Big Animal Attacks - First Hand Accounts

Artemus

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All these recent bear attacks have me wondering....

Post up your first hand accounts of being charged and/or attacked or even an interesting encounter by any animal larger than a mouse. Moose, horses, wolves, etc. domesticated or not. Maybe leave attacks by somebody's dog off like happened to Bob and I this weekend in the Lost Rivers. I was inspired for the thread by the BCP guy that got molested by a few domesticated horses (Joey here) and Absarokanaut (recently in this thread) who was charged by a bear and fended it off with pepper spray.

My Mountain Goat encounter...

I'll start. I was in North Cascades National Park some years back in June and my wife and I snow-hiked up towards the Liberty Bell Spires. My wife bagged out and I continued to the base of Liberty Bell Spire. I wanted to see if I could solo climb the easiest way up. A 5.6 route with a one-move-wonder crux right off the ground at the start. Or, at least, I wanted to recon it for a future attempt. It was a steep-ish snow approach to the base of the Spire with a narrow ridge at the base. I topped out just near this little ridge and stuck my head up to see the start of the route when I saw two female mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus) and 2 or 3 babies (nannies and kids) take notice of me from 10 feet away. I said "shite" since I needed to get by them in order to examine the start.

So I started sneaking by just below them. One nanny decided she didn't like that and started head waving those horns at me. Now, goats aren't the largest and scariest creatures there are but she was over my head above me and a little intimidating anyway. She decided she had enough and charged off at me. I jumped and moved to put some bushes between us. I was then quite motivated to traverse past them by going below and around and I then examined the route. I lost my nerve to solo the route after looking at it and turned around and snuck back by the family.

Even though I failed to do the climb and got scared off the pass by a waste-high, pint-sized goat I considered the day a win nonetheless.

Who else? We can all learn from each other.
 
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Bob

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hah....forgot the dogs. Wouldn't call those ankle biters big, so doesn't qualify.
 

Bob

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A bear.jpg
 

Nick

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This probably doesn't qualify as an 'attack', but it was a pretty wild run-in, so I'll share. I've probably told this story to a lot of you that I've camped with but it might be new to some others.

Back in 2007 I was camping up near Ryder Lake in the Uintas. We had a camp setup at the small lake just south of Ryder. It was late afternoon and I was over at the south shore of Ryder fly fishing with my headphones in. I don't wear headphones anymore but back then I'd put on some tunes now and then. The fish were biting everything I'd throw at them. I couldn't cast without catching one - good times. My wife and our friend Robin were back at camp and my dog Nikita was with me (I thought).

As a song got quiet, I heard screaming over the music. I pulled out an earbud to see what it was and I saw my wife and our friend running towards me yelling. I looked to my left where they were pointing just in time to see my dog chase a moose right into the lake. Now let me just say, I do NOT condone dogs harassing wildlife and I have since worked very hard to train them appropriately. This story is a good example of why that is so important before taking dogs into the wilderness. Nikita was a tough one to train it out of when she was young. She is part Akita, a breed intended to hunt bears, so I think she just had a strong drive to protect us from large animals.

Once I saw what was happening, I started yelling for her. She was standing on the shore barking at the moose in the lake. Naturally, she wasn't listening to a word I had to say. And naturally, the moose decided she wasn't thrilled about the situation either. Slowly I saw the moose start to walk out of the water toward Nikita. Once she got to dry ground, she went into full trample mode and charged Nikita with her front hooves high in the air. She was inches from a successful trampling when Nikita dived into a large pile of boulders. The moose stopped and Nikita came running back to us with a new found fear of large animals. But the story doesn't end there.

We walked back to camp and started preparing dinner. Meanwhile, our new moose friend decided to follow. She worked her way along the opposite shoreline of the small lake taking frequent stops to observe us. Eventually, she settled in at the meadow near the outlet of the lake, just a 100 yards or so away from our camp. She stayed there for most of the evening just eating and observing us. Eventually she disappeared and we thought we had seen the last of her. Until the next morning...

