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Thread: Tell the TRUTH...........Are you basically afraid of BEARS........?

  1. #1

    Default Tell the TRUTH...........Are you basically afraid of BEARS........?

    Can we have a civil discussion about interacting with bears. It seems the less time people have spent around bears the more fear they have of them. And conversely the opposite is valid. I wonder if we could talk about what does it mean if a bear comes up to you one way verses a different way.

    Not a war stories thread, about how you killed a charging bear at 40 yards or at any distance. But a educational discussion about threatening bear behavior verses the behavior of a lonely three year old grizzly that has just been run out of the family bond.

    There are places you can go in the late fall and have 30 to 45 or more close bear encounters per day. You can have bears sleeping in camp, and yes snoring.

    I think it would be helpful to have a non-confrontation dialog about bear behavior at close ranges. I strongly request that you speak from personal experience, not what you have read, or legends you hold to be true.

  2. #2
    Member ret25yo's Avatar
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    yes I'm scared .. no basic about it...

    If you cant stand behind the troops in Iraq.. Feel free to stand in front of them.

  3. #3
    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Not afraid of bears, but have a healthy respect for their strength and unpredictability. I've only had one face-to-face encounter with a brown bear. I went one way, he went the other. I've camped many times in bear territory with no problem.
    " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

  4. #4

    Thumbs up

    The MOST bear problems I have had, have been with Grizzlies, first year on their own. Particularly bad when they continued to run in pairs. They are into everything at that age. Spent one whole night with two of them tearing up everything I had. I had seen them earlier in the day and they came calling after dark. I shined a flashlight on them and they didn't even look up, just kept tearing food and gear up. It all took place on a wooden tent platform at Clarence Lake. Another time, I had two of 'em trying to steal meat from my meat pole. I built a fire at the meat pole and secured the area with trip ropes and hanging cans. While I was doing that, they slipped in behind me and got into my mess tent. Tore it to pieces.

    The raciest/adrenalin pumping encounter was with an older Brown Bear boar, in spring, full charge with me on a snowmachine and it snapping it's jaws between me and the handlebars, while I was hanging on to the throttle with one hand and standing on the running board. It was defending a moose kill, I found out later. It lost.

    The scariest one that gave me a lot of time to ponder about was a wounded black bear, middle aged, six footer. After tracking it and jumping it numerous times, it gave up and came back to me to finish off. It wound up dieing in my lap, as I was laying down on a steep embankment.

    The funniest one was a medium sized black bear sow with a cub. We knew she was guilty of getting in our chuck box, when she came back for more, with the plastic bread wrapper hanging out her backside.

    Then there was a joker. He was trying to bust into my cabin, with me inside. Him bumping and pushing at the door and me holding it shut, real tight like. Medium sized black bear boar. When he realized his effort was futile, he turned and squatted, leaving a big dump on my front porch. Then went around the cabin and played Peek a Boo with me for about a half hour, around the back corner. Finally, a plane fly over, a high flyer making a lot of racket. The bear left like he was shot out of a cannon and never came back.

    I have seen them be docile, onery, mean and downright flatout dangerous, no two the same. I have always responded in kind. With one exception, that being a Kodiak Brown Bear. He was sleeping when I approached. He sensed my presence and got up and moved away real slow like. I shot him. He was a huge bear and a boar.

    I am very much convinced that I cannot predict bear behaviour with accuracy, as they have all too often changed and done the Jekyl and Hyde manuveaur and visa versa went from full charge, to full stop and slowly walk away. I don't think they themselves know what they are going to do next.
    "96% of all Internet Quotes are suspect and the remaining 4% are fiction."
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  5. #5

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    I used too be more comfortable in bear country till my dad told me "you wont hear a bear coming, they make there living sneaking up on things" after that the woods are alot more scary.

