scouts-l Mail Archive for May of 2000: Re: Bear attack
Peter Farnham (pfarnham@ASBMB.FASEB.ORG
Thu May 25 2000 - 10:50:26 CDT
Ted's comments indicate to me that rules that are applicable for dealing
with black bears generally apply to dealing with grizzlies as well,
although of course we don't have this species in Virginia. However, if I'm
ever hiking in grizz' country out west, I think I will follow Ted's
suggestion and bring some artillery...
A couple of additional thoughts on the bear issue.
I go to scientific meetings occasionally in the Fall in the Sierras near
Lake Tahoe, and there is an active grizzly bear den beneath the
above-ground swimming pool at the resort we stay at. Like Ted, I have yet
to see one of these bears, although there are photos posted in the lobby
with appropriate warnings. It is amazing that a creature as big as a
grizzly (which can reach a ton in weight) can live in such close proximity
to humans and be so rarely seen!
Also, I took an 80-mile solo backpacking hike in Shenandoah National Park
in 1990, and met a couple of thru-hikers who had started in Georgia and
were getting off the trail at Harper's Ferry. They told me that the bears
in Tennessee's Smokey Mountains were even then very aggressive; at the
trail shelters, chain link fences are rolled into place at night across the
open front of the shelters to keep bears out. They said that several
times, bears would actually stand outside the chain link fence at night and
try to reach their paws around the edges in an effort to get in! There are
no such chain fences at the shelters in SNP.
This behavior is a clear indication that at least some of these critters
have lost all fear of humans, a very bad situation. In retrospect, it only
surprises me that it took ten more years before a human was attacked by
bears in the Smokeys, which as I recall is where the attack reported
yesterday on our list occurred.
Very sad...I hope everyone will take Ted's admonitions to heart about
feeding or trying to otherwise befriend these critters. You are not
dealing with Yogi and Booboo here!
YiS and WWW,