The sun had just come up and Audra and I were snoozing away in the tent. I think I was just a little awake when I heard a chilling scream right outside our tent followed by a series of ground-shaking thumps racing past the tent. I rushed out to find that our moose friend had decided to come in for a closer inspection of camp. Our friend Robin had been sleeping on the ground in a bivy sack with a missing pole. She awoke that morning to a moose standing right above her, it's face right to her face as it sniffed at her. Nothing between them but a thin layer of mesh laying right on her face. She screamed. I'm still amazed that the moose chose to run rather than trample her where she laid. We left that morning and didn't see the moose again.

Here are some pics. Not great quality as it was just an old point and shoot.

The moose right after chasing Nikita into the rocks. You can see Nikita running for her life. Look at those 'angry ears' on that moose!
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The moose walking toward our camp.
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The moose grazing near our camp that evening. It was really close!
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Just after the morning incident with Robin still in her bivy where the moose sniffed her face.
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In the early 90's I went to Yellowstone to visit a friend that was working at Old Faithful Lodge. We had been partying at the employee pub and then in the dorm room. I decided that some fresh air was needed, so I went I for a walk.

I first stopped at Old Faithful Geyser and sat there for about 15 min listening and feeling the ground rumble from the geyser doing it's pre eruption thing. Then I decided I was going to go on a stroll around the board walk on the hill behind Old Faithful.

Had I known what I know now I would have NEVER done such an idiotic thing, but sometimes alcohol says otherwise. I was walking with a flashlight along the boardwalk and about halfway back to the start of the boardwalk I saw many sets of eyes and realized I was in the middle of a small herd of bison. Instantly a bison charged me and I ran like hell for about 50 yards before tripping and falling off of the boardwalk. Luckily I fell on the opposite side and the bison stopped it's charge when I fell.

I damn near soiled myself, scraped the hell out of my shin and knee and had to wake up the RC to get into my friends dorm room cause everyone passed out. Yeah that won't happen EVER again! Kinda think maybe it was pre-karma for all the people I call dumb asses now when I watch them try to pet these docile animals.
 
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TannerT

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@Nick your story of the moose is great. My wife, two friends, and I were charged by a cow Moose on the hike up to Table Mountain in Idaho. We entered the first big meadow and off in the trees were three meese (yeah, that's plural moose). We were watching and then one dropped its head, the hair stood straight up on its hump, its ears peeled back and it began to charge. We ran and got on top of the only large rock out there (there was no trees around us for 50 yards). By the time we got on top the moose had less interest and stood a little ways off and stared us down as were, briskly, continued up the trail. My dad was also charged by a young bull that got close enough to snag his shirt and rip it. He said the eyes really did turn red just before it charged.
I fear Moose much more than bear.

@langutah your mountain goat story is scary too. All my mountain goat encounters have been peaceful. They must breed 'em different up there in the North Cascades.

@Yellowstone 1 Bison are scary because they are so docile and then...WHAM!!! I've been charged before as well. I was like 7 and visiting my great grandfather's farm. His neighbor had bison and we went to look at them and when we got to the steel gate the big bull decided he didn't like us there so he charged and rammed the gate. Nothing more happened and after he rung his own bell he decided to cool down.
 

TannerT

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Wild horses are carnivorous!!! At least that's what we've said since being chased by a stallion in Main Canyon outside of Grand Junction.

In March of 2006, my wife and I went down there to spend some time with my cousin. We wanted to go find so wild horses, and that is exactly what we did. The horses are so amazing. The unkempt manes were the best part. The first time we saw them we were going up the canyon and they were on upper canyon left. All the sudden something spoked them and they ran around us. we were more or less in their midst of about 12 for a few minutes before they sauntered off. That initial encounter was cool.

