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This was how I was taught to talk to a black bear  RSS feed

 
r ranson
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VIDEO: B.C. man’s polite encounter with bears praised for being ‘so Canadian’

Long ago, I went to a training by the local parks department on how to interact with dangerous wild life like black bears.

First I make myself look large by raising my arms over my head or by standing next to other humans.

Second, I talk in a calm voice and say "Hello Mr or Ms Bear.  How very nice to see you.  However, if you would be so kind, please don't try and eat me as I mean you no harm and simply want to get away from you in a calm and orderly fashion.  So please, go away so I can back away slowly and we can leave each other alone.  Thank you for your time."

Thing is, it works. 

The other thing is, these guys look about 10 times larger than life size when you walk around the corner and find yourself two feet away from a bear who wasn't expecting to see you. 
Filename: 20170923190436-3310.mp4.mp4
File size: 9 megabytes
 
Nicole Alderman
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And then there's this guy:



I actually just heard about him a few hours ago when visiting with the workers building the house down the street and we were talking about the black bears in the area. They mentioned this video, and then seeing your post reminded me, so I went and looked the video up.

We teach our son to put his arms out to look big, and walk backward to the house, very calmly. Of course, considering his freaked-out reaction when we met the sweetest dog today, I think we need to work on his reaction to predators a LOT. 
 
bob day
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sounds about right,

I had several bear encounters here, the closest one--sort of like you described, turning a corner and staring at one ten to 20 feet away

Without your script, I paused, breath stuck in my throat for what seemed an eternity, then said "what the heck do you want"--fairly calmly

he turned and ran.

Another time skinny dipping one crashed into a clearing where i was sitting naked on a rock, and I shouted "get the f+++ out of here"

that worked too (i did mostly stop skinny dipping down there though)
 
Jim Fry
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I like to go camping in the deep woods. One night in October I was sleeping next to a quiet stream. I had just a small fire for overnight warmth. In the middle of the fairly dark night something woke me up. I looked around and saw what looked like a black road leading from where I lay on through the woods. I thought it must mean something, so I got up and walked down "it". A little ways farther into the woods, along that dark "path", sat a bear. Again I thought, well, I could run and hope to not get eaten, or I could sit down and have a talk. I decided that since I had gone to the woods to pray, I should listen to the lesson that was there for me. So I sat. ....And Bear and I had a nice long talk. This is the way things used to be. It is the way it can still be.

Several folks here have written about talking to bears, as they leave bears area. They have even written the English words they used. But a lesson I was taught long ago is that the Stone People, and Plant People, and Animal People don't always talk using human words. They have their own languages, and if we humans bother to learn how to speak with the other peoples of Earth, we could all learn a lot from each other. And maybe all get along better. And maybe be more peaceful with each other. Giving up ignoring or fearing, and instead talking and understanding.

 
bob day
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I read an article about a guy in a small community who actually had bridged the divide with the bears and had an active exchange going with them. The  bears seemed to be more in that peaceful coexistence mode, , but the community was a bit nervous, one man in particular who happened upon a female with cubs while riding his bike.

He was so shocked he fell off his bike, the cubs scurried up a tree, and the mother bear simply went over and sat under a tree waiting for the cubs to come back down. he got on his bike and rode away, but swore up and down that the mother bear was being aggressive--even though he was the one who startled her and she only went and sat down.

Everything you say about the fear interfering with understanding /listening is right on, and I often wonder if I will be able to ever put that into practice.  I have almost gotten to the point where I'm not afraid, since black bears are notoriously timid, and my experiences so far have verified that, still it is quite another thing to actually be in their presence and not at least be in awe of their size and power.

Also of course, every so often a black bear eats somebody, and while it's easy to go back and see why and what the person could have done to avoid it, still as much as I believe what you say about our ignorance and fear being the problem, sometimes it's tough to shake

I really envy your experience that night sitting down with mr bear

thanks for the post, that  helps me look a little closer at my own fear and encourages me to be less aggressive with them, although I really don't want to encourage them to come raiding my grape vines or camping outside my door waiting for treats
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Great thread.  The video at the beginning is generally the way to go.  Even though the guy is generally polite, you can tell that he is also firm in his resolve.  That is, he is making sure that he is heard, and that his presence is known.  I grew up in bear country and continue to live in bear country.  I have visits from black bears yearly and occasionally grizzlies.  They mostly graze on clover in the spring.  We co-habitate in the meadow. 
I have almost gotten to the point where I'm not afraid, since black bears are notoriously timid, and my experiences so far have verified that, still it is quite another thing to actually be in their presence and not at least be in awe of their size and power.

