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Old 07-15-07, 07:40 PM   #1
Jet Travis
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Saw a Bear Today

Rather than fight the brutal heat today, I waited til about 7:00 p.m. and took a spin along the Skyline Drive. I don't usually ride there, but I bought an annual pass earlier this year, and I live about 20 miles away.

The ride was quite lovely, with scenic overlooks, deer grazing along the roadway. As I came around a bend, I spotted a black bear sittng by the side of the road eating berries. I stopped around 20 paces from him.

I can't remember hearing of a black bear ever attacking anyone in my 20 years of living in Virginia, and I wasn't really worried, but I did feel a little tingle of excitement. He, however, didn't appear to be excited at all. He just looked at me sleepily for 10 or 15 seconds, and then wandered into the woods.
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Old 07-15-07, 07:54 PM   #2
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Good experience and anecdote, Jett. I've seen bears hiking, but wouldn't imagine seeing one road cycling.
Herons, rattlesnakes, and deer crossing the road...never a bear. I'm sorta envious.
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Old 07-15-07, 08:00 PM   #3
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Saw one in my yard on Friday. On Monday I kept delaying leaving for a
ride due to thunder (with no visible lightning). After ~20 minutes with
no thunder I pump up the tires and put the bike in front of the house.
The usual obnoxious dogs are going nuts but the neighborly one is too
and I notice a big black male bear crossing the driveway. Then the thunder
returned and I read.
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Old 07-15-07, 08:00 PM   #4
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Good spotting!

When I was hiking in Colorado last year, I sat on the banks of a beaver pond to each lunch. There were bushes all around me, so I wasn't very easy to spot. I was watching a thunderstorm roll in over the 14'er that was in front of me (in the passes above Buena Vista) & was surrounded by wildflowers. Beautiful scene. Then a moose wandered down out of the trees, as the lightning flashed over the mountain and the peals of thunder rolled down the valley. I wanted to stop time and remain there for a while.
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Old 07-15-07, 08:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jet Travis
I can't remember hearing of a black bear ever attacking anyone in my 20 years of living in Virginia, and I wasn't really worried, but I did feel a little tingle of excitement. .
I'm sure I would have felt more than a little tingle of excitement

I'll take the animals I saw on the breakfast ride over a bear. We stopped at a farm to buy some corn and they had a border collie who came up to me with a ball in his mouth. He would drop it then wait for me to throw it. He was really good at catching it

The other animal was a dead skunk....but we smelled it before we saw it.
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Old 07-15-07, 08:11 PM   #6
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Great stories all around. I'd love to see a bear sometime, I hear they're wandering in from Pennsylvania from time to time. Sadly, if one ever does get this far west, some yahoo will shoot it.
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Old 07-15-07, 08:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrossChain
I've seen bears hiking, but wouldn't imagine seeing one road cycling.
I've never seen a bear hiking OR road cycling but saw one at my local outfitter trying on new hiking boots and browsing the backpacks on sale.

ba da boom

*sorry CC...couldn't resist.
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Old 07-16-07, 05:21 AM   #8
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Great stories all around. I'd love to see a bear sometime, I hear they're wandering in from Pennsylvania from time to time. Sadly, if one ever does get this far west, some yahoo will shoot it.
A few years ago the granddaughters and I were vacationing in the Smoky Mountain area and decided to take a walk on one of the trails. Just as we were exiting the van a momma bear and cub came across the road in front of us and started down the trail. Well....that was enough for us. We headed back to the hotel and ate our picnic lunch lounging the pool

Edit: Spell Smoky correctly before the spelling police get me
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Old 07-16-07, 05:45 AM   #9
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Three deer ran out in front of me the other day. The deer weren’t much of a concern but the car that swerved to miss them scared me.
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Old 07-16-07, 06:14 AM   #10
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The other day I was riding on a desolate gravel path along the Mississippi River. I came across a mother coon and 3 babies. Mother was intently digging in the sand for turtle eggs, I presume, and she did not see me. The babies did. The babies were quite concerned about me while mother kept digging away. Finally, one of the babies went over and, I swear, tapped mother on the shoulder and pointed at me. When she saw me she gathered up the klan and took off into the weeds.
It really impressed me the high order of thinking that animals sometimes exhibit.
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Old 07-16-07, 06:18 AM   #11
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There was a post last year about a lady in a Mt. bike race running into a bear at 40mph on a downhill. Think it was some kind of tri event. Can not remember the outcome but it was not good.
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Old 07-16-07, 07:52 AM   #12
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I have enough problems over here with Pheasants taking off from under my wheel on the offroads. With what you lot meet- Bears- Coyotes- Raccoons- Skunks- I just think myself lucky.
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Old 07-16-07, 08:09 AM   #13
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In your tent

How about having one just a few inches from your face? It happened last Thursday night. Each year we take Scouts to a summer camp. This year it was a camp in the Sequoia National Forest. A three year old bear has found that kids are a great source of easy pickings even though they have been warned to keep food out of tents and hung in trees at night. This time it was an adult leader who left an apple sitting in a cup under his bunk. The bear came by right after dark while the site was empty and ate the apple. He came back a few hours later looking for seconds and went into the same tent. The adult woke up and felt the breath of the bear in his face. Needless to say, it was an exciting moment for him.
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Old 07-16-07, 08:40 AM   #14
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I saw a Goat today! Actually it was a kid. I was out in the middle of nowhere. There wasn't a house or far for miles. I saw something standing beside the road. At first I thought it was a large dog but when I got closer I saw that it was a baby goat. Of course when I got up beside it he decided to leap out in front of me.
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Old 07-16-07, 09:08 AM   #15
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One of the many reasons I love to Bike!

