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Slugman
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PostThu Sep 12, 2019 4:06 pm 
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I came face to face with the Olympic Devil Bear.

https://products.kitsapsun.com/archive/1999/08-13/0019_olympic_national_park___devil_bea.html

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Get Out and Go
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PostThu Sep 12, 2019 4:50 pm 
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I generally see at least one bear every year, and as most have said, they usually take off in the other direction, or at most just ignore me.  My trip report from 2008 was a bit different.  This was the year, when I believe, "Juneuary" was coined, and berries were few and far between that summer.  The 2 bears I ran into on the Top Lake Trail were not going to give in.  2008 Encounter with Bears

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bk
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PostThu Sep 12, 2019 5:06 pm 
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As the parks' mottos suggest, being "bear aware" is meant to lesson the concern of attacks.

On the note of just grizzlies (...and not meaning to point any fingers at any particular species as the "bad guy") . . .

• A 2010 nwhiker discussion, slugman cites a confirmed grizzly hair sample near Tonasket in 2005.

• A Washington Hunting Forum has a 2017 picture of a grizzly sow and its cub near Conconully, WA (17 miles SW of Tonasket; 21 miles ENE of Winthrop)
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Gil
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PostThu Sep 12, 2019 6:05 pm 
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I've never had a problem with bears. I grew up in Alaska, and worked for Fish and Wildlife Protection when I was college -- I spent 40-50 days in the field each summer, slept on the ground, often beside salmon streams, and there was never an issue. Frankly I'm more worried about people with guns.

Now watch me get eaten this weekend.

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graywolf
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PostThu Sep 12, 2019 6:28 pm 
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Slugman wrote:
I came face to face with the Olympic Devil Bear.

https://products.kitsapsun.com/archive/1999/08-13/0019_olympic_national_park___devil_bea.html

My buddy and I did too.  We knew about him and we stockpiled a bunch of softball sized rocks in our camp at Elkhorn.  Sure enough, guess who showed up at dinner time?  Yup, Mr. Devil Bear.  We let get within about 30 feet, then proceeded to let him have it.  He got the hell out of our camp in a big hurry!

A couple of days later, on our way out, we ran into three rangers at the Lillian River bridge.  One of them was packing a shotgun.  I asked if it was for the bear, and he nodded an affirmative.

So, I assumed that was the end of that.  But, just in the last couple of years, I was talking to a friend who works in ONP and the conversation came around to the "devil bear".  I told her how my buddy and I ambushed him, and our subsequent encounter with the rangers with the shotgun.  She laughed and said "You're the ones!".  Turns out when the rangers got to Elkhorn they couldn't find the bear.  They're not sure where he went, but it appears our hazing might have cured him of his camp raiding habit (if only temporarily).

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melc
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 10:23 am 
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I don't worry to much about bears. I do try to make noise and not surprise bears when I enter places bears might be.  All the bears I've come across run off quickly once they notice me.

Except for one black bear in Anchorage who just stood there until I yelled at it to move on.

I rarely carry bear spray in WA but it's not a bad idea. Works on cougars and other animals too.

I always carry bear spray in Alaska. But I've never needed to use it.

Once I saw a blonde black bear on the side if the road near Wenatchee. I was able to watch from my car for a minute before it scattered. Very beautiful.
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gb
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 10:53 am 
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Bares can be a concern; bears not so much - at least in Washington.

All the Black Bears I've encountered in Washington have run away on first sight or sound. In Alaska, however and Northern Canada Black Bears can be as dangerous as Grizzlies - even more so statistically. One comment I remember hearing is that the Black Bears down here were culled out of being aggressive long ago.

California is a bit different and Black bears there are very practiced and skilled at taking Picknickers food - Eh, Boo Boo? They can still be chased away, though. I chased away one Black Bear with a fishing pole and chased another that had broken into my car.

Best story, by far, as told by a Yosemite climbing bum who was from the Seattle area. A Large motor home pulled in next to their campsite in Yosemite Valley and started a raucous party. At night, the climbing dudes threw a slab of bacon under the motor home. By morning the group from Stanford was gone......after a night of rocking and rolling.

There are said to be Grizzlies in the North Cascades but they may be transients from contiguous areas near the Coquialla and Manning Park. When traveling alone in remote Cascade valleys north of about Lake Wenatchee I would and do carry bear spray (as I do in Canada). I saw unmistakeable Grizzly tracks of a very large bear in a remote valley off of the North Cascades Highway in 2009. Last year in a remote area well above treeline near Glacier Peak I saw two what looked like Grizzly Bear digs that were about two feet deep and extensive. I thought I could still see claw marks on one. From vegetation regeneration, these looked to be about two years old. I have seen many Grizzly digs in the Brooks Range, and in the Purcells and Rockies, and even watched a mother Grizzly near Sunshine dig for about twenty minutes for Marmots.
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BigBrunyon
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 11:39 am 
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North cascade bears are known to watch silently from behind the trees just outside of the light of the campfire. They are willing to do this all night! Till you go to bed and then they emerge into the campsite!

Its cause they're scared and don't know their strength! The big boys up north and 'pparently the devil bears know their strength! If they come into the same vicinity as you they won't hesitate to show their presence and go "RAHH!!" causing you to run away into the night with no headlamp or gear! This becomes a serious situation.

I was alone up in the north cascs last month and took a 30 second video of the campfire right before I put it out and went to bed. Soon as I got in the tent a large bear descended upon me into the campsite. I know for a fact that thing was lurking in the shadows watching me during that vid!

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Slugman
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 1:37 pm 
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I prefer them to join me for breakfast.


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“The jerking motion of a knee does not reflect the operation of a mind”  Slugman, January 24th 2020
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JonnyQuest
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 1:45 pm 
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Had one join me in ONP for my morning constitution once.  Funniest bear encounter I've had!
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kiliki
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 1:50 pm 
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We humans are generally bad at risk assessment. We prepare for the things that *feel* scary but not the things that are most likely to kill us. I guess to many people bears *feel* scary, more scary than, say, driving while tired, or not wearing a life vest while boating. That doesn't mean you treat them as stuffed animals but you educate yourself on bear safety and act appropriately.

In safety training at work we were drilled in risk assessment; I carry around a laminated card in my wallet that has a formula to help calculate and assess risk.

And then of course you have the morons who treat wildlife as tame, and who will ruin it for everyone.

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Cyclopath
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 1:54 pm 
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Bear attack in Seattle.

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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 3:36 pm 
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kiliki wrote:
We humans are generally bad at risk assessment. We prepare for the things that *feel* scary but not the things that are most likely to kill us. I guess to many people bears *feel* scary, less scary than, say, driving while tired, or not wearing a life vest while boating. That doesn't mean you treat them as stuffed animals but you educate yourself on bear safety and act appropriately.

up.gif  Yeah, this.

Number of fatalities due to bear attacks are negligible.  Compare to domestic dogs, bees/wasps...humans (scariest and most dangerous animal on the planet by many orders of magnitude).

I honestly think there is some propaganda and an agenda at work to some degree when there is an effort to drum up paranoia about how dangerous bears are.
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cascadetraverser
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 3:48 pm 
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I've been on and off trail in the Olympics and Cascades since 1973 and have run into many bears and in all those encounters (numerous times with cubs) the bears have all either paid me no mind (generally when they are eating berries) or ran the other direction.  I don`t carry a gun or spray.
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Mikey
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PostFri Sep 13, 2019 5:39 pm 
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It is appropriate to be careful around a mother (sow) bear with cubs.  Once while hiking with a friend on a trail on the East side of Mt Rainier (in Rainier Nat. Park) we came upon 2 small bear cubs on the right side of the trail, about 5 ft off the trail.  The mother bear was no where in sight.  We stood still on the trail.  The cubs made a sound.  Instantly the mother bear ran downhill from our left diagonally across the trail about 10 ft ahead of us to the two cubs.  It appeared to me that the mother bear did not see us.  Once she got to her cubs, they all slowly sauntered off through the blueberry bushes.  This was in July as I recall, no snow on the ground.
Many years ago there was a situation where a hunter, elk hunter I think, was chased by a black bear up a tree and the bear stayed under the tree, not allowing the hunter to climb out of the tree.  The elk hunters comrades became worried and went searching for this guy and found him in the tree and the bear at the base of the tree.  I was told this story by the Ketchikican Pulp Company Technical Director.  A story of this incident was written up in the magazine Outdoor Life.  I forget what happened to the bear.  My impression is the black bears are usually harmless and entertaining but one should show caution.  They can run very fast when they want to.
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