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Re: Yosemite Bear Update

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avatar Yosemite Bear Update
March 30, 2012 12:50PM
Yosemite’s bears are awake and hungry! With low precipitation over the winter, natural foods such as grasses may be harder for bears to find. As spring quickly approaches, it is time to check our vigilance against attracting bears into our neighborhoods, and even into your homes! We all have the responsibility of doing everything within our capabilities to minimize the contact our bears have with human food and trash. Failure to do so could not only result in fines but could also result in a bear becoming aggressive, which could lead to the death of a bear.

Please use these reminders to help keep both you and bears safe this year:
  • Make sure freezers are only stored inside your home, or in garages that are hard-sided and made of sturdy walls and doors. Freezers in garages must have a minimum of two widely-spaced locks on the freezer doors, and all windows to garages containing freezers must remain shut and locked at all times.
  • Store pet food and recycling in a secure part of your house. Feeding pets outside can attract bears and other wildlife including raccoons, and skunks to your home. We recommend feeding your pets indoors.
  • Although it may still be too cool to leave your windows open, warm weather is just around the corner. Remember that bears can act like burglars. Take the same precautions you would if you lived in an urban area. Keep all downstairs windows and doors closed when you are not home. You can leave windows open in occupied rooms for ventilation, but please close them when you go to sleep, or leave the house.
  • Look around your house and clean up or put away things that would be of interest to bears, such as a greasy barbecues, ice chests, bird feeders, and recycling.
  • Your vehicles should be free of all food, trash, and other scented items.
To report any bear activity or possible attractants, call the Save-a-Bear Hotline at 372-0322. The welfare of Yosemite’s bears is in all of our hands.
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
March 30, 2012 05:17PM
My experience with Black Bears in the last 20 yrs. is that recently they are A LOT LESS AFRAID of humans than they used to be. The bottom line is food. Follow the above posted instructions (Eeek's post) and expecially keep food out of your cars when you are camping. And if you are going into a bear area forget the firearm, get pepper spray (although the firearm might be a good backup).



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/31/2012 08:02AM by mtn man.
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
March 31, 2012 08:06AM
Quote
mtn man
My experience with Black Bears in the last 20 yrs. is that recently they are A LOT LESS AFRAID of humans than they used to be. The bottom line is food. Follow the above posted instructions (Eeek's post) and expecially keep food out of your cars when you are camping. And if you are going into a bear area forget the firearm, get pepper spray (although the firearm might be a good backup).


Interesting article about gun vs. Pepper Spray:

http://mikeb302000.blogspot.com/2012/03/bear-attack-gun-or-pepper-spray.html
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
March 30, 2012 08:42PM
Over the years I have encountered at least 40-45 bears in the Yosemite backcountry. I have never met an aggressive bear. Without any exception, they were all very timid and ran away (FAST). Even when I have seen mommy bear with cubs they have been docile and got away as fast as they could or ignored me. I am appalled anyone would even mention firearms as a deterrent to bears. That could give some Yahoo the idea that bears are vicious and maybe killing them might be a good idea.

The bears I have seen in the Curry Village parking lot are far less afraid of people and will casually saunter by. My experience is hiking in the backcountry and these are the bears to which I refer.
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
March 30, 2012 09:08PM
Last year I encountered a fairly persistent bear at Glen Aulin...unfortunately the bear had been fed the night before, and earlier that morning, by a party that was carrying extra groceries assuming they could store them in the bear boxes - which weren't safely reachable due to high water on Conness Creek.

Glen Aulin Trip

My other encounters with backcountry Yosemite bears have been as you describe from the backcountry. However, in Kings Canyon NP (Paradise Valley) I did encounter a bear that huffed at me and came towards me, I yelled at her and she gave up, she was behind a large rock and I think I accidentally surprised her.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/30/2012 09:11PM by ttilley.
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
March 31, 2012 07:35AM
Ulyssses61 >>>"Over the years I have encountered at least 40-45 bears in the Yosemite backcountry. I have never met an aggressive bear. Without any exception, they were all very timid and ran away (FAST). Even when I have seen mommy bear with cubs they have been docile and got away as fast as they could or ignored me. ..."

What you say about black bear tending to be timid and running away is true for those bears that have been exposed to humans but NOT true for those black bears that live in areas where they do not see humans and especially young big male bears that have not yet had a chance for human encounters. Also a solo backpacker or hiker is far more likely to experience such than groups because animals very much understand numbers. Also very much true of mountain lion attacks. And there are such places in Yosemite if one does a lot of off trail travel. I have experienced such very aggressive bears one place was Frog Creek where a bear with a transmitter around its neck would probably had grabbed the pack off my back had I not been so aggresssive (and have a loud voice) throwning rocks. That is one reason most black bear attacks occur in Canada where there are much more unpopulated areas. Wisdom is to understand they are large powerful wild animals.



http://www.davidsenesac.com



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 03/31/2012 07:38AM by DavidSenesac.
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
March 31, 2012 11:52PM
Wisdom is to understand they are large powerful wild animals.


Years ago, when I was asked by park visitors if the bears would hurt you, I usually replied that they are big and powerful enough to do anything they want. That isn't what they wanted to hear, but it was the truth. I have personally experienced a false charge from growling sow black bear with cubs on two occasions in Yosemite, and I will never forget the fear that I felt. I later moved to Yellowstone and expanded my bear experience, treating/investigating 3-4 black bear scratchings - not maulings - to people feeding a roadside mooch. I've only been close to grizzlies in culvert traps, and their ferocity will quickly make a believer out of you. Over the years, I've read of at least 3-4 incidents where a backpacker or camper was pulled from their tent, killed and eaten by grizzlies. So...I have preferred cabins, hard-sided RVs and bear spray or a firearm ever since. Trying to predict the behavior of a large, powerful and wild omnivore just might provide you with a nasty surprise.

