Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 27
  1. #1
    eternalvoyage
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,433
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Close encounters

    Early one morning I woke up because the air around my face seemed, in my sleep, to be a bit unusual, and changing. There were waftings of warm, humid air. My eyes opened and I was nose-to-nose with a full-sized bear.

    I've had a few other encounters that perked me up quite a bit.

    Anyone else?

  2. #2
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Montréal, Québec, Canada
    My Bikes
    Peugeot Alpin Pro, Surly LHT
    Posts
    2,001
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Not while touring. I had a few encounters with bears while while tree-planting though. One guy fought one one with his shovel.

    A friend of mine works for Jasper park and had hundreds encounters. He was charged once. The mother bear stopped a few feet in front of him. He's more affraid of moose. Him and his pals have quite a few stories.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  3. #3
    Senior Member permanentjaun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1,714
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Cmon Niles. What'd you do?

  4. #4
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    northern California
    My Bikes
    Bruce Gordon BLT, Cannondale parts bike, Ecodyne recumbent trike, Counterpoint Opus 2, miyata 1000
    Posts
    5,605
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    In Camp as a kid the counselor made us pitch the tent on ground that was not flat. I woke up in the middle of the night with my three tent-mates piled on top of me.
    This space open

  5. #5
    Dead Men Assume...
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Singapore
    My Bikes
    Bike Friday NWT
    Posts
    852
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by ken cummings
    In Camp as a kid the counselor made us pitch the tent on ground that was not flat. I woke up in the middle of the night with my three tent-mates piled on top of me.
    Really? Sounds like that time from university when I went camping with at least three other guys in the tent during a wet and stormy night! I'm small and these guys were like rugby (if not football) players.

  6. #6
    More Energy than Sense aroundoz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    155 miles north of Spokane
    My Bikes
    Thorn Sherpa, Co-Motion Custom Road, Salsa Fargo, Mercian King of Mercia and Motobecane Fantom Pro 29er
    Posts
    710
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I went to the bathroom and left my tent door open since I was only going to be gone a few minutes. When I returned, I started reading again and noticed movement on the ceiling of my. When I looked, my headlamp illuminated a big hairy spider about the size of my hand. I was able to open the door again w/out shaking him loose and dove out of the tent. I was told s/he wasn't venemous but still scared the ____ out of me.

    +1-So Niles, what happened.

  7. #7
    eternalvoyage
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,433
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by aroundoz
    +1...what happened.
    [...sorry to have been offline -- couldn't reply until now:]

    There wasn't much time to 'think', only enough to react. My education in this area (what to do about bears) came from reading a book about the John Muir Trail, just before hiking it. On that trip, I did have a mother bear and her two cubs try to get into my backpack at night. The backpack was leaning against a tree, and was just behind my head -- the book had suggested this approach to positioning the backpack at night (which seems a little questionable in hindsight). It also suggested clanging some pots together, yelling, etc. -- it said that bears don't like the metal-on-metal sound....

    So that's what I did. The two cubs went up the tree; the mother dragged my pack about forty feet away and started working on it. My two friends woke up and helped scare her away. The pack had some reasonably minor damage from her teeth.

    When this other, more recent bear encounter happened, the old programming came into play. I sprang up, yelled loudly and clapped my hands. The bear went bounding off through the brush.

    I felt a little bad about it afterwards. The bear actually seemed kind of mellow and friendly, and I 'realized' that it was probably just curious, and if I had been a little mellower about it myself, I probably could have made friends with the bear, or at least had a more mellow encounter.

    Then, weeks later, I realized something else: that approach (making friends with wild animals) can be pretty stupid (even making friends with certain domestic animals can be pretty stupid at times (see link below)) -- and my first reaction was probably wiser than my later 'realization'.

    (Which then brings up the point of my present realization, and whether it is a 'realization' or a (valid) realization.)

    ***
    There was a couple who decided they were going to do with bears what Dian Fossey did with gorillas (or what Jane Goddall did with chimpanzees) -- befriend them and live among them and study them that way....