Also of course, every so often a black bear eats somebody, and while it's easy to go back and see why and what the person could have done to avoid it, still as much as I believe what you say about our ignorance and fear being the problem, sometimes it's tough to shake

I really envy your experience that night sitting down with mr bear

thanks for the post, that  helps me look a little closer at my own fear and encourages me to be less aggressive with them, although I really don't want to encourage them to come raiding my grape vines or camping outside my door waiting for treats



While bears are notoriously timid, they are also much like people, who learn good and bad traits and who have good and bad days.  Not all bears are created equal, as nurture and nature collide with human nature and ignorance.  Bears generally all look much the same when you first notice that they are present.  Was the last person that they saw an asshole to them?  Did that person fire a gun over their head, or chase it off with a bear banger, or hit it with pepper spray?  Well if any of that is true, then it's likely not going to be too happy to see another human, and it might not be super conducive to a sit down conversation, in fact that might be a good way to get a swat or worse.  There are a lot of options that will discourage bears from raiding grape vines and waiting at your door for treats.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Don't feed the bears, period.  Exclude their access to your grapes and never give them the opportunity to think that your property and especially your house are a source of food.  Electric fences, and other deterrents are only worth their weight if the bear is taught early on that they are effective.  If a bear is already habituated to an area that has apples or garbage, for instance, only an extreme high voltage fence can hold it out.  These are not commonly available at any rate, and anything less a determined bear will simply go right through common electric fences or strong wire grids.   Bears are indeed large and extremely powerful, between 5 and 10 times the strength of a man of equivalent size (not that men are often the equivalent size of a large black bear, or especially a grizzly).   I've seen the damage that a small or average bear can do on a car, or a house.  Extremely impressive, and frightening.   

Fear is one thing, and showing it is not in your interest, but respect is something else, and it is of utmost importance.  Having respect for something sometimes means that you scare it away.  It is sometimes far better in the future interest of a young bear to learn that humans are best left alone.  They generally end up dead pretty quick if they don't learn this.  However, all that just said, I tend to not scare them away.  I have a soft spot for bears, especially if they are not doing any harm.  Since we are all related but I don't often know it's gender, I generally call the bear 'cousin'.  I say, louder and firmer then the guy in the video, "Hey Cousin."  I wave my hands, "I"m over hear.  Good to see you.  I'm going over there," gesture with hands, "and I'd appreciate it if we weren't in each other's way."  Generally this is effective.  Either the bear leaves or I do, or we both just go about our business near each other but keeping a safe distance.  Seldom is there an issue, but I am always prepared to drop face down with my arms guarding my head, legs spread out so that I'm hard to roll around.  The idea of curling up in a fetal ball (which was at one time the recommended method) is a bad one; the bear has a tendency to use the person as a hand ball to the degree of much damage.  Bear bangers are a loud minor explosive charge that is thrown at or near the bear to scare it.  This can be, apparently, fairly effective, but I have never used one.  Pepper spray, although possibly effective, is a tool that is used as a last resort, upon a more than bluff charge.  A bluff charge is a short burst towards you, but stops short.  It is a warning that you are not welcome and that it's territory has been violated by you.  Do not make eye contact.  Walk backwards, slowly away.  If the bear continues to approach, then make yourself look large, arms raised, and make direct eye contact.  I don't like the idea of bears getting hit by bear spray.  Put yourself in their shoes.  But sometimes this is all you have as a last resort.     

A more than bluff charge is one that is clearly going to directly impact you physically.  Follow the directions on your bear spray, and don't miss.  I've heard of grizzly bears getting hit full on by bear spray.  They are stopped momentarily, but clean their sinuses in a massive lung blast, and then continue their charge.  These are ones that have likely been sprayed before, and have learned how to deal with it,  and are not going to be easy to deal with.  You are in trouble.  Running is of no use.  They are far faster than a race horse on a short sprint, and continue with a sprint with a bullet in their heart since their heart beat is so slow, and there is already so much blood in their muscles and brain.  Lay down, face down, with hands/arms protecting the back of your head, spread legs so that you can not easily be flipped.  Play dead. Pray.    

 
Roberto pokachinni
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Here's another bear thread that has some useful bits:  Composting in Bear Country
 
Kevin Derheimer
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I fish in northern BC late October early November and have had a number of grizzly encounters.  What I have come to realize is that bears are as varied in personality as people!  We carry bear bangers and bear spray while fishing.  Last encounter happened while wading, a grizzly walked up on me while I was fishing, didn't see me, so I decided to walk upstream away from him, didn't last long as I ran out of wadeable river and couldn't get out because of dense alders.  I thought about using a bear banger, but he was so close that I was afraid the banger would go off behind him and drive him right into me!  So I decided to talk to him instead, and called out to him.  He was noticeably surprised and stood up and gave me a couple of woofs.  I told him that it would be best if he left!  He looked at me, then across the river, then at me again and decided to swim across the river. We both walked up the river on either side till a bridge, and watched each other for a bit, then he just kept going, quite a relief for me!

A guide used a bear banger on a bear that was close to camp.  The bear came back that night and found his boat out of 5, and pissed all over it!  He knew which boat it was and obviously got the last laugh!  Smart bear!!

One guy almost got eaten, used 3 bangers, and spray on a big grizzly that had been eating on a Moose for a couple of days.  After being driven off several times, the bear came back again, the guy was out of bear devices, his guide just happened to come by and plucked him out of the river.  He was pretty shaken and was going to swim for his life.  High 30s low 40s water temp isn't fun to swim in, I know as I've slipped and had to swim several times.  It was pretty obvious that the bear was going to eat him!

Some bears are mild mannnered and would just as soon put some distance between them and humans, and some will eat you!  Talking to them has worked for me several times, but I still consider myself lucky that I haven't run across a mean bear, even the sows with cubs I have encountered.

Kevin
 
Roberto pokachinni
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I still consider myself lucky that I haven't run across a mean bear, even the sows with cubs I have encountered.
  Me too.  Or a male bear who is in the 'rut'.  The unpredictability of such an encounter can be fatal. 

While hiking this summer on a multi day trail friends of mine came across a dead bear, partially buried with the dense vegetation smashed down all around it.  It was pretty clear that a territorial battle had taken place at the location.  They leashed their dog, and made quick time to put distance between themselves and the location.

When I was seventeen I went up a steep ravine with a buddy of mine.  It ascends a mountain, and it was so steep that we didn't want to descend it.  We went into the forest ridge on the west side and descended there instead.  Often on a ridge near such an inaccessible ravine there is a game trail, and we were in luck.  So we walked down the narrow path that the animals had made.  The forest was pine dominated and relatively open, with blueberry bushes in clusters coming out of the moss.  We picked the odd berry bush if it was near the trail but mostly we were traveling.  My friend was partially raised in Oklahoma and had not had seen many bears, and asked me, considering the berry bushes about the bear potential.  I told him that they were likely around.  This was definitely bear country and there is likely that this inaccessible area was the territory of a bear and in such a good berry patch it was probably the territory of a dominant bear.  He asked about how you know, and I told him that you will see their scat, and you will probably also see territorial markings, like big scratches on the trees.  Right after I said this we came across both, and they were both fresh.  You can tell, basically, the size of the bear by the units in the scat, and by the height of a territory scratching.  We walked slightly quicker, but I told him that we shouldn't run.  We carried on for only a few minutes when I noticed the black bear about a hundred yards to the west, moving slowly towards us.  I told my friend to stop and not move (which at the time was my go to strategy).  So there we stood, stock still and waited in silence.  The bear continued to approach, looking directly at us.  It didn't seem that she could see us well.  Apparently their eyes are not super great and we were standing vertically like the trees in the forest.  She got within about a hundred feet and then stood up on her hind legs, licked her nose to gain scent and sniffed the air.  She strained to see us.  (I should have made myself known at this point, but I did not really know that I should at that age).  The breeze though was heading toward us, descending into the steep cliff drop to our backs, so she couldn't smell us.  She continued to approach, and got as close as twenty feet, and stood up again to get a scent and a look. She clearly had lactating breasts and was fully mature, maybe 5 years old and over 500 pounds for sure.  I waved my hand, at her, and said, "we are right here."  She dropped down, smashed a large stick with her paw, and snorted, but she thankfully turned to go back to her cubs.  She walked away, and every thirty or forty feet she stop and she would turn her upper body and glance back at us.  When she was three hundred or so yards from us, we started to move, slowly at first, downhill, and then a bit faster.  And as young boys do, when we were 5 minutes down, we started to run.   Thankfully the bear was not up for a chase.
 
Wes Hunter
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Would it be inappropriate at this time to say that at some point I'd like to hunt (and eat) a black bear?

My biggest hangup at the moment is I don't think I've yet earned the right to do so.  Although they're around, black bears aren't exactly common in southern Missouri, and I've never had any sort of bear experience that I think might qualify me to hunt one (in the same way that I have no interest or desire to travel to Africa to hunt some animal that is totally other).

For what it's worth, my interest in hunting black bears is mostly culinary, though I certainly wouldn't be opposed to a rug in front of the woodstove.  And, I find hunting a pleasurable activity in and of itself. Arkansas has a black bear season, so I could be in huntable territory in about two hours.  Maybe someday.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Would it be inappropriate at this time to say that at some point I'd like to hunt (and eat) a black bear? 


If I may be so bold as to suggest that it might be considerably more appropriate to create a thread in the incredible but somewhat under-serviced:  Permies Hunting and Fishing Forum  !!  

Although some of my posts are a bit off the main topic in this thread, which was how to talk to a bear, they relate directly to bear encounters and what, in my opinion, to potentially do and not do when encountering a bear, including but in my case not sticking fully to the conversational aspects of said encounters. 

Your post, on the other hand, does not, in my opinion, relate to the topic of bear encounters, or what to do therein (talking... or), except in your self admitting lack of experience thereof.       thus my suggestion/ or the inference that your post might not be as appropriate for this thread as it would be more whole heartedly welcomed in a thread of it's own, or in a thread that might be searched which involves bear hunting.    
 
Roberto pokachinni
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In reference to Nicole's post above that involves the video of the man punching the bear... this is not a recommended method!  But... if you are in a position where you feel that you must strike back at a bear, the nose is the most sensitive part of their body (besides their tiny eyes), and the top is the most sensitive part of the nose.  It is full of blood vessels and fluids and it really scrambles them to take a hard blow there.  Just saying. 
 
Nicole Alderman
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Roberto pokachinni wrote:
Your post, on the other hand, does not, in my opinion, relate to the topic of bear encounters, or what to do therein (talking... or), except in your self admitting lack of experience thereof.       thus my suggestion/ or the inference that your post might not be as appropriate for this thread as it would be more whole heartedly welcomed in a thread of it's own, or in a thread that might be searched which involves bear hunting.    


Although, this thread is in Meaningless Drivel, so I think things are a lot more lax in respect to how much people stay "on topic." But, a post in the Hunting/Fishing forum would be wonderful, and might get more helpful replies there, too!
 
Wes Hunter
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Roberto pokachinni wrote:If I may be so bold as to suggest that it might be considerably more appropriate to create a thread in the incredible but somewhat under-serviced:  Permies Hunting and Fishing Forum  !!  

Although some of my posts are a bit off the main topic in this thread, which was how to talk to a bear, they relate directly to bear encounters and what, in my opinion, to potentially do and not do when encountering a bear, including but in my case not sticking fully to the conversational aspects of said encounters. 

Your post, on the other hand, does not, in my opinion, relate to the topic of bear encounters, or what to do therein (talking... or), except in your self admitting lack of experience thereof.       thus my suggestion/ or the inference that your post might not be as appropriate for this thread as it would be more whole heartedly welcomed in a thread of it's own, or in a thread that might be searched which involves bear hunting.    


Fair enough.  As Nicole already suggested, this being the Meaningless Drivel forum, I concluded that staying on topic was of less importance than in the 'real' forums, and assumed that more tangentially-related thoughts were fair game (pun fully intended).

Also, I wasn't looking to actually start a discussion on bear hunting, so a devoted thread in the hunting forum wasn't even on my mind.  My preceding question of propriety was rhetorical.

I'll bow out now.
 
David Livingston
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I would love to meet a bear although we only have about a dozen or so in France ( all along the border with spain ) I doubt I would be composed enough to speak to it in French
 
bob day
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Then there's the story of the man being mauled by a grizzly, but his wife wasn't finished with her husband yet, so she took a camera case with a strap on it and swung the camera and hit the bear on the nose three times, until finally the bear decided the man probably wasn't worth the abuse.

The  comment about the nose being most sensitive is good to know, makes sense too since bears are known  for their acute sense of smell.

I often wondered if a spray bottle of a rank old perfume might be enough to deter them. or even wearing a strong cologne

Recently my guinea fowl alerted me there was something urgent going on outside about 2 in the morning, so I went out in the greenhouse (connected to my house) with a flashlight, shining it all around inside and through the glass, but didn't see anything, so I shut her window and went back to bed. The next morning I found bear scat in the driveway, but the grape vines right outside my guinea's window were untouched.

In order to help prevent a return visit I brought a small open pan of diesel fuel and set it at the base of the vines thinking it might be rank enough to mask the smell of the grapes and discourage the bear from investigating further.

not sure if it had an effect, but no evidence of mr/mrs bear since
 
Larry Bock
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I've had many encounter with black bears.Years ago while living in ME, I went out bear hunting. After weeks of no success, I met an old fellow and we talked. He told me the way I went about it was a waste of everyone's time. Me being me, I asked him for some advice. (When my elders speak, I listen)
  I was living in potato country and he explained that farmers rotate thier crops. "What you want to do is find a oat field, go there and wait till late afternoon,bears will sometimes find a corner, sit on thier haunches and scoop oats off the stalk and eat". My first though was " umm yea ok".    Four days later I decided to give it a try and low and behold..meat in the freezer. Downside, I felt like it was cheating. To top it off, I really did not care for the taste. I have never taken another.Another time I rounded the bend while partridge hunting and came face to face with a large black bear using the same trial. We stared each other down as he swayed back and forth and huffed at me. Having nothing more than a 20ga shotgun, I backed up and off to the side. He had the right of way, he walked past me and never even looked over his shoulder. Yea, meaningless drivel, but still a good story. Another time I watched a mother and her two cubs dig for something. I was less than 50 yards away. The thought of pulling the trigger on my 06 never crossed my mind. Kinda felt like it was an honor to have seen this with my own eyes . Everyone went home happy. Nlarry.  Oh partridges and I have an agreement. The have a 2 out of 3 chance of going home once they are airborn. Man those are some quick critters

Give
 
r ranson
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That same class that taught me how to talk to the black bear told me that if diplomacy doesn't work, then one might have to defend themselves.  Black bears eat their meat fresh, so playing dead is a bad idea.  If the black bear does decide to eat you, punch the nose.  Chances are one will miss and get their hand down the throat.  This is good.  Get the arm as far down the throat as possible and grab something.  Hold on like your life depends on it, because it does.  According to the instructor, if you grab the right thing, it hurts like crazy and triggers something that prevents them from closing their mouth. 

A very dramatic image. 

Which was quickly followed up by "If things go that far, you probably won't survive it.  It's better to avoid this kind of situation by simply talking to the bear respectfully.  Ask them for permission to leave, and then do so calmly!"

Another tasty tidbit - apparently the biggest attractant to bears on the trails (after bear bells - which apparently the local bears have learned means picnic) is toothpaste.  I know several trail guides who won't allow toothpaste on their tours.  Something about one of the fillers is from seaweed that, I'm told, is the most divine food in the world for black bears.  Funny thing is, I've never bothered to test it.  I'll take their word for it. 
 
David Livingston
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I suspect they are big into honey too
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Black bears eat their meat fresh, so playing dead is a bad idea.  If the black bear does decide to eat you, punch the nose.  Chances are one will miss and get their hand down the throat.  This is good.  Get the arm as far down the throat as possible and grab something.  Hold on like your life depends on it, because it does.  According to the instructor, if you grab the right thing, it hurts like crazy and triggers something that prevents them from closing their mouth.

A very dramatic image.

Which was quickly followed up by "If things go that far, you probably won't survive it.  It's better to avoid this kind of situation by simply talking to the bear respectfully.  Ask them for permission to leave, and then do so calmly!"
  I mostly agree with this.  Definitely talking to the bear politely is the best avenue in an encounter, which I would highly recommend anybody try as the first response.  As far as not playing dead because black bears eat their meat fresh:  a black bear might kill or maim something simply because it wants to be rid of the nuisance or it might do so out of fear, not because it wants to eat that something.  Protecting your head is of utmost importance, and playing dead has proven effective in many bear attacks, particularly with grizzlies.  A grizzly will often mound material on top of it's wounded or dead victim and come back to it once it has rotted and gained a bit of yummy maggots!  Grabbing a large branch or log and brandishing it, smashing it down on the ground while yelling loud, is often a good way to scare off a black bear that is not responding kindly to a convivial conversation.  Keep the stick and hit the bear on the nose if it hasn't already been frightened off by the unexpected display by the strange naked ape.  A bear, like most humans, is not really wanting to fight, and certainly doesn't want to get hurt, so if you feel that you must meet fury with fury then do so, in a loud bluff charge of your own.  Be prepared to dodge swatting heavy hitter paws.  If the bear stands up, step back.  If it's on all fours, worry about the front paws and teeth.  As was mentioned aim for the nose.   Also as was mentioned early on in this thread, bears tend to be timid, and generally run away.  Sometime it is a minor act of aggression that is needed to initiate that run response. 

When I was a child, my family would go camping and we had a portable air horn that was from a boat.  If a bear came anywhere near our camp, the horn was blasted.  No bear stuck around to find out what the hell made such a blast. 

Bears tend to lumber around and look kind of slow.  Don't be fooled.  They are extremely quick, and strong.   I've seen a large beautiful silver tipped grizzly sprint up a densely vegetated seventy degree slope three hundred meters in order to intimidate us from standing on a remote logging road, some of the folks photographing it.  We jumped in our large 4X4 crew cab and revved the diesel engine, but we had no clue how the huge bear might react.  It thankfully backed away as we crept forward with the truck, over revving the engine for noise effect.   On our return from our day of tree planting in a remote hanging valley further up the creek, we noticed that the big Silver Tip, still grazing in her avalanche chute meadow, was a mother of two. 
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Wes Hunter wrote:
Fair enough.  As Nicole already suggested, this being the Meaningless Drivel forum, I concluded that staying on topic was of less importance than in the 'real' forums, and assumed that more tangentially-related thoughts were fair game (pun fully intended).

Also, I wasn't looking to actually start a discussion on bear hunting, so a devoted thread in the hunting forum wasn't even on my mind.  My preceding question of propriety was rhetorical.

I'll bow out now.
  I guess i'm not a good judge of rhetoric on first glance.  I apologize if I drove you off, Wes.  Clearly drivel, meaningless or otherwise, should be sustained via whatever channels are volleyed toward it.  Please don't let my lack of understanding of your rhetorical question stop you from posting.  My bad.   
 
r ranson
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That reminds me, I need to start a thread asking what to do with this black bear hyde that appeared in my freezer.  I asked for crappy deerskin for rawhide, but got a gorgeous young bear pelt instead.  Something lost in translation.  But I'm grateful for the gift, just haven't a clue what to do with it.

I'm also grateful that bears aren't interested in my farm.  We see them pass through the woodlot sometimes, but they never bother us.  Very understanding species. 

Now cougars... These ones aren't so easy for me to get on with.  I can smell and and sometimes hear them in the bushes, but they aren't interested in reasoning a truce with me.
 
Wes Hunter
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Roberto pokachinni wrote:I guess i'm not a good judge of rhetoric on first glance.  I apologize if I drove you off, Wes.  Clearly drivel, meaningless or otherwise, should be sustained via whatever channels are volleyed toward it.  Please don't let my lack of understanding of your rhetorical question stop you from posting.  My bad.   


Oh, no need to apologize.  I was just explaining my reasons for posting a rather off-topic comment.  I was in no way offended by your response.

More on topic:  Assuming peaceful negotiations peter out, we all (I think) know that climbing a tree is fruitless, as an angry bear (heck, probably even a happy bear) can climb much better than you or I.  But I have long thought that it would be quite effective to just keep a big tree between yourself and the bear.  You know--it goes one way, you go the other.  Around and around.

It's like in movies, when there's a huge rock or runaway truck or something barreling toward the beloved main characters.  What do they invariably do?  They run away, directly in the path of the thing.  If I were the type to yell at TV screens, I'd be saying "Just step to the side!"  Let it roll on by.

Same thing with dangerous animals, whether bears or mountain lions or velociraptors.  It strikes me that the survival rate would be higher if folks would just dance around a tree for a while until the critter gave up.

On second thought, that wouldn't work with velociraptors.  They're pack hunters.  But bears and lions, surely.  Right?
 
Roberto pokachinni
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it would be quite effective to just keep a big tree between yourself and the bear.  You know--it goes one way, you go the other.  Around and around. 
  It does seem logical, but a bear is an incredible creature with strength and speed on it's side, and it will not tire if it is determined to do you harm.  Someone with very high athletic level of endurance and speed might be able to sustain such a situation for a long time, but I would not not use this as a go to strategy.  For one, a large tree or rock are not always available.  A small tree is like a toothpick to a bear and it will either walk over it, or if it's bigger swat around it.  Remember that you are in their jungle, this is where they have trained from birth to hunt and gather.  The other reason is that, should you choose this avenue, you will likely want to get there fast.  Running away from a bear to get to a location like this is a good way to get chased; and once a bear has initiated a chase, then it's game on.  <-Pun intended.

  That all said, certainly putting something between yourself and an angry animal is a really good idea!  It's good to have many tools in the tool box.  Hopefully one goes for the right one, with the right bear, in the right situation.
 
bob day
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bears maybe, lions are pack hunters too.

The dancing you describe is likely going to end badly,  bears are just way too quick.

I was trying to discourage a particularly stubborn bear that had eaten or killed about 40 guinea fowl (mostly very young ) and kept coming back testing my defenses.

At one point I had rubber buckshot in the shotgun, cocked and pointing right at the bear who was 15 ft away looking at me.  I knew not to make him mad by shooting him in the face, so I wanted to shoot him in the butt when he turned to run.

I asked him "what do you plan to do now?" and he did the most graceful sort of a moonwalk sommersault sort of diving underneath his body and coming out in a fast run down the hill, surprised me so much I didn't even get a chance to pull the trigger--he was a hundred feet away before i could travel the 15 to get a shot around the corner. the effect of the buckshot was lost, but the noise may have helped  (although i think the electric fence with peanut butter on tin foil trick was what finally got to him).

 
Roberto pokachinni
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Now cougars... These ones aren't so easy for me to get on with.  I can smell and and sometimes hear them in the bushes, but they aren't interested in reasoning a truce with me.
  yeah.  cougars are a real serious threat.  They, unlike the very omnivorous  bears, are pretty much solely carnivorous.  All cougars do is eat meat.  If you have ever watched a house cat jump up onto or down from a fence, rip upwards into a tree, or play with a caught rodent, you can just scale up these events to match a beast that is 10 or more feet from nose to tip of tail, ranging from 100 to 250 lbs, with claws and teeth that are accustomed to doing a lot of damage really fast.  Super spooky.  Take also the fact that in the wild they are seldom seen, unless they are stalking you, and even then it's probably pretty much too late, then you get the picture.  In the case of cougars, your best bet is always to make your self big and loud, to grab any weapon (rock, big stick... anything that can cause damage and or make you look intimidating), and to fight back.  If you have a stick, go for the eyes, the ears, the teeth.  Hurt them, and yell at them, and avoid their teeth and claws.  If you have a large rock, wait till they circle into range and brain them with it.  

I have never seen one on my property, but the winter shows the truth as I find their tracks all over my forested area.  It's a bit unnerving as I like to spend a lot of time in that forest, all year.  I was just there yesterday, planting 10 cedar trees at the base of old fire killed stumps or snags.    

edited for clarity
 
Bob Stuart
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I know a couple of berry pickers.  One won't get out of his truck without a heavy rifle.  The other is comfy about sharing the bushes with a bear, or a family visiting his yard.  They'd rather eat than fight.  We are not a normal part of their diet, so we can co-exist if we don't startle each other.  Around here, they help keep the Beaver from flooding the farms.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Lots of good bear knowledge in this thread.  Thanks to all who have shared their knowledge of brother bear.

Redhawk
 
Bob Stuart
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One time, some cowboys caught a bear cub and took it to a local rodeo to fight a dog about the same size.  The dog was very well regarded, but there was still a lot of betting before the match.  The dog was very hesitant about engaging, and so was the bear, but it was over with one swipe of the cub's claws.  It turned out that all the Indians had bet on the bear, and they cleaned up.
 
bob day
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I know this may seem a bit off the wall, but if a bear were going to eat someone, do you think it would prefer a vegetarian or a meat eater?

 
Bob Stuart
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bob day wrote:I know this may seem a bit off the wall, but if a bear were going to eat someone, do you think it would prefer a vegetarian or a meat eater?



Anything that can eat a Beaver or an anthill is not going to be fussy. 
 
Kyle Neath
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Earlier this year, Invisibilia released a podcast (Invisibilia is a bit more like a long-form radio show) about Eagle's Nes, Minnesota where people have been living at peace with black bears for quite some time — feeding them from their hands and all together co-existing. It was one of my favorite episode's they've done, and I highly recommend checking it out: Reality Part One

As for me, bears are a reality of living in the mountains and I see them quite often. It hasn't made them less jarring of an experience, but I've yet to really experience anything aggressive from a bear either. Keeping calm usually results in them walking away. Bears don't like people for the most part (but they do love our trash).
 
Roberto pokachinni
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A few years ago my friend Dave woke up a bit early one morning in early spring to a mewling sound at his door.  Turns out it was a bear cub.  Dave lives on a long peninsular nose on a long bend in the river.  A lot of animals end up at his place, including cougars wanting to corner prey.  The river ice was just starting to break up, so it was particularly dangerous to cross.  Anyway, the little bear was probably orphaned by a highway impact on it's mom, or the mom had fallen through the ice. The little cub wandered down to Dave's place, and the air coming out the door was warmer than outside generally so it was nestled up against the door.  It was thinner than normal, and it looked like it had been on it's own for a while.  But even with, what Dave figured would be a lack of strength from being malnourished, it shot up a nearby spruce tree when Dave opened the door.  Dave left it alone, and went for a walk to see if there was any other bears around.  There wasn't.  He went back to the tree and put an apple there, and went back to the house, to the bathroom window which looked out on the spruce tree.  The little bear cub went down to the apple and ate it.  After it went back up the tree, Dave put another one there, and the bear came down again.  The 'spring' weather was quite bad, with sudden cold snaps as if winter did not want to relax its grip just yet.  As the night began to approach, Dave was concerned for the little bear and brought out his down sleeping bag, and made himself comfortable at the base of the tree.  The bear eventually came down and nestled up against him.  He opened the sleeping bag and the bare cuddled right up.  Dave continued to feed the little bear apples and cabbage and other things from the root cellar, and his young granddaughters would do the same, right from their hands.  There is a bear rescue and rehabilitation center in Smithers, and they said there was a trucker in Prince George that would bring the bear to them, but they needed Dave to get a dog carrier box and get the bear to go inside, and then drive it to meet the trucker in P.G..  Dave enticed the cub with it's favorite apples, and in it went... but when Dave shut the gate on the cage, the little bear realized it was trapped.  It slammed itself hard against the cage door, tearing at it with it's claws in a bundle of pure fury.  Dave jumped back.  The cuddly little thing that he had slept up against and his granddaughters had fed by hand was definitely 100% wild bear dangerous!  Just goes to show that you never can be too cautious when you have the potential to corner a wild animal, and no matter how tame or cute a wild animal might seem there are other instincts and drives that are present below the surface.        
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Bear behavior depends on the individual bear and the time of year. I have a friend that was in a tent and a grizzly bear attacked the tent, nearly killing my friend.
There was no threat to this bear, it just attacked something that was in his territory and he wanted it gone.

I have walked up on berry eating black bears and had no troubles. I have walked up on a resting bear and been given the stand up challenge.
I have had to kill one bear, bear meat is stringy but very tasty.

Most of the mother bears I've encountered were fine with my presence as long as she didn't see me as a threat to her cubs.

Black bears are actually more prone to attack humans than grizzly bears, probably because there are more of them.

Firm actions along with respect of the bear will usually keep things from getting nasty, but not always.
I don't back down to a bear but I also don't get aggressive, I show respect and will go a different way when the bear allows me to resume my walk.

Sometimes firmly and loudly saying "Get out of here bear" or "Go away Bear" will get them to move, but be watchful and don't let your guard down.

I've had a black bear stop eating his berries and look right at me and grunt then go right  back to eating his berries.
I've also had one stop and rush me, stopping about 1 foot from me, then turn around and go back to his business. (I had my .45 out as this one charged me,  didn't have to use the trigger and that was good)
 
Bob Stuart
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One time a fishing guide set up to cook supper on a sand spit while his guests took the boat just offshore for another catch.  Then a Grizzly appeared on the hill, and came charging down and out the spit, full speed.  The guide just paused and stood watching him.  The bear skidded to a halt, stuck out his nose a foot away for a sniff, and ambled off.  After a long silence, one of the fishers asked "Um, you need a change of underwear or something?"
"Nah, he had his ears up.  He was just playing."
 
Larry Bock
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Bob Stuart wrote:One time a fishing guide set up to cook supper on a sand spit while his guests took the boat just offshore for another catch.  Then a Grizzly appeared on the hill, and came charging down and out the spit, full speed.  The guide just paused and stood watching him.  The bear skidded to a halt, stuck out his nose a foot away for a sniff, and ambled off.  After a long silence, one of the fishers asked "Um, you need a change of underwear or something?"
"Nah, he had his ears up.  He was just playing."

  I loved this story.  Larry
 
Francis Mallet
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It's time we had a talk.

 
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