Even one more

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 23:31:27 08/17/13

In Reply to: Frank, do you remember.... posted by Wendy


There was also an incident in or near Pagosa Springs, Colorado.

We saw this in August of 1967 in Glacier.

We saw it that one summer in the 1980s (I can look it up in my files for specifics).

Now we have five incidents within a few days. I believe there is something operant that we have not figured out, but someday, down the road, science will come up with an explanation.

What is really scary is I was watching the national news at my health club this evening, and some know-it-all law enforcement guy in Michigan was talking about how the 12 year old girl did "just the right thing", because she started screaming, which got the attention of several neighbors. She may have been running away as well. By the time the neighbors responded, the bear had left the area. The law enforcement "expert" was telling ABC News that "she did everything exactly right", and that there is a "myth about playing dead". "These bears eat dead animals. That's the exact wrong thing to do." I wish I had his name and address. I would send him a copy of Stephen Herrero's book! As I'm sure you know, with grizzlies, you play dead. With black bears, you fight back with everything you have, because their attacks, though extremely rare, are almost always with predatory intent. I haven't met too many humans who would stand much of a chance trying to fight off an enraged adult grizzly without a firearm, pepper spray, or some more potent form of military armament.

I just took a quick look at my old files. The year the bears really went "crazy" along the Rockies was 1984. That's when RMNP had "Black Bart", the infamous brigand who filched no less than an even dozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at a backcountry campsite on the Longs Peak trail. Bart famously had the rangers thinking they had multiple problem bears on their hands, because he would hit a campsite or waylay some hikers on the west side, cross the Divide, and strike on the east side a few hours later. I was in Yellowstone on August 20, 1984, when a woman naturalist from Canyon Visitor Center, and her husband, were attacked by a griz out in Hayden Valley. There were other incidents in Yellowstone and Glacier that summer. There were other incidents in Colorado that I was well aware of, because I lived there at the time.

Guess when the incidents happened in Glacier in 1967 that were enumerated in "Night of the Grizzly"? August 12!

What is ironic is that we don't see this type of cluster of bear incidents happen in the spring, when bears are first emerging from their dens, and they are ravenously hungry. The incidents in the fall seem to be spread throughout September and October, as some bears are drawn to developed areas in search of food; and we see incidents of bears taking possession of deer and elk shot by hunters.

I'm thinking that the clustering in the second and third weeks of August might someday prove to be part of the clues that leads a researcher to the answer. Maybe it is the Perseid meteor shower.

I just had to throw this one in, as long as I am ruminating about ursine conspiracy theories. When we were charged in 2000 on Mt. Norris, it was mid-August. We found out a week or two later that a Xanterra employee was charged that same day, around the same time, up above Trout Lake, a few miles from where we had our encounter. This fellow was charged by an adult male, whereas our bear was a female with two yearling cubs.

I'm hoping someone in Michigan with real knowledge about bears will straighten out that well-intentioned, but misinformed, law enforcement guy. Brian Matayoshi and his wife behaved much as the 12 year old girl in Michigan. It cost Brian his life!


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