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Bears

Old 08-09-08, 07:16 AM
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Bears

What do you do if you approach a bear on the trail?
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Old 08-09-08, 07:21 AM
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Yogi or Bryant?
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Old 08-09-08, 07:47 AM
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Grizzly- Backtrack quietly, don't fight back if attacked

Black- Stop, make noise, which will scare 99% away. Fight back if attacked.

Bryant- Hold up six fingers.
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Old 08-09-08, 08:19 AM
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Black bears. So would a BB gun with a co2 cartridge make enough noise to possibly scare one away? It works for the neighborhood dogs. I don't shoot at them, most of the time I don't even have BB's in it but the noise is enough.
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Old 08-09-08, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by desederada View Post
Black bears. So would a BB gun with a co2 cartridge make enough noise to possibly scare one away? It works for the neighborhood dogs. I don't shoot at them, most of the time I don't even have BB's in it but the noise is enough.
This would be a very bad idea. Not enough noise and that small chance you will annoy the bear.

If you come upon a bear on the trail in front of you, stop. Wait. Appreciate. If you are not comfortable doing that, turn around and leave.

If the bear comes toward you, flap your arms and yell.

If the bear gets very close, your bike becomes weapon and shield and you are instantly transformed into a large dangerous animal no self-respecting black bear will want to know.
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Old 08-09-08, 08:42 AM
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Fight back

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nG02fwZBflw&NR=1
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Old 08-09-08, 08:53 AM
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i've encountered quite a few black bears when I MTB near my home (and moose and coyotes).

One was easting blackberry's (and I pods) by the side of the trail when I startled him. The most amazing thing is how fast they can move it's scary to think how fast they could give chase if they wanted to but he ran away down the trail ahead of me and eventually off into the woods.

Since then I've gotten a little clip on "cowbell" that I clip on a brake cable when I solo ride. They always move off once they are aware of my presence.

For black bears, keep your distance, don't antagonize them with lots of yelling or aggressive behavior. I've just used a loud, "Hey!" or "Hello" to let them know I'm there and off they go. If they stare you down I'd look away (break eye contact) and back up but not turn my back. No sudden or fast moves. In the rare, very small percentage of possibility that you encounter an aggressive black bear, keep the bike between you and it and stay tall and back away. Charges, if they occur, are often a bluff to move you off and they'll make a huffing, clicking sound vocally before they charge to let you know they want you gone- so pay attention and back off.

In areas where black bears are plentiful there are often classes at local libraries or nature centers occasionally on how to deal with bears. I took one and it was really useful and calmed me down a bit. Black bears are more like a big skunk or raccoon than a major predator like a mountain lion.

Grizzlies are a whole other story and I don't have them in my neck of the woods. But in grizzly country I'd definitely carry a bear spray- I don't know how much good it would do me but I'd want something if I were MTB'ing alone.
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Old 08-09-08, 09:00 AM
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I don't ride MTB trails, but I have backpacked many, many miles. I have encountered black bears quite a few times.

In wilderness areas, most black bear will be scared off by unnatural sounds- clanging metal or plastic. I have scared black bear off by clacking together my aluminum trekking poles.

There are areas where bear have unfortunately become used to humans and associated them with food- garbage cans/dumps, unclean campsites, and worst of all direct feeding. These bears are much more difficult to scare off. There is a big behavioral difference between black bear in tourist-overrun Yosimite in CA and black bear in the remote wilderness of Northern WA.

Black bear are tree climbers- grizzly are not. A black bear sow with a cub is less likely to attack than a grizzly sow with a cub, as a black bear cub has more avenues of escape from a threat (YOU- to the sow.) Once, I came across a cub in the middle of a trail about 70 feet in front of me. The first thought that came to mind wasn't "oh cool" but "oh great-where's mom.") Mom walked up from behind the cub and got between us. She started moving towards me in a semi-threatening manner. I was clacking my poles together and shouting while slowly walking backwards. She turned to see her cub, which had started to mosey off into the trees. When she realized there was no problem, she just followed the cub. I waited a few minutes before proceeding, although I knew they were long gone.

As I stated, it isn't natural for black bear to attack you unless you are very close to/messing with their cub(s). There have been isolated incidences where black bear boars have killed people with the intent of eating them, which is why if a black bear, sans cubs, attacks you, you should fight for your life, rather than rolling into a ball. I cannot emphasize enough that this is incredibly rare. I have never worried about this in any of my encounters.

Don't shoot a bear with a BB gun. You have no way of knowing for sure how it will react.


edit: sorry, I just noticed you were referring to the air noise, not pellet from the gun. Save the weight of the gun, carry Counter Assault bear spray instead.

Last edited by Jasper Storm; 08-09-08 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 08-09-08, 09:14 AM
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I would never actually shoot one with the BB gun, probrably just make him mad. I just thought the noise from the co2 cartridge would make them run off. I'm definately going to get one of those little bells to clip on. I had a friend that would wistle the smurf song in the woods riding horseback to alert the deer we were coming. That way they would usually move out of the area ahead of us instead of jumping out like the boogie man and scaring the horses.
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Old 08-10-08, 09:51 AM
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Soil your pants.

Then run like crazy.
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Old 08-10-08, 10:19 AM
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All you have to do is go faster than the slowest person in your party and you will be fine.

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Old 08-10-08, 10:25 AM
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We have plenty of black bears in my area, and they normally run quick when they encounter a human. So far this year I've seen 6, none on my bike. But considering nearly all of these bears have some kind of encounter where they acquire food from humans (camping, dumpsters, ect...) I'd not temp fate, I say turn around and go back the way you come, don't depend on the bear to leave.
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Old 08-10-08, 10:33 AM
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I have had many bear encounters, especially in my trail running days, and in the years I lived in Alaska. First thing to understand is the bear will almost never attack. If you see one, talk in a calm manner to let the bear know that you know its there. Walk calmly in a non threatening direction. Don't walk toward him or yell in an angry voice, and avoid making sharp noises like the sound of a BB gun etc. anything like that would scare it more than it already is.

If by some chance he attacks, just play dead. If he begins to eat you (this happens on extremely rare occasions.) Then go ahead and fight.

Most importantly, don't worry, bear attacks are so infrequent that IMO its not worth stressing about.

I was running a downhill section of a 9 mile trail (on track for a new PB on that trail) and came across a black bear with 2 cubs on the trail ahead, my first thought was, damn, this is going to wreck my time, I'm going to have to wait on them.

Some people wear bear bells to make noise, I would rather take the chance of being eaten then walk or ride around the woods with bells on. If your worried you might want to make sure you always have someone with you who cant run or ride as fast as you, as the bear will probably only eat one of you.
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Old 08-10-08, 10:38 AM
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My impression with black bears is that they are more dangerous in the spring (cubs) or fall (hungry) than in the middle of summer. But if it is a bad year for berries, etc. I guess even summer could be bad.
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Old 08-10-08, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by buzzman View Post

Since then I've gotten a little clip on "cowbell" that I clip on a brake cable when I solo ride.

"I got a fever", and the only prescription.....is more cowbell."
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Old 08-10-08, 04:00 PM
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Keep in mind I have only read this, not experienced this: Several sources have indicated that playing dead is a BAD idea with black bears, and that fighting back is the thing to do if a black bear grabs you. A black bear is much more likely than a grizzly to consider a dead human to be a food source, so playing dead is playing food. Of course, a black bear is much less likely to attack a human in the first place.

As someone already indicated, a person on a bike resembles a much larger creature, in an animal's eyes; it sees the bike and rider as one entity.
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Old 08-10-08, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Rex G View Post
Keep in mind I have only read this, not experienced this: Several sources have indicated that playing dead is a BAD idea with black bears, and that fighting back is the thing to do if a black bear grabs you. A black bear is much more likely than a grizzly to consider a dead human to be a food source, so playing dead is playing food. Of course, a black bear is much less likely to attack a human in the first place.

As someone already indicated, a person on a bike resembles a much larger creature, in an animal's eyes; it sees the bike and rider as one entity.
The reason is that the when rare occasion arises that the black bear attacks, it is usually attacking because it sees the victim as a threat. The aggressive behavior will continue until the bear perceives there is no longer a threat. That is why you play dead, because the bear will most likely let you alone. If you fight, the bear will keep attacking until you appear dead (or are dead). Only a small percentage of the time the bear is after you as a food source, when this happens then you fight. Well this is how it was explained to be by rangers in Alaska.

I am not a bear expert and I do not know enough about their behavior to say what percentage of the time its a predatory attack, and you make a good point. As for me, I always plan to play dead first. If I get attacked I will let you know how it turns out
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Old 08-10-08, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by RideCO View Post
The reason is that the when rare occasion arises that the black bear attacks, it is usually attacking because it sees the victim as a threat. The aggressive behavior will continue until the bear perceives there is no longer a threat. That is why you play dead, because the bear will most likely let you alone. If you fight, the bear will keep attacking until you appear dead (or are dead). Only a small percentage of the time the bear is after you as a food source, when this happens then you fight. Well this is how it was explained to be by rangers in Alaska.

I am not a bear expert and I do not know enough about their behavior to say what percentage of the time its a predatory attack, and you make a good point. As for me, I always plan to play dead first. If I get attacked I will let you know how it turns out
They must have changed the rules, they advice fighting the black bear and play dead against brown. 2 maulings in Anchorage, 1 in Eagle River and 1 at a camp in less then 8 weeks all by brown bears. suprised no one has been killed. too bad they are going to hunt the bear and 2 cubs.

https://www.adn.com/bearattacks/story/489177.html

By the end of the attack, Feliz would have a partially collapsed lung, a torn arm, and puncture marks on her head and neck, among other injuries.

She was the second person in six weeks to be mauled by what biologists believe to be the same brown bear with two cubs on the Rover's Run trail, which parallels the salmon-rich Campbell Creek in southeast Anchorage.
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Old 08-10-08, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by desederada View Post
What do you do if you approach a bear on the trail?
Stop approaching.
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Old 08-10-08, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by remsav View Post
They must have changed the rules, they advice fighting the black bear and play dead against brown. 2 maulings in Anchorage, 1 in Eagle River and 1 at a camp in less then 8 weeks all by brown bears. suprised no one has been killed. too bad they are going to hunt the bear and 2 cubs.

https://www.adn.com/bearattacks/story/489177.html
In light of that, I think maybe I should retract my advice. I don't think there were that many maulings in the 7 years I lived up there. 3 of those years were in Anchorage and there wasn't 1 attack. Bicentennial Park was one of my favorite places. That is truly disturbing news.
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Old 08-10-08, 10:03 PM
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Living in Alaska, owning a house that contains a well used bear trail, and extensive hiking on the local trails means we are in contact with black bears with some frequency. My wife and I run into black bears on the local trails every year, many times the bears are sows with cubs. Last year we were trail running, turned a corner, and found ourselves about 10 feet from a sow with two cubs. As usual, we stopped, said hi, clapped our hands, and the bear walked up the hill followed by her cubs. This is our routine when we encounter black bears - say high, clap our hands and if they don't leave, yell a bit - always works for us and for others we know. We do not carry bear spray or any other defensive object when in black bear territory.

When in brown bear territory, when we see a bear make ourselves as large as possible and stare at it's feet as we retreat by slowly walking backwards, and if the bear charges we carry bear spray (which we have never had to use), and if that does not work we have an apparatus that expels, at a high velocity, some copper jacketed lead in the direction of the bear - but we have never had to use any type of deterrent or weapon with any bears we have seen.

As for playing dead - - never happen - either the bear will die or I will - I am not going to be passive in any way when it comes to bears charging or crunching on my skull. Bluff charges - yea - bluff this.

I have never seen a bear while on my bike - I guess the noise scares them...............
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Old 08-11-08, 01:31 AM
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The National Park Rangers are advising hikers in Glacier National Park and other Rocky Mountain parks to be alert for bears and take extra precautions to avoid an encounter.
They advise park visitors to wear little bells on their clothes so they make noise when hiking. The bell noise allows bears to hear them coming from a distance and not be startled by a hiker accidentally sneaking up on them. This might cause a bear to charge.
Visitors should also carry a pepper spray can just in case a bear is encountered. Spraying the pepper into the air will irritate the bears sensitive nose and it will run away.
It is also a good idea to keep an eye out for fresh bear scat so you have an idea if bears are in the area. People should be able to recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear scat.
Black bear droppings are smaller and often contain berries, leaves, and possibly bits of fur. Grizzly bear droppings tend to contain small bells and smell of pepper.
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Old 08-11-08, 09:25 AM
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Want to see a fast u-turn?
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Old 08-11-08, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by waldowales View Post
Want to see a fast u-turn?


What I learned in "black bear class":

Food runs.

and bears run faster.
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Old 08-11-08, 10:55 AM
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Here you go...

https://akspokes.com/forum/showthread.php?t=688
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