Friday, July 29, 2011

Mad Bears and Americans

No, not "Mad Dogs and Englishmen", in case you were wondering why my title (from Joe Cocker's live 1970 album) sounded a bit familiar. I figured someone would wonder that and it's so annoying that it's hard to concentrate on the article you are reading until you remember it, so, now that one person can relax.

I heard something that made me a bit nervous, on NPR. They said that there are between five and twenty Grizzly bears in the Cascades.

Do NOT do this
If you see a Griz, do not high five it. You may be thinking, cool, and cute, but he's thinking, hmmmm tasty, and yum.

I back packed alone in the Cascades for years always thinking, "No Griz, just black and brown bear."

Before those years of backpacking alone, I had search and rescue training. I've never been able to get lost in the mountain, I've always had excellent sense of direction and could never understand how people constantly get lost, but I guess if you're not used to the woods, it's not that hard.

My rifle club instructor in the late 60s said he was out with his family in the cascades and a bear was on a near by ridge. His family as picking berries. He had his 30-06. The bear was acting funny. Then he said it charged them. He told his family to run and at some point, he started firing at the bear.

Now, this guy was a great shot but the bear kept coming. He said he emptied the rifle into it and it finally dropped and slid to a stop, ten feet from him. He said he was pretty unnerved. He turned around and his oldest son, about 17 was standing there with a rock raised waiting to back his dad up if the shooting failed.

He said that they got a ranger and they checked the bear out together. They found that the bear had 19 .22 shots in its chest. So, someone was just plinking at the bear from a distance and it was probably pretty pissed of an in pain by time it say him and his family in its territory.

So, you never know what going on when you see an animal in the woods. Maybe it will leave you alone, or maybe its not in the right mind. Either way, I don't go in the mountains with anything less than a .357. It amazes me the people that give no thought to it.

So, if you do go into the mountains, go for it, but go forewarned, forearmed and fully aware and well, good luck.

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