Bear Attack

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nyker
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Re: Bear Attack

Post by nyker »

This is just a shame. RIP Laney.
Sounds like just unfortunately being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I don't know anything about this specific situation as I wasn't there, so won't speculate.

To help prevent these encounters from happening we should all learn more about living with bears and hiking in bear country.
Bears are more active upstate NY also (probably everywhere) as the weather warms.

In general, bear behavior is driven by a couple main things...finding and protecting food sources and protecting their young.

Whenever cubs are involved, mother bear's (black or grizzly) go into an extreme protective mode (not dissimilar from other animals) but can be more dangerous
just due to their size and tools bears are naturally armed with along with that inherently mammalian fierce motherly instinct.
We need to be aware of this when we are all hiking or out in the backcountry.

We all like to hike with our dogs, though sometimes we need to think about this more in bear country. Bears often view dogs as competitors (and with respect to cubs, potential predators) so throw that in the mix, the bear then turns up its sense of protection. Bears in some cases can be attracted to an area where dogs are for a variety of reasons which then can bring bears into closer contact with humans and dogs can provoke more defensive behavior from bears (another reason why dogs aren't permitted in many backcountry places where bears or mountain lion are active).

Add in the fact that it is Spring time, and bears are emerging from hibernation, hungry and not to sound funny but just like most animals or humans for that matter,
when bears are hungry they can get hormonally 'cranky' and more prone to act out (the opposite is true on those large salmon rivers in late summer where when usually
aggressively competitive grizzlies can be seen quite close to each other without major incident since food is plentiful and bears are sated. Bear-bear conflicts in jockeying for top spot on the river/waterfall is another thing).

Sadly, with more people in the wilderness and more land being developed, bear-human encounters will only increase, the result often a lose-lose situation for both person and bear.

Most of the time, most bears are probably equally scared of humans and usually want nothing to do with people.
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nyker
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Re: Bear Attack

Post by nyker »

Thinking about this thread on bears...it's really a shame to learn of her passing.

When there is a bear attack, nobody wins, not the person for sure, not the bears and not the idea of wilderness ecosystem if we need to keep killing bears.

I was fishing yesterday, starting out from a popular trailhead to hike to the river spot I was targeting (more worried about ticks) and overheard some hikers talking about bears
and that they wanted to get a photo of one for their Instagram feed, as if the bear was a type of bird to go seek out and watch.

This all got me thinking about this thread and the need for education of those less knowledgeable on these matters. Many people have never seen a bear and have no idea
how to properly behave in bear country. I found COVID has exacerbated this tendency of less experienced people recreating out in the woods. People get lost up in the Adirondacks all the time
as and we know in the Rockies as well, when people are lost, hurt, injured, and sadly killed it doesn't help anyone and only brings additional restrictions and regulation to the otherwise "wilderness
areas".

The need to post a wild "wilderness selfie" on Facebook has also led many people who might ordinarily not venture out in the woods, to go into places they are not familiar with, where
they need to learn about being "bear aware" while hiking.

For the new hikers out there who are not familiar with bears:

A few things one can do you to help minimize bear encounters in the wild:

* Make noise while hiking, talk, yell "hey bear" around corners/rivers where you might run into a bear without it hearing you (Ask any Yellowstone/Glacier Ranger about this technique)
(You don't want to surprise a bear, you want it to hear you coming and to give the bear a chance to move away and if a mother, move its cubs to safety/up a tree).
* Don't wear headphones, be aware of your surroundings (always amazes me when I see folks with headphones in the mountains/forest)
* Hike with more people - there is a lower likelihood on average of bear encounters with larger groups (see book reference below)
* Don't wear any scents (lotions, colognes, perfumes) all of which can attract bears
* Keep all food wrappers wrapped up to avoid lingering scents on your person or pack
* Morning/evening/night time bears are typically more active, so minimize time in bear country during these hours (hard to do while mountaineering, I know)
* If you find a carcass/kill site, move away from this quickly and look for and be alert for bear sign (prints, scat, hair, digging, tree scratches etc.)
* In more remote areas, avoid bringing a dog with you, and keep it leashed when hiking in more popular areas where bears might be
* Try and avoid going off-trail where you may run into a day bed or den
* Carry bear spray and have it handy (not inside your pack)

Here are links with some thoughts on being "bear aware", that can be applied wherever you hike/camp:

https://www.fs.usda.gov/visit/know-before-you-go/bears
https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/6995.html
Books: Herrero, S. 2002. "Bear attacks: their causes and avoidance"
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rpdawes
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Re: Bear Attack

Post by rpdawes »

Being profoundly deaf does not stop me from hiking solo through the woods of the Rockies to reach summits as I have done 200 times in the past 7 years. I use my eyes for observation, clang with trekking poles whenever necessary and stay on trails as long as possible. I have slept even in the woods close to the treeline several times. I say prayers.
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