Article on Bear Death
Doug Gentry (dwgentry@POLARCONSULT.COM)
Sun, 18 Aug 1996 10:19:17 -0800
[This article appeared in the Sunday SF Examiner - written by a local
reporter. It sheds a different light on the story and I thought it would be
helpful for those on the list who aren't close to California to see it.]
Controversy in cub death by Eric Brazil, Examiner staff
For the nine Boy Scouts from Troop No. 1 of Huntington Beach and five of
their parents, the six day, 50 mile loop backpacking trip they had begun in
the Yosemite National Park back country was to have been a peak wilderness
But on the second night out, last Monday, at their Little Yosemite Valley
campground near Half Dome, their dream ended in a wilderness tragedy, the
death of a 75-pound bear cub.
The troop had been thoroughly briefed about aggressive bears before
departing from Tuolumme Meadows and had rented "every (plastic) bear
canister they had" to store food, he (Ron R. - a parent on the trip) said.
Nevertheless some food didn't fit in the canisters and had been hung in
"bear bags" on poles in the campground.
About 10:30 pm, two bears attacked one of the food bags.
"We could hear them tearing our bag apart, and when we shined a light on
them we saw two sets of eyes out in the dark. It was pitch black, and
there was no moon," R. said. "We started yelling and throwing pine cones
and sticks - the books say to throw sticks and rocks because the more
forceful you can be the first time (bears invade), the less likely they are
"Bob W. (another parent) and I each picked up a rock and threw it out in
the direction of the bears. We couldn't see them, but I heard a thud. It
was pretty gross. And I said 'Oh, no I think I hit one,'" R. said, adding
that neither he nor W. is sure just who threw the rock that struck the
After the other bear wandered off, R. and W. noticed that a small bear was
lying on the ground; they assumed that it had just been knocked
There were four more invasions by other marauding bears that kept the group
intermittenly awake until first light, when "we went over and looked at the
bear, and saw it was dead. It was really sad. It was not a good experience
for the boys to see that dead bear. It really put a damper on everything.
The boys were really distraught."
Philmont does a good job of training crews to bag their "bear bait" and
smellables, but Philmont bears are novices compared to Yosemite bears.
Yosemite bears know every trick about bear bags, and even send smaller
kamikaze bears to jump from trees, grab suspended food bags, and fall to
I feel for the Scouts, the leaders, and the parents, and of course still
don't know the whole story, but I thought it important for this perspective
to get out.
Doug Gentry <email@example.com> Polaris Consulting
"Strategies in Health Care Information"
119 Ricardo Ave <> Piedmont, CA 94611
Voice: 510-654-1837 <> Fax: 510-654-3706
More information on our services and links to other sites on our
WWW page: http://www.polarconsult.com
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City