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pcg
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PostThu Sep 17, 2020 8:57 am 
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coldrain108 wrote:
pcg wrote:
I think bears in parks are more dangerous because they have been habituated to humans and have little fear.

3 or 4 times in the last couple of seasons of backpacking in the Olympic Park I've waved or clapped at a bear that was wandering towards me, w/o seeing me or noticing my presence.† Once I got their attention they ran like the devil was after them.

I'm referring to the habituated bears that don't leave when you clap at them, like the grizzlies in Glacier NP and the black bears on Cascade Pass that are routinely hazed by bear dogs to keep them away from campsites. Those are the bears that inevitably cause trouble.
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RumiDude
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PostThu Sep 17, 2020 9:59 am 
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pcg wrote:
coldrain108 wrote:
pcg wrote:
I think bears in parks are more dangerous because they have been habituated to humans and have little fear.

3 or 4 times in the last couple of seasons of backpacking in the Olympic Park I've waved or clapped at a bear that was wandering towards me, w/o seeing me or noticing my presence.† Once I got their attention they ran like the devil was after them.

I'm referring to the habituated bears that don't leave when you clap at them, like the grizzlies in Glacier NP and the black bears on Cascade Pass that are routinely hazed by bear dogs to keep them away from campsites. Those are the bears that inevitably cause trouble.

Any animal can become aggressive towards humans given the right circumstances. Bears are no different, even black bears in ONP. And given their size and strenght, bears are likely to severely injure a human if they do attack.Except for polar bears, most will not prey on humans. Obviously there are rare exceptions to this. But bears can be surprised, defend territory, defend offspring, feel pressured, etc and then react aggressively. Sometimes it is just a bluff charge, sometimes it is just a short attack, and sometimes it is a sustained attack.

There have been bears in ONP which have been aggressive towards humans and a few that became attracted to human foods. I don't carry bear spray in ONP, but I give the bears a wide berth. I certainly don't approach them no matter how docile and disinterested they seem to be.

Rumi

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"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."
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Cyclopath
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PostThu Sep 17, 2020 10:04 am 
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Brushbuffalo wrote:
pcg wrote:
Most people don't have this knowledge, or even know that they can learn this. All they have is fear based on a skewed perception of bears that's fed to the public by the media. So I totally get why most people are afraid of bears

That is an excellent explanation, pcg. And I agree. It is largely an irrational fear, and like most fears of the unknown, bear fear can be lessened to just healthy respect with accurate knowledge.

But then there are irrational people who do the bears no good, in his case brown bears. Bear aficionados suspect to whom I refer.

I think a lot of people learn their bear knowledge from other hikers and outdoors people.  I've heard the phrase "I love hiking, I go to Rachel Lake every year!"  If you've never done any hiking yourself and somebody who says that love hiking tells you bears are terrifying beasts that will rip your car in half for a candy wrapper, you'll probably believe it.  I've seen people with bear spray on I90 trails.  Anyway, I agree with basically everything else you guys are saying, just wanted to share that observation.

Also, Timmy Treadwell was bat poop crazy, but he got some incredible footage.  I hope people are able to enjoy it despite his questionable behavior.
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graywolf
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PostThu Sep 17, 2020 10:28 am 
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RumiDude wrote:
pcg wrote:
coldrain108 wrote:
pcg wrote:
I think bears in parks are more dangerous because they have been habituated to humans and have little fear.

3 or 4 times in the last couple of seasons of backpacking in the Olympic Park I've waved or clapped at a bear that was wandering towards me, w/o seeing me or noticing my presence.† Once I got their attention they ran like the devil was after them.

I'm referring to the habituated bears that don't leave when you clap at them, like the grizzlies in Glacier NP and the black bears on Cascade Pass that are routinely hazed by bear dogs to keep them away from campsites. Those are the bears that inevitably cause trouble.

Any animal can become aggressive towards humans given the right circumstances. Bears are no different, even black bears in ONP. And given their size and strenght, bears are likely to severely injure a human if they do attack.Except for polar bears, most will not prey on humans. Obviously there are rare exceptions to this. But bears can be surprised, defend territory, defend offspring, feel pressured, etc and then react aggressively. Sometimes it is just a bluff charge, sometimes it is just a short attack, and sometimes it is a sustained attack.

There have been bears in ONP which have been aggressive towards humans and a few that became attracted to human foods. I don't carry bear spray in ONP, but I give the bears a wide berth. I certainly don't approach them no matter how docile and disinterested they seem to be.

Rumi

Agree with this.  We always give the bear the respect and space that it needs, and we sure as hell don't approach them.  In the video I posted, it wasn't visible, but everyone down the beach moved out of the way of the sow and her cubs.  Most went up into the treeline and proceeded to make sure they were not in the line of travel of the bears.  And, refreshingly (& surprisingly!) no one was trying to get a selfie with the bears.

You mention aggressive bears in ONP - remember the "devil bear" that was up the Elwha?  We had an encounter with him.  We were aware that he was hanging around Elkhorn, so made a couple of piles of rocks in camp.  Unfortunately, he did decide to approach our camp, so we pelted the crap out of him.  Luckily we were able to dissuade him.

When I discuss bears with newbies, and those who are afraid of them, I tell them that they've got to be respectful and aware.  Give the bear lots of room, don't stare at it, talk to it, and don't appear to be challenging their space in any way.

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scottk
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PostThu Sep 17, 2020 12:50 pm 
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I've encountered numerous black bears over the years with no negative experiences.  The bears have either ignored me or run off. Experience suggests that Washington bears are particularly unthreatening.  According to Fish and Wildlife records and reported by the Seattle Times (https://www.seattletimes.com/life/outdoors/dont-lose-sleep-over-bear-attacks-its-bees-dogs-that-cause-most-animal-deaths/) there have been 14 bear attacks that resulted in injury and one death in the State of Washington. Most of the interactions involved a hunter shooting a bear and thinking it was dead (nope) or a dog leading the bear back to their owner.  Bears in Washington are something to be enjoyed, not feared.
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Slugman
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PostThu Sep 17, 2020 1:45 pm 
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I personally met the Olympic Devil Bear! True story!

https://web.kitsapsun.com/archive/1999/09-05/0063_mr__outdoors__tracking_the_devil_.html

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ďThe jerking motion of a knee does not reflect the operation of a mindĒ  Slugman, January 24th 2020
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graywolf
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PostThu Sep 17, 2020 2:14 pm 
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Slugman wrote:
I personally met the Olympic Devil Bear! True story!

https://web.kitsapsun.com/archive/1999/09-05/0063_mr__outdoors__tracking_the_devil_.html

Ha! Now I know who you are!  How ya doing?

To follow up on my encounter with the devil bear, here's what happened later on the same trip on our way out.  We ran into three rangers who were just starting to climb out of the Lillian River camp area, and one was carrying a 12 gauge shotgun.  I asked "Is that for what I think it's for?", and he responded that indeed it was - they had orders to get rid of the devil bear.  My buddy and I thought that was the end of that story.

Well, just a couple of years ago I mentioned this story to a friend of mine who is a ONP naturalist.
After I told her about us shelling the bear with rocks, she exclaimed ""So you're the ones!".
After my intelligent response of "Huh?", she told me that the rangers never found the bear, and that our pelting him with rocks had probably helped him decided that humans weren't worth the trouble.

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reststep
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PostThu Sep 17, 2020 3:27 pm 
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Here is a link to a story I ran across on the internet about a bear encounter on the Ptarmigan Traverse. This happened a few years ago and rarely happens. Most black bears run the other way when they see someone.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tellytomtelly/7903333458

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"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir
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RumiDude
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PostThu Sep 17, 2020 3:29 pm 
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graywolf wrote:
You mention aggressive bears in ONP - remember the "devil bear" that was up the Elwha?† We had an encounter with him.† We were aware that he was hanging around Elkhorn, so made a couple of piles of rocks in camp.† Unfortunately, he did decide to approach our camp, so we pelted the crap out of him.† Luckily we were able to dissuade him.

Never met the "devil bear", but there have been a few bears along the Elwha that have been troublesome to different degrees. There was an aggressive bear that hung around Humes Ranch that had become food conditioned. Another bear around Hayden Pass stalked trail crew members and charged them a couple times. Another bear that hung out at Elkhorn and though not aggressive, that I am aware of, made people nervous because it would get uncomfortably close. I think they successfully hazed that bear. This last bear I had two different encounters with. I was completely alone in the meadow both times. The bear was definitely looking for food other than the usual grasses of the meadow, nosing around my tent and gear. When I tried to shoo it away, it did not leave immediately like most bears.

I think many people aren't aware of the incidents in ONP because for the most part ONP has taken the stance of not informing campers except in a few circumstances. Because of this many people take a lacadaisical attitude about proper food storage in ONP, which is a shame. Currently there is a family of coyotes that frequent Five-Mile Island on the Hoh that steal not only food but anything left out.

Rumi

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"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."
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