As we were returning down canyon an hour or so before dusk we saw about 8 or so again on lower canyon right. They were all staring intently down canyon and then we heard it. The most blood curdling whinny. Then a scream. A horse scream. We quickly looked down canyon over the berm and brush that was obstructing our view. A beautiful almost entirely black stallion and a mare were sparring. On their hind legs, kicking, biting, whipping their heads. I was mesmerized. The adrenaline rushed through my veins so quickly and I thought, the horses are distracted, I only have a few shots left on my camera, I need to run up there and get some good pics of wild horses being wild. So that's what I did. My cousin and wife didn't rush. They calmly began to walk down the double track road as I franticly ran.

As I was getting closer I kept popping my head of the tall brush trying to stay out of sight to not spook them but keep an eye on them so they didn't get away. Also, as I was gaining on them they had stopped standing to spar and were shoulder to shoulder. I got within 50 feet but the brush was still thick. So I peeked over and saw they were galloping away. I was a little heart broken so I picked up the pace for about thirty seconds. They were so much faster than me. So, as I was jogging I looked up and saw the stallion but he was headed my way. I stopped and looked again without my own motion tricking me into thinking he was running toward me. Yep, he was running right at me but his head wasn't up and looking at me so I did exactly what my dad taught me when I was little, "If a big animal is charging you, get behind the biggest thing you can." Well the biggest thing was a juniper pine just up the hill and off the trail. I ducked behind but as the horse grew closer I realized that he didn't see me but wasn't breaking pace. I put the camera up to my eye put him in the frame and clicked my last photo on the roll.

As I pulled the camera down, the horse was looking ahead, I looked in that direction and saw my wife and cousin running in a panic across the creek and up the other side of the canyon. The stallion was after them. After the two seconds that it took to put all the pieces together I yelled out, "JO!" At that point my wife had crouched down behind a boulder with the stallion about four feet away. My voice had startled the stallion and he reared his head and turned to go back down canyon after his mare. HE STOPPED FOUR FEET FROM MY WIFE!!! She said afterwords that just after she crouched she turned her head to look and only saw his head he was so close. My cousin's feet didn't even get wet he ran so fast across the water.

After the excitement had worn a little we assessed the situation. All we could figure is that the stallion had heard me behind him and his mare. After he ran her down the canyon he returned to deal with whatever was following him. As my wife and cousin were coming up down the double track, maybe my wife's long hair braid looked like horse hair flowing in the wind. There was no question that the stallion was after them.

Long story short: All horses are carnivorous!!!

That's our favorite, at least my favorite, close encounter. Long post and I hope it all made sense.

Salud!
 

JulieKT

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Just yesterday while out horseback riding on forest land with a friend, a very protective cow got quite fed up with my idiot darling dog, whose cowherding genes still sometimes overcome the common sense I've attempted to drill into him over the past 6+ years. He was barking madly at her and her youngun', ignoring my demands that he cease & desist, and she finally took exception to his nonsense and charged. He of course fled when she lunged at him, leaving my friend on her horse right in the path of pissed-off mooing mama. The cow stopped at the very last moment before she would have crashed into my friend, but it was quite breathlessly entertaining for a few seconds there. :rolleyes:

@Yellowstone 1 and @TannerT, I've been charged by a bison, too. Oddly enough, it also involved horses haha. Not in the wild so doesn't exactly belong in this thread, we were on private property, but rather interesting anyway. Thankfully the bison were behind a fence, but the male could SO EASILY have charged right through the flimsy wire. We stopped by the fence, where I had passed many times before with groups of people on horseback. We got off our horses while someone went inside the nearby lodge to use the bathroom, and the rest of use just stood there holding our horses and idly chatting. Well, it was spring, and the bison herd had cute little baby bison in there. Suddenly one of my friends said, Um, the big one is pawing the ground??? Oh, yeah. The huge gigantic enormous male bison pawed the ground, then charged with no other warning. The ground shook, like small earthquake shook, the horses all freaked and left us (mine ran me right over), and the bison pulled up just short of the fence. He then whipped his entire herd into a frenzy of running circles in their pasture, which was an awesome sight and also very earthquake-y. We left immediately, of course! I had a ton of dirt and gravel in my gouged elbow from when my horse plowed over me. Takeaway: I gained huge respect for the Plains natives and their horses who used to hunt those creatures with bows & arrows!

