family murders.

    • jon Says:

      Predators don’t usually eat predators
      It is not natural, and perhaps even unhealthy, to eat the flesh of predators. There must be good reason why predators do not eat other predators. Lions do not eat other lions even if they fight and kill each other. There are very few reported incidences, if any, of big cats eating each other. There seems little research into why this is the case, but there is obviously some innate sense within big cats that they should not eat each other.
      Yet humans do often eat other species of predator; snakes, crocodiles, many species of fish and even dogs. Perhaps it is just our western pre-conceptions of what is right to eat and what is not, but that is irrelevant. What is relevant is the way that this lion was brought to the table, how it was kept in a farm and how it was killed.

    • Elk275 Says:

      Points West

      The cannibals murders happen in 1970 north of Yellowstone National Park near Corwin Springs; I was a 19 year old working for the NPS in Mammoth at the time. I would write more but I have a 1:00 p.m. appointment.

    • pointswest Says:

      Yes…the story is essentially true. I said I was not sure. Here is a story with what sounds like factual information.

      http://books.google.com/books?id=QSuJlpp7BKcC&pg=PA71&lpg=PA71&dq=cannibalism+in+yellowstone+park&source=bl&ots=T2uL_i_WMu&sig=8DD_B7sCXv4VoOVj4kVv_1b0zbs&hl=en&ei=RbM8TKzkOovUtQOIsojaCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBUQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=cannibalism%20in%20yellowstone%20park&f=false

      They story about the grizzly being drunk from huckleberries I got first hand and was much older when I heard it.

    • pointswest Says:

      jon…there is a great rivalry between lions and hyenas and I have seen documentaries that showed very clearly that they will kill and eat each other. This documentary showed one very clear and close up encounter of a large male lion killing and eating a hyena. I am almost certain they showed lions that had been eaten by hyenas too. They are always fighting and trying to kill each other and when they succeed in killing, they do not leave the flesh for vulture food. They eat it.

      Grizzlies will cannibalize their own cubs. It is why I think “grizzly mom” is so appropriate of a term for Sarah Palin. I was a watching Grizzly Man Diaries just a few weeks ago where one of triplet cubs injured its foot, became seriously lame, and the two sibling cubs killed and ate him…because he couldn’t defend himself or maybe they didn’t understand the rights afforded to the lame cub by American with Disabilities Act or something.

      Do you live near Disney World or something?

      Predators do not specialize in killing other predators probably because there are far fewer predators than prey.

    • jon Says:

      If it happens, it’s a rare event. Predators usually don’t eat other predators.

      Do you live near disney world is what you asked me. What kind of ridiculous and stupid question is that and what does that have to do with what we are talking about?

    • Tim Says:

      Jon,
      Mt. Lions will hunt down and kill both Lynx and Bobcats. Bobcats love to eat their little cousins the house cat and I watched on either discovery channel or animal planet two adult male African lions kill and feed on a lioness. I remember watching a documentary on a grizzly in Yellowstone that killed several black bear in early spring by digging them out of there dens. Animals don’t care if they are eating another predator or not. If they are hungry they will take anything that does not pose serious risk of injury. If the Cougar has an opportunity to kill a lone wolf and has the advantage of surprise you can bet that puppy is gonna be a meal.

    • JEFF E Says:

      (some how this was out of context so sorry for the repeat)
      JEFF E Says:
      July 13, 2010 at 2:52 PM
      Predators eat other predators on a consistent basis’s

      for example.
      eagles eat trout
      sharks eat seals (sharks eat everything)
      bears eat cats
      bears eat wolves
      wolves eat bears
      cougars eat wolves
      cougars eat bears
      most fish eat other fish who eat other fish
      Alligators or crocodiles, nuff said
      on and on and on

      and then consider if it is middle of a bad winter and a predator is starving. do we actually think the thought process goes along the lines of “oh wait, you’re another predator. In that case I’m just going to starve rather than eat you”

      bear is very edible. I prefer spring bear. fall bear is greasy and too sweet for my taste.

      cougar is good if you prefer very lean somewhat fibrous meat.
      very good as jerky, as bear is salami.

      Lewis and Clark ate dog (very much a food source in many parts of the world today) on many occasions and even wolf when going across Idaho.

      Humans need to have “some” fat in their diet. The native Americans, Mountain Men and early European settlers best accomplished this by killing a fall bear.(or having a good salmon season in some areas or both)

    • jon Says:

      Tim, that does happen, but it’s a rare thing. It doesn’t happen often. Lions do not generally eat hyenas that they kill. Then again, if a predator is starving and he/she gets thw chance, I don’t have much doubt that he/she would eat another predator. I am just saying it’s not the norm that predators eat other predators. Only under certain circumstances.

    • JEFF E Says:

      Jon,
      you don’t have the remotest clue what you even are talking about.
      give it up
      i could spend day’s posting every type of proof there is to the contrary to you argument.

    • jon Says:

      I am sorry Jeff, but you are obviously wrong on this. Are you going to tell me that lions eating hyenas happens all of the time? As for humans needing some fat in our diet, us americans get too much fat in our diets which explains why we are probably the fattest country in the world. Apex predators NORMALLY don’t eat other apex predators. Does it ever happen? Sure it does, but not that much.

    • jon Says:

      Jeff, I never said it doesn’t happen. Would you care to provide me with some proof that it happens every day?

      apex predators do not eat apex predators (unless they are scavengers)except in times of famine.

      This is what I said a few comments back.

    • JEFF E Says:

      Jon,
      it happen all the time, today, yesterday, tomorrow. that is the way it is.
      you are wrong, just admit it
      shall I start with the videos now as you clearly will not or can not read the relevant material
      what would you call these two critters, apex maybehttp://humanelement.blogspot.com/2009/12/killer-whale-eats-great-white-shark.html

    • JEFF E Says:

      http://www.psnh.com/osprey/facts.asp
      I would guess that some where an Osprey is eating a trout ….everyday

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      Once meat is on the ground, it is food for all sorts of predators, you really are getting out there with some of this stuff…your asking Jeff to post links that shows he is right, but your not posting anything to show he is wrong…meat is meat to a predator and it really does not matter where it comes from..

    • jon Says:

      Jeff E, that was one time. I read about that killer whale eating a great white story. please, provide me with numerous videos of sharks eating whales and vice versa. You are not likely to find very many because the simple fact is it doesn’t happen that often. Lions eating hyenas does not happen that often. Why you fail to ignore this is beyond me. As I said, does it happen sometimes? yes, but not as often as someone like you thinks. Please, find me numerous videos of whales eating great whites and vice versa and if you can do that, I will believe you.

    • jon Says:

      Jeff E, do you remember that picture of a mountain lion that was killed by wolves? It’s entrails were ripped out, but the mt. lion wasn’t eaten. Would you care to explain why that was? A killer whale killing a great white is a rare event so I dare you to try and tell me it isn’t. Do you have any other videos of a killer whale killing a great white? Do you have NUMEROUS videos of lions eating hyenas? Please, post them.

    • JEFF E Says:

      Jon,
      you’re starting to border on pathetic
      your premise that predators and prey on other predators is wrong, (yes I noticed you inserted the word apex along the line, makes no difference) you are just not man enough to admit it.
      why?

    • jon Says:

      sb, I would like your opinion on this.

      Is it rare that a killer whale kills and eats a great white or has this happened many many times? Do predators generally eat each other or is it something that happens every now and then?

    • Elk275 Says:

      Jon the reason it does not happen much is because its a huge ocean and 99.9999999999999999999% goes on without anyone knowing what has happened.

    • jon Says:

      No, I have no problem with bears eating wolves or wolves eating bears or vice versa. I do have a problem with people eating lion. Jeff E, can you please post me numerous videos of killer whales eating great whites? Since you seem to think this happens all of the time, I would like to see some videos of killer whales killing and eating great whites.

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      My opinion has no bearing on Great Whites and Killer Whales, I am not a marine biologist and have never studied anything to do with it.

      One thing I do know for a fact, because I lived and dove there many times, is that eels kill and eat each other pretty regularly…and they are also an apex predator..

      But again, I have very little knowledge of marine animals, and that ocean is a pretty big place, so I am sure, lots of things go on that none of us know about..

    • jon Says:

      Does anyone remember that mt. lion that was killed by phantom wolf pack? It’s entrails were ripped out, but that’s it. He was left basically intact. I wonder why the wolves didn’t eat him.

    • jon Says:

      sb, I think anyone can agree on that sometimes an apex predator will eat another, but the question is is it an everyday thing? I have not heard of many stories at all about wolves eating a lot of bears or mt. lions or vice versa. Have you? No one is denying that it doesn’t happen, but how often does it happen is the question. Have you seen any bears or mt. lions killed by what you thought was wolves and eaten?

    • jon Says:

      That’s true, but when I think of apex predators, I think of the big and ferocious animals. Big cats, crocodiles, sharks, etc. Little animals can be predators as well as you already know. recently I posted a link to an article about how a big saltie killed a bull shark. I don’t know if he ate it or not, but he definitely killed it. I believe this was the 2nd time that it has happened that we know about. great whites and killer whales killing each other is a rare thing.

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      Your trying to make a point that really has very little study behind it, I do know that it is not uncommon for predators to consume other predators…is it an everyday thing, I have no way to know, that is like saying bears don’t normally eat humans, but yet when I talked to the Bear Biologist in Charge of Glacier National park a couple of years ago, he stated in over 65% of the human fatalities due to bears, the body showed signs of consumption.

      When hunting in Alaska many years ago, I watched a grizz kill and eat a wolf, I have seen wolves, lions an coyotes kill and consume domestic as well as feral cats..

    • JEFF E Says:

      (Damn)
      Jon,
      prove it does not happen,
      I can post videos of Apex predator eating Apex predators all day which is what you contend (now) only rarely happens. that video is merely an example (i really need to clarify that to you???).
      Yes Jon, predators, apex or not eat other predators, apex or not every day somewhere.
      Prove me wrong

    • jon Says:

      Alright sb, but let me ask you this, a wolf pack kills a mt lion, 9 times out of 10, will the wolves eat the mt. lion or just leave it? I posted a picture of a mt. lion killed by wolves. They didn’t eat the mt. lion. I have not heard of many stories of wolves eating mt. lions, but that is not to say that it has never happened. I just thing it is a rare thing. If it wasn’t, it would be all over the news and everyone would be talking about it, no? If someone came up to you while you were still working for Montana fwp and asked you the same question Iam asking, what would you tell them?

    • jon Says:

      Jeff, I said it happens. but the question is how often? You are trying to say that it happens many many times, basically everyday, but where is the proof? You posted that link to that video of a killer whale killing a great white. Did you know that killer whales killing and eating great whites is a very rare thing and vice versa? I don’t know why you would post that video given the fact that it is a fact that killer whales attacking a great white is a rare thing. I want to see some videos of wolves eating a bear or vice versa and please post numerous videos, if you can find them.

    • JEFF E Says:

      Like i said Jon you are bordering on pathetic.
      predators prey on predators, plain and simple. all over the world.
      everyday
      prove me wrong

    • jon Says:

      I never said they don’t. Do you get that? Can you provide me with any videos or stories of mt. lions killing and EATING wolves or the other way around Jeff? I am waiting. If you have nothing which I know you, I will just end this bickering. Respond to me when you have actual numerous videos and stories of mt. lions killing wolves and vice versa.

    • JEFF E Says:

      Jon this what you said
      ” jon Says:
      July 13, 2010 at 1:38 PM
      If it happens, it’s a rare event. Predators usually don’t eat other predators……”
      Now you are trying to shuffle out of it by trying to shift to two specific animals to the exclusion of all others.
      Again, you are wrong. Predators prey and eat other predators all the time, everyday, somewhere.
      Prove otherwise.

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      If someone asked me that question when I was working for FWP, I would say the same thing I am saying to you, I really don’t know, I have not focused on that particular subject.

      But I will say, here in the west, I don’t think it would be all over the news and talked about all that much…I just don’t find it to be such an important topic and I don’t think that many that live in this environment do either.

