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The DAILY DIRT - The nitty and the gritty of outdoor news

Grizzly Bear Mauls Three, Kills One Near Yellowstone

Ontario woman survives by playing dead during rampage by grizzly sow and three cubs

Bad news, bears: A bear or bears attacked campers near Yellowstone in Cooke City, Montana in the early hours of Wednesday, killing one camper and injuring two others. The bear wandered into the Soda Butte campsite and attacked three separate tents, biting and injuring a teen and a Canadian woman on the arms and legs, and killing another solo camper. The nature of the deceased victim's wounds hasn't been revealed yet.

UPDATE: Rangers believe they've caught the culprit—a mother grizzly with three cubs. Two of the three cubs have been captured as well. The 300-400-lb. female grizzly will be euthanized, and the cubs will not be released back into the wild, since rangers speculate they may have been taught predatory behavior by their mother. Current evidence points to a rare predatory attack, where the mother actually targeted campers. "She basically targeted the three people and went after them," Fish, Wildlife and Parks Warden Capt. Sam Sheppard told the Billings Gazette.

This is the most overt attack near Yellowstone in almost 30 years. Camper Deb Freele, of Ontario, Canada, survived by playing dead, and shared her story on today's Early Show on CBS.
"Next thing I know, this bear is chewing on my arm. I screamed. He bit harder. I screamed harder," she told "Early Show" co-anchor Erica Hill Thursday from a Cody, Wyoming hospital.

In Freele's case, she said she sustained multiple bite wounds before determining that "screaming was not working."

"I don't know if you call it instinct, but something inside me just said … 'I want to live.' And I just told myself, 'Play dead.' … As soon as I went limp, I [could] feel his jaws get loose and then he let me go and he went away."
Rangers have closed the popular campground and continue to investigate the incident. We'll provide updates as they happen.

—Ted Alvarez

via CBS and Billings Gazette

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Jere Black
Oct 03, 2012

Bears are awesome

Anonymous
Sep 15, 2012

Coman
Jul 25, 2011

Been a year since the last post came apon this a few days ago. Seems like most of you know very little about guns and hunting a bear, First you can drop a bear if you unload what your carrying Anything less then a 38, is going to do nothing but piss the bear off unless you hit a organ. Aim for the bears right chest area you can hit its artery and the bear will bleed out quick. If your carrying a 44 mag or a colt 45 or the 1911 (The sport edition colt) you could kill a bear if shot in the head. a DE .50 is illegal to carry as a weapon in forests, And should be cause it is a nasty gun. but to be safe use a 30.06 or a 454 but warn you both have a recoil and would still take most of the clip to take down a grizzly.

Forrest wright
Mar 05, 2011

You people have to remember to pack a large enough gun with you. Everyone is wining about guns that will only piss off bears. Im not talking 338's and 44 mags, Im talking 500 smith and wession and a 600 nitro express double rifle for bear protection

Ron
Aug 29, 2010

Large calibre wepons are the best defense against bear attacks. As a sportsmans, I would say that you should take the repsonsiblity to carry a wepon into the wilerness. In the end, don't feed the bears. It is this irresponsibility that we have to arm ourselves in the wilderness. Hang your food high and DO NOT FEED WILD ANIMALS.

Think
Aug 26, 2010

A gun is just a tool, absolutely correct. However, try carrying an axe into a sporting arena or concert. Context means everything, it is one thing to carry in the backcountry, quite another to have a loaded weapon (sorry, tool) at hand in a campground. I am not anti-gun, just anti-dumb. I am not saying those on here who are defending the right to carry are dumb, just that any tool in the hands of a fool can be dangerous, and I have seen too many drunks and fools in campgrounds.

Think
Aug 26, 2010

A gun is just a tool, absolutely correct. However, try carrying an axe into a sporting arena or concert. Context means everything, it is one thing to carry in the backcountry, quite another to have a loaded weapon (sorry, tool) at hand in a campground. I am not anti-gun, just anti-dumb. I am not saying those on here who are defending the right to carry are dumb, just that any tool in the hands of a fool can be dangerous, and I have seen too many drunks and fools in campgrounds.

Just back from MT
Aug 10, 2010

Update: Apparently the mother bear had been baited for several weeks, in the vicinity of the campground, by a local wildlife photographer. Someone ratted him out a couple days ago. Park and Montana F&G officials are investigating. The name of the suspect has not yet been released.

On the subject of guns: It's worth noting that many exceedingly well-armed hunters have been mauled by grizzlies over the years. Usually this is exacerbated by their using camo, de-scented clothing, elk or deer urine as a lure, traveling quietly, and often hunting along brushy, noisy streams in places like Alaska during the late summer salmon runs. If you count on any gun keeping you safe, you better be one fast draw, deadly accurate, and be hauling a pump-action 12-gauge shotgun loaded with magnum deer slugs - which would be tough to raise and aim in brush, much less carry on any real backpack trip. Otherwise it's just a false sense of security. As a Chugach native bear hunter, Nick Kastikoff, once told me: "Forget about pistols. Forget about rifles. That'd only piss them off." And I personally know many concealed carry permit holders who are quite irresponsible, paranoid, and pretty poor shots. In most states (Utah is only one example) the CC test is a joke, custom-designed so that anyone can pass it.

In the more than one dozen backcountry grizzly encounters I've had in just the last five years, I've never had any trouble.

The only time I worry about bear problems is when I near the front-country where ill-informed and novice hikers flock, around outfitter hunt camps, or at fly-in landing strips where hunters have cleaned their kills or dumped food before splitting.

Grizz or black bear, problems like this are ALWAYS about a) traveling too quietly, b) food-conditioned bears, or c) being a close-approach fool (i.e. Timothy Treadwell).

Examples of b: "Night of the grizzly" in Glacier NPK years ago, where lodge lessees and cabin owners had been feeding grizzlies. Also the 'backcountry' incident on AK's Hulahula River several years ago (a garbage bear who attacked 8 airline miles from the Inuit Village of Kaktovik, according to a conversation I had with Stephen Herrero). As well, toss in virtually every Appalachian location imaginable.

Frankly, all this bearanoia is really kinda pathetic. Industrial bear phobia is fueled by our need to think the wilds are savage, and hence we're tough for being there. Even bear advocates like Doug Peacock tend to wallow in the perceived risk of grizzly attacks simply because it makes money and fortifies one's self-image as a rugged warrior type.

But you're really better off just traveling noisily (bells don't work, just talk), keeping a clean camp, avoiding sloppy front country campsites - and worrying about riskier things like cliff falls or meteor strikes.

FYI: I carry pepper spray. Lighter, more effective than guns. If you want to deter a bear, hit them where it hurts - In the nostrils.

Tim Smith
Aug 10, 2010

All of this gun phobia! I own many guns and carry concealed at all times; however using most any hand gun on an aggressive grizzly is absolutely a last resort. Even if mortally wounded the bear will not just "drop dead" as in the movies. A hand gun use in a tent in the dark? Not a good idea. Pepper spray in a tent? Maybe. Remember there is tent material between you and the bear so it will not receive the desired amount of spray. Play dead is the best solution. Concealed carry IS legal in ALL National Parks. I don't carry a lightening shield as suggested; however if I hiked on mountain tops often it would be a good idea! Far mare hikers are struck my lighting than bears! Witness the recent lightning even in Teton Nation park http://gtnpnews.blogspot.com/2010/07/rangers-conduct-complex-mountain-rescue.html. I carry a weapon because of the bipedal critters not the bears.

Pilgrim
Aug 06, 2010

Guns are allowed in National Parks, including Yellowstone. As others have already stated, pepper spray is probably the best choice out in the open, but is of little use inside a tent. Anyone who would "open up into the dark with that .45 caliber" does not deserve to own a gun anyway. No concealed carry permit holders that I know would ever dream of being so irresponsible. Guns are a tool. Nothing more, nothing less. Large caliber handguns happen to be the right tool for the job when detering bear attacks. Though by no means will they work every time, I'll excercise my right to self defense in Griz territory.

Pilgrim
Aug 06, 2010

Guns are allowed in National Parks, including Yellowstone. As others have already stated, pepper spray is probably the best choice out in the open, but is of little use inside a tent. Anyone who would "open up into the dark with that .45 caliber" does not deserve to own a gun anyway. No concealed carry permit holders that I know would ever dream of being so irresponsible. Guns are a tool. Nothing more, nothing less. Large caliber handguns happen to be the right tool for the job when detering bear attacks. Though by no means will they work every time, I'll excercise my right to self defense in Griz territory.

Paul
Aug 03, 2010

If you were going to carry a gun into bear country, make sure you have the right caliber, otherwise you certainly could unintentionally further anger the bear. I would suggest at least a .44 magnum, in a packable model. Forget about a .45, .40, .357, 9mm or .38. In my opinion, lots of cons to bear spray; wind, chemical reliability, user exposure, confined space, etc.

Also, practice! If you're going to carry a firearm, get good with it. Take a class if you're new with a gun. Run yourself through some tests to see if you could actually deploy it quickly (obviously always practice unloaded). Get in your tent and see how fast you can get to your weapon, then figure out what is going to work for you.

Bottom line, Grizzly bears are as wild as they were back before the park was ever established. Some folks may argue that packing a gun takes away from the sense of serenity they're seeking in the woods. Whatever. Better to be as prepared as possible...you only live once.

Anonymous
Aug 02, 2010

I am glad to hear that this was outside the park (again), my wife didn't want to go until I told her they built a border fence around the park to keep these animals out. Ironic that this is the first year guns are allowed in National Parks and all the violence is just outside the border. The ranger told us attendance is up due to the oil spill in the Gulf.

jwn
Jul 30, 2010

national parks-= sadly- are like any other place in america. per a recent supreme court ruling, anyone with a proper permit can carry a gun into a national park.

as a grizz tracker, however, the utility of a gun is more dangerous- provides a false sense of security. a grizz can cover 100 yards in six seconds. this was an extremely rare attack; most maulings occur when you surprise a bear and you're especially at risk if you encounter a sow with her cubs. pepper spray is a deterent but often people don't have time to discharge it. the woman who played dead- literally crawled into a ball and try and cover your head- is the best defense if a bear charges and is going to maul you.

Tom Grissom
Jul 30, 2010

As Stephen Herrero points out in his study, Bear Attacks, the only certain thing about bears is their unpredictability. They don't follow scripts and there is no sure way of avoiding danger and attack if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, even through accepted behavior and cautions. Playing dead worked even though this seems to have been a predatory attack. I would still have wanted to have pepper spray instead of a gun.

Allen
Jul 30, 2010

Soda Butte campsite is located seven miles outside Yellowstone NP in the Gallatin National Forest where guns are allowed. Shooting a griz at point blank range is risky as the bear will not die instantly but will intensify its attack until going down from the wound(s). It may be a bit difficult to grab a pistol when being awakened from sleep in a tent by a griz who has your hand/arm in its mouth. Actually it may be mission impossible! My advice is to get a dog that will sound the alarm at the approach of a griz hopefully giving you time to react.

Country Bumpkin
Jul 30, 2010

Why the gun bashing? I don't recall reading anything about a gun in any article I have read. Actually a gun is good defense against a bear as long as the right cartridge is used. Not sure how pepper spray is going to help you when you have a tent collapsed on top of you. Pepper spray works great in an open area not so good in a confined area. Good example here

http://www.fieldandstream.com/node/1000014248

Vanaprastha Backpackers
Jul 30, 2010

Bear attacks can be fatal and anyone venture into areas where bears known to live should exercise caution. Luckily all the bears are captured before attacking anymore. http://abhayamedia.com/landing/vanaprastha/

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