YNP Bears

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Trapper Badovinac, Mar 5, 2014.

  1. fly-by

    fly-by Active Member

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    Most all bad encounters come back to food habituation caused by someone who preceeded you, and end badly for the bear.

    A friend and I went to YNP last year and camped at site #3 on the second meadow of Slough creek for a couple of nights. On day 2 a ranger comes by to check things out. We were keeping a very clean camp but like the accountant who has to find something in every audit, or he's not doing his job, he proceeds to dress us down for the dime-sized sliver of orange peel in the fire ring. "It's HIGHLY aromatic, and an attractant!" We apologize and pull out the orange peel. He then sits down on a stump to give us a couple of bear horror stories. "Shot one right where you're standin'..." Apparently some guys had used a pack team to bring in steaks, beer, and who knows what else. The aroma got the attention of a habituated bear and it ran them out of camp, all the way to the Roosevelt ranger station where they showed up at 2am to tell their story. Ranger goes back the next day, sets out a dozen Krispy Kremes, and shoots the returning bear. The whole thing was long on scary and short on details so I pulled the report and found it was a 120lb female black bear, not a 700lb grizz. Regardless, still one of the last places where I would choose to have a BBQ.

    The main reason we ended up on Slough Cr. was due to bears... Last year I was lucky enough to pull a float permit for the Smith RIver. 2 days before our scheduled launch, the MT FWP called to say that they planned to close the river corridor due to bear activity and the permit was pulled.
    http://missoulian.com/news/state-an...cle_5199399c-e5ac-11e2-9ed0-0019bb2963f4.html
    I noticed some sloppy camps and saw a bear near camp when we were there in 2011 so this was not a big surprise. The FWP ended up shooting a bunch of the habituated bears during the closure. Unfortunate situation all around.
     
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  2. fly-by

    fly-by Active Member

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    It is interesting how much each park differs in its response to both bears and campers. Backpacker magazine had an interesting article within the last year where it had a chart that categorized bear encounters in national parks by number and type (sightings, interactions, and attacks) and what the park did about it. I am generalizing here, but the data seemed to suggest that YNP is lax with the campers and prone to relocate problem bears, and GNP is strict with campers and more apt to kill problem bears.
     
  3. Bill Aubrey

    Bill Aubrey Active Member

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    Trapper, that is one of the best written pieces I have ever read. Period.
     
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  4. Jonnytutu

    Jonnytutu Member

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    The rule I thought was the golden one was to fight to the death with a black, and play dead with a grizz. There have been very few cases of grizz eating humans but a fair few of black bears eating humans.

    Funny story - a buddy of mine out treeplanting up northern Vancouver Island, feel asleep in the bed of a pickup truck after his midday snack....woke up to a small black bear taking an exploratory chomp out of his bootless calf.....hahahaha, he woke up screaming and yelling, poor bear didn't know what had happened as his meal just woke up, bear was scared shitless and ran, my buddy ended up with a few nicely organized teeth marks. Funny stuff.

    Fin
     
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  5. Trapper Badovinac

    Trapper Badovinac Author, Writer, Photographer

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    That's true, but here's something many likely don't know.

    In the Bob Marshall Wilderness, under the USFS regulations, "attractants" (food, beverages, some stock feed) must be secured in bear boxes, hung, or attended by an adult within 100 feet during the day and 50 feet at night.

    The way the outfitters comply with this regulation is they put the cook in the cook tent or right next to it at night.

    Thus, the rules that are strictly enforced in YNP about not sleeping with your food or even near it, are just the opposite in the Bob Marshall.

    Whenever I leave camp unattended I put up a 7-strand 7,000 volt electric fence. It appears the bears in The Bob have learned that touching their nose to that fence is something they don't want to do a second time. I have seen plenty of bear tracks and scat when I return to camps in The Bob. But they generally stay out of camp when humans and stock are present.

    In my mind that speaks volumes about the differences between the truly wild bears and the habituated bears in YNP.

    Trapper
     
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  6. Trapper Badovinac

    Trapper Badovinac Author, Writer, Photographer

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    You're welcome. I'm glad you found it useful.

    Trapper
     
  7. Trapper Badovinac

    Trapper Badovinac Author, Writer, Photographer

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    That's probably a good rule of thumb with one important addition -- don't play dead with a grizzly unless you are on the ground and the bear is on top of you. If you have a back pack and a grizzly charges you, don't take it off. If you get knocked down and are on the ground put your hands behind your head and get in a fetal position. If the bear flips you over, roll back into this face down fetal position with your hands protecting your neck and head.