    • Save bears Says:

      One thing I will add, if there was a photographer there to take a picture of the cat that was killed, then perhaps it ran the wolves off and they would not feed on it. It is one of the same theories I have behind the “Thrill Kill” theories that many have, if we as humans are pressuring wolves, bears, cats, etc. on their kill, I am sure it is easier to go find something else to take down, than try to fight the humans that seem to make a big deal about a kill..

    • jon Says:

      OK sb, fair enough.

    • jon Says:

      I don’t know all of the info to that story with the wolves killing the mt. lion, but my opinion is that mt. lion was killed some time ago before photographers or whoever noticed it. We all know how wolves sometimes kill animals and just leave them there. Me personally, I have not heard one story of wolves actually eating mt. lion in Idaho or Wy, have you? That isn’t to say it has never happened, maybe we just didn’t hear about it, who knows.

  23. Mark Gamblin (IDFG) Says:

    Micarooni, jon –
    Bear meat is no more greasy or stringy, in my experience, than elk, moose, deer, antelope, caribou or mountain lion. I have eaten each of those species and in each case found the meat to be different but delicious in it’s own way. Lion is some of the best wild game I’ve eaten. Lion meat, like bear meat, is also a trichinosis carrier. For any meat that is a trichinosis risk, it is a simple matter of cooking the meat to an internal temperature of 170 degrees.

    • Mike Says:

      People who eat wolf and mountain lion must not own dogs or cats. If they do, man are they some weird bros.

    • WM Says:

      jon,

      ++I have heard from many that bear meat isn’t edible.++

      Well, jon, now you have heard from some who have actually eaten it, and who think it is pretty good, nor is it disgusting. Let me add one more testimonial.

      My parents used to know a US government hunter (it would have a USFWS employee back then), who was often dispatched to the Yakama nation to remove bears for the tribe. The bears may have been going after sheep, chickens or just scaring the locals. This was before they a had a natural resource staff, and they do this task themselves these days. The harvested bear was always offered to tribal members first, and they mostly they took them, and ate the meat. But once in awhile, because of the time/day, the bear was shot, or maybe because the hunter would tell the responsible tribal official he had a friend who would like a bear, he would take them and give to give to my parents. He always brought them field dressed, but not skinned, so you could not tell what the most recent diet had been. These were usually fall bears, fattened mostly from eating huckleberries, and maybe the occasional chicken. This was many years ago, but I do remember having bear roasts and steaks, and sausage. I guess I was in high school at the time. We also had smoked bear ham, which because of the preservation method, as Mark Gamblin cautions, should be heated to 170 degrees as any wild or domestic meat suspected of having trichinosis. I recall that was very tasty with scrambled eggs.

      My folks were moose hunting in Alberta in the late 1970’s. After a successful harvest they stopped at a campground for the night. They were the only vehicle there, as this was in November, if I recall. There were 8 moose quarters in the back of the utility trailer they towed with a pickup which had an Alaskan camper on it. The camper was an innovative design for the time, for it telescoped up to full height by the use of hydaulic jacks when you were ready to use it. The low profile was for better gas mileage and to get into places with lower top clearance. In the middle of the night (3 AM) the camper started rocking violently. As the story goes, my father opened the camper door to see a huge bear was mostly in the back of the trailer helping himself to the moose. He shot the bear, not knowing whether it was a black or griz. Shooting a bear at so a close range in the dark with a scoped rifle does not guarantee a kill, because you can’t see where you are shooting with any precision, even though the distance is short, and the bear was nowhere to be seen in immediate vicinity of the flashlight. Nobody wanted to go out in the night to find a possibly wounded and very pissed off bear. Early next morning at first light they found this black bear dead about a hundred yards away. The body was still warm enough that rigor had not set in and they field dressed it. He had a tag apparently good for both species at that time, but this night shooting was probably not legal. however they were later told the Mounties (game law enforcement at the time) would understand the circumstances, as Canadians are pragmatic people. They talked to some locals about it when they stopped just down the road for gas that morning, and they just said don’t worry, stuff like that happens all the time around here. No big deal.

      This rather large bear was taken to a commercial wild game processor, for cutting and wrapping, with a variety of cuts, including breakfast sausage, steaks and roasts. It was quite good.

      I have killed a couple for the meat many years ago, including one that was a problem bear, but have no desire to do so now.

      _____________

      SEAK,

      I agree with your observation of muscle density. I have the same recollections.

    • JB Says:

      Mike:

      Psychologists who study stereotyping have often noted a phenomenon they refer to as “individuation”, whereby people make an exception to their stereotype based upon repeated personal experience. Thus, for example, upon personal experience that runs counter to a stereotype of Jews as frugal (a common stereotype), the stereotyper might “individuate” or make an exception for that person, noting that they spend freely.

      Having known farmers that occasionally adopt one of their livestock as a pet, I think a similar process can occur with animals. Thus, a farmer might adopt and become very attached to one particular farm cat, while treating the rest quite differently, even cruelly in some cases.

      Personally, I have no desire to hunt nor eat any carnivore, but if a coyote was attacking my dog…

    • WM Says:

      JB,

      ++Personally, I have no desire to hunt nor eat any carnivore, but if a coyote was attacking my dog…++

      Change the word coyote to wolf in the above statement. Would you kill the wolf/wolves involved if that was the only means to save your dog (a german shepherd if I recall correctly)?

    • Mike Says:

      JB –

      I find that an almost cold, alien type of behavior that is completely unsettling.

    • WM Says:

      Mike (and JB regarding pet farm animals),

      It is not alien at all, and shifting over to carnivores is probably not that big a stretch for some.

      If you ever go to a county fair (usually at end of summer or early fall, visit the FFA (Future Farmers of America high school programs) or 4H exhibits for sheep, goats, pigs, cattle (especially steer and heifer), and even some chickens and ducks. These kids raise their project animals from birth, name them, tend to them daily, and eventually show them, all the time knowing at some point they will become a meat product for the table.

      For every kid who shows fair animals, I bet there are hundreds on farms across America who do the same thing – raise animals for slaughter, including naming and tending them like some would a family pet. It’s probably been that way for centuries in Europe, America and elsewhere. I never really thought about it before.

      Pigs, by the way, if given the opportunity can be carnivores, (but not predators).

      Some cultures, as noted in comments above, have been eating dog for centuries. Select American Indian tribes have done it and a few may still do it. If you are not careful where you choose to dine in some big US cities, some Asian (Vietnamese, Thai, etc.) restaurants have served cat in place of chicken or pork, unknown to the patrons. One cause for alot of missing outdoor urban cats. There have even been police/health department busts on this sort of thing – and a rather hilarious episode of “Hill Street Blues” in the mid-1980’s with this as a theme.

      Mike, you really need to get out more.

    • jon Says:

      “It’s strange but legal. If something is legal, nothing is stopping people from doing it or eating it. It’s more about it’s peculiarity,” says Cadman.
      Cadman says lions in African are not hunted for eating but for trophy purposes — where the lion head is stuffed and its skin is cleaned and kept as trophies. He says Africa has between 25,000 and 30,000 lions and those are threatened mostly by sport hunters and poachers.
      Ashley Byrne, a spokeswoman for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said most lion meat served in restaurants comes from old zoo and circus lions. Regardless of where Selogie’s meat came from, the lions “suffered terrifying deaths,” Byrne said.
      “Anybody who orders a lion burger is supporting cruelty to animals,” she said.
      Michele Pickover, spokeswoman for Animal Rights Africa, said she was concerned that an appetite for lion in the United States would increase poaching.
      “In the United States it’s about trying anything to make money,” says Pickover. “That’s not acceptable here in Africa. Eating predators is shunned here. Predator eating predator is rare. Even lions eating other predators is uncommon.”

      I guess predators eating predators is more common than some would think. Afterall, lions eat humans.

    • pointswest Says:

      jon…I do not like trophey hunting and have never been interested in something like lion hunting. Most hunters I grew up with in Idaho were the same. I suppose I might like a bear rug or a moose head for a cabin but it is not a big deal to me personally.

      Having said that, trophey hunting is natural. Aboriginal peoples the world over will kill lions, bears, tigers, eagles and the like for tropheys in the form of hides, skulls, claws, teeth, and feathers.

      In Africa, men have been hunting for hundreds of thousand of years. Trophey hunting has been happening for hudreds of thousands of years. Stopping it would be unnatural.

      But I agree that trophey hunting in 2010 has ethical issues and I do not like many trophey hunters. What you might be suprised to know is that many hunters, perhaps a majority of American hunters, do not like many forms of trophey hunting either.

    • jon Says:

      Mike and JB, apex predators do not eat apex predators (unless they are scavengers)except in times of famine.
      Deer and antelope and cows and poultry etc, are vegetarian; their meat is comprised of metabolised plant matter, not other animal’s meat.
      This is why it is unnatural for humans to eat lions, tigers, dogs, cats, etc.

    • jon Says:

      Tigers are critically endangered. Lions are not, but sure will be in the next few years. If they are killing them as you say, they are poaching and killing critically endangered animals. The only people that kill tigers are poachers. They are killing these animals for the same reasons poachers do. trophy hunting in this day in age is not natural. Not to me anyways.

    • jon Says:

      I don’t know about that, but what I do know is that the majority of trophy hunters who go to Africa to slaughter animals like lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, etc are americans.

    • jon Says:

      Trophy hunting is an elitist hobby, requiring tens of thousands of dollars to participate in each hunting trip. Many trophy hunters belong to organizations which promote and enable the so-called “sport,” such as Safari Club International (SCI). Founded in 1971, SCI is based in Tucson, Arizona, and has more than 100 chapters in foreign countries. It has a wealthy membership, many of whom are doctors, lawyers and executives, 55% of whom have an annual income exceeding $100,000. SCI’s annual conventions attract thousands of current and would-be trophy hunters. Through its publications and conventions, SCI entices people into booking more hunts and helps to hook up the hunting clients with the industry representatives, including outfitters, professional hunters, gun manufacturers and taxidermists. SCI’s thick, glossy, bimonthly magazine, Safari, contains page after page of advertisements for trophy hunts and Hemmingway-like stories glorifying the hunt.

      SCI also conducts elite competitions that provide trophy hunters with a playing field so that they can compete with others to kill the most animals of a particular type—one victim from all the bear species in the world, for example. There are 29 awards in all, and in order to win all of them, at the highest level, a hunter would have to kill 322 animals of different species or subspecies. Not the only club of its type, SCI is by far the most prominent trophy-hunting advocacy organization in the world. It protects the hunter in every conceivable forum, including lobbying the U.S. Congress to weaken laws, like the ESA, and lobbying the USFWS not to list species that hunters like to kill, such as argali sheep, under the ESA.

    • pointswest Says:

      jon…try watching this Discovery Channel video series called Life Among the Kombai.

      http://www.yourdiscovery.com/worldslosttribes/kombai/index.shtml?cc=US

      There are times when this band of Kombai goes a couple of days without eating. During these frequently occurring periods of hunger, the will kill and eat anything…monkey, lizard, snake, or eagle. They do not care very much what they eat when they have not eaten for a couple of days.

      The past few decades are the first in human history where hunger was not a common occurrence among the majority of the world human inhabitants.

    • jon Says:

      pw, you read what I posted about trophy hunting and you tell me that that is natural.

    • jon Says:

      ofcourse there will be certain people in certain parts of the world that are starving to death and will kill any anything they can to put something in their mouth. That is understandable, but I am talking about trophy hunting in this day in age where americans go to countries like africa to slaughter their wildlife just to bring the animal back home to display and show off to everyone in his house. Rich white trophy hunters going to africa to blast widlife away just for a trophy to show off is not natural to me.

    • Ryan Says:

      Jon,

      Did you cut and paste half of that drivel off a PETA website?

      So riddle me this, Why is it that the countries in africa that allow hunting have the highest game populations, and the ones that don’t are losing their animals at alarming rate. So would you rather have no animals and no trophy hunting or regulated trophy hunting and viable animal populations?

    • Elk275 Says:

      Jon

      ++but I am talking about trophy hunting in this day in age where americans go to countries like africa to slaughter their wildlife just to bring the animal back home to display and show off to everyone in his house.++

      Life on planet earth is not natural to you.

      About 40% of African hunters are American and wildlife is not slaughtered. All hunting is very controlled and very expensive. There are rich hunters and poor hunters like me who have experience African hunting: they is nothing like it on earth. There is a quota for each hunting block and any game kill, wounded or lost is subject to paying the trophy fee. Hunting has saved the animals of Africa. Kenya has outlawed safari hunting and lost over 80% of there animals since 1977 where as Tanzania has a very good and variable hunting program managing to maintain the wildlife populations with an increasing population.

      One safari in Tanzania produces 10 to 30 times the revenue that you or I would spend on a photo safari. It is legal and if one does not like it — tuff. I doubt that in your life time it will be made illegal and if it was illegal to import one’s trophies then they will go anyway and hunt for the pictures and memories. The future difficultly is going to be transporting sporting arms on airplanes and transecting international airports.

      You are posting all day long on this forum and constantly searching the Internet, someone or some organization is paying your bills. Who are they? You have never allow any information about your self to be included with your post. Why?

    • jon Says:

      Ryan, highest game populations? Did you read that off a website that supports trophy hunting? You do not understand why many people dislike this type of hunting if you even want to call it that.

      http://www1.umn.edu/news/features/2009/UR_CONTENT_120431.html

    • jon Says:

      Elk, people do not care if there is a quota or not. The fact still remains, animals are dying just so someone can stuff a trophy of that animal in there living room. Do you understand why some are disgusted by this? I would think ethical hunters would be against shooting animals for sport.

    • Elk275 Says:

      Jon

      ++Elk, people do not care if there is a quota or not. The fact still remains, animals are dying just so someone can stuff a trophy of that animal in there living room. Do you understand why some are disgusted by this? I would think ethical hunters would be against shooting animals for sport.++

      Jon you do not know anything about this. People do care about quotas. The land owner who owns the game cares because he get paid trophy fees on what one shoots. In the government hunting concessions the game scout is paid to kept tabs on any animal shot, wounded or lost. The Professional Hunter is a professional and he/she would never allow anyone to shoot over the quota as they could lose there concession and there license.

      ++The fact still remains, animals are dying just so someone can stuff a trophy of that animal in there living room. Do you understand why some are disgusted by this?++

      Well if some are disgusted with African hunting then that’s there problem and I could care less. They have their opinions and I have mind and I really do not want to know them or socialize with them, but I would have a drink with you or Mike.

      ++I would think ethical hunters would be against shooting animals for sport.++

      There are no ethical hunters in your mind and yes ethical hunters hunt for sport, because it cost more to hunt than to buy ones meat at the store. When it costs more to buy meat than to hunt it then it is sport meat hunting.

    • Ryan Says:

      Jon,

      The facts are the facts. Your wrong and any amount of research will show that. Trophy Hunting, distasteful as it may seem to you, is saving Africas wildlife.

      http://www.cantondailyledger.com/opinions/columnists/x415869240/Should-trophy-hunting-be-allowed-in-Kenya-in-order-to-save-the-Masai-Mara

      http://conservationfinance.wordpress.com/2007/03/19/elephant-hunting/

      Here is a couple links for ya..

    • jon Says:

      Elk, I was always of the opinion that ethical hunters were against sport/trophy hunting. I don’t know what people you are talking about, but I am talking about the people who care for animals and don’t want to them see them get shot dead by rich trophy hunters. You just might be surprised of how many people are disgusted by this and you seem to have no problem with it. There are ethical hunters elk and those are hunters who hunt for food and food only. That doesn’t include sport hunters. These sports hunters are unethical, imo.

    • Ryan Says:

      Jon,

      One would have better luck trying to to find the easter bunny and the tooth fairy dancing together than a hunter that fit into your “acceptable and Ethical” category.

    • Elk275 Says:

      Jon

      I found this forum last fall and I really have enjoy posting and would like to meet some of the people on here regardless of their views. It would be great have a beer and burger then go fly fishing or look for interesting wildlife that abounds in the tri state area. But, your discourse is getting old and it has and will down grade this entire forum community.

    • Save bears Says:

      Cripes!!!!

      Didn’t we just have this same discussion a couple of weeks ago, then a couple of weeks before that and I think it was three weeks before that one!

    • Ryan Says:

      Jon,

      Here is some quotes from your article…

      “Over the past 25 years, the steepest declines in cougar and lion harvests occurred in jurisdictions with the highest harvest intensities,” the researchers write. “Simulation models predict population declines from even moderate levels of hunting in infanticidal species.”

      No shit, you harvest a bunch of animals and their population will decline. The model may predict something, but on the ground population facts tend to go the other way.

      He can’t be a liar, the whole article is his theories with no concrete facts or statistics to back it up.

    • WM Says:

      jon,

      I am not sure why I choose to get involved with the drivel you are spewing out. You did, however, pose a question about a cougar which had been killed by wolves, its entrails strung out being the most obvious injury.

      Well, jon that cougar was killed outside Sun Valley in March of this year, not far from a subdivision. There are conflicting reports that it was on an elk it alone had apparently killed. It was hunting the same area as the very large wolf pack. From what I understand the wolves killed the cougar and did not touch the elk. So, they apparently were not hungry and that was not the reason for killing the cougar.

      http://www.magicvalley.com/lifestyles/recreation/article_a0d0b83e-219e-5e92-9b3c-4a74c5580e4e.html

    • JB Says:

      Yikes! You folks have been busy! One point that needs clarifying: Ryan is generally correct regarding sport hunting and African wildlife–where the cost of harvesting an animal is quite substantial.

      However, the story is quite different in the US. Large carnivore tags/licenses are among the cheapest (in cost less than $12 for a wolf tag in Idaho, while you can pay upwards of $25,000 to hunt an African lion). The result: it is more advantages for Africans to preserve lions for rich, foreign hunters while, in contrast, wolves, mountain lions, and coyotes are among the least valued species in the US. This, in my opinion, is the fundamental issue with the “hunt to conserve” hypothesis.

    • jon Says:

      JB, take a look at this link when you get the chance.

      http://www.bushdrums.com/news/index.php?shownews=3136

      Clearly, the CITES numbers tell a different story from the hunter’s spin. A species in freefall decline should not be subjected to additional mortality from trophy hunters. Lions have a complex social system in which males play a role to ensure survival of cubs. With that number of exports, significant reproductive difficulties can be predicted from disrupted prides.

      While many factors surely add to the overall dramatic loss of lions in Africa, continued trophy hunting will not contribute to their long-term survival. The statistics about the number of glass-eyed lions adorning many walls tell the sad truth about hunting as a proposed conservation measure by vested interests.

    • JB Says:

      Jon:

      Trophy hunting can help arrest declines in species, so long as the value of preserving the species for sport hunting is greater than the value gained by eliminating a perceived competitor. However, again, the story is different in North America, and significant declines in some species/populations have been documented despite regulated public harvest.

      The issue is more complex than I have the time to address right now. I’ll try and revisit tomorrow.

    • JB Says:

      I should also add, that there is fairly compelling evidence that suggests that so long as management policy remains favorable, large carnivores can co-exist alongside of people, even at relatively high human densities:

      http://www.bearproject.info/pdf/apub/A%2034.pdf

    • Peter Kiermeir Says:

      Guys, sorry for stepping in late. Here on this blog you find supporters of trophy hunting and people that are against trophy hunting. Two opposite sides that will rarely agree! Much like wolf supporters and wolf hmmmm……non-supporters. I for myself have always clearly stated that I am against trophy hunting and I will not repeat the reason for this again and again. Sorry ELK275 that for this position alone I disqualify for socialising! Thanks pointswest for your open approach. I accept the statement from the hunting community, that hunting actually saves African wildlife. Thus there is heavy opposition to this statement from various conservation groups. Ok, I think everybody is dressing up facts. When visiting Namibia few weeks ago I took the opportunity to ask and listen around carefully about the situation of the hunting in general and trophy hunting especially. Trophy hunting in Namibia is heavily advertised in Europe and indeed Germans and Americans make up 90% of the foreigners going to hunt there. The land itself is rather devoid of wildlife (much like SA). It has been hunted empty already in colonial times by (yes) hunters, poachers, farmers. Farmers (that are actually ranchers) especially feared (and still do) the competition from wildlife for that little water that there is and that barren grass (the land is only good for a handful of cattle per thousands of acres). Today, wildlife is restricted to the fenced in National Parks and the likewise fenced in hunting farms or wildlife viewing lodges. Ok, you can have Leopard and Cheetah almost everywhere cause they do not care much about fences. Almost all of the land is what you call “Private Land” and is fenced in. In my next life I´m going to sell fence wire in Africa! So trophy hunting there is mostly on the large (very large) and fenced in hunting farms! Interestingly, nowadays many former hunting farms are converted into tourist farms / lodges with wildlife viewing. There is a substantial trade in wildlife to stock these farms. They do however conflict with farmers without wildlife on their property: “Hey, my neighbour bought some elephants and now they damage my fences! Who is going to pay? “ So there seems to be a decline in hunting in general. It will be interesting to see if the tourist business and the hunting business on the long run actually support that many lodges. Ah yes, before I forget, the locals do not eat lion or cheetah. And, giraffe being only barely edible! Zebra, Gnu and Impala however are good for fine meals!

    • JB Says:

      Jon, Peter:

      Sport hunting in the U.S. under the so-called North American Model of Wildlife Conservation has led to protection of numerous species and their habitats. Of course it isn’t a perfect mechanism–a fact that gets emphasized on this blog on a near daily basis, and there are examples of failures as well. There are numerous research articles on this topic (see two recent articles below), but, as I read it, the bulk of the evidence supports the use of sport hunting as a tool in wildlife conservation. In the U.S., you might oppose sport hunting for ethical purposes, but limiting market-based hunting and replacing it with sport hunting arrested population declines in numerous species and provided considerable funding for the protection of game and non-game species alike.

      some recent research

      Lindsey et al (2006) Economic and conservation significance of the trophy hunting industry in sub-Saharan Africa, Biological Conservation,Volume 134(4): 455-469.

      Abstract: There is a lack of consensus among some conservation NGOs and African governments concerning the acceptability and effectiveness of trophy hunting as a conservation tool. This lack of consensus is due partly to a lack of reliable information on the economic significance and ecological impact of the industry. We provide a review of the scale of the trophy hunting industry, and assess both positive and negative issues relating to hunting and conservation in Africa. Trophy hunting occurs in 23 countries in Africa, with the largest industries occurring in southern Africa and Tanzania, where the industry is expanding. The trophy hunting industry has remained static or is shrinking in Central and West Africa. A minimum of 1,394,000 km2 is used for trophy hunting in sub-Saharan Africa, which exceeds the area encompassed by national parks. Trophy hunting is thus of major importance to conservation in Africa by creating economic incentives for conservation over vast areas, including areas which may be unsuitable for alternative wildlife-based land uses such as photographic ecotourism. However, there are a number of problems associated with the industry which limit conservation benefits. Several of these problems are common to multiple countries, suggesting that if solutions were developed, conservation benefits would accrue over large areas.

      – – – – –

      Loveridge et al. (2007). The impact of sport-hunting on the population dynamics of an African lion population in a protected area, Biological Conservation, 134(4):548-558.

      Abstract: Between 1999 and 2004 we undertook an ecological study of African lions (Panthera leo) in Hwange National Park, western Zimbabwe to measure the impact of sport-hunting beyond the park on the lion population within the park, using radio-telemetry and direct observation. 34 of 62 tagged lions died during the study (of which 24 were shot by sport hunters: 13 adult males, 5 adult females, 6 sub-adult males). Sport hunters in the safari areas surrounding the park killed 72% of tagged adult males from the study area. Over 30% of all males shot were sub-adult (<4 years). Hunting off-take of male lions doubled during 2001–2003 compared to levels in the three preceding years, which caused a decline in numbers of adult males in the population (from an adult sex ratio of 1:3 to 1:6 in favour of adult females). Home ranges made vacant by removal of adult males were filled by immigration of males from the park core. Infanticide was observed when new males entered prides. The proportion of male cubs increased between 1999 and 2004, which may have occurred to compensate for high adult male mortality.

      – – – – –

    • Peter Kiermeir Says:

      JB
      In the meantime I already reluctantly accept that trophy hunting could in our times be a wildlife conservation tool. But you might agree, it definitely is a little bit odd that you obviously can only protect something by killing it. What a crazy world! I also accept that trophy hunting has its place in history and ethnology. Nevertheless is it in my opinion also a little bit odd that a human kills an animal for the fulfilment of his own base desires only. We all should be honest: The basic intention of trophy hunting was, is, and will of course always be the acquisition of that trophy: The thrill of the hunt and the kill and the proof of the mighty hunters superiority over that at least equally mighty “enemy”. It´s a little bit archaic. Sorry, that I cannot admire that a lot. Does somebody really need a stuffed lion with dead glassy eyes in his living room to boost his ego? The “charity bonus” of this trophy hunting act, the noble donation of the meat to the poor and starving, serves as the alibi function. It is not suitable as a programme to feed the hungry! On the other hand, even if the hunter would really intend to use the meat himself, he could not even import it into the USA or Europe anyway.

    • JB Says:

      Peter:

      Arguments about hunters motivations aside (note: we can’t legislate based upon internal motivations), I understand that the notion of killing something to preserve it seems counter-intuitive. In wildlife management, we essentially “sacrifice” individual animals with the intent of preserving representative populations. It’s really pretty simply expressed in economic terms: wild animals cause damage to our crops, livestock, and personal property (cost); we recoup some of that cost–from a societal standpoint–by allowing for sport hunting (benefit). Remove sport hunting and the costs of maintaining wildlife populations increase, while the benefits derived from wildlife (generally speaking) decrease, creating an incentive for the removal of wildlife.

      Moreover, without sport hunting populations of some species (e.g. white-tailed deer) would get entirely out of hand. Michigan documents ~65,000 deer-vehicle collisions each year, and estimates that the actual number of collisions is twice that number. Estimates for damages associated with DVCs run between $2,000 and $3,000. So you can extrapolate 130,000 DVCs x $2,500 per collision is $325 million in vehicle damages for one species in one state alone! This doesn’t take into account the costs associated with damage to agricultural crops, nor personal property (e.g. ornamental plants), nor death and hospitalization that result.

      On the other hand, this example also illustrates that the maintenance of “surplus” populations of big game species can have costs to society that are externalized–in this case, costs not borne by wildlife management agencies nor hunters. Thus, while hunters and wildlife management agencies (via sales) may benefit from abundant white tail populations, many of the costs associated with maintaining such populations is borne by society at large. From that perspective, I suppose the “we [hunters] pay for conservation” argument is somewhat disingenuous, as we all help pay costs associated with wildlife.

  24. SEAK Mossback Says:

    We’ve had one spring black bear that my son got a few years ago and a fair amount off a north slope grizzly that my wife scavenged after some folks camped at an airstrip shot it when it looked like it was coming in their tent. Both had good flavor but the one thing that impressed me about bear is that the muscle appears about twice as dense as ungulate – probably related to their great strength, even for their size. It worked best in recipes calling for thin sliced meat (like bulgogi) and or cooked long (like in a crock pot), but otherwise quite good.

    • pointswest Says:

      I have always assumed bears are referred to as boars or sows because their meat is similar to pork. They can get very fat before hibernation and may have reminded Anglo-Saxons of pigs.

      But is is only an assumption on my part.

  25. bob jackson Says:

    pointsweet,

    The reason bears in Yellowstone backcountry are losing their fear of man is because the elk hunters outside the Park are leaving gobs of meat on the carcasses. Thus bears migrate out of the Park with the first shots of the hunting season. They associate humans with this food and thus many now do not run when horse parties or backbackers meet them on the trail during the summer. They just move off to the side a ways.

    Of course a bear in the back country is different than a bear on the road. The road is not their home thus do not see the tourists along the road to be a threat. The real indicator of fear in any species is seeing how they act in their “homes”.

  26. pointswest Says:

    I can never prove anything. I can only offer antidotal evidence. I will start with a short story. Some neighbors of my aunt in Driggs, Idaho had a grizzly yearling that started hanging around their porch. I believe it was eating dog food. You can condemn them to hell for having dog food near grizzly country but it had never been a problem before. I believe their home was several miles from the Targhee NF boundary. But before long, the grizzly yearling was sleeping on their porch. They did not know what to do. 30 years ago, they might have killed it or, more likely, would have chased it off with gunfire. In this day in age, they were afraid to do anything for fear of reprisals from “environmentalist” and the like. They called the F&G who I believe came and chased it off. It seems like it came back and was chased off again but then stayed away.

    As far as I know, that grizzly is still hanging around in the Tetons and I suspect that it is not very afraid of people.

    There are many more people in Yellowstone today and many more bears. These bears are becoming quite accustomed to smelling and hearing human activity nothing negative ever comes of it.

    As to the point that hunting does not help since dead bears do not learn, I will point out that most hunts or most pursuits during a hunt end in failure. The animal (bears in this case) usually gets away about 90% of the time. But an animal knows it was being pursued and they know what pursuit means. Although small brained, they can figure out something was trying to kill them. It is basic instinct and it fills their small brain and entire nervous systems with spooks, quivers, and chills. I know. I’m a hunter and I have seen it dozens and dozens of times. A typical scenario that I have experienced over and over is walking with my father in fresh snow from the timber to a south facing slope of sage. The soft fresh powdery snow muffles our footsteps and we walk right into some deer. The deer slowly looks our way until one spots us. It then realizes its life is in danger and it shudders…I’ve seen it many times…they shudder. I have seen deer jump six feet straight in the air simply because it realized I was a hunter and will try and kill it. Then it bounds off like a bat out of hell.

    I can remember elk hunting on Bishop Mountain in Island Park after a 12 inch snow fall and coming across fresh bear tracks. I could easily see the tracks were very fresh and began to follow them. I never did see the bear but I saw, in the snow, where it caught my scent and realized it was being tracked. It looked like it fell down in the snow and then took off peeling up dirt and twigs and leaves as it accelerated out of there. I followed its trail for a couple of miles and it never once stopped running in all that distance. That was a bear that feared humans.

    I have also observed the way wildlife behaves inside of Yellowstone Park and they way it behaves just outside. It is the difference between night and day. I’m sure the anti-hunters will deny it until dozen or so humans are mauled each season in the Greater Yellowstone but hunting will teach bears to fear humans.

    • SEAK Mossback Says:

      pointswest –
      I agree about young brown bears about 2-3 years old. They tend to get pretty bold and sometimes come into villages, etc. and often are killed. There was one at a popular personal use sockeye fishing site a few years ago that got good at mugging people for their fish and even got pretty immune to having 12 gauge signal flares shot at him – my dog and I had to contend with it once. However, the “bully” bear I described seemed to be clearly an adult. His behavior struck me as more measured and calculated than a typical obnoxious young one – and it didn’t change much after 2 years (I can’t be 100% sure it was the same bear but it sure looked and acted like it).

      WM –
      We don’t keep rifles chambered for safety reasons. Our odds of an accident would far exceed our chances of getting mauled, as being charged, let alone physically injured, is still not that common compared with the danger of three guys constantly with three chambered rifles. That lesson was burned into my brain at age 19 during an enforcement stakeout on the Alaska Peninsula when I awoke to find fresh tracks approach to 3 feet from my sleeping bag. The next night, I chambered the rifle and laid it at arms length away but awoke to find myself laying on top of it with the muzzle under my arm and safety pushed off. The only exception is that, if streamwalking alone (which I don’t do much of anymore – except briefly splitting up different channels), I will occasionally chamber up if I think a close encounter is likely. Bolt actions can be pretty fast – I just needed to practice with that particular rifle.

      The .458 is a stainless steel-composite agency (State) Remington 700 rifle bought to replace an old Winchester .338 from the 1960s – this climate is pretty rough on regular steel, after being out in rain and fish slime they sit in an area of high condensation next to tent walls. We are constantly spraying them down with LPS3, but still years of exposure take a toll. We had the barrel on the .458 reduced to 19½ inches but it is quite thick and still leaves the rifle a bit heavy. Most .338s any more don’t come with very solid open sights so we decided to try a .458 which has about the same powder capacity and twice the bullet and we certainly didn’t need the long range capability of a .338. In the past couple of years the new Ruger Hawkeye Alaskan in .375 Ruger and .416 Ruger has all the best features combined – stainless with a 20” barrel with very solid sights visible at low light, a stock you could grip firmly even with fish-slimed gloves, and a combination of reasonably light weight and low recoil with a limbsaver pad on a kind of rubbery stock that seems to take some of the shock. People here also use 12 guage pump shotguns, and Marlin 45/70s with heavy loads – all potentially effective (subject to human error) and largely a matter of preference.

      I may have been subconsciously worried about short-stroking the rifle and failing to chamber a round because of an incident that happened in the same area not too long before. It was in late June with no salmon in the river and heavy foliage, when my assistant and a technician had canoed and walked up to rebuild the tent frame (with lumber brought in the prior fall by helicopter). They had finished that and were poking around upstream with a receiver and antenna recovering a few still-active radio tags (long since detached from the fish). A big male spotted them from his bed back in the brush and launched out of the foliage only 65 feet away. Fortunately, he wasn’t coming full out but had his head up and appeared very excited at a potential meal. They were standing side-by-side and he went for the short guy (the “calf”, we joked later) who short-stroked his old .350 Rem. carbine, failing to pick up a cartridge with the bolt. He stood desperately pulling the trigger with no time to sort it out and said he was actually beginning mentally to accept his fate. However, my assistant managed to shed the antenna into the river and shoot him through the top of the heart with his .338 at less than 10 feet, which took some of the wind out of his sails and set him back on his haunches — a second shot tipped him over into the stream. I went up and helped retrieve the skin and skull, as required. The skull, now in a display case, was the largest ever recorded from the Southeast Alaska mainland, at least in database records back to the mid-70s (skull measurements from all hunted and DLP kills are recorded). He was quite a specimen, thin with numerous scars and porcupine quills in one foot. We left him in the middle of the stream where we assumed he would be washed away during freshets, but that fall discovered his bones all together about 100 feet back in the brush. He had suffered an incredible back injury sometime in the past, with 3 or 4 vertebrae fused together in a solid calcified mass and rib insertions broken away from the spine, having healed that way. One tough old guy.

  27. SEAK Mossback Says:

    I’m impressed by the huge variation in personalities and responses among bears, brown-grizzly bears at least, and their variety of responses to humans. They seem almost as diverse as humans personality-wise. I’ve had many encounters in a remote area where I or we were likely the first people many of those bears had seen, especially up close (it’s a helicopter show, or determined canoeist – as far as I know, nobody who wasn’t with us has seen our wall tent frame since we built it in a grove right by the river 21 years ago). Bears have run a huge gamut of reactions when we suddenly show up. Many run away, some leaving their cubs in the dust, but I’ve had one casually try to walk right up to me, another look at me for ½ second and then come full-out without sound or fanfare, another yell and rip trees, others walk right by completely in the open like they didn’t see you, many spot or smell you and quietly make a big detour around and back to the river, others stand on stiff legs and bristle holding their eyes slightly away.

    The oddest duck I ran across I can only think to classify as a bully. Three of us were standing out on an open bar taking a break when he sauntered out of the brush 30 yards downstream and waded in like he was going to start fishing – except it was kind of a poor spot. He stood there for a minute or two looking at the water and I reached into my daypack and brought out my camera and took a few pictures. Then he turned his around and looked straight at us and apparently said to himself – “These guys are all just going to have to leave.” He walked toward us and started progressively putting on a show, puffing up a bit with some jaw action. The sudden change from photo op to self defense drill caught us off guard and precipitated a comedy of errors. While one guy turned and looked longingly at the rifle he’d laid against the bank 200 feet upstream, the guy beside me spilled all his ammunition and was on his knees picking it out of the gravel. The new .458 I picked up fed so smoothly that I couldn’t feel the shoulder of the case slide into the chamber and instinctively pulled the bolt back, picked up another and tried to feed another on top of the first. By then he was starting to get in our face but rather than come directly to us, circled close clacking his teeth. I finally got the .458 cleared and fired a shot in the sand right in front of his feet and he turned and walked calmly into the brush without looking back.

    Two years later and ½ mile upstream, I ran into that same guy. I had started out ahead of the others while they made lunches, and was counting cohos in pools. He came into the open streambed about 200 yards upstream and casually walked directly toward me over most of that distance. As he neared, he started putting on a show again, stopping, puffing up, rocking back and forth, huffing and chuffing then coming a few steps closer and repeating. I was in the river with my back against a bank and he kept working closer and I was starting to get pretty nervous. My day pack was lying on the other shore at a 30 degree angle away from the bear and I decided to turn and walk toward it. Just as soon as I started to do that, he ceased his show and turned and sauntered at the same angle off into the brush without ever looking at me again. I’m open to any analysis, but as near as I could figure he is just a plain bully – it’s somehow important to him to prevail and have the other party give way, and he accomplishes it with this very deliberate aggressive show. When the other party backs down, he’s made his point and is no longer interested. It raises a whole bunch of questions – one being that he’s only a mid-sized bear and there are some real monsters in the area – doesn’t he risk getting his ass severely kicked or worse? Does he always prevail at bluff or does he judge the other party for weakness like a prudent bully? Anyway, if you spend too much time bear watching you may just find yourself committing that naturalist’s sin (anthropomorphizing).

    • pointswest Says:

      That Timothy Treadwell said in his Grizzly Man Diaries that most grizzlies would leave him alone. The exceptions were bears he referred to as hooligans. The hooligans were young to middle aged boars that would get slapped around by the larger more dominant boars. They were the dangerous bears who would come around looking for trouble.

      This reminded me of what several mountain men or squaw-men said about American Indians. They said most Indians were peaceable and that the trouble was always started by young bucks trying to prove their bravery. Some bucks might even be in trouble with the chiefs and would be banished from the tribe for a few years. They typically hung around at a distance from the tribe but were not welcome in it by the older dominant chiefs. Many bands of Indian would have a group of banished bucks orbiting around it. It was said that it was the young bucks and banished bucks that committed 90% of the depredations upon wagon trains or upon settlers or upon other euro-American moving into the West.

      Of course, euro-American never understood this and unleashed their wrath on all Indians.

    • WM Says:

      SEAK,

      I have noticed in two encounters you have described involving readying yourself for a lethal response, you mentioned cycling the bolt on your rather large bore rifle, in haste.

      First, why not carry a round in the chamber? It takes about 1.5 to 2 seconds to cycle a bolt, if everything goes smoothly, an eternity it would seem, if you needed to a act quickly. It also leaves you with 3 instead of 4 chances to do your work. Second, a .458 magnum certainly leaves no doubt what one intends, but those things are pretty heavy to lug around, so I am told. Maybe I need not ask the second question, so I will ask a couple more. I gather you work for an agency – federal? Personal rifle or supplied by employer?

    • SEAK Mossback Says:

      Sorry, I responded at the wrong spot (above).

  28. STG Says:

    Good move on the part of the Pinedale Ranger district. The Winds are an incredible place to backpack, but not at the expense of the Grizzly. For public safety and to give the bear or bears some space, the FS made a very good decision.

  29. pointswest Says:

    This has got to be one of my favorite YouTube videos and it is in the Wind River Range

  30. Linda Hunter Says:

    I just got back and read this whole post . . two things stick out to me. Pointswest there is already a way for humans and grizzly bears to share wilderness areas and for people to sleep soundly. There are, now, portable and effective small camp electric fences which can be found on-line for a couple of hundred dollars. These units do work as they have been tested many times. . and don’t get your bear knowledge from Grizzly Man which was not really Tim Treadwell’s advice but Werner Herzog’s interpretation of what Tim Treadwell was doing. Better to read some books on bear’s which explain bear body language and the differences in bears in different locations. I must say, my book, Lonesome for Bears, would help even though it is about specific bears in a specific location . . and in some ways black bears are far more dangerous than brown or gizzly bears. . black bears do make predatory attacks, not without warning, but they get stalker intent and lock in on food sometimes and it takes a rude awakening to get them to change course. Brown and grizzly bears have a way of reacting to what you do . . so in some of the above stories where you guys are telling what the bear does you are leaving out half the story . . a bear who pretends he doesn’t see you, for instance, is generally trying to be polite. When a person yells “hey bear” and waves their arms to a bear trying to be polite they are asking for it. On the other hand if a bear is approaching you out of curiosity or standing to smell you, a
    “Hey bear” would probably help out. That is why when you read bear advice it is not so helpful. It really helps to know be able to read bear body language. After hours upon hours of watching bears interact with each other, there are some things I would do and others I would never do. The big bear SEAK describes as a bully sounds like fun . . that is exactly the behavior I would expect a bear to exhibit to another bear in his fishing stream. Showing him you are not going to turn tail and run just because he wants you too is the safest thing to do. An attitude that you could care less about his bluff will work. That is what another bear would do, and then move away later. I don’t sleep on the ground in grizzly country. I would, however, with an electric fence and pepper spray nearby. I have personally seen pepper spray work over and over. . and lacking that a fire extinquisher would do the job as well. Living in a log hut in grizzly country there was never any question that the door to the place was an easy pushover to any bear who wanted to come in . . they were taught by our actions though that we got real territorial when they approached our doors. So, we were safe there. I have to head out but there are ways to live with bears of all kinds . . we just need to know a little more.

    • SEAK Mossback Says:

      I’ve used a portable electric fence on a couple of North Slope river trips, and though I can’t say for sure it was tested (we left it around our base camp and don’t know what came by while we were gone), I sure slept better inside it, even with meat laying around. One problem up there (as on the Alaska Peninsula) is there are virtually no trees in which to hang food. With some work, in some places you can hang stuff out of reach off a rock face. I believe there are several iterations but I think mine weighs about 3.7 lbs and covers a 30’x30’ area large enough to enclose probably up to 4 tents – or a whole rafting group. It’s powered by 2 D cells. I brought a tester and it seemed to put out the advertized 5,000 volts for quite a few days. It takes a bit of time to set up, but may be well worth the weight and effort even backpacking if it will help you sleep better. There may be lighter ones now – about 20’ x 20’ would be good. I have observed a regular electric fence work very effectively on a brown bear.

  31. pointswest Says:

    I have read about the electric fences and I was an Electrical Engineering major before I switched to civil. The basic principle is that you cannot instantaneosly change the current across an inductor. So when the fence is shorted, the voltage jumps to five or ten thousand volts in an effort to prevent the change in current. The inductor has energy stored in a magnetic field created by its coils. It is the very same idea as the coil in your car or lawn mower that creates the spark on the spark plug.

    The problem with electric fences is that they can be very unreliable. Anything can short them out…a blade of grass, a twig fallen from a tree, a skunk. Once they are shorted, the no longer work. It is why ranchers seldom use them. They are not reliable.

    If I were planning a trip to grizzly country, I would take one, but only because it lessens the risk. I don’t think I would ever sleep well, and I think my son would be afraid if we had to sleep with a can of pepper spray by our heads. I do not want to take horses and heavy canvas tents.

    What would be wrong with a small stone building off in the timber somewhere. It could be low to the ground, largely out of site, and blend in with the scenery. I would sleep much better in a sturdy building of some kind. In many ways, it would lessen the impact of backpakers trampling tundra and meadows. It might improve the sense of wilderness without brightly colored tents put up for a few days for everyone to look at from miles away.

    It is just an idea. Like most things, I am not completely happy with the thought either.

  32. Linda Hunter Says:

    Pointswest you need to look into renting a firetower for your camping trips. . . then all you have to worry about it lightening storms and high winds!!!! The fish and game department had an extensive camp set up near the lodge I worked at and they got tired of bears rummaging around their stuff so they got an electric fence set up . . they found that as long as the fence worked some of the time the bears avoided it whether it was on or not. But I have also heard that sometimes bears learn to deal with the fences by putting their noses near them to see if they buzz, but that is more common where the fences are set up for a while in one place. The backpackers I have talked to who use the portable fences are quite happy with them.

    • WM Says:

      Interesting discussion on electric fences. I only remember the kind used on a ranch for cattle. Usually an A/C set up with a regulator anda flashing light, run off 110 volt circuit, the same as you use in the house. Been zapped lots of times with those. They do have problems of shorting out, but even some of those will burn thru a few blades of grass and keep going. Some risk of fire however. Also been around a few that ran off a larger battery, again with a huge regulator.

      These little things intended for bears are amazing. Less than four pounds, with enough poly wire to surround a tent with a two or three strand enclosure. The fact that it uses a tape instead of thin 18 guage wire, also gives a visual deterent. And, all for about $250; a litte more if you need extra wire and stakes.

      Here is one put out by one of the bear spray manufacturers:

      https://store.udap.com/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=BEF&Category_Code=BEF

      or

      http://www.udap.com/BearShockFences.htm

      I am curious. Has anyone here actually used and been zapped by one of these things. Do you just get a little uncomfortable jolt like sticking a fork in an electrical outlet, or do you have to pick yourself up off the ground? Do they run as AC: sort of like zzzzzzz,short pause,zzzzzzzz? And one has to wonder what happens to the energizer/batteries when the temperature stays in the 30’s or lower at night.

      We once had a siberian husky (dumbest dog I ever owned in many ways). He was a real escape artist and dug under back yard fence when we stepped out for a few hours. We put up an old style electric wire just inside the fence line, six inches out from the inside perimiter, and about six inches high, so he would get zapped in the nose or paw as he attempted to dig. Worked very well as long as it was on and not shorted out. He could tell when it was off, and then the tunneling began.

  33. pointswest Says:

    The moral dilemma remains. Grizzlies make so much wonderful and beautiful country off limits to all but the suicidal and forest faithful. Not all of us are a Timothy Treadwell who believe that we have the gift of grizzly credo and bear brotherhood. What the hardcore pristine wilderness grizzly advocates are really doing is taking country away from people who once enjoyed it.

    You do not care. I know. Taking it away makes you feel privileged and gifted. Special. You like it.

    • Leslie Says:

      PW, most of the U.S., including all of CA, has no grizzlies. You have plenty of wild country to play in. The Sierras are still incredibly beautiful and you can find remote places. Think Shasta, Trinity or Klamath…all beautiful, pristine where the great bear has been gone for over 100 years now.

      What you are suggesting with your ‘special, privileged and gifted’ comment is to get rid of grizzlies so you will feel comfortable in the back woods around here.

      Frankly, its pretty rare to see grizzlies when you hike. I’ve only seen one once. I hike during daylight, don’t go in heavy brush, make my presence known, watch sign. But if you feel uncomfortable, then go to all the other incredibly beautiful parks and forests we have in the U.S., most of them just a day’s drive from where you live in Southern CA.

    • Elk275 Says:

      I have been in grizzly country many times and I have never paid much attention to them. The only time that I was concern was in the Wangell Saint Elias. I had killed a mountain goat and was soaked in blood, it was late and I was barely able to walk when I got to my tent. I counted my ammo, only 7 rounds of 06. I did not sleep well that night.

    • jburnham Says:

      Everyone is a little scared of grizzlies, but this is unreasonable fear. And frankly, a bunch of B.S. Millions of people safely live, work, and recreate in grizzly country every year. Added precautions are necessary, not a death wish.