  6. #6
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    No bad encounters, none in my camp,"But" into a friends tent that I had leaoned him, up about 100 yards away from mine....., 'cause he was a PIG.
    The idjit didnt even burn his trash that got into the stove, just left it that way when we all left for a few day, trash in a box as well, the tent was total'd. The Bear loved it. Ate all his smoked Salmon he had there. Dragged his leather jacket aways away and left a big ol turd on it ~~LOL!!~~The Bear did come over and try our Cashe, but being 10 feet off the ground, he couldnt get on, just left a bunch of big 'ol prints.


    Had the younger son walking up to a neighbors house for BBQ through the willows that lead to the front door, well he bump'd ,litterally Bump'd into a cub, then got sniffed up by the Sow, but she just jump'd right over 'em when the guy in the house popped her with a .22 in the butt, only to find a 5 year old in his sights. All the willows for 100 yards were chopped down that next day ~~LOL!!~~
    That Sow had been walking around our camp for years and several more after that incidend, but she never crossed the line, always kept her distance and fought off the other Bears.


    I have Respect for Bears for sure, they are like people, all different in personallity, and some are trouble.

    Like the Ocean; you can make a living with it, but know when to stay off and what the signs are.

    We use the 'Piss fence" method of staking our territory around camp and our meat racks, its never failed to keep a Bear outta camp.

    We also keep a loose Dog about as Bears hate 'em and tehy Hate Dogs, a good thing

    I have a rifle ( kept loaded in camp for 'em, an H&K91), they have not .........
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

  7. #7
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akdan747 View Post
    I used too be more comfortable in bear country till my dad told me "you wont hear a bear coming, they make there living sneaking up on things" after that the woods are alot more scary.
    Oh thanks for that! LOL.

    No basically about it here either- I know enough about bears to not be irrationally terrified where I won't camp or wander from the vehicle but I have a healthy dose of skeered that ensures I keep a tidy camp and follow basic precautions. If a bear is a half mile away- I want to make it a mile. I've had a few bear encounters that resolved very peacefully- no false charges, no drama; just two critters giving each other a lot of space. I was pretty happy with that at the end of the day.

    I slept in camp this year twice with meat on the pole and once with salmon in the cooler. All times had plenty of sign but had no sightings thankfully.

    I just don't sleep well in bear country under most conditions and particularly with meat nearby. I'm usually fine hiking or hunting and otherwise messing around but sleeping is a totally different deal.

  8. #8
    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    I'm always traveling the woods where Brown Bears roam. The fact that I have so few encounters tells me they most often seek avoidance. I've chased em out of camp. Been charged by a momma. I've defended a kill in the alpine. I've tried calling em in with a deer call. I've seen em fishing, roaming beaches, and traveling the backcountry. I've even sought out a couple for trophies.

    All of that leaves me of the impression that they are wild animals that like to avoid humans. I don't fear them unless they give me reason to. I travel the woods enjoying nature and understand that dangerous bears exist. I'm not gonna let a few mean bears ruin my time in the woods. Am I afraid of a jaw popin' steelie eyed bruin hell bent on destruction? Yes! Am I afraid of bears? No.

  9. #9
    Member Trapak's Avatar
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    It's a bit exciting and sometimes intimdating when I'm close to a bear. My mantra is staying well-armed and aware of my surroundings. Enjoy seeing and hunting them in the wild. This one came too close to our front door 3 nights ago. Wish I had heard it. I could have nailed it with my spear.
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  10. #10

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    i have had a lot of interaction with bears at my bait and i definitely have a level of healthy fear around them. Kinda like I fear God and that's the beginning of wisdom. I did learn a neat trick this year in the stands . When the grizzlies come in huffing we started huffing like they do and 100% of the time they got really nervous and left that was neat to see and learn. Had 17 different grizzlies hitting so that may have affected them also.

  11. #11

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    But what about their body language.....? What does it mean if they are side ways to you and hopping on their front feet....? What does it mean if they approach you slightly off straight on. What does it communicate when they stand up and look at you. What happens if they have taken control of your clients $14,000.00 hunt trophy, and you gently encourage them to leave (Yes, it is illegal but I've done it 15 or 20 times). My point is if you understand their communication, you know when to enjoy observing them, and when to confront them.

    To be clear I am old and have no children, so I have no investment in what you do with the bears. It just that if you don't take the time to really observe them, not just hunting them, but to just be with them, and watch how they interact with each other, and with you. Then you have cheated yourself out of a awesome experience of being with a majestic animal.

    Granted there are times you need to be on full alert based on how the bear is behaving, but other times they can be 10 or 12 feet away and they know you are there, but they are diving for salmon and eating salmon standing in 4 feet of lake water and they don't care that you are 10 feet away sitting on the shore.

    Last year I had a three year old grizzly in the yard who was just lonely, and crying, it had just been run out. We interacted for 15 minutes, and it was never threatening, even though most of the time it was 8 feet to 12 feet away. Yes I had a firearm, but he was more interested in the Turkeys and the Geese, but not in a dinner kind of way, more curious about them. He moved back and forth outside the chain link poultry enclosure. He and I played peek'a poo around my flatbed F-350, he was never agitated, or afraid. After 15 minutes I ran him off, and he never came back.

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    I'll put it this way, I am more scared of em in a habituated setting near town than I am in the sticks.

    Some days it's hard to see anything more than the south end of a northbound bear out here. And all the brownies that I have bumped into on the rivers seem to have more pressing things to do than mess with me. I've had many of them within 15 yards on salmon rivers in Bristol Bay with me either alone or with 1-2 guys but they usually just walk right through. Slept in many a camp with meat hanging and have yet (knock on wood) to have a midnight visitor.

    Only real butt pucker was a black bear that caught me with my guard down near Lake Clark, that sucker put a stalk on me in open taiga lookin stuff that turned into a charge that finally stopped at ten feet with a mexican stand off. My gun was a halfmile away but apparently my screaming like a little girl was enough for him to decide I wasn't worth it.

    And definitely, if I see two younguns near camp....I'm moving camp. Those pesky little suckers don't get aggressive enough to defend shooting them, but man can they mess some stuff up. This summer I watched a pair of em get into a parked boat near Dillingham one afternoon, but the time I got close enough to shoo em off, they had ripped this guys canopy to shreds, and taken some oil jugs for toys.

  13. #13
    Member akfishfool's Avatar
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    bears in general no! but some situations a particular bear has raised my pucker factor. I've run into quite a few fishing and hunting and I have to say it depends on the situation. If I have an escape route and they are not acting aggressive then generally no fear just respect. If I am trapped which happened on one occasion than yes I was afraid though not to the point of irrational, I just tried to make sure I wasn't a threat, and left them to their fishing ( do still wish I hadn't chosen to be unarmed that day though) Most times it's somewhere in between fear and respect with a dash of humor thrown in. Heck some of my best conversations were with bears. I enjoy watching them, I enjoy eating the black ones sometimes, and I may someday enjoy making a rug out of one for my kids to curl up on in front of the wood stove. But most days I just enjoy seeing them. I treat them with respect, caution, and keep my camp sites clean, after all no sense in tempting fate. As was said before, I think they are a lot like people when it comes to temperament some are one way some are another. I do my best to avoid situations where I find out too late what kind of mood they are in today and I'm at a disadvantage!
    60% of men don't know what they have until they lose it
    15% aren't sure but figure it's better than nothing
    25% know exactly what they have and would do anything to lose it or give it to someone else

  14. #14

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    Hope,
    I would like to hear of all the ones you or your neighbors had to DLP and bury. What did their body language tell you? Blacks, Browns, little ones, big ones???
    "96% of all Internet Quotes are suspect and the remaining 4% are fiction."
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  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by akfishfool View Post
    I think they are a lot like people when it comes to temperament some are one way some are another. I do my best to avoid situations where I find out too late what kind of mood they are in today and I'm at a disadvantage!
    I find they behave much like dogs, they come up to me like a big Saint Bernard. Also I find bears are very afraid, and the least amount of aggression on my part sends them away.

    One time down on Wide Bay, the day before the Brown Bear season opened, we had two bomb shelters facing each other, one for cooking, and one for sleeping. The client and I had slept in, as we could not hunt. Finally I got up to go put the coffee on, and just as I crawled out of the bomb shelter, into camp walks a 8 foot brown bear. The two tents are about 8 feet apart, the bear walks straight up to me as I am half way to the cook tent on hands and knees. I get down real low, and the bear is standing over me, sniffing my butt, as calmly as I can I tell the client to slide out a rifle. He Say's, "your or mine". I say it does not matter there is a bear standing over me. When the client Brussels in the tent for a firearm, the bear stops sniffing my butt, and walks away. I make coffee, with my .458 Win. Mag. in the cook tent.

  16. #16
    Member akfishfool's Avatar
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    I do remember one time I laughed my *** off ( well after I changed my drawers anyway) I was fishing with a couple friends from outside and we were up against the side of a really steep bluff. My friend wanted me to take a picture of his girlfriends first salmon. I was just about to take the picture when my friends faces turned ghost white. He whispered bear, I was confused as I didn't see a bear up or down stream. So I turned around and literally bumped into a blackie that was sliding down the hill to steal a dead salmon from the bank. As we b umped into each other I fell backwards and he turned 180 and went back up that hill so fast I don't think his feet ever touched the ground. Funny thing was after I looked at the camera later that day to see some pictures I noticed one that was more of just a black blur than a photo. I had accidentally taken a picture of the beat as I fell on my but.Attachment 41738
    60% of men don't know what they have until they lose it
    15% aren't sure but figure it's better than nothing
    25% know exactly what they have and would do anything to lose it or give it to someone else

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    Funny, I normally respond "YES" to this question but I thought more about my encounters and I'm actually much more afraid when I don't see bears than when I do. I should note that i'm so afraid of bears I go no where un-armed, however I go out in the woods all the time I just make sure i'm armed! Sometimes with 2 guns!

    So many of the bad encounter stories occur with a bear that was never seen until it was too late, thats the ones that scare me. I've seen plenty of bears in the wild and they have all been great encounters to this point. Several from hundreds of yards, I love to watch them run around and play. Some close up, the biggest brown bear i've ever seen was at about 20 feet. I was cool with it because he was fishing and playing and there was about 6 tourists between me and the bear (did I mention I was armed?).

    I too believe in general that the bears want to avoid human interaction as much as we want to avoid them. However, I also keep in mind that tendencies are just that and are never 100%. Seasonal tendancies are important to keep in mind as well, spring bears are hungry, end of story. Summer bears are fat and lazy, as long as the fish show up, if they don't, I stay away from the river!

  18. #18

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    Charlie thought that too, that's why he fed them dog food.

  19. #19
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    When I lived in Haines we fished the Chilkoot river for Coho right with the bears.I they wanted your fish just give it to them and catch another. We often had a dozen or more bears from ten to a hundred yards.They are now talking about makeing that place something like Mcneal falls as the road at night has up to a couple hundred cars parked blocking traffic to look at bears.At the Chilkoot at that time of year no problem with bears and people but then the bears hit town and its a different story and a different thinking bear.By berry time all the bear is thinking about is a extra pound to go to sleep with and well they are bears again in a big way.My adverage distance for bears shot is around fourty yards with 75 yards the longest and a few the closest.No fear but a lot of respect. Getting close and useing a single shot is as fair as I'm willing to make it.Sneeking in to twenty yards and watching is a rush and if the bear is not going to be shot standing up and yelling gives the bear a real learning experance.Heck my outhouse had only one wall and at time you could watch bears from the crapper,better than reading.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa18tony View Post
    Charlie thought that too, that's why he fed them dog food.

    How is "Pig'pen" doing

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