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Warding off black bears, what has worked for you??
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Michelle Olsen
Warding off black bears, what has worked for you?? on 08/20/2013 01:17:41 MDT Print View

I have MS and I was in a wheelchair for 12 yrs but have recently gotten stronger and have just started jogging, which I am thoroughly enjoying! Making up for 12 yrs stuck indoors!

3 days ago, I encountered a HUGE black bear. I was jogging along, enjoying my music, and got a very strange feeling in the pit of my stomach. The feeling got so strong I stopped and looked behind me, only to discover a very large bear was running up the trail behind me! It was so surreal, I couldn't believe my eyes, like watching a video, this can't be real I'm thinking. And for a few seconds I just stood there watching his fat body bounce and his long brown fur twisting/swaying back n forth across the middle of his back with every stride. Then he got about 20-25 ft from me and I realized, he/she was not stopping!

There was no where for me to go, there was a steep hill to my right side, and a drop off to the river on my left, I slowly started backing away, but it kept coming closer, still not sure if it seen me or not. I don't seen how he couldn't, but maybe bears don't see that well, I dunno. Then I moved my hand and he/she ran up the hill away from me. Thank God!

Actually, I can't believe how calm I was, until after it was gone, then my heart was pounding hard out of my chest! And my car was parked at the opposite end of the trail, which meant I would now have to walk past that section where the bear was and then go 1 1/2 miles through thick trees to get back to my car. Plus, there wasn't another soul on the trail the entire way back. I called my husband on my phone so I wouldn't feel so alone until I got past the section where I had seen the bear. I could hear rustling in the bushes, now I was scared! I quickly walked past it and made loud noises and talked loudly, til I finally reached my car.

I'm using a different section of the trail now, but just learned that people have been seeing another bear, in this section too, a Mamma and 2 cubs. I've started carrying a whistle just in case I do see another bear, Everyone keeps telling me "They're more scared of you than you are of them, just make noise, they'll leave you alone".

For a couple days, I felt better about enjoying my daily runs, just by avoiding those areas and making noise.

Then today I hear on the news that a 12 yr old girl was jogging at her grandfathers property and got attacked by a black bear. He knocked her down twice, she picked up speed, and the bear pursued her and knocked her down a second time. She said after the 2nd time, she played dead and screamed for help. A neighbor heard her and sent her dad to help. They went onto say, that her dad chased the bear away. She had surgery and was able to go home today,

She was jogging at 9 p.m. at night,(it was 11:30 a.m. when I seen that bear).

Then tonight I hear, that 6 people were attacked by bears in one day in the U.S. - Coincidentally, on the same day I seen this bear....gee!

I love the outdoors! I want to explore everything I can while my MS is in remission. I'm getting stronger every day, but I want to be safe.

Any suggestions? What else I can do make noise, I don't want to use a whistle unless I see a bear, but since I'm jogging I need some way to let them know I'm coming and scare them away.

Thanks :)

EDIT: I'm sorry, I should have mentioned I am in Colorado, and the trail is located right here in town, it is a park trail which is goes approx 7 1/2 miles through a forest with alot of trees/berry bushes/ creeks and a river. There are usually hikers, joggers and bikers on the main trail every day, mostly in the mornings. Other joggers have told me there is a mamma bear and 2 cubs been seen 3 or 4 times since I have seen this one.

The particular section where I seen this bear, has kindof tight quarters, w/steep hill on one side of the trail, and a short drop off down to the river on the other.
UPDATE: I just learned something I didn't realize, I've been wearing a perfume spray, in case my deodorant is failing, not to offend anyone passing me one the trail, lol.

I feel like an idiot for even having to say this, but the fragrance is called "Cherry Blossom".... "HELLLO!!!" Maybe THAT may be what brought that bear out to run up the trail behind me, Makes me think, how could I be so stupid!

Edited by Kolorado on 08/24/2013 09:39:11 MDT.

Desert Dweller

Locale: Wild Wild West
Bears on 08/20/2013 03:13:25 MDT Print View

Get some bear spray, learn how to use it and always take it with you. Making noise, talking or singing is a good thing. Read Stephen Herrero's book "Bear Attacks" . I have also had a few run ins with bears and for the most part they don't want to have anything to do with humans and usually run away. More so in areas they are hunted, less so in areas where they get free food from human sources. And yes they don't see very well in some circumstances but their senses of smell and hearing are better.
I see kids here jogging in the woods with iPods and buds in their ears and in my humble opinion it's a set up for an accident or attack. Being aware of your environment is a huge part of surviving the environment.

Last May, I was sitting on a rock by a spring one day at noon taking a break, and had removed my shoes and socks when a good sized bear came around the bend on the trail and just strolled right at me. I'm a hunter, so it occurred to me that I was sitting in the shade, dressed in green and perhaps he did not see me as the sun was rather as he approached I grabbed my left sock and proceeded to get my socks and shoes on as fast as I could. The bear got within 30 feet of me and stopped abruptly having seen my movement, got this "oh crap" look on his face and turned uphill and ran off into the brush. I jammed my feet into my shoes and threw my pack on and walked quickly downhill down the trail away as fast as I could, knowing one should never run from a bear. It kind of shook me up a bit, but as I am armed I was not really too worried, and after a mile or so I was laughing remembering the look on his face. But ever since then I've been more vigilant on that trail and don't stop at the spring for long...others might want a drink!

Edited by Drusilla on 08/20/2013 03:19:01 MDT.

Bogs and Bergs
(Islandized) - F

Locale: Newfoundland
re Bears on 08/20/2013 05:01:59 MDT Print View

I'd also recommend reading up, knowledge is power! That poor little girl tried running away, and that probably sealed her fate. Acting like neither a threat nor prey is the best response with black bears.

I hike solo in black bear country and very, very rarely see them. Recently I've been picking their blueberries, too, so I've made it a point to talk to them the whole time. Never had to use the bear spray, not even when I got between a mother and her cubs.

NOT PANICKING is the most important thing you can do in an encounter, I think. The animal will detect your fear, and the fear alone is enough to make you a potential threat. Panicked animals (people included) are irrational and unpredictable. An animal that might leave you alone otherwise is going to have to respond to that fear. It can't trust you.

If you're jogging, maybe bells on your wrists or ankles? And a small bear spray can, mounted where you can get at it instantly. Practice with the spray.

But don't stop going out! Your story is an inspiration.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Warding off black bears, what has worked for you?? on 08/20/2013 06:14:41 MDT Print View

In most case of black bear aggression, the victim tried to run away. Most mammals feel compelled to chase anything that runs away from them.

Even a grizzly will usually back down if a person stands their ground.
For some reason bears have an instinctive fear of things taller than them. People have terrified black and grizzly bears by holding a hiking stick, bicycle, pack, ... above their heads.

There are a few case where bears have been so desperately hungry that they will go after the scent of food in a persons tent. And a mother can attack the person who got between her and her cubs.

Best to make some noise on the trail if you don't want to see bears. They have very good hearing.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Warding off black bears, what has worked for you?? on 08/20/2013 07:06:36 MDT Print View

Where did this happen (community/general location)?

Urban, urban edge, or in the woods?

What's your guess on this bear's opportunity for "food crimes"?

What does "Dept of Wildlife" have to say about bear problems in that area?
(And, if possible in the heat of the moment - look for an ear tag. It will help when you talk to DoW)

This could be a "one-time-confused" bear, a repeat offender, or a sick bear (to cover the spectrum), and your actions will have to adjust accordingly.

Edited by greg23 on 08/20/2013 07:34:10 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
What should you do if you find yourself face-to-face with an aggressive bear? on 08/20/2013 10:54:23 MDT Print View


Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Predatory behavior is a reality - some folks won't believe it on 08/20/2013 11:28:23 MDT Print View

Lots of folks have been taught (incorrectly I might add) that Black bears are less dangerous than Grizzlies. And folks have been taught that "the bear is more afraid of you than you are of him" - also a load of hooey.

The fact is that Black bears kill more people than Grizzlies. Just the fact's ma'am.

You encountered predatory behavior. The bear was sizing you up for a meal. Why you didn't get munched is beyond me.

The lightest option for dealing with a bear is a dog (assuming you don't have to carry the dog). Doesn't have to be a big dog, but it shouldn't be a kick-me dog either. The extra pair of eyes and ears really helps and the defensive posturing of your dog gives you time to figure out your next move. I hike solo all the time in bear country and I have one or more dogs with me.

The second lightest option is a can of bear spray. Personally I think a 230gram can is the minimum, but I can understand the logistics of jogging with one. The spray works.

I'm all for firearms - but that's a pretty serious committment $-wise for jogging with MS.

Bears that don't run off, turn sideways and angle in towards you mean you harm. Ditto with cougars that act like a housecat sitting in the trail.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Warding off black bears, what has worked for you??" on 08/20/2013 12:19:04 MDT Print View

I've never had a problem with blackies. I've encountered them hiking and even on the road while out walking my dog. They can be remarkably unaware of their surroundings and I would not be surprised if the bear running up the trail the OP was on didn't see him at first. I generally shout at them to get their attention "Hey Bear!" I had one bear I had to do this three times before it even noticed me. It was intent on foraging.

The game changes, of course, when it's a mama with cubs. I've never encountered one close up, fortunately.

I carry bear spray, and a gun. I've never needed either one, so far, and hope to keep it that way by practicing good habits in bear country.

peter vacco

Locale: no. california
Re: Warding off black bears, what has worked for you?? on 08/20/2013 12:28:19 MDT Print View

bear spray (the regular size 8.1oz unit),and attitude.

if the animal will not back off within a reasonable time (be patient), walk directly on over, and spray the beast. is should leave.
if a bear is following you, that's not a "contact", that's a "problem".
it is a pending attack. and it needs to be dealt with just as sure as you'd deal with a strange man following your daughter around.

i recently weighed the magnum 10.2 oz rei bear can. it's 14.5oz. that's too much extra mass for what it brings to the table

piece on earth, good spray towards man.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Predatory behavior is a reality - some folks won't believe it on 08/20/2013 12:42:18 MDT Print View

>"I see kids here jogging in the woods with iPods and buds in their ears and in my humble opinion it's a set up for an accident or attack. " +1 Desert Dweller. The year I got my first iPod, I saw 5 grizzlies on the trail. I realized I couldn't let my mind wander and detach that much from the sounds and setting I was in. (Undistracted, I see 1, 2 at most, per year because I'm making noise, especially where background noise, sight lines and food sources up the risk).

>"Black bears kill more people than Grizzlies". There are many more black than brown bears. 10 times more in my area*, 100x to infinitely many more for most hikers. Black bears overlap with the suburban and rural housing of many, many people while grizzlies are a wilderness creature for the most part. As such, black bears much more often get habituated to humans and human garbage as a food source. As a species, yes, black bears cause more problems, injuries, property damage and human deaths. Per bear? I don't fret about scaring off a black bear. I'm MUCH more careful around grizzlies and the data shows it is more important to respond correctly to the particular situation and the particular bear's behavior (surprise, protection of cubs, predatory, injured, etc).

* And yet I see more grizzlies than black bears. In areas where both are present, black bears keep a very low profile. In areas without grizzlies, I see black bears a long ways off munching on spring grass like cows in a field. They make good sausage and roasts.

>"The lightest option for dealing with a bear is a dog." Lighter than a leash is your voice. Making noise is the single most effective way to avoid bear encounters with either species. And the lightest. Dogs are a wild card. They will often alert to a bear's smell in the area and if you notice that and retreat together, you are probably safer. But if they are roaming ahead or to the side and encounter a bear, sometimes they can running back to mom/dad human with a bear in pursuit. Not good.

>"but I can understand the logistics of jogging with (spray)." Cops run with their sidearm. Spray weighs much less. A shoulder holster of some sort could hold spray tightly to you but also be ready to use. An advantage of spray is that is legal more places than a firearm. And, with predators of the two-legged variety, while both a gun and spray can be quite the deterrent, spray used against you doesn't kill you. And spray has little monetary value whereas guns are very resellable for nearly their retail price and scumbags all know it (i.e. you could be a target of theft / robbery).

>"I'm all for firearms" I'm okay with firearms for someone who is well-trained and carries an adequate caliber (e.g. minimum 12-gauge rifled slug or .300-magnum rifle for grizzlies. Most friends who carry up here go with a .338 rifle). Unlike hunting, this won't be a carefully aimed, 250-yard shot and then letting the animal bleed out for 30 minutes. Everything is over in a few seconds, and it takes an awful lot of gun and good shot placement to put down a bear that quickly. But if fishing an Alaskan stream or hiking a northern trail is your excuse to play Dirty Harry with a .44 magnum revolver, please save a few pounds and just carry spray. The average outcome will be better for you (and vastly better for the bear). Better yet, make noise.

Edited to add: Now you have three Alaskan perspectives. I'm counting Peter as an honorary Alaskan because while he doesn't live here, he has done vastly more far-north, very-wilderness travel than most any PFD-drawing Alaskan.

Edited by DavidinKenai on 08/20/2013 12:47:55 MDT.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Re: Bears on 08/20/2013 12:56:41 MDT Print View

How to avoid unfortunate bear encounters - listed in order of preference.

1. Knowledge - Bear habits. Signs of aggression vs. curiosity. When and where is a bear apt to be, then try not to be there then.

2. Common sense - knowing what precautions are advisable for where you're hiking and then taking them. Are bears a realistic risk here? Should I be hiking somewhere else instead?

3. bear spray - if the risk warrants. Caveat - like an ice axe you must know how to use it before the need arise. Buy two; practice with one before you go.

4. Marlin .45/70 with 400 grain solid cast bullets. A last ditch effort for when you must traverse a known dangerous bear habitat. There are very few of these in the lower 48 states. Again, you must know how to use it and where to aim. Even more important - know when NOT to use it. Yogi reacts very badly to being shot. Do you really want to get his undivided attention?

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Warding off black bears, what has worked for you??" on 08/20/2013 13:18:56 MDT Print View

I'm with Dena; this doesn't seem like predatory behavior so much as that the bear was unaware of the OP's presence. The OP doesn't mention shouting to the make the bear aware of her presence; then, she scares the bear away by waving her hand. Maybe a fuller description of the encounter would change this interpretation. But a bear bolting off into the brush when it becomes aware of a human's presence, as this bear did, seems to suggest that in this instance it just didn't see or smell the OP.

That said I have read of black bears stalking people. Pretty uncommon in the lower 48.

Edited by book on 08/20/2013 13:20:03 MDT.

Richard May
(richardmay) - M

Locale: Swamplands.
bear bells? on 08/20/2013 13:18:58 MDT Print View

What's the story behind jingling along the trail to keep bears at bay?

(asks the sub-tropical onlooker who's never seen a bear in the wild... wait, I saw a female with cubs when I drove through Shenandoah 13 years ago.)

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: bear bells? on 08/20/2013 13:33:41 MDT Print View

Richard, the joke is, "Black bear scat has grass, berries, and ground squirrel fur in it. Grizzly scat has fish bits, mammal bones and small bells in it."

We (in Alaska) have bear bells but haven't used them on ourselves for ages. It kind of bothersome - all that noise so close to you and they're not as loud as a shout or banging rocks together when you really need to make noise (such as when wind or water noise is masking your normal hiking and talking noise).

We do use them whenever the dog is along. Partial because the dog definitely ups the risks and upsetting a bear (she's not aggressive at all, but roams ahead and chases down interesting smells). And the dog runs and bounces much more than we do, so she makes more noise with the bells. It also gives other hikers a little warning that an overly friendly black lab is coming up the trail. (Her black fur could be momentarily mistaken for a black bear).

The dog loves to wear them because she associates it with the fun of going on a long hike. She goes bonkers as soon as we take them out of the closet.

I'd like to see more mountain bikers use them so I could step off the trail before being run over.

Harrison Carpenter
(carpenh) - M

Locale: St. Vrain River Valley
+2, Desert Dweller on 08/20/2013 13:53:27 MDT Print View

Staying aware of what's around you is the key, IMHO.

I'm from da UP o' Michigan; black bear encounters are relatively common. As early as elementary school, we were taught to "go out with a friend" (to have more than one person paying attention), and "never fall asleep" (be vigilant) whenever we went out into the boondocks. We were told to "stand tall" and "hold your ground" if we came upon a solitary, adult black bear; and if we saw a cub/sow combo, or a lone cub, "head home" (that is, back away slowly. Running was always said to be unwise-- or as one teacher put it, "it makes it into a chase, and guess who's the prey?"

I've come across black bears a number of times-- maybe 10-12 times-- and for the most part, the bears have been rather dismissive of me, and when I've stood still, they've walked off. Perhaps my BO is frightening. :-)

Cameron Wilson
(CJW) - F
Re: Warding off black bears, what has worked for you?? on 08/20/2013 17:24:48 MDT Print View

Please don't wear headphones or ear buds while jogging. Do you remember hearing about that poor girl being killed by coyotes a couple years ago? She probably wasn't aware of them soon enough.

How to keep them away? Stop moving, make noise, shout at them, throw something, etc. Do not run away. If you do run away you are prey. If anything, taking a couple steps towards them won't hurt anything. Normally they really are more scared of you.

I normally have dogs with me and a 44 special. We have lots of bears and there have actually been a couple of attacks this year.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Warding off black bears, what has worked for you?? on 08/20/2013 17:59:50 MDT Print View

Every time that I have had a confrontation with a black bear, it is the bear that runs away from me. Generally when I see a black bear, I try to get the photo first. Then I figure out what the bear is going to do. If it is looking for prey, then I am it, but I've never seen that. If it is already dining on other prey, then I am smart enough not to approach. If the black bear is poking around a campsite, then it is looking for food of some sort. Generally I can just run straight at the bear, waving my arms, and I either scream bloody murder or else bark like a pack of rabid dogs. Bears hate dogs. In each case, the bear or bears have run away from me at top speed.

If it really freaks you out, then bear spray is the best alternative. I always carry bear spray with me in Yellowstone, but that is mostly for grizzly bears. In some national parks, they actually forbid the use of bear spray since it is intended for grizzly bears and might be overkill for black bears.


Edited by --B.G.-- on 08/20/2013 18:12:38 MDT.

blackies on 08/20/2013 18:09:45 MDT Print View

60 people killed by bears in 100+ years, many by bears in captivity, or bears conditioned to people.

Ill take my chances.

You have a greater chance of dieing in a car wreck on the way to the woods, or being murdered in you home.

My black bear encounters have ranged from the bear running away at warp speed, to just calmly watching me walk by. Nothing in his contract that says he has to be afraid or run.

Edited by livingontheroad on 08/20/2013 18:14:05 MDT.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: Re: Predatory behavior is a reality - some folks won't believe it on 08/20/2013 18:14:39 MDT Print View

The subject is jogging with black bears in the lower 48. Not sure the relevance of the "Alaskan perspective".

Black bear populations have risen dramatically over the last 30 years and folks are encountering bears close to suburbia. However, IMO, there are still bear myths propagated - and I'd prefer folks understand predatory behavior in bears (and cats).

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: blackies on 08/20/2013 19:33:03 MDT Print View

>"60 people killed by bears in 100+ years, many by bears in captivity, or bears conditioned to people. I'll take my chances."

MB: My god!, someone who considers the actual risk and puts it in perspective! I bet you're not paranoid of flying on jet planes, either.

>The subject is jogging with black bears in the lower 48. Not sure the relevance of the "Alaskan perspective".

Er, because we and our friends and companions deal with this many times a year, rather than once every few decades? But to each their own. Carry your Model 1911 .45. Fret about a encounter with a black bear. Been there, done that as a 5G Californian. Black bears, rattlesnakes, asteroids, autism-by-vaccine and flying at 37,000 feet don't particularly worry me anymore. Polar bears (if I'm on foot), honey bees, and hippos in African do still give me pause. Heart disease, cancer, and driving to the trailhead - much more so.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: Re: blackies on 08/20/2013 20:10:11 MDT Print View

Oops! I guess I didn't realize you and your friends jogged with black bears in suburbia - which was the subject.

BTW, pepper spray, Zen, firearms, etc. are all security blankets. And a security blanket is zero weight and worth every non-gram.

wiiawiwb wiiawiwb
(wiiawiwb) - F
Simple steps on 08/20/2013 20:24:49 MDT Print View

Desert Dweller nailed it. Dr. Stephen Herrero is the leading authority in North America on bears and bear attacks. Deaths attributable to black bear attacks are almost always male predation. The notion of fatal danger when you "get between mama bear and her cub" is something almost exclusive to brown bear not black bear.

I disagree with Zorg that what you encountered was a predatory black bear. It veered off when you waved your hand. A predatory black bear keeps coming, it hunts you, until your aggression overwhelms its predation instinct. A hand wave is not aggression. Throwing stones, yelling, and taking the offense is aggression.

Carry bear spray, read Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance and learn about predatory black bear behavior. I'd also suggest the OP personally email Dr. Herrero. I've done so and found him to be delightfully accommodating. He is a professor emeritus at the University of Calgary.

Edited by wiiawiwb on 08/20/2013 20:57:14 MDT.

Kelly G
(KellyDT) - F
"Contract" on 08/20/2013 20:33:27 MDT Print View

"My black bear encounters have ranged from the bear running away at warp speed, to just calmly watching me walk by. Nothing in his contract that says he has to be afraid or run."

Yep, same. Had both those encounters a couple months ago, about a week apart. The baby bear was maybe 20 feet away and was gone in a flash. (Believe me, I was lookin for the mom). The adult bear was 200-300 feet off and completely aware of me. Wandered off after I got a few shots of it. When I was certain it KNEW I was there, I became concerned that it didn't scatter.

Since this last experience, I've done quite a bit of reading up on "recommended" tactics when encountering a bear. It's amazing how many differing opinions are out there. Wave arms? What are those, floppy antlers? Avert your eyes. Turn away, are you kidding, keep your eyes on that bear!

Bear spray, and don't run, do seem to be what people agree on.


Buck Nelson
(Colter) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Re: blackies on 08/20/2013 20:45:11 MDT Print View

60 people killed by [black] bears in 100+ years, many by bears in captivity, or bears conditioned to people.

Ill take my chances.

There you go. Bears are almost certainly the most over-rated danger in the outdoors. The 12 year old girl is still being talked about with relatively minor injuries. Approximately 10 people have DIED and 8,000 people have ended up in the emergency room due to bicycle accidents since her national news-making "mauling." The only reason her story made news is that a bear was involved.

It's important to think about the real risk-reward. People often suggest walking through the woods hollering. There's no way I want to sacrifice most of my wildlife sightings and my quiet backcountry experience in hopes of preventing the million-to-one (or less) chances of a bear mauling.

On the other hand, if I'm walking through thick alders along a brown bear trail next to a salmon stream, THEN I will probably be singing because the risk is orders of magnitude higher than a typical hike in black bear country.

Michelle Olsen
Re: Bears on 08/20/2013 22:08:49 MDT Print View

Thankyou so much, Desert Dweller, I will always remember your bear story, and way you told it, picturing the "look" the bear must of had on his face, lol. You told it so well, I pictured it with a frightened "oh crap!!" look on his face, remembering this about bears, lol, maybe can help keep me from panicking, and freezing. I didn't know where to go or what to do.

That's also a good thing to remember that perhaps black bears don't see so well, and also, you're right, I probably shouldn't be wearing head phones in those areas.

I've been saying "yo bear!" (I heard some one else do this on tv to alert bears, lol) and I've been singing, talking loudly, in those areas, mainly because I have been very nervous and scared to go back through that section of trail again. From what you and everyone else is saying, I'll try to find ways to make more noise, and try not to be so afraid.

I have also sat on rocks and put my feet into the creek, and didn't pay much attention to my surroundings because I was enjoying the cool water in the heat of the day. I will be more careful now, thankyou :)

Edited by Kolorado on 08/20/2013 22:24:52 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Bears on 08/20/2013 22:11:43 MDT Print View

"...a good thing to remember [is] that perhaps black bears don't see so well.."

Their vision is equivalent to ours.

One could recognize a familiar individual (a trainer) at 300 yards.

Edited by greg23 on 08/20/2013 22:15:42 MDT.

Michelle Olsen
Re: What should you do if you find yourself face-to-face with an aggressive bear? on 08/20/2013 22:19:53 MDT Print View

Very informative article, thankyou Eric ! Especially helpful where expert says:

"What would you say to people who are frightened of bears after reading about these recent attacks?

I'd give them a little of my history. I've worked on bears since 1972. I've camped in the woods with them, and have trapped and handled over 2,000 bears. I've never had a close call. The risk is certainly there, but it's pretty minimal.

The best thing you can do is educate yourself about bears and what to do in certain situations."

That makes me feel a little better, thankyou! :)

Edited by Kolorado on 08/21/2013 01:43:24 MDT.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
RE: Warding off black bears, what has worked for you?? on 08/20/2013 22:56:29 MDT Print View

First off, Michelle, HUGE applause for you on dealing with MS and getting to the point where you can jog again. Fantastic! I couldn't be more impressed! I'm very happy for you.

"The fact is that Black bears kill more people than Grizzlies. Just the fact's ma'am.

Yes, but that is very misleading. In the lower 48 the odds of encountering a predatory black bear is unbelievably low. Of course, it can occur, but you would be FAR better off carrying your own lightning suppression system than you would worrying about black bears. I've never seen a study with a good explanation but aggressive black bears are a lot more common in Canada and Alaska. Last time I checked there were 4 deaths from black bears in the entire recorded history of Colorado. And one of those was a woman who regularly fed bears. The one you mentioned veered off which is more common here. I personally have never seen a black bear while backpacking here. But I do see them at my house more than I would like. And every time a yell sends them on their way. Very much like Bob said in his post.

Really, if I was worried about black bear encounters in Colorado, I'd carry an air horn rather than bear spray (but in grizzly country I'd carry bear spray). My neighbor chased off a sow and 2 cubs two nights ago using one. It was about 3 AM and my wife said "was that an air horn???" I said, "can you try to keep on bear prevention measures?" :)

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Warding off black bears, what has worked for you?? on 08/20/2013 23:27:13 MDT Print View

After all of the discussion about firearms, bear spray, bells, air horns, and shouting, there is yet one more method of keeping a bear away. That is the bear flare.

I saw this at a wilderness bear camp. It is a marine type hand flare. It looks like a highway emergency flare, except that it has a handle at one end, and it has a pull ring at the handle that ignites the other end. It lights instantly, and it burns for about 60 seconds. Waving that directly at the face of a bear would keep him away, for sure. Pros and cons. They are cheaper to purchase than bear spray. You can't take it aboard an airliner. It lasts for 60 seconds. You probably do not want to use it in an area that is prone to forest fires.

I have a couple of them.


Michelle Olsen
Re: Re: Warding off black bears, what has worked for you?? on 08/20/2013 23:40:41 MDT Print View

Greg, Thanks, I never thought about that. I can see how it is important to know if it is a repeat offender, or one time confused bear. But you know what, a couple weeks ago, I smelled something really awful in that area, atleast 2 or 3 different times, in that same exact location that I seen the bear. I heard bears really stink! hmmmm...and another time, I was stretching on a bench in the same area, and heard faint growls, real deep sounding, much like a bear sounds, but it was not real loud, sounded muffled kindof. i got scared and left. I have also seen scat in that same section, so putting 2 and 2 together, chances are I probably have passed him more than once!

I'm located in Colorado. It is pretty tight quarters in that section, with a steep hill on one side, and short drop off down to the river on the other. That's scarey.

There are a some trash cans along the trail, which I have seen tipped over on the main trail. However, the cans in this particular section seldom have much of anything in them.

There was no 'tag', however, I will definitely keep this in mind, should I see one.

There have been few reports of bears in trash cans around town lately.

Edited by Kolorado on 08/21/2013 16:52:04 MDT.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Relevance of the "Alaskan perspective" on 08/20/2013 23:45:12 MDT Print View

Zorg said: "The subject is jogging with black bears in the lower 48. Not sure the relevance of the "Alaskan perspective"."
I gave you MY perspective. I rather think black bears are pretty similar whether they are in the L48 or Alaska or Siberia so whether you live in Maine or Alaska if you've had experience with bears it seems like this is the right thread to pipe in on. As I've had black bears in my yard and on my street as well as meeting them while hiking in the woods, I thought perhaps I had something to offer on the topic in terms of real life experience. We have had people mauled up here while jogging, too. Or bike riding. Or just hiking. Or hunting. What is it that makes you think that our perspective and experience has no relevance to the thread? Do you think our bears are different?

Michelle Olsen
Re: Re: Warding off black bears, what has worked for you?? on 08/21/2013 00:13:40 MDT Print View

Cameron, Thankyou, you are right, I didn't start using headphones until recently, for this very reason. Then I seen so many other joggers using them and they've doing this for years without a problem, so I figured I was just being paranoid.

I had a bad fear of bears when I first started jogging and a couple months ago, especially since no one else was on the trail alot of the time, every sound was bothering me, squirrels, lizards in the leaves, lol. Because of MS, walking very far was at first was very difficult. Music helped me to not only relax and enjoy it, but also helped me lengthen my stride so I could get strong enough to walk a 1/4 mile, then 1/2 mile, then a mile. One day I plugged in some upbeat tunes and I started jogging to the rhythm, I had so much fun, music is so uplifting, before I knew it, I had ran a complete mile.

Seeing the size of that bear and thanks to everyone's help here, I have made some changes.

I have been turning the music off when I'm in that area, and other areas where it's thick, and where others said the mamma bear & cubs are hangging out. I usually carry 2 water bottles with me and use them as weights to strengthen my arms, so now I've been banging them together every so often and singing, lol

thanks :)

Edited by Kolorado on 08/21/2013 02:04:26 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
spray on 08/21/2013 00:29:11 MDT Print View

honestly .... just carry spray if yr worried

it may even help again wild dogs/coyotes/cougars etc ...

there always a risk when in the outdoors ... but you are more likely to get hit by a car or mugged jogging in the city

good on you for getting out and doing it

Michelle Olsen
Re: Simple steps on 08/21/2013 00:40:07 MDT Print View

Wiiawiwb, Thankyou much, very helpful info, I will do that.

Edited by Kolorado on 08/21/2013 21:21:35 MDT.

Michelle Olsen
Re: "Contract" on 08/21/2013 00:56:46 MDT Print View

Kelly G.,

Floppy antlers, lol. Actually, when I say I moved my arm, I was merely moving my arm to take a sip of water while I pondered where to go to get away, trying to remain calm and not to panic, he was soooo huge, I couldn't believe my eyes.

I read your post on "" When you wrote "I figure it's rather accustomed to people on the trail, and that they don't leave the trail, plus the distance, so it just didn't feel threatened by me."

I'm thinking it is the same thing here, bears have been in those trail areas for years since they first opened them and population growing, quite a few joggers and bikers use these trails. There are several homes at the top of the hill/bluff that runs along side the trail. Some of which have fruit trees in their yards. Plus trail has alot of berry bushes. Hmmm...I used to think they would go higher up and only come down here occasionally. But I have seen alot of scat on the back trail where I seen this bear at.

Michelle Olsen
Re: RE: Warding off black bears, what has worked for you?? on 08/21/2013 01:41:26 MDT Print View

Thankyou so much Randy, I've been trying to move muscles, trying to stand, and find ways to build muscle since I first got my diagnosis. I have a motto "I may have MS, but MS will never have ME!" I have been bound determined to get back outdoors. Before MS, I was an avid hiker/fisherperson, and hiked alot of the trails in the Sangre de Cristo range and 14ers.

The experience has certainly taught me to always be thankful, for you don't ever know what you have, til it's gone, and to never take anything for granted that it will always be there, like the ability and freedom to stand up and walk, for example. In one months time, I ended up in a full time wheelchair.

I jog now every day, and words cannot even begin to describe how incredibly beautiful life truly is!

Everything I see is soooo beautiful, I don't want to go home, I don't want to miss a thing,and then I can't wait to get up so I can do it all over again. ha. It's all about "input", I'm drinking it all in, every scent, color, all the deer, and the feel of sun on my skin, even the the sore muscles I welcome.

Since I go to the trail every day, I knew I'd probably see a bear one day, Just never anticipated seeing such a large bear, I'm 5'8" and he came up to around my waist high. His size, combined with not having any where to go to get away, scared me, (with a steep hill on the right side of trail, and drop off down to the river on the left.) I'm still kinda slow/clumsy at climbing, lol, I didn't want to fall, I didn't know whether to try to climb up the hill on my right, go down to the river at my left, or continue up the trail, which was also uphill as well.

Michelle Olsen
Re: Relevance of the "Alaskan perspective" on 08/21/2013 01:50:10 MDT Print View

Thankyou much Dena, I certainly appreciate your insight.

Michelle Olsen
Re: "Warding off black bears, what has worked for you??" on 08/21/2013 02:03:49 MDT Print View

I believe you're right Dena, at first I couldn't figure out WHY he was running behind me, THAT freaked me out, but the more I think about it, as soon as I moved my arm, he took off up the hillside. So I'm thinking he/she flat out just didn't see me, or was maybe focused on finding more berries or running from something else that frightened him, at the same moment I just happened to be running on the trail in front of him, sounds weird, but the thought of it running behind me still scares me.

This happened on Thursday, (Aug 15) and now each day when I get to that section of the trail, I stop and have to gain courage to go past it, I still see it in my mind's eye, running after me.

"And I know this too shall pass..."


Michelle Olsen
Re: spray on 08/21/2013 02:18:30 MDT Print View

Thankyou Eric, that's a good idea. I'm looking into either the spray, or a horn, ofcourse, I don't suppose it would hurt to have both, I think I would feel better to have something, than nothing and there are wild dogs/coyotes/cougars and the like in that area as well. I had to pick up a stick and yell at some wild dogs to scare them off one day, and another time I seen something, eating at the bottom of the hill, I couldn't identify it and I just went the other way. But I do know, DOW did kill a mountain lion this Spring in that area.

I've been so focused on this bear, I hadn't worried about other animals so much, I'm going find out if using spray is allowed here on Black bears, someone mentioned it may not be.

But I'll get something :)

Michelle Olsen
Re: re Bears on 08/21/2013 02:24:24 MDT Print View

Bogs and Bergs, Thankyou. That's good advice and info about fear, that makes sense.

If there's one thing I've learned, is to never, ever give up.

I'm looking for some type of bells, however someone said, it may sound more like birds than human to a bear, I dunno.

Michelle Olsen
Re: Warding off black bears, what has worked for you?? on 08/21/2013 02:36:52 MDT Print View

Thankyou Steven, I'll remember that. You know, there was a bench next to me, for a split second, I contemplated standing on it in case he came any closer to me, in effort to make myself look bigger,

my next thought was, but what if he comes after me, I'll be trapped on a bench with trees behind me and no place to go, I guess that's when spray or using a horn comes in :)

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Re Spray on 08/21/2013 07:04:40 MDT Print View

Michelle I'm pretty sure bear spray is okay in Colorado. Its regulated more in some national parks but where you are is probably fine. I've seen lots of folks carrying bear spray in CO.

UDAP sells a combo pack of a 8 oz bear spray (for real wilderness trips) and a 3 or 4 oz "Jogger Fogger" that you can carry in your hand while jogging. The "Jogger Fogger" is not technically bear spray but better then nothing and as others have mentioned the risk is pretty small. Its probably what I would carry because its something but its a minor inconvenience to carry. Definitely don't let it stop you from enjoying the outdoors.

zorobabel frankenstein
(zorobabel) - F

Locale: SoCal
bear on 08/21/2013 12:00:24 MDT Print View

Regarding the hypothesis that the bear was running on the trail and didn't see you - bear forums must be viral; peaceful jogging bear on his daily run was almost attacked by a human - how to deal with humans? :)

I don't believe bears just run on trails for no reason or to get to the next berry patch.
Michelle, you did the right thing - stopped running, faced it - and it got discouraged.
BTW, I can only explain your gut feeling by smelling the bear.

Edited by zorobabel on 08/21/2013 14:03:48 MDT.

Michelle Olsen
Re: Spray on 08/21/2013 16:02:08 MDT Print View

Thanks Luke, that's good to know. I'll have to look for some. I think I'll feel better once I have something with me.

Michelle Olsen
Re: bear on 08/21/2013 16:36:44 MDT Print View

Zorobabel, lol. I didn't smell anything really, just a very very strong gut feeling I had that something was wrong, like a knot in my stomach. I tried to ignore it and it only kept getting stronger. Thank God I listened and stopped.

Richard Fischel
here's the best how to survive a bear attack on 08/21/2013 17:49:53 MDT Print View


or at least the most amusing

Edited by RICKO on 08/21/2013 17:58:00 MDT.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: here's the best how to survive a bear attack on 08/21/2013 21:00:56 MDT Print View

Richard: I've seen that one before.

I've always preferred BPL's own Erin McKittrick and hubbie Hig managing a situation in remote Western Alaska on their Seattle-to-the-Aleutians human-powered trip:

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Warding off black bears, what has worked for you?? on 08/22/2013 11:22:30 MDT Print View

Bears close to home (front yard) tend to just mosey off when yelled at during the night. By the time I get shoes, shorts on they have disappeared into the woods, not a good idea to follow at that point.
I have not seen a bear since my late dog passed on 10 years ago. We ran across sows with cubs numerous times, early in the morning after we had started our days bp trip. One time was late morning, a sow chased her cubs up a tree while we were still a good distance away, then came back, looking for my dog and I. As soon as I shifted my weight to another foot, it zeroed in on me. Another time, bascially the same, chase cubs up a tree, mom moves out a ways. The bear seems to spot me about the time I see them. When in Alaska a few years ago, our group of 6 got pretty nervous when we had to go thru a patch of willows with scat all over. Hey bear, hey bear. :)
Running makes you prey.

Lowell Mills
(FarmHand357) - F
Carry in Alaska on 08/22/2013 13:18:12 MDT Print View

Dena, may I ask what firearm you carry? Just curious... Thanks.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Carry in Alaska on 08/22/2013 13:30:00 MDT Print View

Lowell- I have compromised and carry a .44 Mag. The primary purpose of the handgun for protection within my tent, where bear spray or a long gun would be difficult to deploy or useless. To be frank, a .44 Mag is what I consider the smallest caliber that might be reasonably effective against a grizzly (it would work fine for a blackie). But I'm unwilling to carry a shotgun or rifle generally so the handgun is my compromise. I want to be absolutely clear that my primary defense is practicing good habits in bear country, and my secondary defense is bear spray. I have never required the use of either the bear spray or the gun, but as they say you pack your fears and while I know bear attack % is quite low I've not yet become comfortable with going sans firearm. I worked for 7 years at a gun range and am well trained with a firearm which probably is part of the reason I feel more comfortable with it than without it. I also am a woman that often hikes alone, and the most dangerous animals I've ever met on the trail have been the human variety and the gun gives me a margin of safety with that as well. I have been harassed before where I began to fear that I might be in personal danger (two drunk men) but they caught sight of the fact I was packing and left in a hurry with no threats from me.

Lowell Mills
(FarmHand357) - F
Carry in Alaska on 08/22/2013 13:37:58 MDT Print View

Totally makes sense to me. I'm going to guess about a 4" barrel as a compromise between carryability and sight radius. Thanks; appreciate the info from someone who's there.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Carry in Alaska on 08/22/2013 14:05:38 MDT Print View

The other approach is to carry a cheap little .25 or .32 auto. If a bear comes after your party, you shoot your buddy in the leg.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Bear spray vrs Firearm on 08/22/2013 14:13:41 MDT Print View

There was a recent story of two hikers who were attacked by a bear. The first hiker used bear spray and the bear stopped its attack and he was unharmed. The bear turned on the second hiker who used a shotgun (load unknown). The bear continued its attack and the second hiker was injured.

The problem with a firearm is that you cannot instantly kill the bear. And, it's going to be mad and MORE likely to attack after being shot (injured).

Michelle Olsen
Re: Warding off black bears, what has worked for you?? on 08/22/2013 14:15:09 MDT Print View

HikerDuane, That's interesting that you say black bears, mosey when yelled at night, Also to hear how mom chases cubs up a tree then moves away. (Sorry to hear about your dog BTW)

I know black bears maybe are not as worrisome as grizzlies, but I still don't know what exactly to do or how to handle a situation if I'm jogging and surprise a bear just feet away,

I have acquired an air horn from a fellow jogger and I'm trying to make more noise while I'm jogging since my experience,

Edited by Kolorado on 08/22/2013 14:22:46 MDT.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Bear spray and guns on 08/22/2013 15:13:18 MDT Print View

"The problem with a firearm is that you cannot instantly kill the bear. And, it's going to be mad and MORE likely to attack after being shot (injured)."
While I would agree that it's low percentage (particularly when you factor in what adrenaline typically does to accuracy), you CAN kill a bear instantly with a firearm. Even a handgun. Here's one that happened a few years ago in Alaska- man snapped off a single shot from his .454 handgun and killed a bear dead in its tracks when he turned to find a bear charging him.

I'm not trying to convince anyone to carry a gun. And not disputing that bear spray is more effective as a deterrent in general. It's why I carry bear spray also.

Edited by EagleRiverDee on 08/22/2013 15:16:26 MDT.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: Bear spray and guns on 08/22/2013 15:26:53 MDT Print View

Yeah, I should have said won't instead of can't. As I understand it you are carrying for something other than bears. Very effective against those predators, if you know what you are doing, and I assume you do. :^)

This quote from the article sums it up well:

"Total luck shot," he said.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Bear spray and guns on 08/22/2013 15:29:25 MDT Print View

That happened in my town. More than one shot:

"He drew a Ruger .454 Casull revolver. . . . He's not sure whether he got off two shots or three, but one proved fatal.

"Total luck shot," he said." - Peninsula Clarion

So not exactly a Dirty Harry moment. And you can't just leave it there, according to state law:

"It also left him with a problem. After state troopers came out to check the bear and determine that the shooting was legitimately in defense of life and property, Brush had to deal with the carcass. The law requires a shooter to skin the animal or take it to a taxidermist." - Peninsula Clarion

Further, the skull of a bear, hide of a fur bearer, useable meat from an herbivore, and meat of a spring bear must be surrendered to the State. "Wanton waste" is policed pretty tightly up here. After the issue come up during a DLP incident on the Iditarod, they tweaked the Iditarod Race rules to 1) prohibit other mushers from passing a musher so engaged and 2) allowing other mushers help skin out and butcher the carcass.

Edited to add: yes, Dena, that struck me as odd - just count the empty cartridges in the cylinder.

Edited by DavidinKenai on 08/22/2013 16:11:00 MDT.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Bear spray and guns on 08/22/2013 15:40:05 MDT Print View

I stand corrected, I was going off memory and thought I'd read previously he only had time to pull the trigger once. As it was a revolver, I'm a little surprised they weren't able to determine how many shots he got off.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Warding off black bears, what has worked for you?? on 08/22/2013 17:04:45 MDT Print View

Michelle, I'm sure the bear that came thru my yard a few years ago was getting habituated. If it had been shot at a few times, it might have improved its look on people. It was probably used to no one coming out to check up on it, or just people shouting at it. That same summer, they shot and killed three problem bears in the small community I live in, here in Kalifornia. I think it will have to be repeated as there was some trouble this Spring from at least one bear.
Amazed you have been able to go jogging. I'm getting older and it is getting harder every year to get motivated again. Of course I've been saying that the last 20 years now.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Bear Spray and Guns on 08/22/2013 18:20:01 MDT Print View

Dena brings up a good point in that bear spray is pretty much useless if a bear attacks you while in a tent.

Since you can't fire bear spray through a tent the logical choice would be a tarp so you can roll out and fire away with bear spray. Of course being zipped up in a bug bivy defeats the whole point of the tarp. Also some people think a tent is more of a physiological barrier to a bear then a tarp.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
tents and tarps on 08/22/2013 18:45:58 MDT Print View

I use a tent because I live in the mosquito capital of the world, or at least it seems that way. Generally as I'm laying there waiting to fall asleep, I marvel at the thousand mosquitoes being held at bay on the other side of my tent inner, looking at me with their bloodthirsty little eyes. That's what stops me from switching to a tarp, except for winter. I completely agree a tarp would be better for dealing with bears, not to mention the wide open views.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Mosquitoes? on 08/22/2013 18:56:53 MDT Print View

Come on Dena, that's just a myth that AK has that many bugs. :) Why when I was up there a few years ago, I hardly saw any in early August in Wrangell/St Elias NP. I've had more issues at a few choice places in the Sierra and extreme southern Cascades here in Kalifornia. :)
Thread drift.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: Carry in Alaska on 08/22/2013 19:09:58 MDT Print View

Good for you Dena! I would much rather encounter a lady with a handgun than a lady with a Rottweiler - the handgun won't decide by itself to attack me!

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Mosquitoes on 08/22/2013 21:53:09 MDT Print View


This was a weird year. May and June were probably the buggiest I've ever seen up here. But it was so hot, and so dry, that by July they just went away. Now I hardly ever see a mosquito. I'm half tempted to do this weekend's campout with the fast-pitch setup on my tent and leave the inner at home.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Mosquitoes on 08/23/2013 06:47:10 MDT Print View

Dena,I'm headed down towards the Mammoth Lakes area in the eastern Sierra after working half a day today. Since I work out of town, I had to pack stuff up last Sunday. Mismatched the poles for a couple of my shelters, so I may be sleeping on my ground cloth unless one of the other four people who are coming bring a tarp for me. It would be fine, but it does get cool down there.

Michelle Olsen
Air horns can sometimes PROVOKE bears to attack - what??!! on 08/24/2013 01:09:56 MDT Print View

I stumbled upon a post that using an air horn provoked a bear, and rather than repel or scare the bear away, apparently for some users, it actually did quite the opposite.

Sooooo...I did some research on using air horns and apparently, air horns has been known to sometimes startle a bear and provoke an attack.

Found an article here

Below is a quote:
"Noises that cannot be reproduced in the wild, (e.g. a metallic noise), will let a bear know that you are approaching and give them advanced notice to move out of the area. However, noisemakers that startle a bear, such as an air horn, can provoke an attack. If you release an air horn too close to a bear hiding in the bush and it startles them, they may charge. Bells may work well in remote areas where bears have not had a lot of contact with humans, but in areas where they have become accustomed to humans, a human food habituated bear may approach a person wearing bells. Bells do not make enough noise to warn a bear of your approach unless you are wearing several bells. A can partially filled with rocks makes a loud clattering noise and is very effective in letting bears know of your presence before they pick up your scent."
"In some cases, noise deterrents do not work either because the bear has habituated to human noise or because it has no natural fear of the noise. For example, a habituated bear is very unlikely to respond to a vehicle siren if officers remain in the vehicle. Unlike human dominance techniques which speak the language of the bear, a bear may have to be taught that noise deterrents are followed by an unpleasant or negative situation. However, once a bear makes the association, an officer may only have to cock his shotgun to make the bear leave"

And this one: Bear actually ran TOWARDS the sound of an air horn, not away, twice!
My concern is that the area where I jog, has some very thick, dense areas. Also, the bears are used to humans coming down the trail every day, which seems to have both pros and cons. Combined with the fact that I plan on continuing my daily jogs during the time while the bears are bulking up into the Winter months, on through hibernation into Spring when the bears wake up. (Weather permitting ofcourse, since we have many days of sunshine, or 40 - 50 degrees during the day, and even after snowing, if it's small amount, it usually melts right away)

So I guess I will just talk loudly, sing, and fill a can partially full of rocks and make noise up the trail in those areas and around blind corners, instead of air horn. :)

Edited by Kolorado on 08/24/2013 08:56:08 MDT.

Bogs and Bergs
(Islandized) - F

Locale: Newfoundland
air horns on 08/24/2013 04:43:16 MDT Print View

Makes sense to me. Somebody let off an air horn in my ear, I might smack them too. And I've never smacked anybody in my life.

Interesting the mention of a 'metallic' noise. I didn't mention this in my earlier post, because I kind of figured your bears were too human-habituated for it to be good advice. But out here in the wild, we are taught as children that the most frightening sound for an animal is the clanging of metal, because it's a completely unnatural sound, and it reverberates and carries over a long distance.

So even though it isn't ultralight, I carry a steel water bottle. My tiny steel-cased camera is on a shoulder strap. And that's my bear banger.

Haven't used it on a bear (except to announce myself when I see bear sign, is this why I rarely see bears?), but I have encouraged large moose to walk a different path. And startled squirrels out of my lunch.

Edit to add: there are two black bear stories in Atlantic Canada's news this morning. In Nova Scotia, two women found themselves very near a bear. They dropped their bags, the bear went for the bags. Then they ran, and the bear followed, until they happened across a cabin and went inside. The bear waited outside, they called for help.

In the second, a man in Gros Morne National Park says he almost walked into the rump of a feeding bear (berry season). He quietly backed away and didn't think the bear even knew he was there. A Park Warden later told him that oh yes, the bear knew, he just didn't care.

This had me thinking about what happens when people run from a bear. We always hear that it excites the prey instinct, and probably so. But maybe it also excites the PLAY instinct? The bear that followed the women to the cabin could have had them at any time, but didn't. Think about what you do when you want to catch a running dog. You get the dog's attention and run AWAY from it. Because then the dog will chase you. It's a game.

Edited by Islandized on 08/24/2013 05:15:09 MDT.

Michelle Olsen
Re: air horns on 08/24/2013 09:24:58 MDT Print View

Bogs and Bergs,

Interesting, you mean bears might like to "play with their food" like cats do, OMG, that's enlightening. lol. Although I can see how it might trigger play instict,

So even after they dropped 'food', the bear actually followed "THEM", and then "politely" waited for them outside, when he/she could of easily knocked them down as they ran or ripped open the front door and entered the cabin, hmmm...

And as far as the guy almost walking into the rump of a bear feeding on berries, the trails I jog on are loaded with berry bushes, which has been my main fear. What shall I do if I accidentally run right up to one feeding along the trail, However, I like the idea of carrying metal. Either banging on it or shaking partially filled can of rocks before entering those areas to begin with, should help, I hope.

Some of those bushes are so large and so thick, I can't see through them and even though I always make noise but I still think, "Gee, what if a bear is too busy enjoying his favorite berries to care about my 'noises' and so then I round the bush and there he is!! AHHHH

I just learned something last night I didn't realize, I've been wearing a perfume spray, in case my deodorant is failing, not to offend anyone passing me one the trail, lol.

I feel like an idiot for even having to say this, but the fragrance is called "Cherry Blossom".... "HELLLO!!!" Maybe THAT may be what brought that bear out to run up the trail behind me, Makes me think, how could I be so stupid!

Edited by Kolorado on 08/24/2013 09:37:11 MDT.

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: Re: here's the best how to survive a bear attack on 08/24/2013 10:32:55 MDT Print View


That was a great video. Their calmness provides a good model for me if I ever encounter a grizzly.

I couldn't help wonder if they might have been carrying a gun just in case the grizzly didn't understand English. . "Speak softly and carry a big stick".

While watching the video I could almost taste my urge to run for my life.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Re: here's the best how to survive a bear attack on 08/24/2013 12:32:38 MDT Print View


Yes, I'll try to channel Erin's calmness the next time I'm facing down a grizzly.

No, Hig and Erin go UL to SUL and carry spray but no gun (6-7 pounds you can't eat, wear, or cook with). They stayed with us on their 800-mile, human-powered, with-two-toddlers trip this summer. The west side of Cook Inlet is pretty bear-infested, but again, they brought spray and no gun.

Actually - the biggest non-UL gear they had was the 2-year Lituya: 24 pounds and she isn't self-propelled, has to be carried, you can't eat or wear her, etc.

John Coyle

Locale: NorCal
Warding off black bears, what has worked for you on 08/25/2013 22:48:57 MDT Print View

My face has worked for me because every time I see a black bear it runs the other way, sometimes resorting to ridiculous means such as crashing down steep poison oak infested embankments or running up hill through scree and talus. Not exactly a confidence builder for my self image. I mean I know I don't look like Brad Pitt, but do they have to run away in that hysterical terrified manner every time?

My girlfriend and I saw a Grizzly about 1/2 mile away in Yellowstone several years ago, but a Ranger arrived and the Grizzly took one look at him and ran the other way at about 35 mph. It was frightening to see how fast something that big could run. Luckily it ran the other way, although we were both sporting bear spray-so was the ranger.

This spring here in NorCal near Sacramento a man was tired, it was late, so he pulled over his car, threw out his sleeping bag, no tent, and went to sleep on the ground in the open. He woke up several hours later with a mountain lion paw on his face. A fight ensued, and I imagine it is hard to fight a mountain lion from inside a mummy sleeping bag, but somehow the man put up a good fight, got scratched a quite a bit and drove himself to the hospital. His sleeping bag was a total loss with about a dozen 3 ft. scratches running up and down it's length. There was a picture of it in the Sacramento Bee.

In another mountain lion incident this spring a hiker on the Stevens Trail near Colfax in Northern California reported a mountain lion circling him on the trail. He called the Highway Patrol on his cell phone and the CHP helicopter flew around above him and scared off the lion. Later a game Warden hiked down the trail, turned around and the mountain lion was in a predatory crouch about ready to jump on him, so he shot and killed it. Unfortunate, but that mountain lion had some issues.

Some times I think it is still the Wild West out here for a number of reasons, some of them having to do with wildlife. Both mountain lion incidents were reported in the Sacramento Bee if people want to search for the articles.

Michelle Olsen
Lions, and Coyotes and Bears, oh my!.... on 08/26/2013 10:44:30 MDT Print View

There has been a few mountain lions over the years in the area where I jog, and I know DOW killed one just this past spring. it was killing peoples pets and children couldn't safely play outside.

A fellow jogger told me she seen a cougar close to the trail last year, that would not leave and was lying down, she called DOW and they shot it.
Same with coyotes, who were killing pets in the area. Several accounts of them chasing children.

Coyotes have attacked hikers & bikers, I know there was a lady this year who was bitten in the calf. She attempted to run away. Which must of excited the coyotes predatory instinct to catch his prey. Gee.

Over the years, there seem to more and more of an issue as cities grow larger into lion/coyote/bear territories.

I had an experience in my teens w/ a pack of hungry coyotes that encircled our mobile home and would not leave. I was at my cousins house and their parents went to town and left us alone. (They lived on a farm outside of town). As soon as they left,my cousin grabbed his pellet gun, and said "here we go!, this happens every time my parents leave, but my dad doesn't believe me".

Even while my cousin was shooting a pellet gun at them out the back door, the coyotes continued to move in closer and closer! He kept trying to scare them away w/his pellet gun. They were digging along the bottom of the mobile home, trying to get in when his dad (my uncle) finally came home, grabbed his rifle and began shooting them, After he shot 2 of them, the rest trotted off. They didn't run per se, just trotted away, looking back at us now and then. (He finally believed he was telling the truth then, lol)

Another time I stayed there, we slept in a camper parked on their property about 500 ft. down the road from their home. We were making cookies, but needed one more ingredient from the house. It was dark out, full moon and as we were walking up the road to the house, when we were chased by a coyote, I ran as hard & fast as my little legs would go, lost my show, lol.

Luckily it was far enough away when it began chasing us, we had time to reach the house. As we got almost to the house, we could hear it running, (that was scarey!)
We hid in the house for awhile, then took the pellet gun with us on the way back, but didn't see him any where.

I lost 2 cats last summer to coyotes, and we hear them howling at night.
After my experience with the bear, I hadn't given any other animal that much thought, lol, but that's to all your responses, now I am much more aware and make noise up and down the trail in thick areas and blind corners.

Still scared when I go through the area I seen that big bear, I sing, make noise and yell hey bear, hey bear. I think is he/she would have been smaller, it wouldn't have bothered me so badly, but this guy was HUGE, I'm 5'5" and he cam up to my waist.

I'm still too scared to go any further up that trail any more, I've been turning around right there and going back the other way every day ever since.

I guess the lessen is, we should always be aware of our surroundings and respect their "house" as we go running/jogging/biking/hiking through the middle of it, lol

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Warding off black bears, what has worked for you on 08/26/2013 12:05:26 MDT Print View

Total thread hijack: John, were you hiking out of Pine Creek a little over a week ago? You look familiar...

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Don't worry on 08/26/2013 18:49:09 MDT Print View

Michelle I think you're worrying yourself too much over this. Here's my theory. Black bears are not mini-grizzlies. It is almost impossible to provoke a black bear into attacking you, they just aren't interested. You aren't going to help matters by wearing bear bells or yelling "hey bear."

We tend to worry about things we think we control and fatalistically accept other risks that are pretty much beyond our control. I don't know anyone who stays up at night worrying about a heart attack for example.

The most likely scenario for a black bear our mountain lion attack is a predatory animal. Honestly I think its best to think of such an event is sort of like a heart attack. Its so impossible to predict and we have little control over it.

There really isn't much you can do about a predatory attack except have a something ready in case it happens. I'd get some spray or whatever "deterrent" is legal and you are comfortable with. After that you've done the best you can do, just enjoy the woods.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Animals near civilization vs wilderness on 08/26/2013 21:25:21 MDT Print View

Incidents are clearly more prevalent in areas near civilization vs wilderness. Two main reasons being more people around, so simply statistics. The second reason, is the habituation to Humans and the goodies they often carry. I would tend to be far more concerned with an animal encounter on a local trail run than on a backpacking trip in more remote wilderness.

just Justin Whitson
Re: tents and tarps on 08/26/2013 22:11:01 MDT Print View

Dena wrote, "I use a tent because I live in the mosquito capital of the world, or at least it seems that way."

Holy Moly, you aren't kidding! I was up in AK this early Summer, and couldn't believe the mosquitoes. At one point we couch surfed at a small cabin outside of Fairbanks proper that someone was squatting in and as soon as we got out the car it was like black clouds that followed us.

I'm really grateful for the head and pant net clothing i brought and the long sleeves. The locals said it was particularly bad this year though, just our luck :P

Michelle Olsen
Re: Don't worry on 08/26/2013 22:17:56 MDT Print View



Edited by Kolorado on 08/27/2013 07:40:09 MDT.