Category Archive 'Grizzly Bears'

20 Sep 2018

People Recently Attacked (or Killed) by Mountain Lion, Black Bear, Grizzlies, Cinnamon Bear

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see bottom story from New Mexico.

Hiker found dead on Mount Hood was likely killed by cougar. (ABC News 9/12):

The hiker who went missing on Mount Hood in late August and was found dead at the bottom of a ravine Monday was likely killed by a cougar, authorities said — a shocking twist in the missing persons case.

The body of Diana Bober, 55, was found Monday at the bottom of a 200-foot embankment on the famous Oregon mountain’s Hunchback Trail, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

Bober was last seen on Aug. 29 when she went for a hike on the trail. Her backpack was found by two hikers on the following day and her car was left in a parking lot at the base of the mountain.

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Ginseng hunter killed by black bear in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, bear still at large. (wbir 9/12):

The body of 30-year-old William Lee Hill Jr. of Louisville, Tennessee, was found Tuesday afternoon two miles north of Cades Cove off Rich Mountain Road, according to a news release from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Park officials began searching for Hill when they were notified on Sunday that Hill was missing. He and a close friend had gone to the park on Friday to look for ginseng and were separated during the day, and Hill had not been heard from since. …

An adult male bear remained in the area where Hill’s body was found and showed aggressive behaviors for multiple hours as rangers recovered Hill’s body throughout Tuesday evening, the release said. Evidence of wildlife scavenging of Hill’s remains was visible.

Wildlife biologists reportedly came to the area, trapped the bear and recovered human DNA from it, the release explained. At that point, park officials said they decided to humanely euthanize the bear out of concern for public safety — but on Friday it was revealed the bear had not, in fact, been euthanized yet and was fitted with a GPS tracker.

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Wyoming grizzlies kill hunting guide, maul client. (Jackson Hole Daily 9/16)

The grizzly bears suspected of fatally mauling outfitter Mark Uptain were trapped and killed early Sunday near the elk carcass that caused conflict on Terrace Mountain.

“We killed two grizzly bears up there a little bit ago, and we have every reason to believe they are the offending bears,” Wyoming Game and Fish Department Jackson Regional Supervisor Brad Hovinga said around 10:45 a.m. Sunday. “They fit the description.” …

[W]ildlife managers are not releasing all the details about what they believe occurred when Uptain and his bow-hunting client, Corey Chubon, were aggressively attacked by the pair of bruins Friday afternoon.

Hovinga surmised that the bears involved were a sow and its grown cub.

“The behavior exhibited by these bears is abnormal behavior for a family group,” he said. “It’s not typically how we would see family groups behave.”

Chubon, who was airlifted out of the Teton Wildness with leg, chest and arm injuries, reported to investigators that of the two grizzlies involved, only one was the aggressor. The Florida resident, who flew back home Saturday, told authorities that he was unable to fire a shot from a handgun he retrieved during the attack, but he threw the firearm to Uptain before departing the scene.

Late Saturday, Hovinga declined to discuss evidence collected at the scene, but he did say that bear-deterrent pepper spray was among the things the guide and client possessed. He said he “didn’t know” if the handgun was with Uptain’s remains. The gun was not recovered immediately around where the attack took place, at the site of an elk Chubon had struck with an arrow Thursday. The guide and client did not locate and start to retrieve the elk until early the next afternoon.

The elk carcass was “undisturbed” when it was located by Uptain and Chubon, which suggests that the bear was not necessarily food guarding — a common behavior that often leads to conflicts with humans, especially hunters.

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New Mexico hunting guide kills attacking bear with Glock, deceased bear remains attached to his leg. (All Outdoor 9/14):

When a New Mexico hunting guide reportedly found himself the target of a bear, he dropped his phone and reached for his pistol. It would turn out to be one of the best decisions he ever made. An earlier decision, though, threatened to cost him his life.

He’d been working out his dogs in preparation for the upcoming hunting season when they’d struck a bear’s trail. The only way to put an end to that was to catch up with his dogs, so he pursued, with family members following. As he approached the fight, he grabbed his not-fully-loaded pistol as he left his UTV.

    As an afterthought, he took the GLOCK 20 10mm pistol from his vehicle and shoved it in his waistband behind his cowboy belt. It was loaded with 175 grain Hornady Critical Duty FlexLock loads. The magazine only had 10-12 rounds in it. A few months earlier, he had heard the theory of “spring set” and decided not to keep the magazine fully loaded.

He approached the melee, expecting the bear to run at the sight of him. And when he spotted the bruin, he grabbed his phone to take some video of its unusual cinnamon coloration. But the bear had other ideas.

    Bridger’s first thought was to get video. It would be an incredible image. Big cinnamon bears aren’t common. The bear would run at any moment, once he saw or smelled the man. Bridger grabbed his phone.
    That bear never read the rulebook. It didn’t run. The bear saw Bridger, turned toward him, and flattened its ears back along its head. Its eyes had locked on Bridger. He’d watched hundreds of bears in similar situations and he knew he’d been targeted. He dropped the phone and snatched the GLOCK from his belt.

    A lot happened very fast, but for Bridger, everything slowed down as he went into tachypsychia. It’s a common occurrence in high stress life-or-death situations. The mind speeds up and events appear to be happening in slow motion. In reality, the person is acting faster than they ever have before.

    The bear was coming for him. Bridger elected not to aim for the head. He didn’t want to hit one of his dogs. He triggered two or three shots aimed at the bear’s body. The bear started to spin, snapping at the wounds, about six feet away.

    Bridger decided to retreat. He turned and hopped to the next boulder, then the next. He was mid air to the third when he saw dogs moving past him.

    In his fast mind-state, he realized this was bad. As he landed and turned, the big GLOCK in his hand, and saw the bear coming at him like an over-sized NFL linebacker with claws and big, pointy teeth.
    Before he could fire again, the bear hit him. They went over the edge of the shelf together, tumbling down a steep, rocky slope in mortal combat.

Although he has no memory of shooting as they fell, empty shells were later found along the path of their descent.

    Bear and man stopped downslope, wedged into brush and boulders. Bridger could feel the bear and frantically attempted to disentangle. The bear reared erect, jaws ready to strike. Bridger shot him again, in the front of his chest before falling/sliding further down the slope. The bear pursued him. He screamed at Janelle to stay away.

    Bridger tried to kick the bear away from him as it tried to get at his upper body. He couldn’t shoot for fear of hitting his own legs.

    The bear dodged a kick, and grabbed Bridger’s right inner thigh in its jaws, lifting him like a dog lifting a rabbit. Bridger shoved the muzzle of the GLOCK against the bears neck, trying to shatter its spine and shut the bear down. He fired.

    The bear released his lower thigh, then grabbed his calf, just below the knee. The shot missed the spine. Man and bear are still moving fast, but in Bridger’s hyper-aware state, time slowed. He saw an opportunity for a headshot and pressed the trigger on the GLOCK.

    Click.

    Later, Bridger found bear hair between the guide rod and the slide of the G20 pistol. The hair prevented the slide from returning into battery. Bridger knew he should still have ammunition left in the magazine, so he racked the slide and saw a live round eject in slow motion.

    Fractions of a second later, another opportunity for a head shot presented itself. The bear ripped at his leg. As the bear tried to tear off his calf muscle, Bridger saw his chance and pressed the trigger.

    Blam!

    Man and bear went down together, rolling and sliding a bit further down the slope.

Although the bear was dead, its teeth were still hopelessly tangled in Bridger’s calf muscle. When rescue personnel arrived — quickly, thanks to his family’s close proximity at the time of the attack — they struggled and failed to free the meat from the fangs. Only after cutting the bear’s head off with a pocket knife could they transport Bridger and his now-gray leg muscle.

15 Jun 2018

Bring the Grizzly Back to California?

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Jeremy Miller plays with the idea in the Pacific Standard.

University of California–Santa Barbara researcher Peter Alagona has other ideas about what constitutes viable grizzly habitat. Alagona says that the grizzly was also known as the “chaparral bear” because it was found in greatest numbers not in California’s high country but in its Coast Ranges. In his 2013 book After the Grizzly, Alagona paints a vivid picture of these coastal bears: “Grizzlies scavenged the carcasses of beached marine mammals, grazed on perennial grasses and seeds, gathered berries, and foraged for fruits and nuts. They rooted around like pigs in search of roots and bulbs, and after the introduction of European hogs, the bears ate them too. At times and places of abundant food—such as along rivers during steelhead spawning seasons or in oak woodlands during acorn mast years—grizzlies congregated in large numbers. Such a varied and plentiful diet produced some enormous animals.”

In late March of 2017, Alagona and an interdisciplinary team of more than a dozen professors, lecturers, and graduate students made their first foray into the Sedgwick Reserve, a roughly 6,000-acre parcel of open space an hour north of Santa Barbara that is owned and managed by the University of California. The rolling hills were green, and bloomed with a colorful assortment of flowers. To the south, over a series of undulating hillsides, lay the Pacific Ocean. Beyond the property’s northwest boundary lay the former Neverland Ranch, the infamous estate of the late Michael Jackson.

Known as the California Grizzly Study Group, the team’s fieldwork is focused on gaining a better understanding of how the California grizzly lived in these coastal regions before human interference. As it turns out, reconstructing the way of life of an absent omnivorous animal largely means reconstructing its diet. One common misunderstanding, says Alagona (the group’s head and founding member), is that grizzlies are bloodthirsty predators just waiting for a hiker to snack on. “The California grizzly was an omnivorous opportunist—it ate almost anything and everything that was available,” wrote Tevis and Storer in California Grizzly. “In this respect the big bear was something like the house rat, the domestic pig, and even modern man.” …

We continued upward, to a ridgeline covered in a vibrant green rock called serpentinite. Below us unfolded a pastoral landscape of orchards and vine-stitched hillsides with small towns and farmhouses tucked between. The scenery was of a distinctly Mediterranean cast, which may explain our conversation’s turn toward Europe. There, Alagona noted, European brown bears (European cousins of the American grizzly) have recovered in areas very close to cities, including in Abruzzo National Park, only two hours by car from downtown Rome—closer than we were to downtown Los Angeles.

Demographic shifts and social changes have also played a key role in the brown bear’s resurgence overseas. “One of the reasons you have predators coming back to Europe—wolves, bears, lynx, and wolverines—is partly because Europe has become more urbanized, and parts of the countryside are emptying out,” Alagona said. “You also have a change in thinking and attitudes. People are imagining different futures, which is also vitally important.”

Alagona gestured to the high peaks of the Dick Smith and Sespe wilderness areas, rising to over 7,000 feet. He noted that, even in these wilderness areas—which are small by U.S. standards—one can find more continuous, roadless “wild” land than nearly anywhere in Europe. “When the Europeans look at our situation here, they think we have an ungodly amount of space. They are working in a completely different model,” he said, ticking off the essential differences on his fingers: Lots of people. Smaller land area. No wilderness. More bears.

In the U.S., we tend to operate in an either-or paradigm when it comes to conservation. And this historically has been a key stumbling block for the restoration of many large American mammals, including grizzly bears. Alagona points to the Central Valley, which has been transformed almost entirely into an unbroken industrial-scale agricultural landscape. And then there are the wilderness areas of the Sierra, which are off limits to all development. It is this bifurcation, he says, that has greatly influenced our thinking about what belongs where, what is “wild” and “not wild.” “We tend to think that animals belong in wilderness,” he said.

Europeans, on the other hand, have a less doctrinaire way of categorizing landscapes and, consequently, a more fluid way of looking at what constitutes habitat. “The Europeans are working to create more nature reserves, but they are limited in what they can do,” Alagona said. “And so, by definition, conservation has to occur in these human-dominated landscapes.” …

As Alagona said, it was easier to imagine the risks than the rewards. Any discussion of grizzly reintroduction is moot, he said, until we recognize that a reintroduction of this sort is not really about animal management but people management. “It’s not really clear whether having more bears in the world is actually good for bears, or whether it results in an increase in, say, ‘bear happiness,'” he said. “So if you can’t make that calculation, then you have to start looking at people—notably, what people want and what they are willing to risk or give up to have something else that is of value to them.”

That public reappraisal of the value of wildlife can happen—and sometimes very quickly. “When mountain lions started showing back up in Southern California in the 1980s and ’90s, people also freaked out,” Alagona said. “Now the mountain lion has become the mascot of Los Angeles.” He believes that the same might be true for the California grizzly. “If there was a way to fit these animals in,” he said, “then maybe a lot of other things that seemed impossible are possible.”

The next morning Owen and I rose at sun-up and plodded uptrail, toward the summit of Reyes Peak, which loomed 2,500 feet above. As we climbed the switchbacks, the full dimensions of the landscape became apparent below. Arid hillsides covered in chaparral and veined with arroyos ran in orderly rows toward the misty horizon. Plenty of space for a large omnivorous mammal to roam, it seemed.

In Spanish, Chorro Grande means “big flow.” But when we arrived at the trail’s namesake spring, it was dry. We plodded up one last steep section, through a stand of tall Ponderosa pines, before reaching the ridgeline. From the dry summit ridge, we could see the expanse of the Coast Range extending below us and, just beyond, the humped masses of the Channel Islands looming offshore. To the south, in the next valley, flowed Sespe Creek, one of the range’s permanent water sources and one of the last undammed waterways in Southern California. Just out of view, beyond the endless furrows of rolling ridgelines, lay the concrete wilderness of Los Angeles.

As I jotted notes, Owen sat on a large rock surveying the terrain through binoculars. “Dad, I can see bears up here,” he said matter-of-factly. I took him literally, and asked with slight concern if he’d spotted a black bear somewhere below us.

“No,” he said, smiling in the full California sun. “I mean someday. I think a grizzly would like it here.”

Grizzly bears and self-entitled hipsters in t shirts and Bermuda shorts sharing the wilderness a hop, skip, and a jump from densely populated suburbs?

Old Ephraim traveling down the arroyos in the dry three-quarters of the year from the Santa Cruz Mountains right into Palo Alto and Atherton?

Big, hungry bears munching cyclists and joggers in the San Gabriels bordering LA?

What the heck!

The tree-hugging California environmental whackos want those bears back, and the bears will want breakfast. I call that a win/win.

HT: The News Junkie.

High time to start working on restoring the extinct sabre-tooth tigers found in those La Brea tar pits to Los Angeles as well!

26 Aug 2015

Deceased Whale With Grizzlies

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DeadWhaleGrizzlies

03 Apr 2012

Man-Eating Grizzlies Are Eliminated From Yellowstone… With Reluctance

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The female grizzly bear, referred to as the Wapiti sow, killed Brian Matayoshi on July 6, 2011 and then killed John Wallace on August 27, 2011, after officials declined to hunt the bear responsible. The Wapiti sow was finally trapped in late September and euthanized October 2nd after four days of forensic analysis and chin stroking.

Jessica Grose, in Slate, describes how the swift and hearty justice dealt out to man-killing grizzlies in simpler and less-grovelly-toward-Nature times has been replaced by a new intensely ethically conscientious regime that will only kill bears which are deemed to have behaved with “unnatural aggression” or which have been found to have eaten people.

In the bad old days, they knew what to do with man-killing bruins.

The first extensively documented death by grizzly within Yellowstone Park’s borders was the fatal mauling of 61-year-old government laborer Frank Welch in 1916. And the park’s first extensively documented judicial execution of a grizzly soon followed. Some historians suspect the bear that killed Welch was abnormally ill-tempered because his toes had been ripped off when he escaped from a trap in 1912. Whatever the bear’s motives, though, Welch’s fellow laborers decided that “Old Two Toes” deserved to die for his crimes. Men from the road camp where Welch had been working placed some edible garbage in front of a barrel filled with dynamite. When the bear began to eat, they blew it to smithereens.

That was how grizzlies were treated if they injured humans in the early days of Yellowstone: They were killed.

Not today. Today, when Ephraim or Ephraimina takes out a tax paying citizen, there is the equivalent of a judicial procedure. There are major exculpatory loopholes. And even totally guilty bears are put down reluctantly, as big, salty tears pour down the faces of the responsible officials.

Every bear is pwecious, you see.

The euthanization of the bear known as “the Wapiti sow” was the culmination of a series of horrifying events that had gripped Yellowstone for months, and alarmed rangers, visitors, and the conservation biologists tasked with keeping grizzly bears safe. In separate incidents in July and August, grizzlies had killed hikers in Yellowstone, prompting a months-long investigation replete with crime scene reconstructions and DNA analysis, and a furious race to capture the prime suspect. The execution of the Wapiti sow opens a window on a special criminal justice system designed to protect endangered bears and the humans who share their land. It also demonstrates the difficulty of judging animals for crimes against us. The government bear biologists who enforce grizzly law and order grapple with the impossibility of the task every day. In the most painful cases, the people who protect these sublime, endangered animals must also put them to death.

Whenever a grizzly bear commits a crime in the continental United States, Chris Servheen gets a call at his office at the University of Montana in Missoula. Servheen has been the Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for three decades. …

Before Servheen, Gunther, and their bear management colleagues could decide what to do, they’d need a lot more information. Was a grizzly bear in fact responsible for this second death? If so, which bear did the mauling? And what were the circumstances that led up to attack—was it provoked or had some hiker just been caught unaware? The answers to those questions would determine whether a precious animal would need to die. …

Wildlife biologists like Kerry Gunther help the park’s crime-scene investigators by speculating on a bear’s emotional state. Based on the evidence at hand, he tries to determine whether a given act of bear aggression might have been a natural behavior—the result of being startled while feeding on an elk carcass, for example, or seeing someone approaching her cubs. If a bear appears to have followed a hiker down the trail instead of backing off, or if it attacked campers while they were asleep, that would be more unusual—the result, perhaps of a deranged grizzly mind.

If you blunder into a bear that is thought to have attacked and killed you out of natural aggression (you violated that bear’s space, dude!) or via an impulse of self defense, that’s just too bad for you. The bear goes free, as long as he refrains from dining on your pitiable remains.

The authorities in question reluctantly draw the line at actual predation, simply because they are afraid of the public response to tolerating man-eaters in National Parks.

The zero-tolerance policy for man-eating bears invites an obvious question, though. Once a bear kills someone, whether it’s out of some wild-animal psychopathy or a natural inclination to defend her young, why wouldn’t she eat the corpse? Everyone agrees that it’s natural for grizzlies to eat carrion—they’re scavengers, after all. When I ask Servheen whether grizzlies can get “a taste for human blood”—whether a grizzly that starts eating people-meat will desire it endlessly—he dismisses the idea. “That’s for horror stories in movies,” he says. “Bears don’t get a taste for human blood. There’s no studies that show that.”

No studies show it, in part because every time a bear eats someone, they kill it. Not that it’s something that would ever be studied—biologists would never want to take the risk of keeping a bear that had eaten a person in the greater bear population. “We don’t want to test whether bears really get a taste for people,” Gunther explains. “The public wouldn’t appreciate us using them as subjects.” That’s for horror movies, but it seems like even the bear biologists think there might be some truth to the campfire legends.

10 Nov 2010

One More Warmlist Entry

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It is always a good day for NYM when we are able to add one more dire effect to the Warmlist catalogue.

Julie Cart, at the LA Times, consults the environmental seers who explain that grizzly bear predation on humans in Wyoming and Montana results from Global Warming.

A number of complex factors are believed to be working against grizzlies, including climate change. Milder winters have allowed bark beetles to decimate the white-bark pine, whose nuts are a critical food source for grizzlies. Meanwhile, there has been a slight seasonal shift for plants that grizzlies rely on when they prepare to hibernate and when they emerge in the spring, changing the creatures’ denning habits.

The result, some biologists say, is that bears accustomed to feasting on berries and nuts in remote alpine areas are being pushed into a more meat-dependent diet that puts them on a collision course with the other dominant regional omnivore: humans.

Of course.

28 Oct 2009

Legally Armed in National Parks

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Why would anyone possibly want to carry a weapon in a National Park?

In classic liberal newspaper fashion, the Yellowstone Insider performs some grave chin-stroking over the successful passage of Senator Tom Coburn’s S. Amendment 1067 (Text: pg. 1pg. 2, attached to bill H.R. 627 regulating the credit card industry.

Wyoming does indeed have a concealed-carry law — you can see for yourself on the state’s website — and does indeed recognize concealed-carry permits from other states. … However, Wyoming is one of the many states that allows citizens to openly carry a legally registered weapon. …

(T)he fact that Park Rangers must add gun enforcement to their list of duties is not the most desirable of outcomes. Generally speaking, the vast majority of gun owners are responsible citizens. The problem, however, doesn’t lie with responsible gun owners; it lies with irresponsible gun owners, and they, too, exist; there were issues raised by gun owners openly brandishing their weapons during Obama speeches in Arizona and Minnesota this summer, as they went out of their way to openly carry legal semiautomatic weapons in large crowds waiting to see the President. Poaching, too, is still an issue in Yellowstone. And, quite bluntly, we can’t think of many instances in Yellowstone National Park where anyone would need a weapon; we’re not talking about an environment where animal attacks or human crime occurs with any degree of regularity.

In the Daily article, local attorney Kent Spence of Jackson’s Spence Law Firm says he would feel more comfortable camping in the Yellowstone backwoods carrying a weapon capable of taking down a bear, though he admitted pepper spray would be his first line of defense. We’re not so sure every other gun owner would be as comfortable or responsible should a bear attack.

You really have to admire liberal journalistic reasoning in action. Making something legal is alleged to create a new law enforcement responsibility for Park Rangers. Most of us would have supposed that eliminating a potential violation would have the opposite effect.

And you certainly would not want to be “irresponsible” in the event of a grizzly bear attack. Who knows? The indignant bear might sue.


Yes, Pepper Spray is definitely the answer. (Old joke)


I favor the .500 Linebaugh brand of Pepper Spray myself.


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