    The couple ended up buying the farm while studying some large bears.

    ***
    It is also true that the advice once given for dealing with black bears -- to curl up and play dead -- has been revised in the light of the fact that these bears will sometimes commence feeding in such situations.

    So, at this point at least, it seems unwise to befriend these creatures, however mellow their vibes and their present (apparent) intentions. They have too many unpredictable and dangerous instincts to trust that approach....
    Last edited by Niles H.; 04-26-07 at 01:03 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member permanentjaun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1,714
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Is that the now accepted method to deal with all bears now? When they charge is it best to stand your ground too?

  9. #9
    eternalvoyage
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,433
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by permanentjaun
    Is that the now accepted method to deal with all bears now? When they charge is it best to stand your ground too?
    I'm not up on the latest. Will post if I find some good links.

    ***
    (My understanding at this point is that black bears and cougars should be scared away or fought and repelled, grizzlies are different....)

    ***
    Just remembered: I spoke with someone who spent six months at a time in black bear country, camping out, working for the forest service. He and his coworkers would stockpile rocks and throw them at the problem bears while yelling and making noise. He said it worked.

  10. #10
    Gone, but not forgotten Shiznaz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Toronto
    My Bikes
    spicer fixie, Haro BMX, cyclops track, Soma Double Cross, KHS Flite 100
    Posts
    4,509
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    That makes me think of cavemen defending the tribe. Great image!

  11. #11
    Curmudgeon Wil Davis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Nausea, New Hamster
    My Bikes
    (see http://wildavis.smugmug.com/Bikes) Bianchi Veloce (2005), Nishiki Cascade (1992), Schwinn Super Sport (1983)
    Posts
    1,572
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Here's an interesting DVD about the life (and untimely death) of Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend. It deals with how the good Mr Treadwell "befriended" the grizzlies in Alaska's Katmai National Park; an interesting study even with its somewhat sad conclusion.

    I'm reminded of a comic strip which showed in the first frame, St Francis preaching to a somewhat bemused bear. The second frame showed the bear wiping its mouth with a paw, looking reflectively at the pair of sandals (all that remained of the good saint) in front of him, and thinking to itself "yup, an' I'm jus' a dum' ol' bear wot don't speak Eytalian…"

    - Wil
    "………………………" - Marcel Marceau

  12. #12
    Senior Member Lolly Pop's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Norn'Iron
    My Bikes
    Gardin
    Posts
    1,399
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I think the problem with bears is that the tactics that work on some bears, don't work on others. Like adolescent male bears, for e.g. If you stand up to them, they don't back off, the way other bears are supposed to (or something like that, don't quote me on it). And then you have tactics for grizzlies, vs tactics for black bears. It's not simple.

    When I lived in the Rockies the recommendation (besides wearing a bear bell on your pack) was to walk slowly backwards, whistling, if you saw one.

    Here's a link from Parks Canada re bears in the Rockies (Banff, Jasper, Yoho Nat'l Parks): Bear management

  13. #13
    Gone, but not forgotten Shiznaz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Toronto
    My Bikes
    spicer fixie, Haro BMX, cyclops track, Soma Double Cross, KHS Flite 100
    Posts
    4,509
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Bear middle management

  14. #14
    eternalvoyage
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,433
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...rica_by_decade

    http://edition.cnn.com/2003/US/West/...ear.attack.ap/

    Another article mentions that black bears are more likely to make a predatory attack, and that grizzlies are more likely to make a defensive attack.