About moose--meese, whatever--I years ago attended a horse clinic in which one of the instructors was a packer on the Montana/Canada border. He shared many hair-raising stories with us, concluding with the firm assertion he'd rather run into a grizzly bear any day of the week than a moose, because "moose are plain crazy and will kill you soon as look at you."

I've always been a little afraid to ever see a moose, after his stories.

@TannerT Sounds to me like you saw two stallions fighting. Wild stallions can be incredibly fierce, as you noted. :D Very unusual for one to come after humans, but it makes sense if the fighting dander was up, so to speak. Very likely he saw you as a credible threat to the herd he just tried to protect from another stallion. Frankly, you guys were quite lucky. Domestic stallions can be wonderfully gentle if well-trained and well-handled (mine is a sweetheart, though he's not going to stay a stallion lol), but they can also be incredibly unpredictable and dangerous when around mares, especially mares in heat. A wild one? Yeah. No way would I ever get in the way of a wild stallion, especially if it was defending its herd. Bet you got cool shots, though!
 
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TannerT

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@JulieKT, the only shot that I got of the stallion during that episode was the last shot on my roll as he was running toward us. The whole time I was following them I could never get a shot. Too much brush. The memories have not yet faded though. Your stories sound pretty sweet. I had forgotten about cows. Every year my family does a big hunting trip with a rancher. He has a couple hundred cows. I just say this Bulls, especially relatively young limousine Bulls, are not afraid of anything. And I mean anything. Too many stories, many involving dares :rolleyes:
 

Joey

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I've never been attacked by anything. I have had some entertaining encounters over the years though. The only animal (besides myself) that I've used bear spray on was an aggressive deer in Glacier. But I have had the safety off, ready to fire at least a dozen times. I've gotten lucky several times while running into grizzlies on the trail, and walking away. Bear spray is a bad deal if you get sprayed by it. I have no desire to spray any living creature unless I absolutely have to.

Here are a few stories, in short version:

In September of 2007, I was backpacking in the belly river area of Glacier NP. Rangers on horses with shotguns in hand passed us on the trail. They informed us that there had been a bear attack on Glenns Lake, and they were headed out to investigate. We were planning to camp on that lake, but it was a different campsite than where the attack had occurred. So we continued on, and had a normal evening on the lake. I was with my girlfriend at the time, along with her dad and brother. We had separate tents, and slept in separate campsites. Some time in the night I awoke to a bear in camp. It was making vocal noises that are hard to describe, and I've only heard it one other time. But it was loud and piercing . The bear approached right up to our tent, and I could here it breathing. It continued making these loud noises, and then started circling our tent for several minutes, freaking us out. Then it took off. The next morning, my water bottle had incisor holes in it from where the bear had bitten into it (I had left it out in the food prep area).



In July of 2009, I was at Morning Star Lake in Glacier NP with my good hiking buddy Kyle. We had been out for several days, and reached our campsite along the lake early in the afternoon. In no hurry to set up the tent, we sat there leisurely, taking our boots and packs off. We heard noises behind us, but it didn't garner our attention until we heard thrashing through the lake. Kyle, who was opposite me, stood up and pulled his bear spray out. I stood up, and 15 feet behind me in the tall grass was a grizzly bear standing up, looking at us. He dropped down and continued towards us. I slowly backed up, and Kyle bee lined it for the pit toilet (If you've ever camped in Glacier, you know every campsite has a pit toilet. This one was enclosed.) Thirty seconds later, the bear popped out through the grass, where I had just been sitting. It was at this moment I realized he wasn't alone, and 2 more were coming. Cubs! I tried backing up, but there was a bunch of dead tree branches behind me, and every step backwards was loud. I hesitated, and then it was too late. The other cub popped out, followed closely by their mother. She stood up, sniffed, and then dropped back down. Then she stared directly at me. She started huffing, woofing, and pacing back and forth in front of the cubs, all of this less than 15 feet in front of me. She would look at me, make noises, then put her head down and let it sway back and forth. After several minutes, she took off into the lake. One cub followed her, but the other one didn't. It started to follow, then looked back at me, before walking towards one of our packs. It reached the pack, looked at me again, sniffed the pack, then looked back at me, before taking off towards the lake. And so we sat there watching the bears swim in the lake. They simply didn't care that we were there. We nervously spent the entire night by ourselves in the camp, listening to the bears run around the area. They actually hit and knocked over my trekking pole that I had leaned against my tent in the middle of the night. A very long story short, park service ended up killing the sow, and one of the cubs. Another note about this incident: I could have easily sprayed the bears, and probably should have. I didn't because both of our backpacks would have definitely been sprayed, and we had several more days of our trip to go. I did have the can aimed at her, ready to fire. If the packs weren't in the way, I would have absolutely sprayed in this situation.


