Face
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Face
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July 17th, 2012 at 5:53:37 PM permalink
Quote: odiousgambit

Face, you have to tell us the full story of the bear charge.



I've had 4 bear encounters in my life, and several more sightings. One wasn't a big deal, I just happened upon it on a hiking trail, seen it from pretty far off, and we both just went on with our business.

My first ever was very eye opening. I was about 14 and camping. We were running around the campsite, yelling around like kids do, and had the radio bumping, but one came to us anyway. She was pretty big, close to 300lb, and was sniffing around the cabin. We, of course, all gathered to watch, and were hootin' and hollerin', and she never paid us any mind. She got to scratching at the side of the cabin, and in doing so, ripped the entire window out. I don't mean the screen, I mean the entire window frame came right out of the wall. She wasn't aggressive about it, she didn't pull hard or even struggle. What looked like light pawing ripped it right out. Their strength is incredible. We ran into the cabin because there were other kids sleeping inside, and we got them outside. Nothing happened other than the bear taking a box of food, but through all the rip roaring going on around her, she never paid any attention to it.

I just had one last year, camping again. 12 of us around a fire, one Lab therapy dog and two German something or others. Everyone was chatting, having a good ol' time, and for some reason, something caught my attention. I turned around and there was a bear, not 15 feet away from me, sniffing at the ground. No one seen it, none of the dogs alerted, I don't even know how I sensed it, but there it was. I calmly said "bear" and pulled my Glock, keeping my eyes on it. Everyone bolted, leaving me there alone (I had no idea, I was too focused). It glanced at us once, went on to it's sniffing, and after 3 minutes or so, faded back into the woods. I guess it was a big deal because it was a bear, and it was so close I could see it's nose wiggling and hear it's breath, but it really paid us no mind at all.

The charge happened when I was out 4wheeling with a buddy. I ride hell for leather always, and as I screamed over the crest of a hill, something bolted from the weeds right in front of me. How I didn't wreck avoiding it, and how I avoided it period, I don't know, but I saw it was a dark, somewhat large animal, and it was running just off the trail in the same direction I was going. As I rolled to a stop, I sensed a commotion off to my left, and seen whatever I had almost hit up ahead as it bolted up a tree right next to the trail. Me being me, I crept up to see what it was. There, not 7 feet up the tree looking down at me, was the cutest cub ever. It was RIGHT THERE, I could've reached out and touched it. With the adrenaline of both riding like a maniac coupled with a near wreck, I guess I was kind of high, and I just stared at it a bit. My friend, who had stopped when he saw me almost lose it, was a good 100 feet back, and I frantically waved him up so he could take a look. As he came my way, I started scanning the woods for the commotion I saw earlier, and that's when I saw mama. She was still motoring around pretty good, about 200 feet away, and I saw her locate another cub and sniff him down. Back to my friend who had caught up, and I pointed out the cub. He also got excited and focused in on it. I looked back for mama and saw her again with nose to ground, sniffing around furiously. And then she came. Head down, nose to ground, she came at us at a trot. I wasn't scared yet. She obviously had the scent and was coming this way because her cub was here, and she was still quite far off. I don't know if it was an incorrect assumption or me just reading her demeanor, but fear hadn't kicked in yet. I kicked my wheeler in drive, pulling forward a few feet to give her room while looking back, expecting my friend to follow. Mama had stopped, I assume, because my wheeler had a race pipe and barked pretty loud, but my friend was still oogling the cub. I found out later he had never even realized there was more than one, had never seen the mama. She paused in mid step, head up, looking at us. I called to my friend and he didn't respond. Mama came again, faster, now head up and heading right at us at a gallop. I killed my wheeler and screamed at my friend and he still didn't respond. I don't know if he was spacing out, or if it was our helmets killing the sound, but he never acknowledged me. He was a few feet behind the cub, I was only 10-15 feet passed it, and mama was coming right at us. In retrospect, things should've gotten messy. My wheeler hadn't started for me all day due to electrical problems. For the 20 or so times I stopped that day, I had to bump start it every single time. But in a not quite panic, I instinctively hit the starter and it fired. I revved the piss out of it, pinging the rev limiter and popping out a few backfires. THAT got his attention. I waved frantically for him to Move His Ass and pointed hard at the mama. She had stopped dead again at the scream of my wheeler, now only 50 feet away, head and ears up looking right at us. NOW he saw her, and he punched his own starter button. I kicked mine back into gear and peeled the hell out of there.

We were still kinda high and joking around about it as soon as we cleared the area, but nausea soon set in. I got legitimately scared. There where just so many "what ifs". What if I didn't get his attention? My wheeler hadn't started one single time all day, what if it didn't THAT time? I'd have been stuck, 10 feet away from a scared cub with a scared mama coming for me just tens of feet away. It would've been over. And that's what I meant to Wiz. I'd been on those trails a number of times without a sighting. Within seconds, everything could've went really bad. What if I had hit the cub and wrecked in the process? No way to run, possibly injured, and laying next to a mangled cub with a scared mama on the way? It's a death sentence, and the reason I so encourage Wiz or anyone else who does these outdoorsy things and has a weapon to carry it. I know how much of a hassle carrying is, and after 10, 50, 100 walks where you don't see so much as a bee's nest for danger, it seems like an unnecessary hassle. But, even though my charge was, in retrospect, relatively mild, I remember how close it could've been. I remember that feeling of fear while going through all the "what ifs". And it's very easy for me to put myself back in the same situation, only without a friend for possible help, without a 4wheeler to scare her off and transport myself to safety, to be back in an encounter on foot with just my young son at my side.

The chances of this happening are very slim. The chances of it happening again are even more rare. But I still go outdoors, and I still see bear. I'll probably see another in a few weeks, and it'll probably be a mellow encounter same as the last. But I've seen first hand their ridiculous power. I've been in a situation where no amount of loud noises or big sticks are going to scare it away. I've been in a situation where my life was in danger, and it happened by total random chance. I've no reason to suspect it won't happen again. And when my son is involved, there is no other option. Just the thought of another encounter with him at my side and no pistol in my hand churns my stomach. So I don't care if I'm deep in the woods on a week long camp, or at the edge of town picking crayfish out of the crick, I never go anywhere without my Glock. I encourage everyone to do the same. Your stories are for you to tell, make sure you make it back to tell them.
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Mission146
Mission146
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July 17th, 2012 at 6:30:27 PM permalink
You told the story about the four-wheeling incident extremely well. Your friends should never have left the campfire, running away may make the bear think they are easy prey. Furthermore, it is very rare for a bear to attack a group, and gathering close together makes the group look imposing to the bear.

The most important rule of all if you are going to run is: You don't have to be able to outrun the bear, just the slowest of the people you are with.
Vultures can't be choosers.
rudeboyoi
rudeboyoi
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July 17th, 2012 at 6:32:25 PM permalink
Quote: Face

Quote: odiousgambit



The chances of this happening are very slim. The chances of it happening again are even more rare.



each bear encounter is independent of other bear encounters hehe.
Wizard
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July 17th, 2012 at 6:36:29 PM permalink
Thanks for the story. Do you mind telling us where this occurred?
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
Face
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Face
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July 17th, 2012 at 7:37:00 PM permalink
Quote: Mission146

You told the story about the four-wheeling incident extremely well. Your friends should never have left the campfire, running away may make the bear think they are easy prey. Furthermore, it is very rare for a bear to attack a group, and gathering close together makes the group look imposing to the bear.

The most important rule of all if you are going to run is: You don't have to be able to outrun the bear, just the slowest of the people you are with.



Thanks for the compliment. I agree about the running, and also the joke about "outrunning the slowest friend". Unfortunately for me, I was the only one who stayed put. Other than a half turn in my chair to face the bear and a reach for my Glock, I never even moved. I was so focused on what the bear was doing, the condition of my gun and going through my checklist, I had no idea everyone had gone. Never saw them, never heard them, I just turned around after the bear left and saw that I was alone lol.

Quote: Wizard

Thanks for the story. Do you mind telling us where this occurred?



The far encounter was in the woods just behind Seneca Allegany Casino, although there was no casino there at the time. It was just woods and 4wheeler trails between the city of Salamanca and Allegany State Park.

Both the cabin encounter and the campfire encounter were within Allegany State Park. The cabin on the Redhouse side, the campfire on the Quaker (for those familiar with the area.)

The mama charge was in the Majestic Trails ATV park, located in Rue, PA, about 15 minutes south of the NY border just outside of Bradford, PA. In other words, in the same general area as the other three. I think it's maybe 10 or 15 miles from Majestic to Allegany State Park, as the crow flies.

I've had a few sightings in a neighboring town to my home, in Perrysburg, NY (about 35 miles south of Buffalo, or 45 miles south of SOOPOO) An old family friend actually got into a lick of trouble a few years ago by plunking one outside of hunting season across the street from the house I recently moved from. But most of my sightings happen near the Seneca Allegany Casino/Allegany State Park area, at the NY/PA border. We actually have traps set up and warnings posted for bear at the casino, and have seen two in the parking lot in the three years I've been here. I'm pretty sure they're not shot takers, but I keep track of them anyway ;)
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buzzpaff
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July 17th, 2012 at 8:42:30 PM permalink
If a bear is chasing you, never ever run out of the woods. Never !
odiousgambit
odiousgambit
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July 18th, 2012 at 12:23:19 AM permalink
Quote: rudeboyoi

Quote: Face

Quote: odiousgambit



The chances of this happening are very slim. The chances of it happening again are even more rare.



each bear encounter is independent of other bear encounters hehe.



rudeboy, you are quoting someone else. Just saying.

Face, thanks for that story. Black bears are said to be less protective of their cubs than other species, but you have me wondering now just how safe it is to be around those cubs. In the case of the other bears, it is best policy not to gawk at any cubs but get the hell away as fast as possible, as "protective" is not the word, gawkers are in grave danger.

After your story, I think I will assume a black bear mother is not to be trusted either. In any case, when seeing cubs, one has to remember the mother is not far away.

Blacks, at least the wild ones not familiar with humans, very seldom attack and [I am told] typically mothers send cubs up a tree and vamoose when threatened. Surprisingly, though, the rule about browns or grizzlies if attacked and not armed is to fall to the ground, cover your head, and play dead, while with blacks it is to fight to the bitter end. The reason given is that a black bear that attacks [and is not protecting cubs] is a desperately hungry bear that plans to eat you. Your only chance is to convince it to try to eat something else.

Black bears accustomed to humans must be quite unpredictable.
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!” She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
rainman
rainman
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July 18th, 2012 at 1:29:24 AM permalink
What caliber of glock? generally speaking a hand gun isn't consider to have enough stopping power for bear. Unless its a freakishly large caliber.
rudeboyoi
rudeboyoi
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July 18th, 2012 at 4:06:06 AM permalink
Quote: odiousgambit



rudeboy, you are quoting someone else. Just saying.



not sure why it came out like that.
DJTeddyBear
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July 18th, 2012 at 4:57:55 AM permalink
Fascinating story. Well told. Thanks.



Quote: Face

The chances of this happening are very slim. The chances of it happening again are even more rare.

Wait a sec...
Aren't you invoking the "past results affect future outcomes" principle?

But seriously, if the odds have lowered, it's only because you're now more experienced, and may be able to avoid getting into such a situation in the future.
I invented a few casino games. Info: http://www.DaveMillerGaming.com/ ————————————————————————————————————— Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁

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