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1 dead, 2 injured in Montana bear attack
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Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
1 dead, 2 injured in Montana bear attack on 07/28/2010 23:04:09 MDT Print View

Don't know if anyone already shared this story.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: 1 dead, 2 injured in Montana bear attack on 07/28/2010 23:39:10 MDT Print View

Terrible news.

Kinda shakes the nerves since I'm leaving for Montana Friday morning for a hike through parts of Glacier.

Joe Cangelosi
(JoeFish) - F

Locale: All Over California
Re: 1 dead, 2 injured in Montana bear attack on 07/29/2010 00:02:37 MDT Print View

Very sad.

It will be interesting to hear the details unfold; I just can't help but wonder if they were all covered in sunscreen and bacon grease.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: bear attack on 07/29/2010 01:23:13 MDT Print View

The consensus of the news thus far seems to be that the unfortunate campers were doing everything right w/r/t food storage. A bear (I'm assuming it was a griz) returning to maul multiple people is certainly odd behavior, it would seem to speak of a habituated and/or old and sick animal. Hopefully we'll get more information.

It can (and no doubt will be) argued that the Soda Butte NF campground is not in the best place, especially as far as bears go. Right next to a little creek, in a narrow valley with dense forest, and close to Cooke City, which increases the likelihood of human food being accessible. All of which is to say that an explanation for this odd and disturbing behavior may appear, or it may not. I worry about bears far more when camping in the front country than the backcountry.

David Noll
(dpnoll) - MLife

Locale: Maroon Bells
Montana bear attack on 07/29/2010 07:09:53 MDT Print View

I am planning on heading out to the Martin Lake basin area with my wife and daughter in about 3 weeks. Should I be concerned and possibly look at another area?

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
1 dead, 2 injured in Montana bear attack on 07/29/2010 08:01:52 MDT Print View

Terrible. But with the overabundance of food in nature (in a lot of areas), the number of apex predators is just going to keep exploding.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
old bear grip on 07/29/2010 08:02:14 MDT Print View

In the seventies a similar thing happened to a sheriff
deputy I did ride alongs with for scouts. He and his wife
were camping in Yellowstone. A black bear went from camp
to camp at night chewing on people. He got chomped on the arm.
The bear returned and he killed it with his service revolver.
(Guns in National Parks, here is the opening for an
oncoming salvo).

His police buddies started calling him "bear grip".

Nick Truax
(nicktruax) - F

Locale: SW Montana
Bear Attack on 07/29/2010 10:11:04 MDT Print View

Seems they caught "the" bear - a 300-400 lb healthy female griz and 2 of her 3 cubs. Very unusual circumstances to say the least..

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: bear attack on 07/29/2010 11:09:04 MDT Print View

Here's an interview with the woman who was mauled and survived:

The above report uses bad info for the estimate of the bear population. According to the 2009 Interagency team report, close to 600 GRIZ live in the greater Yellowstone area ( (Page 14))

David, you'll have to answer that question for yourself. Bottom line is that if you hike and camp in bear country, you might get munched. The odds are very low, statistically much lower than the odds of getting killed driving to work, but bears are remote enough from our everyday experience that they seem to be a more immediate fear. Most of the time bears are predictable, and as long as you follow the rules for cooking and food storage and try to not surprise a bear, you should have no problems. Cases like this, which seem to be the extreme exception to the rule, shake that confidence and remind us of how fragile our lives might be.

I'll still hike and camp, solo and with others, in Griz country, but thanks to this the next time I go out I'll probably sleep a little less easily.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
bear attack on 07/29/2010 11:38:41 MDT Print View

To paraphrase an old saying: Even if you are doing everything right, if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, bad things can happen to you.

This seems to be a good example of that old saying.

Climbers fall; skiers are buried by avalanches; hikers are attacked by aggressive wildlife. We must understand and accept certain risks as part of our hobby.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
bear attack on 07/29/2010 12:20:52 MDT Print View

I blogged some analysis of the attack ( Nothing different than what I wrote above, but including some map links that might help those unfamiliar with the area understand the big picture.

Michael Neal
(michaeltn2) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
lock and load on 07/29/2010 13:53:12 MDT Print View

More reason to get that .45 I was thinking about buying for so long. have to get my wife used to the idea of having a gun :)

Kier Selinsky
(Kieran) - F

Locale: Seattle, WA
Re: lock and load on 07/29/2010 14:07:50 MDT Print View

*grabs popcorn for the great gun debate, round 32*

Edited by Kieran on 07/29/2010 14:08:20 MDT.

David Noll
(dpnoll) - MLife

Locale: Maroon Bells
bear attack on 07/29/2010 14:21:25 MDT Print View

I just got home from work and my wife and daughter have decided that we are going to the Wind River Range instead of the Beartooths.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
bear "repellant" on 07/29/2010 14:59:50 MDT Print View

Mike, data and the experts seem to have reached a consensus that pepper spray is more effective than firearms for getting bears to go away at close range. That being said, if you feel obligated to get a gun (and I think it's understandable), get a .44 mag revolver.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
David on 07/29/2010 15:30:06 MDT Print View

The revolver has more stopping power? For me the most important thing in bear country is stopping power hands down, but then you have the whole sacrificing accuracy thing with kick. But im willing to bed that a charging bear would at least (hopefully) cringe when hit with a .44 mag, giving you time to reaim.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
1 dead, 2 injured in Montana bear attack on 07/29/2010 16:19:52 MDT Print View

Unless you are a good enough shot to hit just the right spot on a grizz that's charging at you when you have no time to aim, you're only going to make the bear a lot madder. You have to kill instantly to stop a charging bear!

By the way, there are grizz in the northern Wind Rivers, too. They closed down the Green River Lakes Campground for a while earlier this summer. If I hadn't had to cancel my trip (for unrelated reasons), I'd have been doing a lot of singing along the Highline Trail there. Probably just as well for the sake of other travelers' eardrums that I'm not going.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
don't want to start the gun debate on 07/29/2010 16:22:07 MDT Print View

Ike, the revolver is less likely than an auto to jam. A .44 mag round has much more power than a .45 ACP.

I own guns for hunting. I carry Counter Assault for bear defense. Most of the hunters I know carry spray, even if they have a rifle along.

David Noll
(dpnoll) - MLife

Locale: Maroon Bells
bear attack on 07/29/2010 16:52:19 MDT Print View

Yes I know they are starting to show up more there also.

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Bear attack on 07/29/2010 18:00:56 MDT Print View

Re: "You have to kill instantly to stop a charging bear!" I'm no expert, but I seem to recall that some hunters deliberately aim for the chest / shoulder in the case of a charging bear. Perhaps they think that a blasted lung or a shattered shoulder will slow him down long enough to take more shots. The extreme slope of the bear's skull may make it likely that the slug will glance off, but I have no expertise.