PS I sure wish the NPS would change their mind on bear spray in Joe Schmidt National Park! On that thought, there are different levels of OC strength. I can tolerate the presence of both public-accessible OC and bear spray, but law enforcement-grade pepper spray will send me into bronchial spasms. For that reason, I never carried it and had to avoid it on duty.
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 01, 2012 09:09AM
In regards to Black Bears (Ursus americanus) not North American Grizzlies (Ursus arctos horribilis)...

Quote
DavidSenesac
Ulyssses61 >>>"Over the years I have encountered at least 40-45 bears in the Yosemite backcountry. I have never met an aggressive bear. Without any exception, they were all very timid and ran away (FAST). Even when I have seen mommy bear with cubs they have been docile and got away as fast as they could or ignored me. ..."

What you say about black bear tending to be timid and running away is true for those bears that have been exposed to humans but NOT true for those black bears that live in areas where they do not see humans and especially young big male bears that have not yet had a chance for human encounters. Also a solo backpacker or hiker is far more likely to experience such than groups because animals very much understand numbers. Also very much true of mountain lion attacks. And there are such places in Yosemite if one does a lot of off trail travel. I have experienced such very aggressive bears one place was Frog Creek where a bear with a transmitter around its neck would probably had grabbed the pack off my back had I not been so aggresssive (and have a loud voice) throwning rocks. That is one reason most black bear attacks occur in Canada where there are much more unpopulated areas. Wisdom is to understand they are large powerful wild animals.

Have to admit I doubted your statement simply because it did not connect with my experiences and what I was taught...so I did some research. Lo and behold I came across a study published in 2011 in a professional journal (The Journal of Wildlife Management or JOWM) at the link posted at the end of this message that made statements similar to yours based on a study of hsitorical events. While the actual reserch supports some of what you say, respectfully, it offers absolutely no support to other statements you make so I am wondering if there are other studies out there I am missing. I do not mean to be argumentative but the whole bear thing kept me out of the back country for a long time... I worked hard to overcome that fear and do not want to allow myself or others to held back by concerns based on misinformation. The fact that I found the study sensationalized in popular media concerned me and made me wonder if you read news articles or the actual research. So I have some questions.

You are right to speak of the need to repsect and understand bears - they are larger, faster and more powerful than all of us. They are intelligent and have powerful memories. You are also right that bears tend to attack small parties of two or less rather than larger groups. Not sure though if the bears can count or if the noise that larger groups create is the deterrent.

You are right, more black bear attacks happen in Canada than in the lower 48, however you step beyond the conclusions of the research when you draw a causal relationship between the number of black bear incidents and the expanse of unpopulataled land in Canada. The research does not support this and in fact points out that there are large areas in Canada, highly populated with bears that have had no bear incidents. Such a statement lends itself to the notion that perhaps some of the aggression has to do with environmental conditions (quality/quantity of food in the habitat) rather than lack of human encouter. I thnk the reseachers actually pose this as a possible cause in their conclusion. Is there another study some places that suggests what you say?

You refute Ulysses61's obervations that bears in the backcountry are timid and imply that lack of human contact results in bears that are bolder and more aggressive. There is nothing in the JOWM study to support your claim that bears involved in these fatal attacks lacked exposure to humans. Even if these fatal incidents occurred in the back country, the tendency of backpackers to frequent established campsites (in an effort to minimize impact) would create the opportunity for numerous bear - human encounters on any given trail that is even remotely popular. Is there some other research that substantiates your claim that unhabituated bears have a more aggressive attitude towards humans?

I think it is important to note that the article I read discussed fatal encounters only. The study involved analysis of whatever information was available for the 63 fatal attacks that occured in a 110 year period (1900 - 2009). ( I could not find any research that looked at nonfatal attacks in the same manner.) Based on in the facts, a conclusion about the "cause or the nature" of the attack was made. In 88% of the incidents fatal attacks, the reserchers determined that the bear acted as a predator (eats all or part of the person). 88% might seems like cause for alarm and might be initially disconcerting but when you consider that we are talking about 63 events occurring over 110 years, it becomes a little less frightening. If we were to compare the number of fatal black bear - human encouter incidents to the total number of reported black bear - human encounters (fatal or not) over the same period, we would see a more realistic refelction of the likelihood of encountering a black bear who will behave in a manner that is predatory. Reproduction on a molecular level allows for chance events and mutations, thus there is always the possibility that there is a mutation that produces overly aggressive bears that will see humans as a prey, but given the infrequency of such events and the fact that many maulings that do not result in death do involve food (in fact in 38% of the fatal predatory incidents, it was concluded that the bears were drawn to the area initially by food and/or garbage) the mutation is likely rare. The fact that we tend to hunt down and shoot bears who behave in an aggressive manner means that many will take the gene (if there is one) to the grave with them without passing it on across several generations. Most wildlife reaserch shows that animals would prefer to avoid human contact and tend not see humans as prey unless we behave in a prey like manner and run away. They tend to attack when they are protecting something like food, territory or offspring or have been habituated to associate people with food. Very few, if any of the incidents described in the links provided on various post in this thread involved maulings by black bears that were acts of simple unprovoked aggression.

You are right that bears need to be respected, but I think its best to explain to people how to minimize the likelihood for a bear encounter rather than portraying bears as predatory beasts hungry for human flesh....
it would be better to encourage people in the back country to...

- cook, eat, clean and store your food/toiletries far away from where you sleep.
- carry a bear canister even if not required, rather than just counter balancing your food. Black bears are excellent climbers. Make certain your bear cannister isn't near water or someplace where it can be pushed down hill.
- do not sleep in the clothing you cook and eat in. We put those clothes along with our fly fishing tackle in our pack, cover our packs with a rain poncho and lash them to a tree, again far from where we sleep.
- when hiking, carry snacks in your pack and not on your person. If the bear wants your pack, he can have it. IF there are snacks in it rather than your pocket, the bear will likely leave you alone and get down to the
business of finding those treats.
- research the trail you are taking..... for example there are known "bear areas" along the JMT.... Quail Meadows, upper lyell canyon to name a few..... camp some place else. Bears are creatures of habit.
-clean up after yourself... we have come across numerous back country campsites strewn with wrappers and food remains. Last year up at 1000 island lake we found unopened mylar pouches of food dumped by someone who decided they did not want the weight. We were fortunate enough to come across a hungry PCT hiker who wanted the food so we did not have to hump it out.

If I have left something out, let me know.... I really want no business with bears. My experiences have all been like Ulysses... bears we have encountered have really wanted little to do with us. Loud noise was enough to scare them off..if our simple arrival around a bend was not enough.

Pepper spray and firearms are just more weight I cannot afford to carry. I'd rather use good camp hygiene and keep my wits about me.

Happy Trails
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 02, 2012 07:07AM
Wow. 2000+ views. Tire Chains and Bears rule the days I guess...

tongue sticking out smiley

Some humor or whatnot to start with:

http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,44726

http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,27686

http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,39484,39721#msg-39721

riverkat,
With all due respect IMHO you take it too far with dealing with bears. OK, maybe
in the hot spots... but even then this isn't Grizz country. You do not need to worry
about eating in these clothes, sleeping in these, eating way over there, etc.
That is true in Grizz Country. Not in Yose. I do my own research. 100s of nights
in the wilderness... solo and otherwise. It's doesn't matter.
That bump in the night is typically yourself. Around Laurel many moons ago they
dumped the problem bears from the valley there (they gave up this practice)
and the bears would come by during the night and knock over your bear can
to see if you forgot. Old Dude has been bluff charged there too.
(talked about here : http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,30771,30806#msg-30806 )
Anyway, nowadays I simply put my bear can within reach so I can eat dinner
and breakfast in bed. A few times when getting a permit I've said to the ranger
"do you want me to tell you what is on the paper or what I really do?" and
then we get into a conversation that ends with me with a permit in my hand
and me set in my ways and them agreeing with me.
I roll my eyes when I read in responses to people questions about routes even
the mention of bears due to the fact that bears just aren't an issue since
you have to store your food properly which should always include a bear canister.

Prob. gone on too long..
Final point
Respect all wildlife.
Especially Chick-on is looking at you! (def. known to attack with little or no provocation)



Picasa Pictures
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 02, 2012 08:48AM
Quote
chick-on
Wow. 2000+ views. Tire Chains and Bears rule the days I guess...

tongue sticking out smiley

Some humor or whatnot to start with:

http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,44726

http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,27686

http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,39484,39721#msg-39721

riverkat,
With all due respect IMHO you take it too far with dealing with bears. OK, maybe
in the hot spots... but even then this isn't Grizz country. You do not need to worry
about eating in these clothes, sleeping in these, eating way over there, etc.
That is true in Grizz Country. Not in Yose. I do my own research. 100s of nights
in the wilderness... solo and otherwise. It's doesn't matter.
That bump in the night is typically yourself. Around Laurel many moons ago they
dumped the problem bears from the valley there (they gave up this practice)
and the bears would come by during the night and knock over your bear can
to see if you forgot. Old Dude has been bluff charged there too.
(talked about here : http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,30771,30806#msg-30806 )
Anyway, nowadays I simply put my bear can within reach so I can eat dinner
and breakfast in bed. A few times when getting a permit I've said to the ranger
"do you want me to tell you what is on the paper or what I really do?" and
then we get into a conversation that ends with me with a permit in my hand
and me set in my ways and them agreeing with me.
I roll my eyes when I read in responses to people questions about routes even
the mention of bears due to the fact that bears just aren't an issue since
you have to store your food properly which should always include a bear canister.

Prob. gone on too long..
Final point
Respect all wildlife.
Especially Chick-on is looking at you! (def. known to attack with little or no provocation)

I don't think this guy actually respected wildlife:

http://www.citizenreviewonline.org/oct_2003/california.htm



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/02/2012 08:49AM by mtn man.
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 02, 2012 02:25PM
I don't think Grizzly Man gave them enough respect either.
If Yosemite was Grizzly country I wouldn't be talking so smart... believe me.

Animals all have different personalities... so there is some danger you get
a rogue black bear... but fwik there have been zero black bear deaths in
Yosemite in recorded history.



Picasa Pictures
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 02, 2012 09:57PM
Quote
chick-on
Anyway, nowadays I simply put my bear can within reach so I can eat dinner
and breakfast in bed. A few times when getting a permit I've said to the ranger
"do you want me to tell you what is on the paper or what I really do?" and
then we get into a conversation that ends with me with a permit in my hand
and me set in my ways and them agreeing with me.

I certainly understand the rules, but I remember running into reality as soon as I got to the Little Yosemite Valley campground. Exactly where does one place a bear canister where it meets the supposedly guidelines for being far enough away from tents? As with everyone else I saw there, I place my canister within a few feet of my tent.
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 02, 2012 10:17PM
Quote
y_p_w
Quote
chick-on
Anyway, nowadays I simply put my bear can within reach so I can eat dinner
and breakfast in bed. A few times when getting a permit I've said to the ranger
"do you want me to tell you what is on the paper or what I really do?" and
then we get into a conversation that ends with me with a permit in my hand
and me set in my ways and them agreeing with me.

I certainly understand the rules, but I remember running into reality as soon as I got to the Little Yosemite Valley campground. Exactly where does one place a bear canister where it meets the supposedly guidelines for being far enough away from tents? As with everyone else I saw there, I place my canister within a few feet of my tent.

You place it in one of the zillion bear boxes they have there.
(you don't need a bear canister there unless you are going to camp elsewhere during your trip)



Picasa Pictures
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 02, 2012 10:39PM
Quote
chick-on
You place it in one of the zillion bear boxes they have there.
(you don't need a bear canister there unless you are going to camp elsewhere during your trip)

The time I was there, LYV was actually the last night of my trip, so it wasn't as if I was going to need any more room than in my canister.

Also, when I got there, there really weren't that many bear boxes. I remember two close to where I set up my tent, but I wasn't about to use the bear boxes. A group near them stored food in there, but kept them open so they would be convenient to get to during the daytime. I'm guessing that if I stashed any food in there, the guys who kept it open would have simply opened them again. I remember being in Tahoe where my neighbors at the next campsite insisted on used their bear box during the day as an open pantry rather than keeping it closed.
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 03, 2012 08:57AM
Quote
chick-on
Quote
y_p_w
Quote
chick-on
Anyway, nowadays I simply put my bear can within reach so I can eat dinner
and breakfast in bed. A few times when getting a permit I've said to the ranger
"do you want me to tell you what is on the paper or what I really do?" and
then we get into a conversation that ends with me with a permit in my hand
and me set in my ways and them agreeing with me.

I certainly understand the rules, but I remember running into reality as soon as I got to the Little Yosemite Valley campground. Exactly where does one place a bear canister where it meets the supposedly guidelines for being far enough away from tents? As with everyone else I saw there, I place my canister within a few feet of my tent.

You place it in one of the zillion bear boxes they have there.
(you don't need a bear canister there unless you are going to camp elsewhere during your trip)

And for anyone who goes there in the winter, don't assume you'll be able to find, or open, the bear boxes under the snow/ice, take a bear canister. The one time I've camped in LYV was in March (a few years ago), and I saw garbage from a bear having gotten someone's food (removed about 2/3 of it, didn't have room for the rest).



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/03/2012 08:59AM by ttilley.
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
March 30, 2012 11:25PM
Bought my first can of Bear Spray today! Hopefully, I'll never have to use it. Nothing like watching a bear charge at you, holding your ground, and waiting for it to get within 20 feet or so before spraying. Fortunately, MOST of the time, the bears mock charge and swerve off.

I haven't made a final decision on the firearm, but am leaning against it. I like to hike long and fast and I just don't want the extra weight.

At the Sportmen's Show I spoke with several rangers over the last couple nights for quite a while. Among things I learned that not only is bear spray allowed in the National Parks but so are guns and so are dogs. And hiking/backpacking permits are not required anywhere.

But as far as Yosemite goes, please no bear spray and certainly no guns.
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
March 31, 2012 01:20AM
Quote
chicagocwright
Bought my first can of Bear Spray today!

Why?
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
March 31, 2012 03:54PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
chicagocwright
Bought my first can of Bear Spray today!

Why?

Why not?
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
March 31, 2012 04:32PM
Quote
mtn man
Quote
eeek
Quote
chicagocwright
Bought my first can of Bear Spray today!

Why?

Why not?

It's not needed in Yosemite and isn't legal there either.
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
March 31, 2012 05:02PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
mtn man
Quote
eeek
Quote
chicagocwright
Bought my first can of Bear Spray today!

Why?

Why not?

It's not needed in Yosemite and isn't legal there either.

Don't know if it's not needed, but you're right, it's illegal:

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/weapons.htm
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
March 31, 2012 09:37PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
chicagocwright
Bought my first can of Bear Spray today!

Why?

I moved to Alaska a few weeks ago and will likely be doing so solo hikes and will be extremely likely to see bears. And hopefully will never need to use the bear spray.

I read the study regarding bear spray vs. handgun. Alaskans I've talked to since being here have every range of opinions. One suggested a short barrel shotgun with a hiking sling and another suggested the pepper spray would provide a nice seasoning for the bear as he eats you. On a side note, the bear spray actually attracts bears after being sprayed. They like to lick it. And yes, that have been cases where people sprayed their tents with the spray. Yikes!

But again, as far as Yosemite goes, please no bear spray and certainly no guns.
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
March 31, 2012 09:42PM
Quote
chicagocwright
I moved to Alaska a few weeks ago and will likely be doing so solo hikes and will be extremely likely to see bears. And hopefully will never need to use the bear spray.

Okay, Alaska. Yes, get some bear spray and keep it handy.
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
March 31, 2012 10:14PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
chicagocwright
I moved to Alaska a few weeks ago and will likely be doing so solo hikes and will be extremely likely to see bears. And hopefully will never need to use the bear spray.

Okay, Alaska. Yes, get some bear spray and keep it handy.

Ah yes. A handgun or bear spray does no good in a backpack!

From the bear spray advocates; I still haven't got a good answer on how to handle the bear coming at you from upwind issue. But again, the key issue is avoiding the use in the first place. Be aware, make noise (bells aren't the best method).

Even though I am leaning against the gun on long day hikes, for anything overnight I'll probably carry a gun.
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 08, 2012 08:41AM
Quote
chicagocwright
From the bear spray advocates; I still haven't got a good answer on how to handle the bear coming at you from upwind issue.

It's highly unlikely that a predator would approach you from upwind side.
So bear spray is absolutely perfect because most likely attacking bear would be downwind.

P.S. I am not a bear spray advocate.
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 08, 2012 12:08PM
Quote
Yury
Quote
chicagocwright
From the bear spray advocates; I still haven't got a good answer on how to handle the bear coming at you from upwind issue.

It's highly unlikely that a predator would approach you from upwind side.
So bear spray is absolutely perfect because most likely attacking bear would be downwind.

P.S. I am not a bear spray advocate.

This is not entirely accurate. And it is cited as the biggest problem with bear spray; even by the bear spray advocates. There is not a really good answer as far as I can tell. The best thing is too attempt to position yourself as well as possible while the bear is charging.

Over a year ago I called the NRA and asked them for their position on this issue. I spoke to one of their publication spokespeople and surprisingly, or not, the NRA sides with bear spray! I've pretty much made up my mind to definitely only use bear spray on long day hikes. I am still open to the idea of carrying a gun on any overnight trip.
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 08, 2012 03:31PM
Quote
chicagocwright

Over a year ago I called the NRA and asked them for their position on this issue. I spoke to one of their publication spokespeople and surprisingly, or not, the NRA sides with bear spray! I've pretty much made up my mind to definitely only use bear spray on long day hikes. I am still open to the idea of carrying a gun on any overnight trip.

In Alaska bear country (which includes most of Alaska, AFAIK) it is really best not to hike solo. It's not like the Sierra Nevada. In Alaska, solo hikers and solo backpackers = prey for the brown bears and polar bears. Yes, you might be able to fend off an attack with bear spray or a firearm, but why risk it?
.
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 08, 2012 04:50PM
Quote
plawrence
Quote
chicagocwright

Over a year ago I called the NRA and asked them for their position on this issue. I spoke to one of their publication spokespeople and surprisingly, or not, the NRA sides with bear spray! I've pretty much made up my mind to definitely only use bear spray on long day hikes. I am still open to the idea of carrying a gun on any overnight trip.

In Alaska bear country (which includes most of Alaska, AFAIK) it is really best not to hike solo. It's not like the Sierra Nevada. In Alaska, solo hikers and solo backpackers = prey for the brown bears and polar bears. Yes, you might be able to fend off an attack with bear spray or a firearm, but why risk it?
.

I haven't heard of "hiking" in Polar Bear country. But they are known to literally stalk their prey.

As far as hiking solo in other areas: I wouldn't go as far as you are with your caution against hiking solo--but you are certainly correct that it is not the Sierra Nevada.
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 02, 2012 07:19PM
Quote
chicagocwright


At the Sportmen's Show I spoke with several rangers over the last couple nights for quite a while. Among things I learned that not only is bear spray allowed in the National Parks but so are guns and so are dogs. And hiking/backpacking permits are not required anywhere.

But as far as Yosemite goes, please no bear spray and certainly no guns.

Dogs are NOT allowed in Yosemite, Sequoia or Kings outside the campgrounds and paved roads. You do NOT take them on trails. (I've seen rangers walking people back to the car, where they were fined and ousted from the park.)

Bear spray is illegal and ridiculous in Yosemite.

You can carry the gun, but it's illegal to shoot it.

Now, if you mean the National FORESTS, that's a different matter.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/02/2012 07:25PM by AlmostThere.
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 02, 2012 09:34PM
Quote
AlmostThere
Quote
chicagocwright


At the Sportmen's Show I spoke with several rangers over the last couple nights for quite a while. Among things I learned that not only is bear spray allowed in the National Parks but so are guns and so are dogs. And hiking/backpacking permits are not required anywhere.

But as far as Yosemite goes, please no bear spray and certainly no guns.

Dogs are NOT allowed in Yosemite, Sequoia or Kings outside the campgrounds and paved roads. You do NOT take them on trails. (I've seen rangers walking people back to the car, where they were fined and ousted from the park.)

Bear spray is illegal and ridiculous in Yosemite.

You can carry the gun, but it's illegal to shoot it.

Now, if you mean the National FORESTS, that's a different matter.

Sorry guys I was totally unclear in my message. My post was solely applicable to Alaskan National Parks. Dogs, guns, and bear spray are all allowed in the parks here.

But please, not Yosemite.
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
March 31, 2012 01:24PM
unless you're encountering grizzlies in Alaska, Canada, or Yellowstone, you should not carry any firearms to protect yourself. If you tend to live life on the safe side, then buy yourself some bear spray, but that should be the extent of it.
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
March 31, 2012 03:36PM
Quote
sactown23
unless you're encountering grizzlies in Alaska, Canada, or Yellowstone, you should not carry any firearms to protect yourself. If you tend to live life on the safe side, then buy yourself some bear spray, but that should be the extent of it.

Even in California where there are no Grizzlies I'm thinking to carry bear spray in bear country isn't totallly a bad idea...

http://www.dfg.ca.gov/news/issues/bear/bear_incidents.html

And more recently in Ca.:

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=5504699&page=1
http://www.news10.net/news/story.aspx?storyid=84897&catid=2
and:http://www.kcra.com/news/28421663/detail.html



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 03/31/2012 03:51PM by mtn man.
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
March 31, 2012 04:29PM
Quote
mtn man
Quote
sactown23
unless you're encountering grizzlies in Alaska, Canada, or Yellowstone, you should not carry any firearms to protect yourself. If you tend to live life on the safe side, then buy yourself some bear spray, but that should be the extent of it.

Even in California where there are no Grizzlies I'm thinking to carry bear spray in bear country isn't totallly a bad idea...

http://www.dfg.ca.gov/news/issues/bear/bear_incidents.html

And more recently in Ca.:

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=5504699&page=1
http://www.news10.net/news/story.aspx?storyid=84897&catid=2
and:http://www.kcra.com/news/28421663/detail.html

I take it back. I shouldn't have phrased it in a demeaning way.

Bear attacks are rare, but when they do happen, you'd rather be ready.
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 01, 2012 01:08AM
I think we need to have two rather separate discussions:

One for Black bears

One for Brown ( Grizzlie ) bears

There's so many differences, and in some cases opposites, when you start discussing one vs the other.
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 01, 2012 11:54AM
It's simple: black bears can climb trees and brown bears can't. So if you climb up a tree to get away from a bear and it comes after you, it's a black bear. If it pushes the tree down to get you, it's a grizzly.
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 01, 2012 01:01PM
Quote
eeek
It's simple: black bears can climb trees and brown bears can't. So if you climb up a tree to get away from a bear and it comes after you, it's a black bear. If it pushes the tree down to get you, it's a grizzly.

Not much of a chance of even getting up the tree before the grizzly gets you.
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 01, 2012 06:51PM
Quote
chicagocwright
Quote
eeek
It's simple: black bears can climb trees and brown bears can't. So if you climb up a tree to get away from a bear and it comes after you, it's a black bear. If it pushes the tree down to get you, it's a grizzly.

Not much of a chance of even getting up the tree before the grizzly gets you.



Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 08, 2012 10:54AM
Quote
mtn man
Quote
sactown23
unless you're encountering grizzlies in Alaska, Canada, or Yellowstone, you should not carry any firearms to protect yourself. If you tend to live life on the safe side, then buy yourself some bear spray, but that should be the extent of it.

Even in California where there are no Grizzlies I'm thinking to carry bear spray in bear country isn't totallly a bad idea...

http://www.dfg.ca.gov/news/issues/bear/bear_incidents.html

And more recently in Ca.:

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=5504699&page=1
http://www.news10.net/news/story.aspx?storyid=84897&catid=2
and:http://www.kcra.com/news/28421663/detail.html

Of the 12 incidences reported on the first site listed, 7 of the incidences involved either food storage, garbage, trash cans, people had fed the bears or some combination of those factors. Three had cubs involved. The last site's incidence was also food related. Tells me that unsecured food or trash, cubs, feeding bears are human caused bear incidences.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/08/2012 10:56AM by parklover.
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 08, 2012 09:30PM
Quote

And more recently in Ca.:

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=5504699&page=1
http://www.news10.net/news/story.aspx?storyid=84897&catid=2
and:http://www.kcra.com/news/28421663/detail.html


I just want to make a comment about the incident in El Dorado, though I also want to underscore I only have happenstance second hand knowledge. Literally, the morning after the incident occured--before it made any big news--my cousin and I were at the ranger station at Pollock Pines to get some fire permits for a Mokelumne Wilderness weekender. The ranger there asked us if we had bear canisters and if we had heard anything about the "idiot" who fired at a bear in a campground. We replied no, said we had canisters, but asked what happened. According to the ranger, the "idiot" had been drinking and put his ice chest in his tent with him. The guy thought his gun would "cure" any bear problems. He said the guy was fine, but that the bear would likely have to be killed as a result of the "attack". He also noted that the guy could be in trouble for his actions. The ranger asked us to store our food properly to prevent anymore incidents like this from happening.

My cousin and I laughed at the story and went on our merry way. After we got home though, we were both a bit shocked by what was in the press: the bear attack was discussed, but little to nothing was said about what led up to it. Assuming the ranger wasn't misinformed or lying, I continue to feel the press really missed the boat on this story: a human, through improper food storage and a general lack of foresight, created an environment ripe for an attack. So, rather than think of this bear attack as alarming, I tend to think of it as typical, wherein bad human behavior resulted in a wildlife situation that didn't have to happen.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/08/2012 09:32PM by KC.
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 08, 2012 10:17PM
Quote
KC


I just want to make a comment about the incident in El Dorado, though I also want to underscore I only have happenstance second hand knowledge. Literally, the morning after the incident occured--before it made any big news--my cousin and I were at the ranger station at Pollock Pines to get some fire permits for a Mokelumne Wilderness weekender. The ranger there asked us if we had bear canisters and if we had heard anything about the "idiot" who fired at a bear in a campground. We replied no, said we had canisters, but asked what happened. According to the ranger, the "idiot" had been drinking and put his ice chest in his tent with him. The guy thought his gun would "cure" any bear problems. He said the guy was fine, but that the bear would likely have to be killed as a result of the "attack". He also noted that the guy could be in trouble for his actions. The ranger asked us to store our food properly to prevent anymore incidents like this from happening.

My cousin and I laughed at the story and went on our merry way. After we got home though, we were both a bit shocked by what was in the press: the bear attack was discussed, but little to nothing was said about what led up to it. Assuming the ranger wasn't misinformed or lying, I continue to feel the press really missed the boat on this story: a human, through improper food storage and a general lack of foresight, created an environment ripe for an attack. So, rather than think of this bear attack as alarming, I tend to think of it as typical, wherein bad human behavior resulted in a wildlife situation that didn't have to happen.

As my brother in law who was in the news business always said. "Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story." Making it the bears fault made it a more interesting story than teaching people a lesson about the importance of proper food storage in bear country.
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 02, 2012 09:40PM
Quote
sactown23
unless you're encountering grizzlies in Alaska, Canada, or Yellowstone, you should not carry any firearms to protect yourself. If you tend to live life on the safe side, then buy yourself some bear spray, but that should be the extent of it.

Wouldn't be legal on NPS land unless the superintendent has a policy that allows it. That's why bear spray is legal in Yellowstone/Grand Teton/ Glacier, as well as NPS parks in Alaska. Weapons outside of firearms are still illegal. Personally I'd like to bring a slingshot with plastic shot to haze campground bears, but even that wouldn't be allowed.
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 01, 2012 01:27PM
A well crafted post riverkat. I won't bother researching studies to back up some of my statements as don't have any motivation to spend the time and effort to do so. On informal web boards like this people do not need to qualify casual statements with the credibility of professional studies nor ought their audience expect such unless someone makes a point of consideration at that level. I do own fat consumer popular level books on bears and bear history and over the years mainly during younger years like many people were drawn to read magazine stories with bears as topics. Of course hunting magazines like Sports Afield used to frequently have such features because bears scare people. Thus some of what I wrote is vague regurgitated memories that has fashioned a speculative picture I have about bears adding in my common sense as a person with modest numbers experiences over decades around black bears.

One point you make is my conclusion that there are no studies that show bears in primitive remote areas might be more dangerous or aggressive than in areas where bears have been exposed to humans. That such is likely the situation is common sense logic there isn't any need to bother debating much herein. Something one is not likely to ever be able to size up from any study so to argue against such because there isn't a study is misguided. If a large powerful predatory animal that has never seen another creature like a man before sees one for the first time and does not understand their possible dangers, one would be a fool to declare that even in a small percentage of cases the predator will not act aggressively. That some such potentially aggressive bears once finding a reason to fear another creature like a man will henceforth tend to flee on encounters is logical.

I agree with you that the best approach to explaining to people dealing with bears is one that targets better human practices in the backcountry rather than their dangers. However statements indicating black bears are almost always timid, shy, and run away is manipulating reality also. I suspect the motivation to make such statements is to counter points against the few that feel the need to bring weapons like guns into the backcountry for protection. Data in professional studies are an easy way to bolster arguments but drawing broad conconclusions about that data is another speculative matter. Especially when the database is from such puny numbers of cases. I suspect they are afraid if they don't totally eliminate possible dangers from bears that possible gun and weapon toters will not change their attitude. That is of course true in some cases however I would expect such arguments are unlikely to affect a significant number who will do so regardless.

Especially with those that have spent a night solo in a wilderness on dark nights miles from other people and heard crunch crunch in the darkness out beyond their camp. It draws up a primal fear we creatures of this planet Earth share with all our ancestors.



http://www.davidsenesac.com



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/01/2012 01:28PM by DavidSenesac.
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 01, 2012 03:53PM
Humans are not in the Yosemite black bear food chain. Cubs are taught what to eat and as yet I don't think there has ever been an instance of a mama bear teaching a cub to eat a live Yosemite visitor. Perhaps a SAR ranger that has done some recovery can comment on whether or not there has ever been postmortem activity.

I've had very close daytime and nighttime encounters with bears at the hot spots, Rancheria, Beehive, Miguel Meadow, Laurel Lake, and Glen Aulin, to name those that come to mind. All, all other bear sightings have resulted in the bear taking off like a bat of hell and that includes mamas with cubs.

If one is to be eaten by a bear it will be on the valley floor.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 01, 2012 04:21PM
Somebody here posted about carrying a hand gun for large bears. I heard a joke going around recently where a guide was relating how he carries a 45 in grizzly country, except he has filed the front site right down to the barrel. When asked why he did this he replied, "So it won't hurt so much when the bear shoves it up my -----------!" eye rolling smiley
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 01, 2012 05:39PM
Quote
tomdisco
Somebody here posted about carrying a hand gun for large bears. I heard a joke going around recently where a guide was relating how he carries a 45 in grizzly country, except he has filed the front site right down to the barrel. When asked why he did this he replied, "So it won't hurt so much when the bear shoves it up my -----------!" eye rolling smiley
Literally laughing out loud at that one! Rolling on floor laugh
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 01, 2012 07:00PM
My experience in CA is along the same lines. Herrero's "Bear Attacks, Their Causes and Avoidance" mentions the predatory black bear thing, but the sense I got was that the 'no contact w/ humans' thing was far more isolated than one would expect to encounter in CA.
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 02, 2012 12:21PM
Quote
mrcondron

Humans are not in the Yosemite black bear food chain. Cubs are taught what to eat and as yet I don't think there has ever been an instance of a mama bear teaching a cub to eat a live Yosemite visitor.


That's one of the most important things to remember. The black bears of Yosemite (and the rest of the Sierra Nevada) do not look at humans as prey. There is zero evidence to suggest otherwise.

This is not to say the black bears of Yosemite aren't at times agressive toward humans. Some clearly have been, but only to protect things (their cubs or a stash of food) or to obtain things (YOUR food). There has been no reported fatal maulings by black bears in Yosemite.

Of all the ways to kill yourself (or be killed) while visiting in Yosemite, being killed by a black bear is simply on the bottom of the list.

But black bears to cause a lot of property damage in and around Yosemite. But again, that's due to usually improper food storage and other bad behavior by humans.

No need to fear the Yosemite black bear, BUT DO RESPECT THEM, and keep your distance from them (they're NOT teddy bears).
.
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 02, 2012 08:48AM
From my mom's 1956 slides

avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 02, 2012 02:27PM
Quote
Vince
From my mom's 1956 slides

Look thru your slides and see if you can find any of the "Bear Feeding Platforms".
Now that would be something to see. (not implying the one you showed wasn't interesting)



Picasa Pictures
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 08, 2012 08:32AM
I’ve read a couple of books about bears and was puzzled by the different opinions presented there.
Then I realized that one book was written by a scientist supported by government money (Stephen Herero) and another by a hunter, guide and outfitter (James Gary Shelton).
I want to provide an example how you can twist statistical numbers to support your biased opinion.
1. You have a better chance to avoid any injury in a close encounter with a brown bear when you use a bear spray as a protection (bear spray has no effect on some bears and in case of a second attack by the same bear and an empty bear spray you do not have a lot of options).
2. You have better chances to survive the close encounter when you have a high caliber firearm (even a mortally wounded bear doesn’t stop his attack right away and can still inflict some damage).
These numbers can be twisted and presented to support both claims: that bear spray is more effective and that firearms are more effective.

Never underestimate the difference between brown and black bears. Most articles and books in general media are about attacks by brown bears. They are not present in Yosemites right now. I was afraid of black bears until my friend, university professor of biology pointed to a dramatic difference between these two species. Since then I am not afraid of black bears but I am still afraid of brown bears and I do not entertain an idea of a solo hike/backpack in a brown bear country.

I do not own a bear spray because I do not believe I need it in a black bear country and because I do not hike where brown bears live.

I am just curios whether there were real cases when a bear spray was used in Yosemites?
What were outcomes of these cases (if any exist)?
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 14, 2012 03:06PM
Ha, good info to know! Hopefully I will never be attacked by a bear. It is amusing though that most of our natural instincts are to stand there, watch, take pictures like a zoo.
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 08, 2012 11:03AM
Found this on the internet. Please understand that the author was using irony to get across the idea of what NOT to do and really did not mean for anyone to do this. Evidently some people who read this did not understand the meaning of irony.


http://yosemiteexplorer.com/nature/mammals/070723-kill-yosemite-bear
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 08, 2012 11:45AM
Quote
parklover
Found this on the internet. Please understand that the author was using irony to get across the idea of what NOT to do and really did not mean for anyone to do this. Evidently some people who read this did not understand the meaning of irony.


http://yosemiteexplorer.com/nature/mammals/070723-kill-yosemite-bear

I looked up irony in my dictionary and it said "see irony".



Old Dude
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 08, 2012 06:35PM
Quote
I've pretty much made up my mind to definitely only use bear spray on long day hikes

So you're not open to listening to the opinions of people who have hiked cumulative lifetimes in the Sierras and have never used guns or pepper spray? What are you expecting, a bear to suddenly charge you and maul you? Black bears are not grizzlies in temperament, disposition or aggression. Sure, if you're trying to kidnap or handle a cub or try hand-feeding a bear, you might run into trouble. But on a day hike? Can you cite one instance in Yosemite where a black bear has killed a hiker?

I have done at least 700 day hikes in my lifetime in the Sierras, 95% over 15 miles. I have encountered countless bears. Not one was remotely aggressive. And even had they been aggressive, unless you're carrying the spray in your hand 100% of the time, it will be useless.
avatar Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 08, 2012 07:38PM
Quote
Ulysses61
Quote
I've pretty much made up my mind to definitely only use bear spray on long day hikes

So you're not open to listening to the opinions of people who have hiked cumulative lifetimes in the Sierras and have never used guns or pepper spray? What are you expecting, a bear to suddenly charge you and maul you? Black bears are not grizzlies in temperament, disposition or aggression. Sure, if you're trying to kidnap or handle a cub or try hand-feeding a bear, you might run into trouble. But on a day hike? Can you cite one instance in Yosemite where a black bear has killed a hiker?

I have done at least 700 day hikes in my lifetime in the Sierras, 95% over 15 miles. I have encountered countless bears. Not one was remotely aggressive. And even had they been aggressive, unless you're carrying the spray in your hand 100% of the time, it will be useless.

In one of his earlier posts he says he moved to Alaska weeks ago. I'm sure he's coming from the point of view of hiking there. Polar bears are in northern Alaska.



Old Dude
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 08, 2012 08:43PM
Quote
mrcondron
Quote
Ulysses61
Quote
I've pretty much made up my mind to definitely only use bear spray on long day hikes

So you're not open to listening to the opinions of people who have hiked cumulative lifetimes in the Sierras and have never used guns or pepper spray? What are you expecting, a bear to suddenly charge you and maul you? Black bears are not grizzlies in temperament, disposition or aggression. Sure, if you're trying to kidnap or handle a cub or try hand-feeding a bear, you might run into trouble. But on a day hike? Can you cite one instance in Yosemite where a black bear has killed a hiker?

I have done at least 700 day hikes in my lifetime in the Sierras, 95% over 15 miles. I have encountered countless bears. Not one was remotely aggressive. And even had they been aggressive, unless you're carrying the spray in your hand 100% of the time, it will be useless.

In one of his earlier posts he says he moved to Alaska weeks ago. I'm sure he's coming from the point of view of hiking there. Polar bears are in northern Alaska.

I'm really sorry to cause this confusion. I've done this twice in this conversation I think. I love this Yosemite forum and still get good information here but where I am now I understand it is a totally different experience. I also think I still don't understand how the "Reply" vs. "Post Message" vs. "Quote" Button works. The forum to me is viewed sequentially with all new posts at the bottom and labelled "New". If I understand right, others view the forum with some sort of Tree Structure so they may not read earlier posts where I did say I am now in Alaska.

Just to be clear--in my first post I said I would never use bear spray or guns in Yosemite---nor would I have dogs. Alaska National Parks are much different. The bear spray doesn't have to be carried in your hands---but it does need to be on a holster with very quick access--same with a gun for that matter. And frankly, I really do not want to carry the weight of the gun on long day hikes.

Again, I realize this is a Yosemite forum and I apologize for the confusion. I find the advice here invaluable and have gained a few friends because of this forum.
Re: Yosemite Bear Update
April 08, 2012 08:55PM
Quote
chicagocwright
Quote
mrcondron
Quote
Ulysses61
Quote
I've pretty much made up my mind to definitely only use bear spray on long day hikes

So you're not open to listening to the opinions of people who have hiked cumulative lifetimes in the Sierras and have never used guns or pepper spray? What are you expecting, a bear to suddenly charge you and maul you? Black bears are not grizzlies in temperament, disposition or aggression. Sure, if you're trying to kidnap or handle a cub or try hand-feeding a bear, you might run into trouble. But on a day hike? Can you cite one instance in Yosemite where a black bear has killed a hiker?

I have done at least 700 day hikes in my lifetime in the Sierras, 95% over 15 miles. I have encountered countless bears. Not one was remotely aggressive. And even had they been aggressive, unless you're carrying the spray in your hand 100% of the time, it will be useless.

In one of his earlier posts he says he moved to Alaska weeks ago. I'm sure he's coming from the point of view of hiking there. Polar bears are in northern Alaska.

I'm really sorry to cause this confusion. I've done this twice in this conversation I think. I love this Yosemite forum and still get good information here but where I am now I understand it is a totally different experience. I also think I still don't understand how the "Reply" vs. "Post Message" vs. "Quote" Button works. The forum to me is viewed sequentially with all new posts at the bottom and labelled "New". If I understand right, others view the forum with some sort of Tree Structure so they may not read earlier posts where I did say I am now in Alaska.

Just to be clear--in my first post I said I would never use bear spray or guns in Yosemite---nor would I have dogs. Alaska National Parks are much different. The bear spray doesn't have to be carried in your hands---but it does need to be on a holster with very quick access--same with a gun for that matter. And frankly, I really do not want to carry the weight of the gun on long day hikes.

Again, I realize this is a Yosemite forum and I apologize for the confusion. I find the advice here invaluable and have gained a few friends because of this forum.

Hey don't apologize. I also love this forum and enjoy every one on it. However, I also have been struggling at times trying to figure out how to post things and/or read things when things are so interconnect. For those that are familar with this kind of forum structure it is probably easy for them but this is my first experience participating in a forum with this structure and will have to admit that I get a little lost trying to make sense of things at times.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/08/2012 08:57PM by parklover.
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