Looking across Morning Star Lake at the grizzly sow on the shore. Picture taken from where we set up camp, and from where we had just encountered the bears.


In this picture a bear cub is playing in the lake, in the far back.


A blurry picture of the last cub to leave. It had been sniffing the backpack. I was standing by this tree, and the bears were a few feet to the right of the backpack during our standoff.


Here is another perspective of the scene. I am standing where I had been sitting on the log. The tent was not set up yet. The bears came to where I was standing, and the sow was pacing back and forth in front of the log, where the right side of the tent is. They were inside the tent pad area. You can compare this to the picture above, to get an idea of how close I was to the sow.



In September of 2012, I was backpacking in the Uinta's. I was coming up the Rock Creek trail towards Granddaddy Basin. I had headphones on, and was amped up on caffeine. Suddenly I looked up to see a mother moose and her calf only a few feet away. I knew I was too close. Immediately I started backing up. I found a large tree, and stood behind it as the mother moose was calmly walking towards me. We stared at each other briefly before she full on charged. I took off running through the trees. We played this game for a while, where she would charge me, and I would run. I managed to keep at least 20 feet between us the entire time. She would stop, look for me, stare at me briefly, and then charge again. This went on for over 30 minutes. It was like a game of "IT", where I was it the entire game. I decided to cross the creek, and after doing so, waited briefly, before she came charging down. While she was doing that, I took off running down along the creek, and didn't stop. Some how I managed to lose her here. I hiked up high on the ridge above the trail, and by passed the area. I could see her back along the trail down below, still looking around as I passed high above. I did lose both my trekking poles during this encounter, one on each side of the creek. I haven't been back to retrieve them since.



On memorial weekend in 2013, I was backpacking solo up Slough Creek in Yellowstone NP. I already encountered a sow with cubs on the trail, and had to bypass them. I got to my campsite along the creek, which is close to the second patrol cabin along the trail. I believe its called Elk Tongue Cabin, near the junction with the Bliss Pass trail. The campsite is maybe a quarter mile from the cabin. I set up camp, and started cooking dinner as the sun disappeared over the ridge. I heard geese fluster along Slough Creek, and noticed a bear grazing along the opposite shore, slowly moving closer to my camp. I couldn't tell what kind of bear it was, and pulled out my binoculars for a closer look. I stood along the shore line, and the bear slowly moved closer. Originally I hoped it was a black bear, both because I would sleep better at night, and due to already running into a sow with cubs close by. I soon realized it was a grizzly. Slough creek was swift, and would require a swim, so I knew I had a little barrier. The bear got to be directly across the creek from me, when he finally caught wind. Then he charged. His ears were pinned back, and his face looked like a werewolf. He came to the creeks edge, and started running along the beach, looking for a place to jump in. I turned and ran back up into camp. The bear continued to look for a crossing, but apparently didn't want to swim. He worked his way up stream, and suddenly appeared to go back to grazing. Then he disappeared around the bend. But I knew it wasn't over, and that my night was just beginning.

I quickly ate dinner and cleaned up camp. I gathered up a pile of rocks and put them by my tent. As I went to my tent, I could see the bear down by the creek. He was now on my side, and only a few hundred yards from my tent. He was grazing, but I felt it was fake. He was curious about me. I got in my tent, and packed my backpack in case I had to abandon camp in the night. Sure enough, I soon heard the bear approaching my tent. I got out, and threw rocks in his direction, and he took off. I repeated this process several times over a few hours. At 12:30 AM, I decided to leave camp. I carry 2 cans of bear spray with me when solo, and had both cans out, headlamp on, as I started hiking back out to the trail in the dark. Only 10 minutes away was the patrol cabin. I knew the cabin was locked, but I could climb on the roof and sleep. It was a long, intense walk in the dark over to the cabin. As I reached the cabin, I saw the outhouse, and immediately realized this was a better idea. Once inside, I noticed I had one slight problem. The door didn't have a lock on the inside, it swung inward, and wouldn't stay shut. I placed my pack against the door to hold it shut.

A half hour went by, and I started to drift asleep. But then I heard the bear crossing the marsh behind me, coming towards the outhouse. He got closer and closer. I sat there on the toilet seat in the dark, my back pushed up against the wall, both my feet up against the door, and a can of bear spray in each hand, safeties off. Every muscle in my body was tense. Through the little slivers in the door I saw the light change, and the bear walked right in front of the door. He didn't do anything though, and continued to hand out in the meadows outside. I could hear him all night, sometimes really close by. Around the first morning light, he disappeared, and I hiked back to camp. Tired, I fell back asleep in my tent. Around 11am, I woke up to the bear back in camp. He was by my food prep area, making a ruckus. I got out of the tent, yelled, and he took off crashing into the woods. At this point, I was ready to get out of there. Every squirrel and chipmunk in the forest was going nuts, and it sounded like I was in a jungle. I packed up real fast, and got out of there as quickly as I could. On the way out I got chased by a buffalo guarding a heard. Apparently, there were around a dozen grizzlies grazing in the slough creek meadows, and the bison where all on edge. As for the bear, I believe he was an adolescent, and was just curious about me.



A view along Slough Creek, where I was standing watching the bear. My tent was up in the trees top center of the picture

A video taken from camp, when I first noticed the bear. You can't see the bear in the video. Click the HD button



A view of the patrol cabin near camp (taken from a previous trip). The outhouse is near the tree to the right, out of view



A picture of the outhouse I stayed in, taken early that morning. You can see how the door swings in.

A video I took that morning after spending the night in the outhouse
 

Joey

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Apr 1, 2014
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Another story:

In early July of 2013, I was doing an off trail loop in the northern section of Grand Teton NP, near Moose Basin. On July 3rd, I hiked from Talus Lake north, climbing both Doane and Ranger peaks, and then walking the ridge line that extends north of there, high above Coulter canyon. It was a long day, and I needed a place to camp. I dropped down the ridge, but couldn't find a single flat place. It was getting dark, and being exhausted, I got clumsy. I fell into a ravine, sliding and tumbling around 30 feet, tearing off skin on my back side and legs. Stuck in the ravine, I continued down it, eventually making my way to Moose Creek, in Web Canyon. It was 10:30pm and completely dark. Lots of down trees and thick vegetation. I was looking around for a place to set up my tent, when I noticed something reflect in my headlamp. Surprised, I said something out loud, and realized it was a large bear. I can't say for sure because it was dark, but I'm fairly confident it was a grizzly based on its size, shape, noises, and actions. He was just sitting there watching me in the dark, probably surprised to see me. He sat up, and started to circle around me. I could see his entire body in my light, which is another reason I believe he was a grizzly. He started making huffing sounds as he circled me, and it was hard to follow him because of all the vegetation. I shimmied up between 2 trees about 15 feet. He could have probably gotten to me if he wanted to, but at least from here I had a line of sight. The bear continued to woof, snap branches, and circle around me. From up the tree, I became very vocal, yelling out. He never approached, but hung around for a long time. Sitting there in that tree, looking up at the stars, with blood dripping down my legs, and listening to the bear below me, I felt the most alive I've ever been. Its the adventure I'm after when I go into the woods. Eventually the bear moved on. My adrenaline wore off, and I got cold up in the tree. I dropped down and set up my tent in the middle of a down tree with large branches surrounding me. I surprising slept great.


My tent that morning, you can see how thick vegetation Is here




The tree I shimmied up. I actually had to hold on to stay up in the tree, there wasn't a place to sit.
 

Absarokanaut

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My oldest brother is a big city University Professor. In the summer of 2002 his 13 year old daughter of suburbia came to Wyoming to spend some time with the horses on our cousin’s Ranch; and then she was going to hike the end of the Colorado Trail with this Uncle of hers. Although the Colorado Trail didn’t burn in 2002 much of it was closed to human activity in June and July after colossal fires erupted southwest of Denver and near Durango in southwestern Colorado. The 140,000 acre Hayman Fire southwest of Denver was the largest fire in the history of Colorado statehood. It was nothing like Yellowstone in 1988 or southern California in 2003, but the decision to remove the human equation from much of the Colorado backcountry for much of June and July was indeed a good one. Governor Bill Owens was ridiculed by the tourist industry for supposedly suggesting people should stay out of the mountains when he made the observation that the state was “...on fire.” There were fires all over the place, and as someone generally on the left side of the fence I applauded our Republican Governor for having the guts to do the unusual, to tell it like it indeed was.

Smoked off the Colorado Trail Uncle John made his way back to Wyoming for some wonderful hiking in the Tetons, Absaroka, and Gros Ventre Mountains. My niece was like many girls her age, completely enamored with horses. So Uncle John didn’t ask her to backpack much at all and at the end of her stay I took her to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks for 5 days of car camping and day hiking. It was the last week of July, more often than not the time of greatest bounty for the animals of Greater Yellowstone, a time for them to sit around and put on weight, to relax, and a great time for the animals that we are to look for the summer residents of this sub arctic and exquisite ecosystem.

We left the Ranch and hit Two Ocean Lake in Grand Teton National Park about 06:30. Two weeks earlier I had taken my best photograph of a little black bear there, and I had good reason to think I might encounter him again. We saw lots of beautiful waterfowl, a couple moose and deer, and 3 beautiful Bald Eagles that made my niece’s spirits soar just as mine had at her age so many times. I explained to her what Ben Franklin thought of our choice for a National Bird as any good Uncle would, shattering her delusion of the beautiful birds in her presence. Wish I had a smiley icon for this. There were certainly fairly fresh bear tracks, but we didn’t see the little guy we’d hoped too. Sure enough 10 minutes after getting back to the Trailhead two young women hiked in asking if we’d seen “the little grizzly.” I explained it was more than likely the Cinnamon colored bear I’d seen and photographed before. I got the photo out of the Jeep and sure enough it was the little guy after all.

Disappointed after coming so close after an 8 mile hike we drove over to Colter Bay on Jackson Lake to get a campsite and have an early dinner. After dinner we hiked out past Heron Pond and Swan Lake. After cresting point 6, 912’ we made our way over to the Point’s eastern shore and made our way to a beautiful pond off of Third Creek where I had seen otter years ago. Their ancestors were at the pond, along with a Sandhill Crane that flew right at my niece, making her duck and cover, just one of those great times you wish you had a helmet cam. We’d seen Moose, Elk, Deer, Trumpeter Swans, Osprey, Eagles, Sandpipers, Beaver, Muskrat, the most colorful Swallowtails I’d ever seen, and a list I could continue here for some time. Even though she hadn’t seen the bear she desperately wanted too, she was simply overwhelmed and in awe. In our 14th mile of hiking that day she and I were exhausted and ready to sleep like logs as the last of the sun was consumed by the clouds over Bivouac Peak at 9 PM and a half a mile short of the Trailhead.

Suddenly from behind the cover just 20 yards or so to our left, west, was the sound of rustle and vocal predatorial surprise. She quickly gave me a forceful “Uncle John!” whisper and tug on my pack to make sure I’d heard it. Although I knew better I told her not to worry, that it was probably an elk or a deer. An instant later as the very last of the long day’s light was filtering through the Lodgepole Pines in front and to the left of us the golden mass sudenly bolted up the line of trees. It was almost like looking at a silent era movie, trees acting like film frames as the bear bolted away from us. After passing two dozen or so of the branchless tree trunks the bear stopped and turned to look at us. She was a +/- 400 pound sow Grizzly. With my Bear Spray out and the safety off I was expecting the bear to just move off into the forest. The expectation was realistic, but wrong in this case. After violently tearing up an old log the sow moved perpendicularly to us and onto the trail 25 yards in front of us. She moved to head up the trail in front of us but instead stood on her hinds and shook her backside at us. I had my niece behind me and one of my ski poles stretched out in front of me. With some distance still between us I waved the pole and dropped it. I unbuckled my pack’s waist and breast belts and lifted the pack high above my head to make myself appear larger. That did the trick, and as the bear trotted off we backpedaled down the trail and then made our way over to the trail on the lakeshore. Having seen some folks at Swan Lake just a few minutes previously I yelled BEAR! within seconds when she was clearly out of the area.
 

JulieKT

Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2014
Messages
145

LOL!!!


@[USER=2109]Absarokanaut
That sounds like an amazing experience, as well. Bet your niece never forgot it.

@Joey, that's an amazing amount of bear encounters. Used to see them all the time in Yosemite when I was a kid. Since I've moved to Utah, not seen a single one here, although one once went through our outfitter camp. No one was there at the time. The bear left new doorways into the large kitchen tent, and dragged my $800 sleeping bag about 100 feet from the staff tent--which he UNZIPPED. I kid you not, that bear unzipped that tent. I was impressed. My sleeping bag was untouched, tooth marks in my pillow.

plane, tent 007.JPG

The bear's new entrances to the kitchen tent. Note that he made not one, but two whole new doorways. Plus a few smaller slits for good measure.

bco trips etc aug 09 061.JPG

Dragged a box of books to the creek and spread them around. Guess he wasn't a big "beach read" fan.

bco trips etc aug 09 069.JPG

The staff tent he politely unzipped to enter and exit. Even left it clipped on the bottom.

bco trips etc aug 09 070.JPG

His prints on the tent in comparison to an adult hand.

fishlake pics 010.JPG

Tasted the tables, too.

Anyway, bears are not usually an issue in the mountains here (near Capitol Reef), but a suspected reason behind that one coming to our camp was that, unbeknownst to us at the time, a rather significant pot farm existed about a mile away from our camp (that's another story for another thread!), and they used fish as fertilizer. Of course, our kitchen tent would still smell like food even though no one had been there for weeks, but it's standard practice here to leave outfitter camps up throughout the season. As said, bears are almost never an issue in this area.[/user]
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
2,736
Don't know how you guys are hiking but I've always been able to have animals stay a good distance away from me...... I'm not noisy either....
I have no stories.
 

Vegan.Hiker

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
2,094
This isn't a personal account but related to my personal life in a few ways.

I work at Rutgers University in NJ and one of our students was killed last week by a bear while hiking in Apshawa Preserve, a place I have hiked several times which is about a half hour from my house.

http://m.nydailynews.com/news/natio...r-receive-posthumous-degree-article-1.1949581

NJ is notorious for bears and I have seen bears hiking in those very woods before. I'm currently re-thinking my stance on carrying bear spray while hiking.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

DAA

Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2012
Messages
715
I've never been attacked by anything bigger than insects. Been chased by a few range bulls, had a broom tail stomp my speaker flat once while calling coyotes, been stalked by a mountain lion, delayed in my walking by a moose, had a black bear take a deer I had killed with my bow, lot of stuff like that, but never anything resembling an attack.

- DAA
 

andyjaggy

Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2013
Messages
925
I don't think I get out as much as a lot of you, but in all my years of backpacking and hiking I have never even seen a bear, granted I haven't spent anytime in Glacier, Yellowstone, or the Tetons. I am fine with that.
 
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