2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.
Share your tales of travel & adventure with our step-by-step guide. Upload trail descriptions, photos, video, and more. Get Started
THE PULSE - Your source for survival, skills, and more from Rocky Mountain Editor Steve Howe

Things Not to Do With Bears

Yeah, and this too

       Yellowstone circa 1950. Photo: Sarah Howe, Howe family archives.

Well, there's not much out there in the way of instructive backcountry accidents, other than lots of lost hikers, several drowned kayakers and canoeists, and mountaineering tragedies on Denali and Minya Gongga in China that illustrate how mountains are bigger and badder than any human being, no matter how gnarly and experienced we are. Noted alpinist/ice climber/paraglider Will Gadd has an excellent post on the often-understated risks of high-adventure sport. It's well worth a read.

What has been notable, however, is a trio of bear versus human smackdowns, none of which proved fatal for either species, fortunately.

Trail runner mauled in Glacier
On Sunday, June 7th, Thomas Nerison, 60, was trail running northeast along the track that parallels Going-to-the-Sun Road between Lake McDonald and Avalanche Creek Campground when two grizzly bears, apparently spooked by a horse party, ran up the trail from behind and overtook him. One stopped near Nerison, who kicked the bear, then fell down. The bear then mauled Nerison lightly while he continued kicking and poking it with sticks (not advisable). Then the bear split. Nerison walked XC westward to the nearby road with punctures on his legs. Nerison normally carries bear spray, but didn't have it on him at the time.

[] Hey, I love trail running, but trail running in grizz hot spots is not smart, even in frontcountry areas where people may be lulled into thinking bears aren't around. If you're looking for aerobic challenge in thriving grizzly habitat, get it by hiking steep uphills - and making lots of noise while you're at it. Wait until hibernation season to get your running in, or move out of bear country. It's that simple.

[] While you should fight a black bear that gets you down (these are, very rarely, predatory attacks), fighting a grizzly, especially in a surprise encounter where the bears are just trying to remove a perceived threat, is not advisable. It usually prolongs the attack. In this case, the bears clearly weren't interested in predation, and quickly blew off Nerison despite the struggle. The attacker was probably an adult female with a yearling cub. Once the perceived threat was removed, they were both outta there. For more on when to fight or play dead, see this video featuring Ted (Alvarez) the Bear.  Warning: Do not feed or taunt Ted Alvarez, regardless of what he's wearing!

Hiker near West Yellowstone Nailed by Grizzly
Two days later, on Tuesday, June 9th, hiker Pete Sellers, 34, of Boise was attacked while walking along a Forest Service road near the confluence of the South Fork of the Madison River, and the Madison Arm of Hebgen Lake, near West Yellowstone, Montana. Sellers later told wildlife authorities that he walked around a bend in the trail and the bear was on him. Sellers was carrying both pepper spray and a pistol, but had no time to deploy either.

The bear bit Sellers "four or five" times on his upper arm, shoulder, neck, head and torso, and then quickly abandoned him to run off. Sellers was able to walk three to four miles back to trailhead and call for help. Wildlife authorities later determined that at least one cub was nearby, and the bear had cached an elk carcass only 10 feet from the track. The area around Gallatin Forest Trail #217 and West Denny Creek Road has been closed until further notice.

[] This illustrates one of the problems of going armed in grizz country: You better be faster than Doc Holladay to draw and fire. That's a tough call when totally surprised, and lotsa luck killing the bear outright. As an added downside, a wounded bear may get seriously aggro about you. Unfortunately, many people (though not necessarily Sellers) substitute a gun for noise and caution. That's a false sense of security, as many hunters in Montana, Alaska and Canada can readily attest.

[] When bears grab people, they often go for the leg, arms, shoulder, neck or head area...things that fit in their mouth. While mauling deaths are rare (you're far more likely to be killed by domestic dogs, bees and wasps, or the horse you were riding, than any sort of bear) many survivors undergo years of skin grafts and permanent disfigurement. All people in today's post were very fortunate.

[] Your best defense against bears is noise. Bells are less effective (and highly annoying on the tourist boardwalks of Glacier and Yellowstone). The human voice works better. Personally, I sing stupid songs, or holler smart-ass comments like "Snap to, Yogi!" about every 100 feet when the going gets bruin. Choose your own theme here, but make LOTS of noise, especially when you're hiking into a headwind, through brush, or along a rushing stream where the water's roar may hide your approach. Just don't go singing Tony Orlando or Abba because bears hate that, and who can blame them?

Grizz Gets Ass-Whupped by 77-year-old
O.K. Bears 2; Humans 0. But revenge is sweet and at least one Canadian grizzly is taking flak from her ursine bros after getting whupped by a 78-year-old man.  On Saturday, June 7th, James Wanyandie, 29, and his father Tom, now 78, were looking for shed moose antlers along an oil-field road near Prairie Creek, roughly 250 miles west of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

They were returning to their truck when they crested a hill and James spotted a bear cub up a tree (standard defensive behavior for small cubs, and NOT a good sign). Immediately a bear charged from beneath the tree. James had a .270-caliber rifle, and fired at the charging bear but missed. The grizzly sow passed him, spun around, grabbed his arm, and began working him over. Father Tom jumped the bear (breaking his hand in the process), whereby the bear worked on him briefly, then turned back to the son. Father Tom jumped the bear again, swearing at the top of his lungs in their native Cree language. The bear broke and ran, undoubtedly collecting the cub enroute. The Wanyandies were able to hike 500 yards back to their truck.

