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Old July 15, 2007, 12:34 AM   #1
mes228
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True Encounter

True story, happened yesterday, made short, my wife was "fake" charged by a black bear while we were riding bicycles. The bear was about 30 yds. away across a road and maybe 10 feet back in the woods. She dismounted to take a picture. I was about 15 yards further up the bike trail but stopped and looked back laying my bike down. The bear with absolutely no warning charged full speed straight toward her. I in turn started running toward her and the bear. In the last few feet the bear veered away. She was scared nearly to death and stood there (I believe that was the correct thing to do). This whole thing from seeing the bear to charge took maybe 3 or 4 seconds. The point I want to make was I was "thoughtless" in the encounter. I felt nothing, no fear, no anger, just running hard to get to her as the bear ran toward her. I "thought" of nothing I was "blank". I have no idea what I would have done if the bear had continued it's charge. I had no firearm as I was in a National Park. I did have a pocket knife - but it never occurred to me during the sprint toward my wife. I thought of it later. The point I wish to make with this story is it all happened in a heart beat. A bear can cover 25-30 yds in maybe 2-3 seconds. I was disapointed in my self for not "thinking" of a weapon ie stick, rock, pocket knife etc. I was on auto-pilot of some sort. Maybe if it had ended in a struggle with the bear I would have thought of the pocket knife or a stick or a rock. I do think if I had been armed - which I always am elsewhere - I would have killed the bear if I could have. I don't think I'll be so quick to judge others as to "why didn't they do this- or that".
Things go to pieces in a heart beat sometimes and you may go into auto-pilot mode. This was my first encounter with a fake charge. I have killed a bear from a tree stand but this was totally different.
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Old July 15, 2007, 12:25 PM   #2
newarcher
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No offense, but it is blatent stupidity to stop 30 yards from a bear of any variety to take a picture. People do that garbage in Cades Cove a lot and it usually ends up worse. You are very lucky. Had there been cubs around, that bear would be finishing off your intestines right about now.

Unless it was a very small bear, you don't end up in a struggle with a bear. The only struggle is when the bear tries to swallow your shoulder blade in one bite.

You did what you had to do and I suppose you can take solace in that. If you ride here a lot, I would carry some bear spray with you.

New
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Old July 15, 2007, 02:59 PM   #3
CyberSEAL
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When you encounter a bear in the woods, raise your hands above your head to make you seem larger and back away slowly without making direct eye contact. Bicycle riders can also raise their bike over their heads which makes them seem even bigger.

I carry _everywhere_ unless there are metal detectors...concealed means concealed.
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Old July 15, 2007, 03:28 PM   #4
eltorrente
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Wow - good thing it was just a warning charge.

Yeah, sorry but that was just a very, very poor decision on her part to stop and take a picture of a wild bear. Not much good can be expected from doing that especially compared to the bad things.

I was with a girlfriend on a road trip once, and we stopped and went through a bear sanctuary in Montana. We slowly drove through the park and all these bears would come walking up to the car and sometimes we were surrounded by brown bears.

So despite all the warning signs all over the place, she decides it would be cool to take a picture with the window down for that perfect angle. She was always taking chances and doing things like this. So all of a sudden I see her window go down, and this bear is literally 2 feet from her face . She starts leaning up and over, ready to lean out at the bear that was looking over at her now. I immediately grabbed her arm and forcefully yanked her over and overroad her window with my control switch. .

I was imagining that thing grabbing her - even if it wasn't trying to kill her and only "toy" with her.. it would have been horrible. She got mad at me and couldn't understand why I was worried about it.
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Old July 16, 2007, 08:36 AM   #5
Tanzer
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The above is correct! I would replace "stupid" with "ignorant" meaning that your wife did something without knowlege. If she did it again, that would be stupid!
I spend a lot of time in Maine. The deal with black bears is they are unpredictable AND can kill you. Most Mainers I know agree that if you go on about your business and DON"T surprise/confuse/get between a mom & cubs the bears (wild, not campground) are just a part of the community. You'll seldom see one and it is usually running away - BUT, and this is a BIG BUT!, they are not your friendly woodland neighbors who want to romp and frolic and be friends.
As stated before, no eye contact, make yourself look as big as possible - open your jacket if you have one and slowly move on. DO NOT RUN! It triggers their chase instinct. It's a good idea to make noise (talk, carry a radio) when in bear country.
I always carry and keep a 12 GA on a stand next to the campfire. I also have two big dogs - not to go after them, but to make sure there is noise.
I'm not familiar with a brown bear situation, I think the thing to do is tuck your head between your legs and kiss your butt goodbye.
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Old July 16, 2007, 08:54 AM   #6
Mainah
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In the past couple of hundred years there hasn't been one documented case of a black bear killing anyone in Maine. Not one.

Moose kill a dozen or so people a year in car accidents. And several hundred of us get Lyme Disease each year.

You certainly need to be aware of bears. Mes228, my thoughts in your situation are that you're lucky, the pocket knife wouldn't of helped much, and you wife's bike may have provided a decent shield/diversion.
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Old July 16, 2007, 09:06 AM   #7
mikejonestkd
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A black bear killed a young boy at a summer camp a few years back in the catskill mountains in NY, and a 10 year old boy was taken by a bear in Nevada a few months back.

They are WILD animals....stay away and leave them alone. 99.999% of the time they will leave you alone too but don't push it by getting too close...
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Old July 16, 2007, 10:48 AM   #8
Tanzer
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Mainah,
I had no intention of putting a bee in your bonnet over bears in Maine, but it sounds like I did. The fact is, I agree with you - they're just part of the community. The problem is (and this holds true with moose moreso), that people who are not familiar with these animals can act improperly in their presence. I have a large bull moose that frequents my land. He's never been a problem other than stomping over a volleyball net one night. Up the road aways I guess someone blew their horn at him to get him off the road. Their Audi became an "Innie" when he stomped the hood.
I've seen elsewhere people stopping their cars and taking pictures of moose - YIKES!
Mainers are good folks and I make it a point to let them know it. I'm sure you are too. I also bet you'd agree that should anyone encounter a black bear, they are best to heed the above warnings. I'm not an alarmist, just a realist. This post was about an encounter. They can and do happen - anywhere bears are present.
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Old July 16, 2007, 11:17 AM   #9
Mainah
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No problem Tanzer. I just hate seeing wildlife vilified. You're right, people do need to be aware.
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Old July 16, 2007, 11:56 PM   #10
mes228
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Bear

Sorry for the delay in posting. I'm on vacation in CA. & NV. the bear incident was in Yosemite Nat. Park. Bears were pretty much everywhere. We were on a paved bike trail and the bear was beyond the grass, beyond the two lane road, and 10 or so feet into the forest. Really, quite far away - maybe 30 yards or more. Wasn't like we walked up closely or surprised the bear. Both my wife and I were stunned that he came on so very, very quickly. I don't fault my wife for stopping to take a picture. The bear was a collared "problem bear". Later we spent a few hours with Park personnel tracking a bear (perhaps the same one) that was in an apple tree behind our hotel (Awahnee Hotel). They have a team that radio tracks/monitors problem bears 24 hours a day and shoots them with paint ball guns and a 12 gauge with rubber bullets. That bear was holed up in rugged rock crevesses and stayed there for hours. We finally just returned to our room. I understood they normally have 3 or so bears in the valley floor but this year they have at least 16 and seven of those were working hard to being "problem bears". I am a hunter and have killed 30 or so deer, one bear, and everything else that lives in Virginia. I also carry concealed and What struck me was just how "blank" I was during the whole incident. No thought process. bears running toward my 5 ft. 95 lb. wife and coming hard, practically a blur. I'm running toward her but the bear covered 30 or so yards before I covered 10-15. I suppose it wasn't a "charge" as it wasn't completed. But it was the first one I've ever experienced. I wish I could say I had a plan, or that I had "thought" during the incident, but I didn't. Total blank! It just happened "now!" and we were in it so to speak.
I had the same experience years ago when I walked up on a black angus cow killed by a pack of wild dogs. They charged when I walked up on them deer hunting. I saw them and the cow, they saw me at the same instance, and the whole gang (maybe 7-8 large dogs) came running at me. I raised my rifle, they scattered and fled (must have been shot at before). I had the same experience "no thought" just auto pilot. That too was so unexpected. I guess what I've "learned" is I'm capable of doing things with no mental process at all. Just found it odd and a little disturbing.
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Old July 18, 2007, 07:23 AM   #11
USNairman
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There are people who are able to keep their logical thought process intact during a life and death situation and there are those who cannot. Unfortunately, you don't know which one you are until your are in that kind of situation.

I will agree that it was a very foolish thing for your wife to do.
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Old July 18, 2007, 06:29 PM   #12
Jseime
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I react the same way as you in those types of situations. I do things just by pure instinct when something happens suddenly and scares me.

There have been two situations in the last two years where buddies of mine have been punched for no reason (actually no reason I'm not just saying that like some people do). Both times I have ended up in a fight one guy was taught not to mess around with me and the other broke my nose after knocking my buddy out with one shot.

I guess it's the fight or flight thing I am a fight person, not confrontational and I've never started a fight but if need be I will fight. I would say that you are the same way. I know people that run away when anything happens but I can't.
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