From the report of the Ontario fatality, posted above:
"While there has been an increase in bear sightings, the ones that attack and kill are almost all in remote areas."
The attack on the hulahula river in ANWR was really surprising to me. This was a healthy, young, bear. The argument posed in the article was that hunting could curtail bear predation by instilling fear in bears. I'm all for bear hunting, but I'm not convinced I buy that argument.
The research I've done leads me to believe that some bears are "bad" bears (I use this term loosely, only to refer to a bear that might have predatory tendencies towards a human). Increasing human presence in remote areas may simply be increasing the probability that a human will encounter a bear that wants to eat them? Is it just statistics?
One thing I don't think a lot of people (especially tourists and frontcountry visitors, or uninformed backountry visitors) realize is the extent to which a bear will seek food.
The urge for putting on fat is tremendous, especially in the late season. Having shot an elk and defended the gut pile from a grizzly, and firing warning shots until our rounds were gone and still having the bear circle us is a freaky experience. Only bear spray kept it at bay - temporarily. In two hours, the bear was back. It really wanted the food. It's very scary, to see a bear in a predatory mode.
I was camping just outside of Yellowstone in 2003 and a griz came into camp in the middle of the night and began circling our tents. It grabbed a pack and ripped it open. We exited our shelters, sprayed the bear, and it left - for about an hour. By then we had packed up. The bear came into camp just as we finished packing, but there was still one tent up. We left the tent and began hiking away from camp. The bear ambled over to the tent and shredded it. It ate some of the fabric and chewed on the poles. This was a healthy looking bear and certainly did not appear malnourished. But, we were told that the huckleberry and whitebark pine crops were doing poorly in this area, and food was in very short supply. We did not cook in camp - we'd cooked 2 hours earlier up the trail. We weren't even camped on the trail: this was a great stealth camp, located about 1/3 mile from the main trail, completely in the middle of the woods: no game trails, no creek waterways, nothing that would indicate a "bear trail". We hung our food, toiletries, cooking gear, all back on the trail 1/3 mile away. Crazy.
Thanks for the comments, all, on the editorial. It was intended to provoke thought. I hope the forum continues to do so.