    Trapper
     
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  8. Bill Aubrey

    Bill Aubrey Active Member

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    Trapper said "The way the outfitters comply with this regulation is they put the cook in the cook tent or right next to it at night." Trapper, isn't that "baiting"? Cooks make great bear bait, though, smelling like food and all.:)

    My first almost bad experience with a grizzly up close was in the early 70's in Alaska. My hunting partner and I were hunting an old army arctic test site for caribou and moose. The site had an old Korean war era quanset hut we used as a base camp. It had a plywood flor and door, and the walls were insulated canvas. The side at the rear had been pulled back and was open, probably by curious bears--the area was thick with grizzlies. One night in late August, we had a visit. I had pulled the gap in the side back towards the rest of the wall, but an undetermined human toddler could have reopened it. We slept at the opposite end of the same side, with me against the front and my partner laying about a foot or 2 to my side. Our rifles and my .41 mag Ruger were next to him. Barry was a a brave soldier and loved our work of testing parachutes in the Arctic, but was scared to death of bears. i was awakened by a noise outside the hut. A large critter was walking around the hut, snuffling and sniffing. It stopped and sniffed by our heads which were just inside the canvas wall. It then went to our cast iron skillet we had used to make bacon and eggs and had laid on top of a partially full 55 gallon fuel drum. Bears love bacon grease and we had been lazy and stupid in the extreme. Mr. Bear wanted more and I heard him moving the fuel drum around like he was playing with it.
    I wanted my rifle really badly in case our guest decided to enter the hut. I did not want to make noise so I tried to get it without waking up Barry. We were both in mummy bags and I was fully zipped, leaving only the small hole for breathing. I worked my left arm up and out (now picture a cacoon with an arm sticking out). Mobility was real limited and I reached out to try to locate the rifle. The bear at this point was at the opposite rear corner messing with the frying pan and drums. In the dark, and with zero mobility, I ended up putting my open hand on top of Barry's head. Well, Barry was awake and listening to the same noises I was and saying a few Hail Mary's, and all of a sudden he thought the bear had him and he actually levitated a little off the floor. I told him to shhhh, he told me a thing or 2, and the bear came back around to make sure there was no competition for the grub. We lay very still, while the bear made several circles, and whenever he would be at the other end, I would insist Barry give me my rifle and he would argue, thinking I'd go out and shoot the bear. I finally inched my bag zipper down tooth by tooth so I could get up and get my rifle, carefully stood up and crept across the floor to an old wooden wire spool for our flashlight, when my toe found the empty 3 pound coffee can Barry had found and was using as an ashtray. The damn thing went clattering across the floor making more racket in the otherwise total stillness than you can imagine, scaring the crap out of me, levitating Barry again, although this time in a very noisy manner, and turned the poor bear into a drag racer. We could follow his hasty departure from the noise as he tore across the river bed and into the woods about 75 feet away.
    A couple of weeks later, a friend of mine killed a Boone and Crockett Grizzly at the site.
     
  9. Mark Kulikov

    Mark Kulikov Active Member

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    Great story Bill. Reminds me a little of one night few years back. I was lying in my bed, in my house, sleeping soundly, when I was suddenly awakened by a hand covering my face. My immediate reaction was to grab the hand and throw it off. Little did I realize that the hand on my face was actually my own hand, which had grown numb from lying on it I suppose. Upon launching the appendage from my face, it flew in a perfect arch and subsequently landed upon the face of sleeping spouse next to me. What followed was instantaneous and severe.

    Sent from my little square phone thingy using Tapatalk.
     
  10. Trapper Badovinac

    Trapper Badovinac Author, Writer, Photographer

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    Great story Bill. Really.

    Funny story Mark. I could see my wife doing the same thing.

    Trapper
     
  11. Karry

    Karry Member

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    Went fishing today on the Sun River, here in Montana. We was fishing below the bridge on highway 287 near Augusta. I landed one nice brown,but it was running high and dirty. We my Son and I then moved up stream to check out the fishing there. As we went under the bridge we saw a road kill deer at the bottom of the embankment, and wondered how it got there. The brush is thicker above the bridge but the river is wider and flowing a little slower. The river was up to the brush but we was wading out from it. We went about 1/4 mile up the river to the cliffs and turned to fish back down. The river was too high to wade. we had gone about 200 ft when my son said "look a deer swimming the river". The conversation went something like this. No too big an elk maybe no we are 20 miles from the mountains could it be a bear then it came out of the water, bear. Just make a lot of noise it will leave us a lone, then my son asked did you bring your gun. UUUA No Do you thing it is feeding on that deer? The deer is about 50 yd from my truck. How I really wished I had my gun. At this point we made a dash through the brush and up the hill side, no trespassing sign be dammed. We did see the bear again as we crossed the hill side, it was still in the brush and it was watching us. I was glad that that griz was not feeding on the deer by the truck. I'm glad Shane saw it when he did, if he had not........
     

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