[] The Wynandie's fight-back reactions probably prolonged the attack, but you gotta admire the elderly Tom's moxie, even if it wasn't a smart move.

So, big sigh of relief for the victims and bears in all this.

Oh, and here's background on the picture. The photo is of my father, the late Dr. Gerald Howe, in Yellowstone, circa 1950, on one of those classic woody station wagon auto tours of the West that were so popular in post-WWII America. I found the original (a stereo photo where you look through a binocular rig for 3D effect), when looking with him through piles of his collected imagery. Since dad was always giving me flak for risky behavior, I showed him the pic and went "Day-ad! He seemed briefly embarrassed and then said "Awww, back then, everyone did that."

Which is true, based on the background of other photos from the same location, which show other smiling families engaged in the exact same practice. But messing with bears is dangerous. And as proof, here's another picture from the same episode.

Yikes! But that's a photographer for you; keep on snapping right until the jaws connect.

Hike safe. And don't feed the bears anything, whether it's Doritos, your camp rations, or yourself. --Steve Howe


Star Star Star Star Star
Aug 04, 2014 Super Bags Market Nike Jordan Shoes Beats By Dre Outlet Michael Kors Outlet Online Ralph Polo Outlet Online North Clearace Outlet Ralph Polo Outlet Gucci Shoes Outlet Michael Kors Outlet Polo Outlet Store Ralph Lauren UK Marc Jacobs On Sale MCM Outlet Sac Longchamp Pairs Canada Goose Outlet Burberry Outlet Michael Kors Outlet Oakley Sunglaases Factory North Face Outlet Online Moncler Clearance Woolrich Clearance Barbour Jackets Outlet Online Moncler Jackets Outlet Online Monster Beats Outlet Louis Vuitton Outlet Louis Vuitton Factory MCM Discount Clothes Sale Michael Kors Factory Online Coach Factory Outlet Coach Black Friday Coach Store Outlet Online Coach Factory Outlet Online Coach Outlet Coach Factory Coach Purses Outlet Online Coach Outlet USA Michael Kors Factory Outlet Coach Outlet Online USA Coach Factory Outlet Online Black Friday Coach Purses Outlet Online Michael Kors USA Michael Kors Outlet USA Ralph Lauren Polo

Star Star Star
coach handbags
Dec 18, 2013 coach store online coach outlet store online coach factory outlet coach handbags outlet coach factory handbags outlet michael kors outlet louis vuitton black friday louis vuitton handbags new 2013 chan luu marc jacobs handbags marc by marc jacobs marc jacobs outlet marc jacobs bags marc by marc jacobs marc by marc jacobs bags marc by marc jacobs michael kors handbags new 2013 cheap jerseys giuseppe zanotti coach outlet coach factory outlet michael kors handbags louis vuitton outlet fitflops prada outlet marc jacobs outlet

Star Star Star
coach handbags
Dec 18, 2013 coach store online coach outlet store online coach factory outlet coach handbags outlet coach factory handbags outlet michael kors outlet louis vuitton black friday louis vuitton handbags new 2013 chan luu marc jacobs handbags marc by marc jacobs marc jacobs outlet marc jacobs bags marc by marc jacobs marc by marc jacobs bags marc by marc jacobs michael kors handbags new 2013 cheap jerseys giuseppe zanotti coach outlet coach factory outlet michael kors handbags louis vuitton outlet fitflops prada outlet marc jacobs outlet

Star Star Star Star Star
Jun 25, 2013 gucci shoes outlet gucci handbags outlet north face clearance north face jackets outlet online monster beats outlet online beats by dre pro michael kors factory outlet michael kors outlet online coach outlet online coach outlet coach outlet usa coach outlet usa coach outlet online usa micheal kors outlet usa micheal kors outlet online michael kors outlet usa

Star Star Star Star Star
Mar 17, 2013

our jerseys shop Nike San Francisco 49ers jerseys,Nike Baltimore Ravens Jerseys and best servise. Nike NFL Jerseys cool base mlb jerseys Revolution 30 nba jerseys wholesale NFL T-Shirt,

Star Star Star Star Star
Feb 03, 2013

cheap convenient and creditworthy is our online store's ( service tenet . you can buy all kinds of cheap nfl jerseys here , just as nfl jerseys , basketball jerseys , NHL jerseys , Football jerseys ,the new era hats , we also provide jerseys customized service . All the products in our website are from china with wholesale price , so you can buy cheap products wiht high quality ! Now ,you can choose different payment in our website ,just as paypal , western union and VISA credit card . more information please visit

Star Star Star Star Star
Feb 03, 2013

You don't have his talent
You don't have his condition
You no applause
The world is not fair?
But you have the right to dream
Let the heart become your declaration
Let the wounds become your medal
Let the world's not fair in front of you down!
wholesale cheap jerseys |
discount nfl jerseys |
nfl football jerseys |
Custom nfl jerseys
Wholesale new era hats


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
Ebola breakout
Posted On: Aug 21, 2014
Submitted By: dayhiker9
Rocky Mountains
Pitchstone/Bechler/Union Falls Loop - YNP - TR
Posted On: Aug 21, 2014
Submitted By: Keith73
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions