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Black Dog
04-08-2010, 02:31 PM
So I've lived in north west Montana for about a year and one week exactly, and I've done quite a bit of hiking and stuff throughout that time. Last night it was about 8:30 in the evening, and I was walking along this short trail (couple hundred yards) to this gorge where a river is funneled into a real narrow spot and there are huge rock cliffs on each side. It was late enough that it was starting to get kind of dark and the forest is pretty dense right there. As I'm walking down this trail, to my left something big comes crashing through the woods towards me. I started clapping my hands and shouting and it stopped. I listened for a second and heard an exhale sound like "PHFFFF" and then a few more large foot steps. I jumped up and down and waved my arms and shouted some more, and it ran away in the other direction. That was the end of my hike and I headed back to my jeep pretty quickly.

That spot is a good place to see moose, so it may have been a moose that charged me. But I think it was probably a bear, I couldn't see because the woods were thick and the sun was going down. I'm guessing that since it was so easy to get it to run off, it was probably just a lone bear and not a momma with a baby or two. If it was a momma chances are she would have mauled me and left me in a bloody pulp. So what I think happened is that I was being too quiet on the trail and it didn't realize I was there until I was really close. That was probably about the most excitement I've had in a while, it was a huge adrenaline rush knowing that I was just charged by a big animal and lived to tell about it. Now I know why lots of guys around here skip the bear spray (which I wasn't carrying with me, I will now!) and go with hand guns instead.

Gear
04-08-2010, 02:40 PM
Interesting event. Glad to hear you are OK. Any thoughts on a Bear Bell. I use one on my mountain bike and it does a good job at letting hikers know I am coming down the trail.

timh
04-08-2010, 02:42 PM
:Wow1:Sounds like an exciting hike! I haven't ever had any close encounters with wild animals so I can only imagine what that feels like. I did have a close encounter with someone I thought was breaking into my house so I bet it is a similar adrelanie rush...

Black Dog
04-08-2010, 02:53 PM
I was always told that bear bells are really dinner bells to bears. They've associated the bell sound to humans and food.

Believe it or not I have always wondered what it would be like to be charged by a bear. I thought it would be one of those petrifying moments where your heart drops down into your gut and you are paralyzed in fear. But about a minute or two afterwords I was almost hyperactive from the adrenaline rush. The hole thing didn't last more than 10 seconds but it was awesome. My wife isn't too thrilled though.

motochain
04-08-2010, 03:24 PM
I had this type of thing happen in Yosemite, except it was early daylight hours and we just happened to stumble upon eachother. Pretty spooky knowing it could kill you and you're a long ways from anyone.

Bear spray though, you'd be surprised what the bears reaction is once you blast them in the face with it... From what I've heard the bear wishes you would've had a gun also..:eek::eek:

Glad to hear you came out of the woods intact!

Black Dog
04-08-2010, 03:56 PM
I normally do carry bear spray, but all winter I haven't because there shouldn't be much need since the bears should be in hibernation. But they're awake now so its time to start remembering to bring it along.

Lynn
04-08-2010, 06:51 PM
When I was in CO I was on a SAR team, and one of the guys told me he read a report in an AK SAR newsletter about bears and spray.

According to this (second-hand) report, bear spray initially ran the bear off, but later others would come in to check out the smell.

Seems bears are like humans, liking spices in small doses.

Moral was: use the bear spray then evacuate the area.

Anybody know of this study first-hand?

Black Dog
04-08-2010, 06:56 PM
I've heard something like that. I guess some times when you spray the bear it will just stay there and lick the pepper spray off itself. I don't know whether that is true or not, if bear spray is anything like or stronger than OC spray carried by police and in womens purses it is some pretty powerful stuff.

Lynn
04-08-2010, 07:03 PM
I should have mentioned that I'm glad you're OK, and got to have that unique experience.

The version I heard was that if the bear was sprayed directly, it worked, but other bears would be attracted by the over-spray.

R_Lefebvre
04-08-2010, 09:00 PM
Now I know why lots of guys around here skip the bear spray (which I wasn't carrying with me, I will now!) and go with hand guns instead.


Why do you say that? You had a bear encounter that went as well as the vast majority do, so why would that make you want to carry a gun?

Yes, I've also heard that you should vacate the area after spraying.


Interesting event. Glad to hear you are OK. Any thoughts on a Bear Bell. I use one on my mountain bike and it does a good job at letting hikers know I am coming down the trail.


Thank you! I hate ninja bikers!

It's funny, I go to Ganaraska Forest a fair amount. It's a huge multi-use trail area. Motorized vehicles have to stick to the east and west sections, and non-motorized can use the center section. I'd actually prefer to hike with the ATV's and dirtbikes, as at least I can hear them coming!

Black Dog
04-08-2010, 09:14 PM
I probably won't carry a gun. Guns are too much fun to shoot so I'd probably find an old stump or something and pow-pow-pow-pow-pow and unload on it, then walking back to the jeep get mauled and wish I hadn't fired all my bullets. Bear spray is a lot cheaper, only roughly $30 for a can that gives me 9 seconds worth of spray compared to a couple hundred bucks plus the cost of bullets and a holster for a hand gun. And it won't hurt as much if I shoot myself in the foot with bear spray.

john101477
04-08-2010, 10:02 PM
Everyone already knows my stance on guns so i will leave that out :) I was hunting in Idaho 3 years ago (Pine Idaho area) and some hunter got between a momma and her cub by accident. He got mauled but survived. He did not have time to react with either spray or gun and his gun was in his hands. Some times crap just happens. On the same day that happened I hunted down the top of this ridge and was going to come up the bottom as my grand dad was at the top in his blind. 3 hours down and I stopped to look across the creek sitting on a rock eating some m&m's. I watched a bear cross to my side of the creek and then started seeing brush fly so I got up and headed out the same way I had come. I was not there to take a bear that was 4 miles in the bottom of a steep canyon lol. ANYWAYS the next day i went back figuring i would finish the hunt as it was a very promising area and the bear would have been long gone looking for food before the snows fell. I started seeing tracks as soon as I got out of the truck right where I had walked. When I got to the bottom there was a pile a bear crap on the same rock I had sat on the previous day. Having dealt with 30 some bears that was the only time I felt nervous, and again I had the gun...

Lynn
04-08-2010, 11:24 PM
Several years ago back in Colorado, opening morning of bow season, I was crossing a small clearing when I saw a flash of brown to my left. I froze, and watched a black bear sow cross the trail 20 yards ahead of me. She didn't worry me too much 'til the first of the two cubs she had in tow stopped in the middle of the trail and looked up at me...

All I could do was say, "Please, God, don't let that cub come over here."

He agreed, and soon the cub took off after his mom.

I can see carrying a can of bear spray, or a BigFrigginGun if I could afford one that would stop a bear... Sure didn't want to have to try and stop her by poking her with an arrow.

john101477
04-09-2010, 04:39 AM
Several years ago back in Colorado, opening morning of bow season, I was crossing a small clearing when I saw a flash of brown to my left. I froze, and watched a black bear sow cross the trail 20 yards ahead of me. She didn't worry me too much 'til the first of the two cubs she had in tow stopped in the middle of the trail and looked up at me...

All I could do was say, "Please, God, don't let that cub come over here."

He agreed, and soon the cub took off after his mom.

I can see carrying a can of bear spray, or a BigFrigginGun if I could afford one that would stop a bear... Sure didn't want to have to try and stop her by poking her with an arrow.

Oh geez, yeah that's a situation to pass on.
I can honestly say that most of my bear experiences were good. Watching a pair of black bears messing around on the next ridge over, or watching a cub and sow "rough house" is always kind of cool. 2 years ago on a 25 mile hike I watched a fight for dominence between 2 very large males. Thank god they were at the bottom of the cliff below me. I have had more problems with deer and elk than bear. Almost run over 2 times by deer and while trying to get close to some elk I miss judged distance and ended up in the middle of a herd. Not my brightest moment during rut

Black Dog
04-09-2010, 02:21 PM
Last fall a local guy was way out in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Area near where I live (about 20-25 miles from where I had my encounter) and jumped a grizzly sow with two cubs, and she charged him but the guy got a couple shots off at her with one hitting her in the head and killing her. He rushed out and called the game warden to tell them he had killed a grizzly bear in self defense, so him and the game warden and a grizzly bear biologist went back to the site and they determined he used proper self defense. They said that for the bears age it was unusually light weight and didn't have the fat reserves she should have had by then to prepare for winter, so it was probably a little extra agitated and that it why it charged him. Thats a lucky guy!

bobcat charlie
04-13-2010, 12:24 AM
Years ago I was backpacking on Rattlesnake Creek in the Trinity Alps in Northern California. I had my 100# Bouvier de Flander, Harold, with me...Harold is wearing orange saddle bags carrying his food. We encounter a black bear cub and sow on a narrow trail...I scramble up the hillside yelling at the dog. Dog ignores me...dog and cub sniff each other...mother bear is sitting on the trail making sounds like a sheep! After a couple of minutes Harold finally decides to obey and climbs the hill where I am. Mom and cub exit right! I thought for sure I was about to have an injured dog at the very least. Waited about a hour before moving on, making a LOT of noise.

john101477
04-13-2010, 12:34 AM
Years ago I was backpacking on Rattlesnake Creek in the Trinity Alps in Northern California. I had my 100# Bouvier de Flander, Harold, with me...Harold is wearing orange saddle bags carrying his food. We encounter a black bear cub and sow on a narrow trail...I scramble up the hillside yelling at the dog. Dog ignores me...dog and cub sniff each other...mother bear is sitting on the trail making sounds like a sheep! After a couple of minutes Harold finally decides to obey and climbs the hill where I am. Mom and cub exit right! I thought for sure I was about to have an injured dog at the very least. Waited about a hour before moving on, making a LOT of noise.

Rattlesnake Creek. what a great area. Glad you and Harold made it with no problems.

bobcat charlie
04-13-2010, 02:07 AM
I've gone up the North Fork of the Trinity to Rattlesnake Creek and all the way to Papoose Lake. The most spactacular vistas in the world! And it's a real history lesson...1880's miners earthworks, a giant water turbin on skids that must have been dragged in by mule team. I take a gold pan and always get color out of Rattlesnake, usually gold and a little platnium! Papoose has Brook Trout that bite on anything you throw in the water! Absolutely California at it's very best!

john101477
04-13-2010, 02:40 AM
That's a heck of a trek from livermore lol. I have never made that hike but spent a lot of time going back and forth to Fortuna. I stopped at several places through out to photograph. We have found gold in several creeks up here. A few years ago a guy found a huge nugget 3 years ago out of butte creek and my uncle has a claim up in the trinity. Not sure where though

matt s
04-13-2010, 02:44 AM
I know that "woof".

It cost me a pair of shorts once.

bobcat charlie
04-13-2010, 04:12 AM
john101477,

I hae also spent some time east of Vina...I explored Hayden Hill in the early '80s. Used a winch to drop down the main shaft and explored several of the tributaries...added to my artifacts collection! Don't know if you can even access Hayden Hill/Hayden City today!

john101477
04-13-2010, 02:24 PM
Yeah If we are talking of the same spot Hayden Hill is quite a bit north and east of us. Looks to be a mine or something now from what i can see of google maps. around here you have to be extra careful about what "rock" you pick up. I know a few people that have gotten in trouble for picking up indian rocks or arrow heads. I have seen caves with great stone bowls and pedistals. it is neat to go where few have been.

Christophe Noel
04-13-2010, 04:05 PM
I've heard something like that. I guess some times when you spray the bear it will just stay there and lick the pepper spray off itself. I don't know whether that is true or not, if bear spray is anything like or stronger than OC spray carried by police and in womens purses it is some pretty powerful stuff.Not true. People often discuss the strength of the spray, but forget to factor in the sensitivity of the bear's snoot. Keep in mind a bear's sense of smell makes a bloodhound look nose deaf. So, the spray is often far more violent to a bear's snoot than that police spray would be to a human.

I've sprayed several bears. I used to run a mountain bike guiding company in Haines, AK and we'd encounter bears on a regular basis. We'd also get a few too close to camp sites. I have never seen a bear lick the bear spray off themselves. I have seen two common reactions. Most common, the bear shoots into the trees like it was hit by lightning. The other reaction has the bear stunned, wheezing and staggering into the bush. It works. It's scary, but it works.