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Thread: Unclear Motives of a Brown Bear

  1. #1
    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    Default Unclear Motives of a Brown Bear

    I saw this today and found it interesting. Had some nice pictures too.


    http://sports.espn.go.com/outdoors/h...ory?id=4511794

    ALASKAN SEA-DUCTION
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  2. #2
    Member lawdog's Avatar
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    Default That's funny...

    Personally, I'm glad they didn't shoot it. Sounds like things could have ended much differently.

  3. #3

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    Thanks for noticing. That's my ESPN column.

    That was a goofy bear. When he rolled over in front of us in response to being hit in the face with a rock, we didn't know what to think. I agreed with the biologist on the reason for his behavior, but I'd be interested in hearing other theories too.

    I ended up killing a great double shovel bull a couple hours after that bear left in the exact same spot that bear was sitting.

    Don Mulligan
    www.outdoorswithdon

  4. #4
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default wonderful story

    Thanks for making the post to the forum. That is a wonderful experiece that was a true gift.

  5. #5
    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by outdoorswithdon View Post
    Thanks for noticing. That's my ESPN column.

    That was a goofy bear. When he rolled over in front of us in response to being hit in the face with a rock, we didn't know what to think. I agreed with the biologist on the reason for his behavior, but I'd be interested in hearing other theories too.

    I ended up killing a great double shovel bull a couple hours after that bear left in the exact same spot that bear was sitting.

    Don Mulligan
    www.outdoorswithdon
    You are Welcome Don. A hunt isn't a hunt unless you see a bear or two. Glad everything came to a good conclusion. I liked the bear fence photo. Have you ever had a bear try his luck on the fence?

    ALASKAN SEA-DUCTION
    1988 M/Y Camargue YachtFisher
    MMSI# 338131469
    Blog: http://alaskanseaduction.blogspot.com/

  6. #6

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    AK,

    This was the first time I have ever tried a bear fence. We didn't put it up until after that bear visited us in camp.

    Happily, nothing tested it, including us. We were almost curious and stupid enough to try, however. My partner swore to me I could pee on it without getting shocked

    I'd love to see a bear's response to it. They certainly aren't impressed with about a one-pound rock in the face.

    Don

  7. #7
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    Default

    Thanks for posting this AKbassking. It is always encouraging to see hunting stories get exposure in such well-known media outlets like espn. Those are some interesting pictures Don.

  8. #8
    Member SoggyMountain's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by outdoorswithdon View Post
    Thanks for noticing. That's my ESPN column.

    That was a goofy bear. When he rolled over in front of us in response to being hit in the face with a rock, we didn't know what to think. I agreed with the biologist on the reason for his behavior, but I'd be interested in hearing other theories too.

    I ended up killing a great double shovel bull a couple hours after that bear left in the exact same spot that bear was sitting.

    Don Mulligan
    www.outdoorswithdon
    Don,

    Back in the early 80s my boss was throwing bolts at a brown bear.... I didn't like it then, and really don't now. I know you have quite a bit of experience, and, had a firearm handy, but, I'd still suggest that kids "don't try this."

    Aside from the fact that this could be considered harrassment, I think you got lucky times a thousand. Timothy Treadwell was lucky quite a bit too.... and, got some great photos in the process.... and then, the tables turned.

    I won't deride too much here. You had a unique experience, and, everyone, including the bear got away none the worse for wear.

    I think you probably gave the bear a headache, and, it was trying to figure out what a headache is. But, what if your throw had been off? What if you'd have tagged it in the shoulder, foot, or somewhere on the back? Even major league pitchers miss the plate. The bears reaction probably would have been very different..... even if you had missed the "honey spot" by an inch it could have gotten really ugly fast, and made your friend into a quick draw specialist, or, another needless casualty.

    Again, glad it all worked out okay, and, very impressed with the pictures, but, "ya know?"

    KIDS, DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!
    "...just because we didn't agree with you doesn't mean we didn't have good discussion. It just means you missed it." -JMG-

  9. #9
    Member byrd_hntr's Avatar
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    Default Belly rub?

    Looks like he wanted a belly rub. Good story. I think 20 yards a little closer than I would have let him get without a warning shot.

  10. #10
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Default fences

    When I was but a wee lad I conviced a friend to pizz on an electric fence. He was barefoot. I can tell you with utmost certainty that it will shock you.

    I'd rather pizz on a fence than pizz off a Griz.

  11. #11

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    Soggy, you make some very valid points. I am in no way encouraging anyone to let a bear get that close.

    It was a decision on my part, based on the bear and the situation. First, he was alone (not likely a sow and no cubs) Next, I think he was an adolescent bear (mostly just curious) and lastly, he wasn't motivated by any food smells (we were eating some dried trail mix).

    Still, you are right that he could have still charged. I have had a bunch of bears in AK and Canada act similarly (without the rolling around) in pretty close quarters. Every time, I was prepared to shoot, and several times I did. I have never shot a bear in self defense, but many times I have put a round in the dirt beside them. So far, all have backed away.

    I am aware of Treadwell. I was camped alone just outside the border of Katmai the week he was eaten. Even without his story, I have great respect for bears.

    When we hit the bear with the rock, he was not showing aggressive postures-no ears laid back, swaying, popping, huffing or false charges. He was just a bit too close - I think trying to figure us out.

    On a couple occasions when I have taken friends with me into bear country, I have had to stop them from shooting bears that they didn't need to kill. It is a good idea to be overly cautious, but it is also a shame when people shoot bears that meant no harm because the hunter overreacted and didn't understand basic bear behavior.

    This one got closer than I would have liked, but it all happened too fast for me to back him off before it was too late. The good news is that he'll be bigger next year, and maybe one of you residents with a tag can make a rug out of him.

    Don

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    Default Nice going

    Don- glad you and the bear are still alive and well- thanks for the post. We had a grizzly do something very similar on a Brooks Range sheep hunt about 15 years ago. This guy spotted us from about a half-mile away, and came to us on the run. He stopped about 50 yards away, then sat down, then started rolling around. He kept it up for about 10 minutes, then got up and ambled away. Our friend who was with us said that if my wife and I hadn't intervened, he'd have shot the bear. We were nervous, but having learned quite a bit about bear body language in the intervening years, the one we saw had no aggressive intent at all- he was just curious, probably a juvenile, and fortunately for all, we all lived to hunt another day. Congrats on the successful hunt.

  13. #13
    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    Default

    Your picture shows a young bear - big ears, gangly legs. His behavior is consistent with many bears innate curiosity. I have had the same type of encounter with a bear that could be the brother of the one in the picture while sheep hunting in the Brooks - ambled into our camp from a mile or two away but not aggressive. It took several rounds into the tundra before he left for blueberries....and then only after circling to get our wind. After the first couple of shots he just sat down like a dog and looked at us with the expression,"Did you make all that noise?" We never saw him again after he left. Interesting critters, every one different, and never to be dismissed as cute or reliably predictable, still one of the things that makes Alaska "different".

  14. #14

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    Sounds like quite an encounter.
    Nice the bear wasn't shot as a DLP if not necessary.
    Not certain throwing a rock if a bear is only 20 feet (or 20 yards) away is a good idea since it is probably hard to have the rifle ready and and toss the rock at the same time. I think a better alternative is to back off from something tossed on the ground coat or back pack. If they come past the object usually time to send them to those "great caribou calving grounds in the sky".
    At those distances usually any type of hit will turn them - no time for the carefully calculated "killing shot. A 500 pound bear anywhere on the North Slope would be "hummunguss" - but - at 20 feet or 20 yards no such thing as a small bear.
    Best of luck
    Joe (Ak)

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