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Fatal Bear Attack in Montana

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Fatal Bear Attack in Montana

Old 07-08-21, 05:41 AM
  #26  
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I was recently backpacking the AT and there are 2 bears per square mile in the Smokies. It is a complicated problem. Improper food hangs, cooking in camp, habituated bears, day hikers feeding the cute bears, etc.

During TABR, there was a huge flashing sign at the bottom of totawotte pass in wyoming saying there was Grizzly with cubs at the top. Scary sight is all I will say.
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Old 07-08-21, 06:10 PM
  #27  
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The bear smelled the food the first time. Even though they removed the food from the tents. The odor of the food was still there. I was with a church group that lead several boy scouts part way up the Appalachian Trail. Food was prepared and eaten before the tents went up. No food or packs were allowed inside the tents. We used para cord and empty stuff sacks to hang the food in trees quite some distance from the camp site. One of the boys had a cliff bar in the small pocket of his pack but he had followed part of our instructions and the pack was outside of his tent. We found his pack with the ripped out pocket when we went for water down a steep incline. The scent of food, people having sex or a bloody wound and even that time of the month is enough to get someone injured or killed by a bear. I was preparing oatmeal one morning and a bear came out of the tree line maybe 30 or so feet away. I walked away and let the bear do whatever he wanted. I don't argue with bears.
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Old 07-08-21, 07:45 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
I was recently backpacking the AT and there are 2 bears per square mile in the Smokies. It is a complicated problem. Improper food hangs, cooking in camp, habituated bears, day hikers feeding the cute bears, etc..
16 yo girl was recently attacked while sleeping in her hammock in a backcountry campground in the National Park.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/kutv.co...-national-park
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Old 07-09-21, 01:05 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Rick View Post
...people having sex or a bloody wound and even that time of the month is enough to get someone injured or killed by a bear.
Ridiculous. Provide articles of proof.
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Old 07-09-21, 05:46 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by BikeLite View Post
Ridiculous. Provide articles of proof.
The menstruation thing appears to be a myth.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.liv...ing-women.html
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Old 07-10-21, 06:50 AM
  #31  
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First... This is a very tragic story, but in the grand scheme of things risk of death or injury from bear attacks is a pretty small one especially if you follow good sensible camping practices. Assuming that you keep food and other scented stuff out of your tent and away from it in camp, cook a distance from where you sleep and so on, the risk is low enough that other risks far outweigh them. Basically if you follow sensible practices bears just aren't something you need to worry a lot about in my opinion.

Out of many thousands (millions) of folks working or playing in the outdoors there have been 21 fatal bear attacks in the lower 48 in the 1990s and 2000s so far. Given that it just isn't something that causes me to live in terror when on tour.

That doesn't mean that taking precautions in good camp hygiene isn't crucial. Not only does lack of good camp hygiene put people at risk it makes good bears into bad ones that wind up getting put down. As they say "a fed bear is a dead bear". So do it for your own good, for the good of other folks who will follow, and for the bears themselves.

Originally Posted by stevel610 View Post
Bear spray is surprisingly effective on Brown bears. Barring that, a 12 gauge with slugs is pretty good. 18" barrel with full stock would be first choice, pistol/shockwave grips carry better but are substantially more difficult to shoot accurately.
Carrying a firearm adequate to stop a brown bear just doesn't make any sense on a bike tour IMO. Bear spray maybe, but I have never bothered when bike touring, backpacking, or canoe tripping.
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Old 07-10-21, 06:57 AM
  #32  
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Such a loss!
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Old 07-10-21, 10:40 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Bear spray maybe, but I have never bothered when bike touring, backpacking, or canoe tripping.
I've bought bear spray once, and would consider it on an off-road trip - where there is greater chance of coming around a corner and startling both a bear and myself. However, generally wouldn't if I stay on paved roads.

Cycling in Alaska, YT, BC and Montana, I've seen a share of bears including this one on side of the Cassiar Highway. Mostly black bears. I was cycling down the road and passed on other side of the road. The bear looked up briefly but seemed to be more interested in munching wildflowers, so I cycled past.

Later on that same trip, I started down the GDMBR and there were a lot more signs warning of bears and a few trail closures as well, e.g.


So I decided, better safe than sorry - and stopped in at a small shop (Boulton Trading Post) and decided to buy bear spray. This was British Columbia, so they took my name, address and personal information. I also signed a declaration that essentially said I realized bear spray could be a weapon - but my intention was not to use it on people.

Somewhat later after I had crossed the US border - and came over the Whitefish Divide - I did startle a bear. I was coming downhill and rounding a corner. Ahead of me, the bear had already heard me and was running away down the trail. So we were both startled by that. I paused long enough to make sure the bear had plenty of time to depart. After that I was a little more noisy at some of those corners.

So I see bear spray as something handy to have in top of my handle bar bag or at camp. However, not something I expect to use unless there is a sequence of (mostly unlikely) events that all happen together. I think being on a paved road - particularly some with sight distances makes those events even less likely. All together, I think I've seen at least a dozen bears along the road during cycle trips and been fortunate so far that they were either in a disinterested eating mode or running along/away from my direction of travel.
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Old 07-10-21, 11:31 AM
  #34  
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I am less concerned about bears in the North than in the Lower 48.
Why? Because they are still hunted and fear humans.
I've biked a up to Alaska and the Yukon a half dozen times.
Remote camped by myself. I always light a couple of smudge fires.
Not only do they keep the mosquitoes down, but they announce my presence to bears.
And I am am rigorous about how I prepare and store food.
It is the first thing I consider when picking out a campsite.
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Old 07-10-21, 05:31 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by mev View Post
So I decided, better safe than sorry - and stopped in at a small shop (Boulton Trading Post) and decided to buy bear spray. This was British Columbia, so they took my name, address and personal information. I also signed a declaration that essentially said I realized bear spray could be a weapon - but my intention was not to use it on people.
I am going to be a pedantic Albertan and point out that Boulton Trading Post is in Alberta, not B.C.)
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Old 07-10-21, 05:34 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
I am less concerned about bears in the North than in the Lower 48.
Why? Because they are still hunted and fear humans.
I've biked a up to Alaska and the Yukon a half dozen times.
Remote camped by myself. I always light a couple of smudge fires.
Not only do they keep the mosquitoes down, but they announce my presence to bears.
And I am am rigorous about how I prepare and store food.
It is the first thing I consider when picking out a campsite.
Good points. I have some property in B.C. and the bears are pretty shy. The neighbours will shoot them given half a chance.
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Old 07-11-21, 02:06 AM
  #37  
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The bear was killed a few days ago, said to be not well. There was mention of a neck abscess.

UPDATE: An article mentions the bear was normal weight with no evidence of disease.

Last edited by BikeLite; 07-20-21 at 04:07 AM.
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Old 07-11-21, 03:04 AM
  #38  
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Did a lot of back roads touring in BC and north west USA. Being from Australia I we were a little paranoid so we got bear spray, rope for bear hangs and, most important of all, Air Zounds horns. We were on roads where some days we'd maybe see one car. The horns worked well, a vigorous tootle before we rounded any corners, especially downhill. We had bears standing in the middle of the road, a good couple of toots from a distance and they buggered off.
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Old 07-11-21, 10:04 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Trevtassie View Post
Did a lot of back roads touring in BC and north west USA. Being from Australia I we were a little paranoid so we got bear spray, rope for bear hangs and, most important of all, Air Zounds horns. We were on roads where some days we'd maybe see one car. The horns worked well, a vigorous tootle before we rounded any corners, especially downhill. We had bears standing in the middle of the road, a good couple of toots from a distance and they buggered off.
This has been my experience with black bears as well. Some sharp "HEY"s in a stern voice to get their attention and off they go. We live on the side of a mountain and have them routinely in our neighborhood.

Does not work for grizzlies though. In that case it's "excuse me for interrupting your day sir, if you don't mind I'll just let myself out the way I came in" 😉
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Old 07-11-21, 10:10 AM
  #40  
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Bears are still hunted in PA and NJ, although the latter appears poised to end that starting next year.

Estimated 879 pounder bagged in 2010:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.poc...emplate=ampart

2021 PA bear hunt season:

https://www.pgc.pa.gov/Wildlife/Wild...s/default.aspx

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Old 07-11-21, 03:23 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
This has been my experience with black bears as well. Some sharp "HEY"s in a stern voice to get their attention and off they go. We live on the side of a mountain and have them routinely in our neighborhood.

Does not work for grizzlies though. In that case it's "excuse me for interrupting your day sir, if you don't mind I'll just let myself out the way I came in" 😉
I think of it as being a turbo charged bear bell. Bikes are quiet and fast. At least a grizzly knows something is coming around that corner and isn't going to be surprised.
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Old 07-11-21, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Trevtassie View Post
I think of it as being a turbo charged bear bell. Bikes are quiet and fast. At least a grizzly knows something is coming around that corner and isn't going to be surprised.
Black or grizzly, you don't want to surprise them. Any kind of noisemaker will do.
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Old 07-12-21, 06:04 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by skookum View Post
Any kind of noisemaker will do.
The NPS doesnít agree when it comes to bells.

https://www.nps.gov/articles/hiking-in-bear-country.htm
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Old 07-12-21, 06:58 AM
  #44  
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Any bear downwind knows of a human's presence when camping. Bear's have a sense of smell something like 1000 times more sensitive than a bloodhound. If anyone frequents backpacking forums, the camp practices vary widely and the topic is like clinchers vs tubeless or wax vs oil. The old timers tend to sleep with their food and use it as a pillow in black bear country. I am more concerned with mice and the like. My pack stays outside with all zippers open. Anything with a smell goes into Smelly proof bags and that goes into a relatively light (3 oz) stainless mesh bag. It stays just outside the tent. I would not backpack solo in Grizz country even if armed.
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Old 07-12-21, 07:21 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
and the topic is like clinchers vs tubeless or wax vs oil.
But what about rim vs. disc brakes?
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Old 07-12-21, 08:40 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
I would not backpack solo in Grizz country even if armed.
Certainly a valid choice, but it eliminates some beautiful country. How strict are you on what you call Grizz country? Anywhere there is any chance there could be one or places where they are relatively common? There is a lot of the lower 48 where there is a very small chance you just might see one, but could also backpack your whole life and never encounter one even at a distance.
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Old 07-12-21, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Certainly a valid choice, but it eliminates some beautiful country. How strict are you on what you call Grizz country? Anywhere there is any chance there could be one or places where they are relatively common? There is a lot of the lower 48 where there is a very small chance you just might see one, but could also backpack your whole life and never encounter one even at a distance.
Yellowstone and Glacier for sure. They are more prevalent in the Bitterroot than in the past as I understand. Anywhere much South is Yellowstone is a low risk. Some people say they still exist in the San Juans, but I doubt it. I would love to backpack or bikepack there again! Yellowstone? No way.
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Old 07-12-21, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Certainly a valid choice, but it eliminates some beautiful country. How strict are you on what you call Grizz country? Anywhere there is any chance there could be one or places where they are relatively common? There is a lot of the lower 48 where there is a very small chance you just might see one, but could also backpack your whole life and never encounter one even at a distance.
I hiked around 500 miles in Yellowstone. I backcountry camped one night, and that was the only time I had an encounter with a grizzly. A cub was barking at my food hang all night - the next morning a ranger confirmed a griz family had been seen in the area and a few days later they temporarily closed those trails. I stayed in my car a couple dozen other nights and nothing ever.

The campgrounds in Silver Gate/Cooke City require hard shell campers. No Tents, no pop-up campers.

I guess my point is - I have spent a lot of time in griz country and the closest encounter I had to one was when I was tent camping.

I also lived in a wall tent in SE Alaska. I saw GIANT grizzlies a mile from my tent but was never too concerned. Alaskan grizzlies, lower 48 grizzlies, and black bears are very different.

It is a real thing to consider in my opinion, not unlike backcountry skiing and avalanche risk. Additionally, I think it is completely stupid to be more than a mile out from a parking lot in griz country without bear spray.

I do agree that hyper-regionality matters. I would feel much more comfortable camping up one of the major canyons in GTNP than just 20 miles further north.

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Old 07-12-21, 03:07 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
The NPS doesnít agree when it comes to bells.
...and then there is the following sign I found on the Dalton Highway cycling past Joy, AK.
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Old 07-14-21, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
The NPS doesnít agree when it comes to bells.

https://www.nps.gov/articles/hiking-in-bear-country.htm
My mistake. I should have said any kind of noisemaker except bells.

The main point being not to surprise them.
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