      If you travel in groups of 3 or 4, store your odorous items properly, and use your head, your chances of a bad bear encounter in the backcountry are minuscule. If that’s not enough, you can always try visiting during the 6 months grizzlies are hibernating.

    • WM Says:

      jburnham,

      ++Millions of people safely live, work, and recreate in grizzly country every year.++

      A stretch maybe? Tens (hundreds?) of thousands of people, yes. Millions, not likely, if you don’t count the folks that are never really at risk in the first place, like most of the folks that visit Jellystone and never get off the pavement, or people living in the city limits of Anchorage or Fairbanks, or various Canadian cities. One should count only those who are truly at risk by virtue of truly close proximity and recreate, live or work near grizzlies.

    • jburnham Says:

      WM, I’ll stand behind the ‘millions’ claim.

      The original comment says “Grizzlies make so much wonderful and beautiful country off limits to all but the suicidal and forest faithful.” And then, grizzlies are responsible for “…taking country away from people…”

      The millions of tourists in Yellowstone and Glacier alone prove that these areas are not “off limits” despite the presence of bears along the roads and in the front country. I’m not sure how you would define “truly at risk”. Certainly there are different levels of risk, but the real stretch is claiming that griz country is “off limits” to people because of the danger of bear attacks.

  34. Id Hiker Says:

    Pointswest – well boo hoo hoo! Nobody’s taking anything away from anyone. It was never yours (well maybe a tiny bit is): It’s a National Forest – get it? What you’re looking for is a nice trailer park with a tall fence. Also, your comparison of “young bucks” and animals – well, distasteful to say the least. And crap like “most grizzly attacks happen at night.” Pick up a book sometime and get a clue…

  35. SEAK Mossback Says:

    The one I have has four straps that go around the four corner poles at different heights and clip together. Only the top strap and third down have conductors woven in to which you attach alligator clips from the fencer. So at least you don’t have to worry about grass shorting the lowest one – probably won’t work to well for excluding rodents though. You do need a fairly level, brush-free square area where you can push or pound in stakes. Certainly not every campsite is suitable. I liked having the tester so you could be sure it was working without shocking yourself – also an extra set of D cells is a good idea in case you somehow get a short.

  36. pointswest Says:

    Boy…that struck a chord. Let’s see…
    -I am from the area and the Wind Rivers are special to me.
    -If there is no worry from grizzlies, why was the area in the Winds closed to overnight camping? And I am not worried about myself as much as I am my boy. Anyone can take crazy risks and live to talk about it, but I am not going to put my child at risk.
    -I do not find the term “young buck” derogatory. I do not mind being referred to as a young buck …or did not 20 years ago…I liked it. I never said most attacks occur at night, I only said many do. Because it is no longer safe to backpack in the Wind Rivers, it is kinda like taking them away. I think people should be open to something like shelters instead of preaching some idealized wilderness vision that does not really exist. Actually, I am pretty well of and could afford a packer to take us into the Wind Rivers…I was just trying to make a point.
    -I think electric fences will greatly reduce the risk but I still do not like the idea of sleeping with pepper spray by my head. If my wife heard that, any trip with my son would be off.

  37. WM Says:

    PW,

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the source of criticism for your use of the term “young bucks.” I think he/she is wearing their underwear a little too tight. Young bucks as I remember is a term broadly referring (though often to Indians as you describe) as a young male, energetic, often driven by hormones, and most of the time not exercising good judgment in many matters. Gee, how many examples of that do we have in nearly every society around the world- young men doing stupid things and getting into trouble, partly because they don’t think things through.

    I, too, found I didn’t mind being referred to as a young buck by my friends and relatives. For example, “Why don’t you young bucks, after finshing splitting up that firewood, go down and get some water.” or, “You young bucks just don’t know what it is like to get old.” And, my Indian friends don’t seem to mind the term either, especially the older ones who, like me, might still like to be one, in some respects.

    As for your valid safety concerns of an expanding population of griz in areas increasingly used by humans, I think they are justified. These are reasons to move slowly with the reintroduction efforts, exercise good wildlife management by agencies and individuals in assessing risk and doing things to minimize conflicts, AND importantly not to be too surpised if things end badly for innocent bears doing what they do.

    I am not to the point where I will add another 4 pounds to a backpack for a hot fence, or carry a seven pound shotgun, but one day the bear density, or history of bad incidents, might be high enough that I consider that. And, when that day comes, I will be damned if I wait until the vdry last second to determine whether a griz charge is a bluff or for real, either, and have some ranger or game warden second guess my reasoning, after the fact. I will take my chances with a jury.

    For now, a can of bearspray and a little bear smart camping will do. I have a friend who takes goats into the Winds and has for twenty years. He may feel a bit differently.

    • pointswest Says:

      The terms chief, buck, squaw, and papoose came into common usage in the English language beginning in the late 18th century. None are necessarily derogatory. A movement began a few decades ago to label “squaw” as derogatory but the term originated from the Algonquian word for woman and is completely innocuous. A word like squaw is so pervasive, it is hard to write very much about the West and not use it. I thought efforts to demonize the word had failed. I would not call a native-American living today a squaw but might call a historical character a squaw and would not think I was being offensive. Even native-American used the word “squaw” which also sort of indicated a woman was a wife or captive. It was similar to wife but not quite the same.

      I believe “buck” simply means mature aggressive male and was used to describe young Indian males who were not a chief and might be a threat. It is also used to describe male deer with antlers and sexually mature male rabbits and hares. Its usage to describe native-Americans was much less common and I did not know that anyone considered it derogatory. I did not know “chief” or “papoose” was considered derogatory. I think any of these words can be used in a derogatory fashion. Some racist might make some crack about the chief, the buck, the squaw, and the papooses living down the street but the words themselves are not necessarily derogatory. As mentioned, I was flattered when someone called me a “buck” or “young buck.”

      I was certainly not being derogatory with my usage. Native-American are some of my favorite people in the world and I have many friends who are native-Americans. The real reason I used “buck” is because it is much easier to read and write than “young sexually mature male who is not attained status as a chief” and I also wanted to point out that members in a tribe were even labeled in ways similar to the way we might label members in bear society. My point was that humans and bears, while having a distant common ancestor, still share certain aspects of our behavior. At one time, my Anglo-Saxon (German) anscestores behaved in much the same way. Our current American culture also has some elements of the banished trouble making male of low status.

      I meant no offence to native-Americans.

  38. Linda Hunter Says:

    Pointswest you actually bring up a good point. Many people have a hard time advocating for grizzly protection for the very reason you outline. . that they feel they are not safe to go into the wilds where the grizzly roams. I am bored going anywhere where grizzlies don’t roam. The difference between those two attitudes is that I have now spent some years purposely studying bears and their habitats to come to be comfortable in them. I know I said I don’t sleep on the ground in grizzly country but it is only because I haven’t had to yet. I probably will and I will sleep well because it does really work to keep a clean camp, using your tracking skills to see if anyone has poured out tuna juice where you put your tent and to think about how a bear would see your camp. Bears do not know any reason that we would fear them. They don’t read the books about themselves and they do not know that we are relatively delicate compared to other bears. If animals are ruled by smell, which I think they are, and smell means personal power we must seem very powerful to them. As a result they get completely confused when we act scared. A curious bear who examines a tent at night and finds out that tents are sort of like skunks. .if you prod them or get too close they hurt you eyes with pepper spray, won’t get near tents again. If they see a ribbon around the tents and find out that it hurts their nose to get near it, they learn the first time to leave that area alone. If the bear finds that there is a pleasurable thing to lick or bite there and no consequences for doing so, they will do it again. It is people who are the wild card here and people in the wilderness are uncontrollable. They pour the water from their tuna cans out in the grass and then when a bear comes they act like prey or like a bear which is low on the social scale..one you can easily beat up and chase off. If people would be consistent in their dealings with bears, bears would be no threat. Bears are not dumb though and they can learn new manners. I have been able to negotiate with a brown bear who was intent on breaking into a cabin, even without pepper spray, that it was in her best interest to take her cubs and leave. Education is needed but I would have to show you in person what I did that made this bear understand what I wanted. In the meantime, we have people who are not sure they want grizzly bears back in the wilderness because they would feel restricted in how they use the wilderness. . . I totally understand that feeling as that was how I felt in about 1998 when I started going into the wilderness by myself. I can’t take everyone on the learning journey I took to be comfortable with bears, but I wish there was someway I could.

    • JEFF E Says:

      One of my daughters spent two years on some tributary of the copper river in Alaska tagging salmon. had to fly in, land on the river, and were then resupplied once every two weeks by air.
      the crew started out at fourteen ending the season at five, working 14 hrs a day tagging and counting salmon.
      as the weather warmed they would sleep in tents.( there was a large cabin availible but was not used much outside of bad weather)
      they were given one shotgun with slugs for “the bears”
      While there were plenty of bears around, brown and black, they never really worried about it and outside one somewhat bothersome black bear that would back off after a rock to the side of the head did not have any problem.
      Me, I don’t know if I could wrestle with salmon 14 hr a day and then sleep peacefully in a tent…..

    • JB Says:

      From 1931 through 1969, bear injuries in YNP averaged about 47 per year. Then, in 1970 the park implemented a new management program that involved eliminating human food sources (including garbage) and translocating or removing problem bears and the number of injuries began to drop. In 1983, the plan was revised again to provide better emphasis on habitat protection. Since that time, injuries have dropped dramatically. According to one study, between 1983 and 1993, YNP averaged just 1 bear-caused human injury per year.

      We can learn to live with large carnivores, but we have to be willing to try; more importantly, we have to be willing to accept some degree of risk. I hope that, as a society, this is something we chose to do.

    • JEFF E Says:

      growing up and visiting YNP I have many memories of feeding bears bread out the car window. Family has tons of pictures of bears crawling over the car and snouts pushed in the windows.
      One NEVER went to the park without at least two loves of bread. That was always part of the conversation when planning or talking about a visit to the park.

    • pointswest Says:

      I worked for the Targhee National Forest during the black bear “translocation” period in the mid-70’s when Park employees translocated the bears. Thining crews and surveyors would find them still in the nets in which Park helicopters used to transport them. It looked like the bears had been dropped about 3000 feet.

      The problem is that they would have needed to transport them something like 300 or 400 miles away or they would find their way back within a few months. That is quite an expensive journy in a helicopter that might cost a few hundred dollars an hour.

      So they weren’t translocated, they were killed with some fancy PR coverup. They killed all the bears habituated to human food sources and it ended the problem.

      Most injuries from feeding back bears were minor and are not in the same league as a grizzly mauling that typically leaves someone disfugured or even crippled.

    • JB Says:

      Whether they were relocated or killed hardly matters, the point is that removing anthropogenic food sources and food conditioned bears reduces conflicts and injuries. (By the way, the statistics I was citing were from black bears and grizzlies, not just black bears as your post implies).

      If anyone cares for the official story (or as Pointswest calls it, the “PR cover up”), here is the citation:

      Gunther, K. A. (1994). Bear Management in Yellowstone National Park, 1960-93. Bears: Their Biology and Management, Vol. 9, Part 1: A Selection of Papers from the
      Ninth International Conference on Bear Research and Management, Missoula, Montana, February 23-28, 1992, pp. 549-560.

      Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3872743

      *You can’t post anything on this blog without unearthing some new conspiracy theory.

  39. pointswest Says:

    Timothy Treadwell and wife lived in a tent among the grizzlies and they very familiar with their behavior, the walked among them, spoke to them, befriended them, and never had a problem…for 13 years.

    Hey…congratulations Tim. Your work sounds so enjoyable and fulfilling. When I grow up, I want to be just like you.

    So before I get waylayed… let me reiterate that I am pro-grizzly. I think they need a big area set aside in which to live. I think they should be in the Wind Rivers. But why can’t we find ways to live more safely with them. Is just turning over vast areas to them and running all the people out really the answer? I think the key to their success is to make them safer and more enjoyable to be around and not just act like a crippled hiker here, a dead camper there, and whole communities living in terror is just the price that OTHERS have to pay.

    • Save bears Says:

      PW,

      For one, Tim didn’t have a wife, the lady killed with him was a girl friend who had never been in this environment before, she was not versed in any type of bear behavior and Tim made it sound romantic…and Amy was deeply in love with Tim, I had occasion to meet Tim a few years ago at the International Bear Symposium in Jackson Hole, WY. We were all sitting at the bar in the sponsor hotel and he walked by, virtually everybody at the table, including Dr. Herrero, Dr Charles Jonkle, Jamie Jonkle, etc told him he was acting irresponsible and he was going to get killed. He laughed and told everybody at the table, that they just didn’t understand the bears.

      Well he accomplished his goal, which he stated on several interviews, was to become bear scat! Which he did, but he also took an innocent woman with him as well as his beloved bears…

  40. WM Says:

    I can see it now. Here comes the 2012 fashionable “griz-chondriac” north end Wind River hiker down the trail. You can hear her/him long before you make visual contact, the heavy wheeze of oxygen starved and labored breathing, accompanied by the distinctive sound of Christmas jingle bells. Then you see her/him- first, the bear bells the size of baseballs ( .3 lbs @ $10) bouncing side to side, glinting in the summer sun, from their lofty perch on either side of the top of a very large high-end internal frame backpack. Beneath the brim of an MSR Sierra Sombrero is a sweaty, beat red and puffy, face that has just made an elevation gain of 1,000 feet in just 2.5 hours, now greeting you at 9,300 feet.

    You say in your most cheery and energetic voice, “Hey, how ya doing?” A few seconds pass, and you hear a huge gasp for new air, as the head rises to meet your eyes, followed by, “Ah, OK, I think. How much further to the first a bear proof shelter that might have space for another hiker?” You can’t place the accent, but you think it might be North Carolina or Florida by way of Jackson, Gardiner or maybe Boise.

    You see the faint, but awkward, cylindrical outline of a Bearikade carbon fiber expedition bear can filled with food (empty can 3 lbs @ $300)) on the top of the pack. Strapped to the left side is a hot wire fence package, containing wire, stakes, energizer, insulators, and a couple of sets of extra D cell batteries (5 lbs @ $300).

    Diagonally perched in the nylon chest holster covering the sternum is a can of bear spray (2 lbs. @ $45/ holster assembly $90). In her right hand is a short barrel 870 Remington pump 12 gauge, with magazine plug extension and 6 reserve shells on the shortened stock, on a tactical safari sling (8 lbs. $800). As a back-up there is a powerful magnum revolver, w/ six rounds of 320 grain hard cast corbon bullets, strapped to her right leg in a tactical low ride ballistic nylon leg holster, and speed loader with 6 more rounds in the pouch along side (5.5 lbs. in .44 magnum Ruger Blackhawk $1,200/ .454 Casull from Freedom Arms –support your local businesses- option $2,600)

    On the right side of the pack in the nylon mesh stuff pocket is an air horn, noise deterrent and help summoning device (2 lbs. $25). Inside the backpack is the first-aid kit, which you do not see but know to be there, it is filled with extra bandages and would do an Army combat squad proud (2 lbs. $200). Odor free vacuum bags for your toothpaste and other toiletries, and garbage that won’t fit in the bear can (0.3 lbs. @$2).

    Total grizzly bear protection package and response kit (excluding backpack, shipping, FFL dealer charges, and sales tax, if applicable) = $2,962. Support your local hand powerful gun business option + .454 Casull cartridges = $4,382.

    Extra weight = a mere 26.1 lbs., less if shared with a trail companion, but don’t get separated.

    And for all this there is Mastercharge. Look on your face – priceless! You risk taker, you.

    © WM 2010

    • pointswest Says:

      You should have asked him if he got any photos of grizzlies.

    • Linda Hunter Says:

      you forgot the fire extinguisher!

    • Elk275 Says:

      I find it silly that anyone is that afraid of grizzlies, they have never ever frighten me, I have been concerned several times but it has never stopped any planned activity. Now, moose they frighten me.

    • Save bears Says:

      I agree Elk,

      I respect them, but I have never feared them and I have worked and lived in Grizzly country for over 15 years now…

    • pointswest Says:

      I came very close to being killed by a moose. I actually had big gobs of green snot on the back of my jacket since it was so close and so angry at me. It blew snot all over my back as I narrowly made my escape. It was pretty horrible and shook me up pretty good.

      In the 70’s, there were many more killings and injuries from moose than from bears in the Yellowstone region. A woman I dated was involved in one attack while X-country skiing at Jackson Hole. She got away but the moose killed one companion and seriouly injured another. I kind of stayed away from moose for a few years. I still stay away from them in the winter when they can be so irritable.

      The good thing about moose, however, is that they do not come snooping around campsites at night.

    • pointswest Says:

      Ol’ Timothy Treadwell was not afraid. Heck…most of those bears loved Tim.

    • Save bears Says:

      PW,

      You have bought into the romantic stories Tim told the media, and the over exposure of the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Nat Geo, Tim spent 13 years in the bush with bears that were so used to humans that his attack was the first ever recorded, those bears in that area are around humans day in and day out..he had some knowledge, most of it was not based in reality, he had problems with the park service, but the park service never followed through with any of their warnings or threats…There was no hunting or poaching recorded in the areas that he “Claimed” he was working to protect the bears from poachers.

      Tim’s story made for good TV, but is was not based in reality and it had many exaggerations and embellishment included to get the viewers for the TV shows, which most of are produced by British and other foreign TV companies..

    • Save bears Says:

      Simply stated Tim did everything wrong and got lucky for many years, but in the end, his stupid irresponsible behavior got him, his girlfriend and bears killed…

    • WM Says:

      I was going to add a scary bear story book, but the only one I know of is Larry Kinuit’s, 1983, “Alaska Bear Tales.” It does have some pretty graphic accounts, including maulings and close calls like the one SEAK describes above, and which do not wind up in a death tally, that some seem to think is the only meaningful statistic.

      __________

      Elk & SB,

      I think you are both more seasoned and better prepared than most. Amazing what confidence one gets from a fire arm appropriate to the task, or bear spray. And, of course, in some areas the risks are extremely small, if you take the right precautions, they are even smaller.

      I am embarrassed to tell this story, but will anyway. I took my first trip into the Bob Marshall with my older cousin when I was 14, many years ago (late 60’s). Griz were abundant in the area at the time. We had aerial photos he borrowed from the FS Regional office in Missoula where he worked. We went in cross country over some pretty nasty terrain, and down in to a deep basin for some incredible high lake fishing. This was long before the really good backpack tents we now have with a separate rain fly over a nylon mesh tent body. We borrowed one of those water proof military surplus arctic 2 man tents, not realizing they were to be used with a fabric tent liner to collect condensation. A combination of very rainy weather, and the inability to eliminate the moisture from our respiration left the inside of the tent very wet, with water running down the sidewalls and on to our down sleeping bags. It was wetter in the tent than outside of it. We were to be picked up six days later at another location at Holland Lakes, so the only thing to do was continue on to the appointed destination, wet gear and all. I learned quickly you can’t sleep in a wet bag. We put up with this for several days. Everything soaking wet, only an army surplus ponch and no rainpants. Also, this was before the days of nylon pants, and since it was summer, no wool. I was wearing jeans. This was bare survival stuff, with only a small axe and dry matches for fires of very smoky wet wood. Stand in front of the fire and watch the steam roll off your jeans. I was so cold, wet and miserable I simply didn’t know what to do. We were coming out on a way trail, which meant lots of wet brush in the trail. Every step a new splash of cold water (I expect the temperature was probably in the mid-40’s). I was desparate. I smartly concluded, as only a 14 year old could, if I rubbed left over bacon grease from a breakfast meal, into the front and side leg and thigh areas I could at least stop some of the new cold water coming onto the jeans. Indeed it worked and I was warmer in that part of my body. But, I was a walking meal advertisement for a habituated bear. I kept the pants outside the tent when they weren’t on, only because they were wet. We eventally dried out but the bacon grease smell and feel was there to stay. My cousin properly scolded me, but it was, of course, too late to do much about it. The only consolation was that I walked on with confidence as my cousin was carrying .357 magnum, which we now know is not enough for a grizzly bear. I guess you could even call this a “young buck” story.

    • jon Says:

      pw, the bears did not love Tim. They tolerated him until one bear broke into Tim’s tent and ate him and his girlfriend. He was very lucky all of those years to not have been attacked and killed. sb, you said you have never feared grizzlies. I bet that would change if you were attacked and almost mauled by one. The fact is a lot of people are afraid of big animals that are clearly capable of killing them. Timothy Treadwell thought grizzlies weren’t dangerous and look what happened to him. If someone is worried about big animals while camping, maybe the simple solution would be to not go camping in the first place. PW, if you are worried about grizzlies, don’t go camping plain and simple. If you go camping in the wild, you should know and understand the risks.

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      No it wouldn’t, I have been in situations where I have used bear spray, I have confidence it bear spray and I also have the knowledge to take all precautions required to minimize the risk, can it happen, yes, are my odds high, no, I do everything based on what I have learned to ensure it does not happen..but as with many things in life, there are risks involved and I am willing to accept them, hell I accepted getting shot while on active duty, which changed the course of my life forever, so the threat of bear attack to me, is very low..you have to put things in perspective..

      Based on what I have read on this blog over the last couple of years, you want someone who knows what they are talking about? Listen to Linda..

    • Elk275 Says:

      WM

      ++I was going to add a scary bear story book, but the only one I know of is Larry Kinuit’s, 1983, “Alaska Bear Tales.” It does have some pretty graphic accounts, including maulings and close calls like the one SEAK describes above, and which do not wind up in a death tally, that some seem to think is the only meaningful statistic.++

      I believe that in the above book there is a reference on page 86 or 89 about a bear attack in Cold Bay, Alaska and the death of the individual. His name was Jay Reeves and I BOUGHT JAY HIS LAST BEER in Cold Bay bar. Two days later his body parts minus any flesh were in two bags next to one of the Hughes 500 C’s. The pilot ask me to take a look but there are limits to what interests me. I do not do dead people.

    • jon Says:

      sb, I doubt very few would have no fear of big grizzlies charging at them. The fact is the majority of people are scared of big animals because they are very capable of killing them. That goes without saying. If a grizzly charges at someone, there is a very good chance that person is going to be scared to death whether they have bear spray or a gun. It’s very easy for someone to say I don’t fear grizzlies, but having one charge at you in real life is a whole other ballgame. I don’t know you personally, but if you say you don’t fear grizzlies at all, I will take your word on it. I can tell you right now the majority of people would be scared out of their minds if a full grown grizzly charged at them. It’s natural human instinct to automatically fear things that we know can kill us.

    • JB Says:

      “I can see it now. Here comes the 2012 fashionable “griz-chondriac” north end Wind River hiker down the trail.”

      Funny, when I read that I was envisioning a hiker on a Segway with a cage mounted around it–think shark cage for bears!🙂

    • WM Says:

      Sorry to hear the loss of your friend – 1974 was the year.

      He made at least four mistakes according to the story: 1)photographer wanting pics of griz (where have we seen that riskier behavior before?); 2) camping along a salmon carcass stream when bears are feeding, 3) food in his tent, and, 4) no gun.

      The evidence showed the griz tore up the tent in which he was sleeping, and when he escaped barefoot, this large 5 year old prime boar, dominant on this stretch of stream, caught him up the trail a short ways.

      Sorry, correct spelling of author: Kanuit (not kinuit)

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      Lets see, I have been shot in combat and several over two years in the hostpital before I could walk again, them damn AK-47 rounds hurt like hell for a Long time, I still cannot walk more than a 30-50 yards before I have to stop. I have been charged by two bears, that were turned by bear spray in the last 10 years and I am still hear arguing with you…your idea of fear and mine are completely different!

      I used to teach my men, that there is a big difference between fear and understanding and respect, of course, that is no guarantee you won’t be hurt or killed, understanding that, I don’t have fear, I have understanding.

      As far as you saying the majority are fear full, I am always amazed how you know what the majority think, of course you still have not been able to cite any credible sources to back up your claims of “Majority”

    • JEFF E Says:

      sb, the key word is “men”

    • jon Says:

      your idea of fear and mine are completely different!

      agreed!

      As I said sb, it is natural human instinct to fear things that we know are capable of killing us.

    • Save bears Says:

      Watch out Jeff,

      I had some damn tough women in my units as well, and I would not want them to be mad at me!

      Yikes, talk about ass chewing and pain!

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      The key is, you fear death, I don’t, I accept it as part of life and I am not trying to be a hero, physiological or any other type of innuendo you could come up with, I just have a hell of a lot more experience than you. I accept the fact, that most every action I do, can result in my death, but I am very responsible in my actions, to try and not have it happen to soon..

    • jon Says:

      Soldiers are a different breed of people sb compared to folks who aren’t.

    • jon Says:

      Fair enough sb. You had no fear at all exchanging gunfire with the enemies in the wars you were in?

    • jon Says:

      Yeah, but a lot of people fear death sb. They fear the unknown. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. Some people fear death and some don’t.

    • JEFF E Says:

      sb,
      LOL-LOL
      I ran in to this WAC once..never mind, small kettles have big ears.

    • pointswest Says:

      jon…if I understand you correctly, your solution to the entire dilemma is to hale the grizzle and say F*<K You to all humans. That is, if you do not like feeding you children to them, then, just stay the hell away. Hmmm…it is so odd to hear this salient viewpoint from such a nice well rounded young man as you! Thanks for your insightful and thought provoking comments. You are a mental giant among intellectual dwarfs and it is always refreshing to hear your latest thoughts on these complicated matters.

    • jon Says:

      PW, I said if you think grizzlies are dangerous, don’t go camping. Anyone who goes camping should understand the risks. What is so hard about that? If you don’t go, you won’t have to worry about grizzly bears. I don’t get why anyone would waste their time complaining about bears. The easy solution would be don’t go camping and you won’t have to worry about the threats in the wild. All there is to it.

    • jon Says:

      pw, this is not a complicated matter. If you are scared of bears, the only solution would be is to either just suck it up and go camping with your son knowing the risks involved and be prepared just incase or just don’t go at all.

    • SEAK Mossback Says:

      I remember the Cold Bay incident with the photographer. My brother was working out there – he might have still been in Chignik in 74, moved to Cold Bay a year or two later – and he mentioned the guy owned or could borrow a .38 revolver and asked somebody if he should take it and they said “Don’t bother, its too small.”

      Hell, maybe that was Elk! . . . . just kidding.

    • pointswest Says:

      ++Jon sez.. this is not a complicated matter. If you are scared of bears, the only solution would be is to either just suck it up and go camping with your son knowing the risks involved and be prepared just incase or just don’t go at all.++

      jon…I know this might be nearly impossible for you to understand but it is not just about me.

      And I do suck it in and go. I went in Teton Park x-country skiing in August just a couple of summers ago. But I will not do it with my son. I would send you, however. Hell, I am encouraging you to go and be careless.

    • jon Says:

      pw, I asked you a question here.

      https://wolves.wordpress.com/2010/07/05/have-you-seen-interesting-wildlife-news-july-5-2010/

      I believe you said it is about your son and wife. No one is telling you to be careless. Stop complaining about bears. Yes, we know they can be dangerous, but I don’t get why you are complaining about them. If you view them as a danger when you go camping with your son and wife, what are the other alternatives? To avoid this danger, the simple and easiest solution would be to not go if you fear for your and and wife due to bears or you can just go camping with a firearm and bear spray. It is up to you. All I know is if I saw bears as a potential threat, I wouldn’t take my son camping plain and simple. You should know and understand the risks of going camping.

    • Ryan Says:

      WM,

      Cross country skiing in August?

      Jon,

      WTF, you are getting way out there, even by your standards.😦

    • Elk275 Says:

      ++or could borrow a .38 revolver and asked somebody if he should take it and they said “Don’t bother, its too small.” ++

      It was a .41 mag.

      Currently, I can not find any .41 mag ammo in Bozeman and I only have 10 rounds left. On the July 4, my lady friend went hiking while I snooze in the tent, 3 hours later, I am very concern because she has not returned. A few minutes later here she comes soaking wet and not looking her best. She had ran into a big black on the trail who would not yeild and she fled to the creek. I have never carried a gun unless hunting. I have decided to purchase 20 rounds of Buffalo Bore 235 grain hard cast and a can of pepper spray.

    • pointswest Says:

      I answered above.

    • Save bears Says:

      Jon,

      No I didn’t, I was very well trained and I was willing to accept what might happen, I was simply there to do a job…but no, I was not afraid to exchange gunfire with my enemies and I would not be to this day.. Fear is a wasted emotion, you need to learn and understand how to mitigate, fear does nothing but allow you to be vulnerable..understanding and respect allows you to live..

  41. pointswest Says:

    I watched ‘The Eagles of Mull’ on the PBS’s Nature series last night and it said that since the reintroduction of the Sea Eagle on the Isle of Mull, eco-tourism had become the mainstay of the economy and that there were now more eco-tourism boats than fishing boats.

    If you want to have plenty of interest and money in preserving grizzlies, get the eco-tourist market interested.

  42. WM Says:

    jon,

    I don’t mind saying again, I had one charge me in Yukon Territory, near Lake Kluane. Indeed I was scared. No gun or spray at close hand. If I had either they would have been used. Fortunately, I had enough time to back away, as this unprovoked charge began from nearly 100 yards out, and I retreated backward watching him from the corner of my eye (no direct contact) the entire time, to my vehicle.

    He didn’t like the fact that the vehicle was bigger then he, circled in front of me once and left, looking over his shoulder repeatedly. I have a picture of him, hair on hump straight up and very stiff gait trying to look big, and ears slightly back. I have very little doubt this would have ended badly for me under different circumstances.

    • jon Says:

      Were you scared at all?

    • WM Says:

      jon,

      Read second sentence closely.

      _____________________

      The military has an assessment tool for determining NAFOD behavioral characteristics. It is done as a part of determining who gets to fly high value assets. If you have No Apparent Fear of Death (NAFOD) you won’t get to be a fighter pilot especially on an aircraft carrier, and maybe not a helicopter.

    • Save bears Says:

      WM,

      Yes they have a NAFOD policy, but they also have an assessment board made up with people who have actually flown or been in combat or near death experiences to teach military personal, how to react in certain types of situations.

      In my command, we didn’t want robots, we wanted personal that could judge a situation and make good choices.

      I myself have no fear of death, but I also understand what death is, and how to take all events in to understand how to prevent it..and if I die, and have followed what I have been taught and experienced, then so be it..but I think far to many confuse fear with misunderstanding of the situation.

    • Elk275 Says:

      Save Bears

      +I myself have no fear of death, but I also understand what death is, and how to take all events in to understand how to prevent it..and if I die, and have followed what I have been taught and experienced, then so be it..++

      I could accept death. But, several weeks ago the Sunday addition of the New Times had an article titled “still a man”. The soldier had both legs and arms blown off with an IED and was laying in a bed with no limbs. I was so sicking looking at the picture that I could not read the article — this is what I would be afraind of not death. Now lets get back to wild critters.

    • Save bears Says:

      Elk,

      I would be very sad, in that situation, but I admire those who have had this happen, who still have the will to live, I know my injury, was very difficult, and I had my days of deep despair…

      I had people in my command, that lost limbs, and it is never easy, but I am still in contact with many of them and they are doing well..

      It is difficult to say what we would do, until such time as it happens, and believe me, I always pray, it never happens to anyone, and that includes my enemies…

    • WM Says:

      SB,

      My father was Army serving both as enlisted and as a field grade officer. I know a bit about the culture and the training, albiet dated. I, however, after a year of ROTC and a scholarhsip, decided (long story) that a tradition would not be followed in my case. I fully respect your calling and willingness to sacrifice as a warrior. In a slightly different time during college, I would have made a different decision. We all have paths not take in life, and regrets that sometimes result.

    • Save bears Says:

      WM,

      No reason to have regrets or joy…it is what it is..that is all, you simply followed your path and contributed things that are just as important..

      We all contribute in our own way….

  43. Elk275 Says:

    wm

    He was not my friend but a lonely sole waiting to go out in the field, myself and two buddies from Sun Valley were having a beer and somehow he hook up with us at our table. To tell the truth he was not the sharpest knife in the draw or the brightest caryon in the box. That was 36 years ago and I was 23 working for a oil exploration crew, one of my best summers.

  44. pointswest Says:

    jon…maybe instead of wasting so much time trying to educate all of us fools here on Ralph Maughan’s blog, you should be out camping in Glacier or Yellowstone Parks and sharing common life experiences with all your grizzly bear friends. It seems like someone who so bravely and tirelessly defends grizzlies and who stands up for grizzle rights might enjoy spending some time with them in their natural environment. I personally will donate $5 for every night you spend camping out in grizzly country as a sort of wild country scholarship. Maybe other here will donate too. Go forth young man and do God’s work!

    • Elk275 Says:

      I do not think that jon does anything but troll the Internet, there never has in his posts any references to his life’s experiences — so sad. All day at on the computer and no camping in grizzly country, but within the last 15 years we all have become married to the white box — so sad — bills need to be paid.

    • pointswest Says:

      I will through in an extra 50 cents per night if he goes alone and an extra dollar per night with no gun, no bear spray, and no electric fence.

  45. Id Hiker Says:

    WM always forgets to bring his/her toilet paper when he/her hikes.

  46. Id Hiker Says:

    sorry, it should be he/she

  47. Id Hiker Says:

    You seem to have a problem with hikers from the south… there must be some source of irritation.

    • WM Says:

      You are very perceptive. I must have subliminally made those references to the South. It could have to do with a very large government contract that a European company, trying to pass itself off as representing American interests, wants, by locating new facilities in the South. I avoided mentioning Alabama. However, I did mention in earlier posts hikers from the states of…..Ohio, New York and North Carolina, so maybe I am an equal opportunity bigot when it comes to hikers/visitors to the 8 (Or is it 11? Yes, I think 11) Western states, imposing their interesting knowledge and values on people who live, work and recreate in their resident states in the West.

      I notice you are an ID hiker, so you’re OK. But then you might just be messin’ wit me, uninformed hick from the West that I am. lol

  48. Id Hiker Says:

    lol – Well maybe I do have some western credentials (family in WY in 1884). I no longer live there, but in a very beautiful city in a country far far away (hint – I can see ruins). I do return yearly and hike my butt off. Thanks to such figures such as T. Roosevelt (NY) and many many other non-Idahoans, the depredation of the West by local and not-so-local interests was halted or slowed. I do not think that people who live and work in Idaho and other western states should be the sole arbiters of what happens. Usually an appeal to “it’s ours because we live here” is just another excuse for logging and mining. I remember talking to a number of residents of Cooke City when the New World Mine (Oh Canada) was denied by Clinton. In general, they’re nice folks. Unfortunately a majority wanted the mine and really believed the Feds were going to grab the gold for itself. I wonder what the Pinedalians think about the natural gas development? I think it sucks… As long as anyone puts pressure to preserve, I don’t care where they’re from. And if they’re no trace campers, even better! In reality I’m kind of terrified by grizzlies but I LIKE them around.
    ps: I might buy a new pack next year and I hope I don’t run into you! lol

    • WM Says:

      ID,

      There are alot of far away cities with ruins, but I will guess Europe, for you. Favorites of mine with ruins are London and Nimes, FR. Any possibility your far away city has a history involving suckling human twins at the teats of a wolf? And, do you remain an American citizen, or have you moved on?

  49. Jason Thornburg Says:

    So, I think i saw somebody else bring up this point earlier, but who WILL move the campers when bears start to occupy that area in greater numbers?


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: