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#32794 - 08/19/13 05:02 PM Why Are Bear Attacks Happening?
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2208
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
"Bears rarely attack humans unless they feel threatened or territorial. But a 12-year-old girl jogging in Michigan is among the latest victims in a spate of bear attacks that have left seven people mauled in five states since Thursday."

Full article at CNN.
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Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII

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#32806 - 08/19/13 10:23 PM Re: Why Are Bear Attacks Happening? [Re: wagga]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7225
Loc: Fresno, CA
We haven't heard much about the bears at Whitney Portal, this year. I wonder if there is less of a problem, or if people just aren't reporting them.

For anyone reading this: Hikers getting ready to dayhike in the early morning darkness at Whitney Portal are often targets....actually their backpacks are the targets. Remember, do NOT set your pack or any food down and walk away. The bears like to lurk in the shadows, and will run in, grab a pack that someone has set down, and run away with it.

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#32807 - 08/20/13 01:37 AM Re: Why Are Bear Attacks Happening? [Re: wagga]
Chicagocwright Offline


Registered: 09/05/12
Posts: 172
Loc: Alaska
News coverage.

At least in Alaska, it is no worse lately than it has always been. These stories are common here. Lots of bears and lots of people.

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#32808 - 08/20/13 08:24 AM Re: Why Are Bear Attacks Happening? [Re: Steve C]
mrshherrera Offline


Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 82
Loc: Hills of Granada, CA
We have seen (what I think) the same bear two out of the last three visits to the main Whitney Portal campground this summer. Each time, a large black bear came looking for food, each time we shooed him away. I heard from the hosts that campers at site #3 left their bear box open and the bear grabbed something food related and ran...with the campers and hosts standing nearby. In our experience, the bear left each time, however I have seen people who are say they are afraid of the animal yet follow it as it retreated...much too closely IMO.

Picture of Bear
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The Mountains are calling and I must go - John Muir

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#32855 - 08/22/13 06:42 PM Re: Why Are Bear Attacks Happening? [Re: Steve C]
Holly Dolly Offline


Registered: 08/18/13
Posts: 5
Loc: Calif
Originally Posted By: Steve C
We haven't heard much about the bears at Whitney Portal, this year. I wonder if there is less of a problem, or if people just aren't reporting them.

For anyone reading this: Hikers getting ready to dayhike in the early morning darkness at Whitney Portal are often targets....actually their backpacks are the targets. Remember, do NOT set your pack or any food down and walk away. The bears like to lurk in the shadows, and will run in, grab a pack that someone has set down, and run away with it.

This is exactly what happened to me on 8-5-13 at 1:30am. I was parked one spot from the bathroom and just put my keys into my backpack before I went to use the bathroom. Our 2 packs were in the back of my highlander with the hatch open. My friend was at the back and walked to the front seat to grab her phone and in a matter of a few seconds a bear highjacked my backpack! It was found about an hour later with all the food eaten, a ruined water filter and my camel back punctured as well. Next time I know better!

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#32858 - 08/22/13 10:17 PM Re: Why Are Bear Attacks Happening? [Re: Holly Dolly]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7225
Loc: Fresno, CA
Holly Dolly: Thanks for reporting this. It helps make others be more aware. Too bad you didn't know.

Were you able to make your day hike after all that trouble?

P.S. You don't really need to treat the water -- old timers and regulars never do.

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#32872 - 08/23/13 10:01 AM Re: Why Are Bear Attacks Happening? [Re: Steve C]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 984
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Why are there bear attacks?

Does a bear....


Uploaded with ImageShack.us

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#32879 - 08/23/13 01:40 PM Re: Why Are Bear Attacks Happening? [Re: Steve C]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Although the bear activity at the Portal seems lower this year, Doug was telling me that one has become particularly aggressive - as in charging Myles one evening and knocking him down. The same bear attacked Doug's truck one night while he was closing the store, pulling several bags of garbage out of it and making a major mess. Both of these incidents were in July. The full-on charge at Myles is, of course, the worrisome incident. A bluff charge is one thing, but this was apparently the real deal.

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#32886 - 08/23/13 04:02 PM Re: Why Are Bear Attacks Happening? [Re: Bulldog34]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Because the WZ is not Nat'l Park status, does this mean that there is no bear "management" (relocation, etc., when a certain individual gets out of hand)
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The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#32888 - 08/23/13 06:07 PM Re: Why Are Bear Attacks Happening? [Re: Bee]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Bee, it's still National Forest land so I would imagine federal wildlife management is available if needed. I don't know that Doug has pursued/reported it. After the first incident Myles searched for the den and found it. Apparently a (rather large) female and 3 cubs. Unless something else occurs I believe they're working off the assumption that Myles inadvertently got between the sow and her unseen cubs, with predictable results. Since the bear didn't attempt to bite or claw him - "just" bull-rushing him and running him over - I believe she got the benefit of the doubt.

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#32892 - 08/23/13 10:55 PM Re: Why Are Bear Attacks Happening? [Re: Steve C]
Holly Dolly Offline


Registered: 08/18/13
Posts: 5
Loc: Calif
Steve, we wanted to still do the hike. We drove back to the hotel and the hotel was nice enough to let us get some bread to make some PB&J sandwiches. Restocked our chocolate supply at a gas station and then headed back up the mountain. Got about 5 miles up Whitney Portal Rd and my car was doing something weird. I pulled over and that was it....car overheated and died!
It just wasn't meant to be! Heading back again on 9-5-13 for an over night hike starting Friday. Wish us luck!

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#32893 - 08/23/13 10:59 PM Re: Why Are Bear Attacks Happening? [Re: Holly Dolly]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7225
Loc: Fresno, CA
Oh my! Good luck.

That road is a tough one. Make sure your car has its cooling system checked and full, along with all the other regular maintenance things. And when you descend, make SURE to downshift to (probably) second gear, so the engine helps keep your speed down. Otherwise brakes would overheat and fail.

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#32894 - 08/23/13 11:09 PM Re: Why Are Bear Attacks Happening? [Re: Steve C]
Holly Dolly Offline


Registered: 08/18/13
Posts: 5
Loc: Calif
thanks for the tips....got myself a brand new Subaru Outback! AWD and long enough for me to sleep in the back!

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#32940 - 08/26/13 08:55 AM Re: Why Are Bear Attacks Happening? [Re: Holly Dolly]
socalwingnut Offline


Registered: 07/12/11
Posts: 10
Loc: Garden Grove, CA
We had an encounter with this sow and her three cubs on Monday night (August 19). We were staying at the Portal Campground (Site 9 across the road from the cabins). My son and I had arrived earlier in the day to set up camp. Other than getting rained on a few times it was uneventful. The other two folks in our party arrived at around midnight. I got up and helped them get their air mattreses and sleeping bags in their tent so they could get to bed as soon as possible. The trouble started when my friends violated an important rule and that is leaving the bear locker open and walking away. The sow in question (and she is HUGE) appeared seemingly out of nowhere and started foraging though our bear locker. My friend walked up on her and shouted at her. She just turned to face him and took a lunge towards him. It was effective because he backed off. I heard the commotion while I was filling an air mattress and walked towards the bear locker and saw her with a bag of hot dog buns in her mouth. I (unwisely) shouted at her and she took 2-3 steps towards me in an aggressive manner. I panicked and threw the air pump at her (it was my only defense). It hit her square in the chest, but it seemd to distract her. She then picked up a bag and ran across the road. Her 3 cubs came scurrying down the trees after her and that was it. The next morning I noticed a debris field adjacent to cabin 14 and salvaged my friend's bottle of wine, box of tissues, snake bite kit (?) and some ziploc bags. She reported that a box of energy bars and container of protein powder didn't make it.

This sow made several other appearances during the week, but we had no other up close encounters. I did note that she had no fear of us and often turned to face us if we came upon her. Our routine for the rest of the week when we saw her was to stand our ground and let her vacate the area. This worked well enough.

One thing I did notice is that the past two years when we've camped at the Portal, the bears seemed skittish and unwilling to stick around when people came near. This one had no fear and was essentially protecting her turf and her cubs. I don't have any problem with that and it's a reminder that we are invading her territory.

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#32942 - 08/26/13 09:41 AM Re: Why Are Bear Attacks Happening? [Re: socalwingnut]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7225
Loc: Fresno, CA
> I don't have any problem with that and it's a reminder that we are invading her territory.

Well, I think that's debatable. She would not be in that vicinity if there weren't campers, so whose territory is it.

It is ok to throw rocks at a bear that won't run away. People should do that.

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#32975 - 08/28/13 12:27 AM Re: Why Are Bear Attacks Happening? [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7225
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here's a "bear scare" of the human kind. They almost needed a wag bag. ...pretty funny. Only a little graphic language.


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