I made the mistake back in the 90's of getting between a Mother Black Bear and her Cubs. I was up in the Adirondacks Mountains checking out new Trail Rides for the Boy Scouts. I had stopped to take a compass reading and view my Map when I saw the Cubs on one side of the trail and Mom on the other side. She was NOT happy to have me between her and the Kids and she growled and snorted a bit. I just STOPPED stood still, and the Cubs came across in front of me. I stayed still until the mother turned and continued in the direction she was going. It was an amazing situation and I am glad to be here to talk about it!

Chris
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Old 07-16-07, 12:55 PM   #16
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I've read that Black bears are suposed to be docile. In the case of Beverly's and ang1sgt's stories, when the mother has cubs, it's a whole different ballgame.
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Old 07-16-07, 01:51 PM   #17
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Bears are a great reminder of the power of Nature and the attitude (less arrogant if I may) that we should keep about where we fit in on this planet. My close (not very, really) encounter was on a trail ride in Great Smokey National Park. I was riding old Dobbin and lagging the rest of the group (getting dropped really) when one walked out on the trail about 50 feet behind us. I knew something was up when Dobbin picked up his pace rather sharply. I looked back to see what was the deal and saw a smallish bear on the trail who just walked on into the woods on the other side of the trail. It still made my heart jump for a second. It's a fine memory.

There are bears now here in SWMO, one of the guys in my office has a game camera and regularly takes shots of bears raiding his deer feeder. The latest shots he shared was a bear he caught in a feral hog trap, and of the bear making his escape through an amazingly small slot at the top of the front gate of the trap. So are we rednecks around here or what?
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Old 07-16-07, 02:13 PM   #18
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So are we rednecks around here or what?
I don't know. Have you ever climbed a water tower with a can of spray paint to save your sisters reputation?
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Old 07-16-07, 02:28 PM   #19
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I don't know. Have you ever climbed a water tower with a can of spray paint to save your sisters reputation?
No, but in my defense, I don't have any sisters.
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Old 07-16-07, 05:25 PM   #20
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Black Bears around New England rarely attack people. If there is an escape route, they'll take it. Glad you had such a positive experience.
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Old 07-16-07, 05:27 PM   #21
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I was out for a ride in the area where this bear sighting occurred on that day. I had seen him before (and since) but did not feel it was necessary to notify either the Police or the Media. He doesn't seem to care for bikes and always runs when he sees me. He does have a fondness for blackberries.
My biggest worry on the day of the "incident" was that 2 or more of the news 'copters would collide and fall on me.

The Bear
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Old 07-16-07, 08:15 PM   #22
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This evening I went for a 10 mile trail run on the path that I also bike on. Beautiful evening, temps around 80 and low humidity. The area I was in was filled with mountain laurels, came around a bend and almost ran head-on into a black bear. It was digging in the ground for something and just casually picked up it's head and looked at me. I can honestly say I was 3 steps from his nose - if it wanted me for dinner I was prime picking. I stopped and for a second thought about backing up but thought better of it, started waving my arms over my head and yelling. The bear got startled and ran away. Soon as it left I remembered my cell phone camera but it was too late. Nice experience!! I estimate the bear weighed in at around 200 or 250lbs, not too big probably a second year bear.
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Old 07-17-07, 06:04 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beverly
A few years ago the granddaughters and I were vacationing in the Smoky Mountain area and decided to take a walk on one of the trails. Just as we were exiting the van a momma bear and cub came across the road in front of us and started down the trail. Well....that was enough for us. We headed back to the hotel and ate our picnic lunch lounging the pool

Edit: Spell Smoky correctly before the spelling police get me
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is normally spelled without the "E" but, for some reason, Smokey the Bear does have the "E!"

Incidentially, we have had two fatalities from Bears recently in East Tennessee. A school teacher was killed near Elkmont in the GSM National Park a few years back and a child was killed in the Cherokee National Forest just south of the Smokies last year.

In 4000 miles of hiking, I've encountered over thirty black and one grizzly bear (in Yellowstone) and only one acted agressive. Unfortunately, I'm usually the slowest runner in our group.

Ned
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Old 07-17-07, 06:18 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockyTopBiker
In 4000 miles of hiking, I've encountered over thirty black and one grizzly bear (in Yellowstone) and only one acted agressive. Unfortunately, I'm usually the slowest runner in our group.

Ned
Made the faux paux at one Scout Meeting many years ago when a Mother asked about Bears and what I would do if there was a problem. I told her point blank that I only had to run faster than the slowest Scout, with a wink added... Of course she was totally taken a back at that comment. No Humor for her! LMAO!

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Old 07-17-07, 06:20 AM   #25
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This is probably politically incorrect, but I really don't like bears (see RockyTopBiker's post). Hope to never see one on a bike ride. Got chased by one almost 20 years ago while deer hunting in Pennsylvania. We had just left the car and started walking into the woods when we came upon a bear and her cub. Was fortunate enough to make it back to the car before she did. I repeat, I really don't like bears. Seeing a bear on a ride would most likely mean I'd not ride that route again.
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