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Thread: Black Bears Won't Hurt You.

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    Bears will attack, there is no doubt bears are predatory if they see fit, but more often then not bears would rather take an easy meal because they need the weight packed on before winter. Chances are she either spooked the bear, or something else caused the bear to become violent before she came across it. This is the typical and most common cause associated with bear attacks from what I have been able to find in research. Now most bears that I have seen and heard huff while breathing, something you can hear if your paying attention to your surroundings, but the one I ran nose to nose to was not huffing or I would not have walked in to her. Huffing sounds something like their short of breath with a bit of grunt and rasp mixed in unless they are actively stalking, then they can be deathly quiet. I also freely admit all my experience is from brown bear in Alaska and I have only come across maybe a dozen total.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwightp View Post
    Yeah, the interesting thing about that is that they went decades without a death in the park caused from a grizzly and then they had fatalities in TWO completely separate incidents......miles apart.....on the SAME night.
    The book, "Night of the Grizzly," might make mention of a weather phenomenon that I have heard of - intense stormy weather prompting profound agitation in bears.

    In another matter, I was bluff charged by sow black bears with cubs on two occasions in Yosemite years ago, and I will never forget the fear. In the second encounter, I was a seasonal ranger armed with a 2" .38 Special. I have tried to be better armed since, but I now live and recreate in grizzly country. I avoid G-Bear as much as possible; they are real bad news.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bard View Post
    Apparently bears are making a comeback in Texas now and are massively protected. I worry more about mountain lions where I do most of my backpacking, hiking, camping, etc..
    About 15 years ago a local mountain biker was attacked by a mountain lion on a narrow trail cut out of the side of a steep mountain. He managed to fend it off by putting his bike between himself and the beast. I don't think that would deter a bear.

    I saw a huge black bear, that was brown, on a remote trail that I was climbing on a mountain bike. I saw him before he saw me and I made noise. He turned to me and then ran in the other direction but I was ready to turn that bike around and waste all the altitude that I had gained. I hear bears are fast but I don't think he would have caught me.
    Last edited by GeoKrpan; 05-24-2012 at 01:11 AM.

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    yikes. that is crazy . attacked at your most peaceful moment of the day.

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    I think the bear just wanted toe find out if WE s**t in the woods! Lol

    He's lucky he got away with just a few scratches...

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    After a half century of living, working and playing in bear country, I am convinced that the threat of humans and their dogs dwarfs the threat from black bears. Every bear attack makes the news. That's because such attacks are noteworthy for their rarity. I've had a few unpleasant confrontations with drunken and/or unruly humans, and I have been bitten by their out-of-control dogs on at least two occasions. I support everyone's right to go armed in the woods, but if you are called on to use your weapon to defend yourself it will likely be against a member of our own species or his attendant canine.

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    Right on Woodcritter.

    Can bears attack? Sure, but the drive to the trail is way more a concern to me, as are people, and the lose running dogs I have had contact with.

    Now if I were in brown bear/grizly country I would be more concerned.

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    Guide Bush Class Basic Certified dwightp's Avatar
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    I agree with the others, yeah, you will occasionally hear of a black bear attack but they are extremely rare. I have camped extensively all over Western Canada and have lost count of all the bears I've seen in the wild. I respect black bears but do not fear them. Grizzlies, however, are another story..........very unpredictable and very, very scary.

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    It's that time of the year around here that you start seeing a lot more bears. The females are pushing the 2 year olds out in preparation for the rut and they are wandering around looking for territory. Also, the males are searching for females in heat.
    My neighbor had one on his porch the night before last. Time to load up a shotgun to protect my chickens and bees. I don't much worry about the bears otherwise.

    Scott
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    "Watch where you go, remember where you been. That's the way I see it, I'm a simple man." - Charlie Daniels
    "Being normal holds very little attraction for me" - J.C. Desclos, The Boss of the Swamp

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    "Black bears won't hurt you." is, strictly speaking, false, but the reason people say that is that black bear attacks are so rare given the number of bears and the number of people who are out in black bear country who see and encounter bears. There are estimated to be approximately a million black bears in North America at present.

    This is not to say that one cannot be hurt or killed by a black bear, but the dangers are small when compared with brown bears, which really are very dangerous and aggressive by comparison. The number of fatalities by black bears is small (1 to 2 per year, on average, for all of North America) and only a handful of injuries.

    For any who are interested in a scientific review of the facts on bear attacks, I strongly recommend Stephen Herrero's Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance. Herrero has conducted an exhaustive study and survey of every bear attack and incident (by both black bears and brown bears) since 1967. His research findings show that black bears attacks are very rare, easier to avoid, less severe and seldom fatal, though fatalities do happen.

    Regrettably, media reports of bear attacks, like reports of any violent attack, resonate powerfully in the human psyche, remaining fixed in memory, and resulting in an exaggerated sense of danger. No doubt this natural disposition to overestimate risk is healthy by keeping us vigilant against the most severe threats, but severity is not frequency. A bear attack is a severe threat, but a low frequency one. One is far more likely to be injured or killed on the drive to where one begins one's hike or camping trip than from any encounter with an animal, including bears, but especially black bears.

    On a related note, I heard Herrero interviewed on a radio show about 4 weeks ago. When the interviewer asked him what people should do if they should see a black bear while hiking or camping. Herrero advised, "You relax and enjoy the experience." Again, he was speaking of black bears, not brown bears. I hasten to add that Herrero was being interviewed by people in the province of Ontario, who were asking this in connection with bears in Ontario (we have no brown bears here). He also pointed out that despite the impression in the mind of the public that bear attacks are on the rise, this is not the case. The incidence rate of bear attacks has not increased despite decades of reporting on bear attacks. This is highly significant in Ontario since, for several years now, there has been a ban on the spring bear hunt and so there are now somewhere in the area of 100,000 bears in Ontario. This has resulted in many more bear sightings and no doubt such an increase in bear sightings fuels even more anxiety about the threats posed by black bears, despite there being no increase in attacks.

    As for what weapon works best in the case of a black bear attack, it's pepper spray, according to all the evidence we have. Firearms are less effective. They're great for hunting, but not as effective as pepper spray when it comes to stopping or preventing an attack from an aggressive bear. Consequently, when I'm camping or on a hike where bears live, I always carry a canister of bear spray on my belt.

    For any who are interested in bear attacks, want to know how to spot signs of aggressive/predatious bear behavior, and what actions/preparations to undertake to avoid a dangerous or deadly encounter, I strongly recommend Herrero's book. It's something of a terrifying read, as the book is filled with unvarnished and gruesome details from bear attack reports (if this book doesn't put a healthy fear of a bear attack in you, nothing will), but one should read it so as to have a fact-based perspective on the frequency and severity of bear attacks and what actually works best for avoiding them and how to survive them if you do suffer an attack.

    Hope this helps,
    -Martin
    Last edited by PineMartyn; 05-28-2012 at 09:56 AM.

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