    ***
    Here's an expert, a professional, who has worked with bears and knows them well:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=YtmmefcJbMc

    ***
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grizzly...zzly_territory

    ***
    "Although many people do not regard black bears as dangerous animals, they can unquestionably kill human beings as readily as their grizzly cousins.
    The black bears' seeming lack of aggression, scientists have theorized, may be connected with their aboriginal, forested habitat. Black bears having adapted to trees and thick mountain foliage, learned to take advantage of vegetaion as an escape. However, a wounded or cornered black bear or one whose cubs might be endangered can be a fearsome spectacle.
    As large as many grizzlies, at a top weight of 273 kilograms and with cinnamon and dark-brown colorings that frequently occur among black bears, blacks are occasion-substantial. The black bear's head is smaller and narrower and is held up higher as the animal ambles along. Blacks also lack the shoulder hump of the grizzlies and have shorter, more curved claws that are razor-sharp to make tree-climbing swift and efficient."

    Others have stressed the point that their claws are much sharper than most people assume. When I had some of my gear opened up last year by a bear(s), I could tell that their claws are sharper than I had thought.
    Last edited by Niles H.; 04-26-07 at 06:40 PM.

  15. #15
    eternalvoyage
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,433
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It's probably a good thing to be informed and prepared; it also seems good, though, to remember that most encounters with the natural world are more along the lines of http://youtube.com/watch?v=3bot3MbTh1Y

    (With occasional exceptions....)
    Last edited by Niles H.; 04-26-07 at 07:45 PM.

  16. #16
    eternalvoyage
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,433
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    A memorable exception:

    Hot August afternoon, dry foothills.... Had just finished riding. Off the bike now, and overheating. Found the cave entrance pretty quickly. Wandered into a cool, moist, steady breeze coming from inside the narrow cave.

    Took off cycling clothes. The cool air was like a gift. Cooling down nicely. Felt like moving further into cave. Hit upon a solution to not having a flashlight: Walk slowly, test each footfall, and shift weight onto the leading foot slowly. And it actually worked.

    It worked for quite a while.

    I turned around to look back and see how far I had walked, and the entrance was only a small, dim light in the distance. The rest was totally black -- all around; three hundred sixty degrees of it, above, below, in front, and to the sides.

    Continuing deeper into the cave, I put my left foot forward, slowly shifted my weight onto that foot, and started swinging my right foot forward. There was an unusual noise. It started faintly, and then became very noticeable. I couldn't quite identify it, though. It sounded like the muscular arm of large, strong man, but very dry and rough. And it was moving against the edge of a rock, so I could hear it scraping, and it was right next to the outside edge of my left foot.

    I then realized what it was; at that same moment another, much louder sound started going.

    ...
    Last edited by Niles H.; 04-27-07 at 12:39 PM.

  17. #17
    eternalvoyage
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,433
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by permanentjaun
    Is that the now accepted method to deal with all bears now? When they charge is it best to stand your ground too?
    Here's something from the May '07 issue of Backpacker:

    "Black Bear: Try to appear as large as possible by raising your arms and even your pack over your head. Shout and slowly back away. If a black bear attacks, fight back aggressively. With any type of bear -- grizzly or black -- turning around and running will encourage a foot race you won't win."

    "Grizzly: Avoid eye contact, speak in a low voice, and back away slowly. If it charges, hold your ground and attempt to look as large as possible. Some charges are bluffs. If the grizzly attacks, lie flat on your stomach, lace your hands over the back of your neck, and play dead."
    Last edited by Niles H.; 04-26-07 at 08:23 PM.

  18. #18
    eternalvoyage
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,433
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Bears that I have encountered tend to act more like the one in this first video,

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=h7MuFDVEUro

    They sometimes act differently:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-ByFv5pGdA&NR=1

    (It's interesting to see how quick they can be -- toward the end, he doesn't look as slow and lumbering as he did earlier.)

    ***
    It's easy to develop some complacency: based on a number of experiences with bears, I came to see them as fairly gentle creatures who will almost always avoid a conflict.

    Now, after doing some more digging, I can see that they may usually be that way -- or even very usually -- but are also able to act differently.

    (The line "distance is your friend" keeps coming to mind.)
    Last edited by Niles H.; 04-27-07 at 12:17 PM.

  19. #19
    eternalvoyage
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,433
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    ...At least I hadn't stepped on it. That would have been worse.

    The sound was from its scales, as they scraped against a rock. It was a large rattlesnake, and it had moved away a bit, as it coiled up, before it started to rattle.

    The cave was narrow at that point, and there wasn't much room. It was clearly not a good idea to go back out the way I had come in: there wasn't much room on either side of the snake, and...it just wouldn't have been a good decision.

    So it seemed, at first, that the best approach would be to go forward, further into the cave, and hope for an opening. The breeze coming out of the cave had to be coming from somewhere....

    Then I remembered that rattlesnakes have been known to congregate in caves on hot days, to get out of the heat. So there could well be more snakes ahead.

    So I stayed put for quite a while, unable to go forward or back, wondering what to do, feeling like some rodent cornered in a burrow, while being observed by a large pit viper(s) that could see me (or see the infrared) easily enough, while I couldn't see anything at all.

    These snakes have venom as well, which (in this situation) could be used at will. It was a remote area -- getting help, or getting to a hospital, would have taken too long.

    The rattling continued.

    It was a strange feeling: No longer at the top of the food chain, no longer the dominant species, and at a distinct disadvantage -- held or trapped, and monitored by senses that human beings do not possess. The tables were turned. It was a very strange feeling, almost like being held by some superior alien species, and an alien consciousness. Sitting there, crouched against the wall, I felt that these snakes have very different minds and modes of consciousness, and a different sort of awareness.
    Last edited by Niles H.; 05-03-07 at 01:33 PM.

  20. #20
    thomas masini lives
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    i aint dh no mo'
    Posts
    3,496
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    howdy ho tourers!

    there is a great book on the subject that will help you to have a more nuanced and hopefully safe reaction to bear encounters:bear attacks their causes and avoidance

    it helps to identify the type of encounter you may be having so that you can react appropriately

    simple rules may be memorable but they are far from universally applicable!

    stay safe!

  21. #21
    jwa
    jwa is offline
    moron
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    286
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by doofo

    simple rules may be memorable but they are far from universally applicable!
    Well, except for the rule that you don't gotta be faster than the bear, just faster than someone else in your group....

  22. #22
    Gone, but not forgotten Shiznaz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Toronto
    My Bikes
    spicer fixie, Haro BMX, cyclops track, Soma Double Cross, KHS Flite 100
    Posts
    4,509
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by jwa
    Well, except for the rule that you don't gotta be faster than the bear, just faster than someone else in your group....

    ahahahah classic AND totally true! Tour with your enemies!

  23. #23
    Fred E Fenders fthomas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    S. California - Again!
    My Bikes
    Randonee
    Posts
    1,071
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Imagine One bear talking to another. The other has a giant target on his chest. The first bear says: "That is really a nasty birth mark you've got there."

    Took a friend of mine fly fishing (his first time) and I told him I would clean up breakfast and camp and meet him down at the river. It wasn't long until Bobby was running up the trail screaming that a bear was chasing him. Of course I thought, Not! It was chasing him, but a few loud yells and some pot banging and off it went. Bobby never did catch any fish!

    When living in Ca I was far more concerned about mountain lions than bears. It seems the mountain lions like to attack mountain bikers or I figured touring bikers at the wrong place at the right time.
    F Thomas

    "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving."
    Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

  24. #24
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    My Bikes
    Atlantis, Jack Taylor
    Posts
    166
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    When I was a fairly young hitch-hiker, some older Canadian Indians (who had very kindly invited me to a funeral/feast they were going to) told me that if I slept under a large fir (I think) tree, more or less closed in by the lower boughs, that the bears would leave me alone. I did and lived. It has occured to me that they may have told me that just so I would sleep without worrying

  25. #25
    actin' the foo ragboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    yo mamma's
    My Bikes
    several
    Posts
    837
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Niles H.
    If the grizzly attacks, lie flat on your stomach, lace your hands over the back of your neck, and play dead."
    And pray like a SOB.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •