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Old 12-19-2012, 12:44 PM   #61
Myfuture_yourdebt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquadog View Post
Not smarter, but I certainly have much more experience with bears of both types than you do. As for Colorado versus other locations, there may be some regional differences. Are you going to stake your life on those differences being major?

You did say that a man with a knife versus a black bear was almost a fair fight, if a grizzly attacks you're automatically dead...all of which seemed to indicate how you felt on the subject, and you were pretty definitive in your opinions - based on seeing one bear every three years. That pretty much added up to an epic information fail that would mislead others, therefore I responded.

If you only rode a motorcycle once every three years, would we credit your advice in that regard either?
Here's what I actually said that you're referring to:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Myfuture_yourdebt View Post
Grizzlies aren't as easily scared off, and if they attack you're basically dead already unless you happen to be a good shot AND get lucky with either bear spray or proper firearm (12 gauge, .44 Mag and up revolver) to bring down what is basically the equivilent of least 2 black bears with rabies as far as power and viciousness goes.

A normal sized black bear versus Joe Schmo with a bowie knife is practically a fair fight.
You still haven't pointed out anything that I said that was an "epic information fail" in other words, something I said that is dead wrong. Your only real critique is that I have only seen a bear every three years (of course you imply that that is because I'm willingly "inexperienced" when in reality it's because there's less bears here for me to see)...and that somehow invalidates my opinion. So there "may be some regional differences"...? Really? Colorado may be the same as Canada in regards to wildlife and wildlife behavior? Please, there are huge differences that I have bet my life on repeatedly without issue. For one, the further from the equator you get, the bigger many mammals grow (black bears and cougars in CO are smaller on average than those in Canada and Alaska). Another huge difference is civilization, central CO hasn't seen grizzlies for over half a century and the wildlife that is here is very use to seeing people (and in the vast majority of cases, accustomed to running away from them). Before I knew any better I repeatedly cooked food and kept food nearby to camp and slept in my same clothes I cooked in (etc., all the bear country mistakes to make)...for 4 years. Never once did I hear or see a bear in my camp during that time (the bears I've seen I have always spotted from a moving vehicle). You are right in that it is a gamble whenever in bear country...ANYTHING can happen. But what was the very first part of my post? "Based on everything I've ever heard about, read about, and experienced..." Yes I've read things that say everyone in bear country should do XYZ, and I do those things now that I'm informed. The main point of my first post was to tell others from and not from CO that they can sleep a little more soundly in black bear country Colorado (assuming you have a gun or bear spray) simply by pointing out that the vast majority of encounters here are them running away from us even when bear-country mistakes are made. Colorado is NOT grizzly country...though these days you may run into one around our northern border.

Your first response to my post in this thread contained only straw man arguments and attempts to create an argument where there is none:
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Originally Posted by aquadog View Post
I hope this is a prank post, or sarcasm.

Otherwise, you need to read or experience more current information, as much of what you state is not consistent with current bear safety practice. Let's put this in perspective. You say you've seen black bears 4 times in 12 years. Last year I had a grizzly with two cubs munching berries across my driveway, about 75', watched them for about an hour. Same summer, another mother grizzly with 3 cubs wandered by, black bears are frequent neighbours. This is at home, not way out in the bush, I'm only 25 km to Whitehorse.
All you're saying here ^ is "I have more experience than you, so your opinion is invalid and my opinion is a golden toilet". Please point out one thing that I've said that is "not consistent with current bear safety practice".
Grizzlies will defend territory or act to eliminate a threat, but do not typically view people as food. I have a friend and two acquaintances who have been mauled by grizzlies. In each case, the bear left them alone after believing it had eliminated the threat. My friend recalls thinking "if I don't stop screaming, I'm dead". He did so, the bear dropped him. I would add that it had him by the back of the leg where it joins the buttocks and was flailing him through alder bushes like a dog does with a stick. That's how strong they are. Or see the cabin pictures I posted. Grizzlies also respond well to bear spray, i.e. leave. So are you automatically dead if a grizzly attacks? No, use spray, play dead, they may leave you the worse for wear (none of my friends are pretty anymore), but alive, if you're lucky.
Look at what I said in my first post that you're supposedly responding to here ^. I said bear-spray or a firearm can prevent what is practically an "auto death" when attacked by a grizzly. Of course I could have said play dead as well, but I prefer a more pro-active approach hence why I didn't mention that.

As others have posted, your luck changes if you're constantly exposed to the situation, but that's true of anything. Use a chainsaw a lot, you're more likely to cut yourself.

We had one unfortunate incident where a prospector was out staking, unknowingly walked right below a den with a mother griz and cubs. She probably killed him so quickly there was no time for any action. Given some distance, and no surprise, she may not have acted as dramatically as she did. Who knows? There is an element of uncertainty, they also have personalities. Some are mellow, some not.

If you think a black bear your size is the same strength, good luck. Not even close. While most black bears will run, some won't. Worse, some black bears DO think of us as food, and will initiate a predatory attack. If it's pretending not to see you, slowly stalking closer...bad signs. We keep it quiet, but do lose a tourist now and then to bear attacks, almost all to black bears. One young summer worker had "old school" advice and played dead when the black bear went for her - this in a public government campsite - and while the bear was eventually chased off by others, it wasn't pretty. They don't necessarily kill you before starting to dine. If it's a predatory black bear, make the meal as hard to get as possible, fight back - but only if contacted.
At what point did I ever say or even imply that a black bear of my size has similar strength? Once again, please review my quoted post. I said a normal sized (consider the context: standard Colorado) black bear versus a dude with a bowie knife would practically be a fair fight. Sorry you took all that so literally...my point was that, like most mammals, bears are smart. If you fight back and hurt it enough, it will more than likely run away because you're not easy pickin's and like all wild animals it's brain is constantly in survival mode. Did I recommend fighting off a bear with a bowie knife? No, I didn't. My intended implicit message was what I layed out above...bears are animals, they are smart but they are simple-minded, by and large they prefer the path of least resistance. You fighting back is not in their game-plan ever. My most basic message was to fight back...don't assume playing dead will save you. And what was your message in the above paragraph? The exact same thing: fight back (but my recommendations are still "not consistent with current bear safety practices", right?). Bears will always be stronger than you, but never smarter. Use your head and you can probably outwit an attacking black bear unless you're entirely defenseless and caught by surprise. Of course your chances of successfully defending yourself in any manner against a grizzly are much less.
At another public campsite a black bear went for a fellow who was splitting wood, and he had the cool presence of mind to nail it dead center of the skull with his axe. Giant balls, and great timing. For the bear to get that close, it wasn't a bluff charge. If you're taking black bears casually, good luck with that.
^Again, you're trying to make it seem like I take bears casually. I don't, I simply recognize that I don't live in true bear country where grizzlies are eating berries near my property, etc. Once I had learned more about safe practices in bear country, I've practiced those guidelines myself...but I don't pretend like black bears are murderers behind every bush in the wild. But if I lived in wild Canada, I probably would because Canada is not Colorado.
I am probably more afraid of grizzlies, as I've seen what they can do, but given a choice, I'd almost rather deal with a grizzly than a black bear. Maybe it's the unpredicatability of a black bear, which I think may be higher than a grizzly.

Put another way, I've had a grizzly walk through my camp, about 25' away. I sat still, he ignored me, it was clear that he was sending a message: "MY woods". If that had been a black bear, I'd have been really worried, that close would mean intent.
Funny, in my first post I covered fighting back and specifically with bear spray or a firearm...yet in your first post in response to me (the entire quoted part above), you mention the same things as if I had never done so myself. You focused on my "auto death from grizzly attack" comment...without looking in the same sentence for where I mention defending yourself with bear spray or a firearm. Split hairs much!? Looks like you're eager to "educate"
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Old 12-19-2012, 07:01 PM   #62
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You obviously are a sensitive individual with some very strong opinions, which you are welcome to. Good luck with that bowie knife fight, OK?

Oh, that bit about animals growing bigger the further they are from the equator? Look that one up, OK?
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Old 12-19-2012, 08:07 PM   #63
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I called you out for your BS. Sorry you don't feel like saving face.

Here I go again:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergmann%27s_rule
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:16 PM   #64
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This started as such a civil thread with lots of good information. I hope other readers don't lose that fact in this little tiff.

This is not about saving face, it's about presenting factual information. If you do some research using current references related to bears, you'll find that what I've noted is not B.S. but based on case studies. I live in bear country; work in the wilderness; and have to keep current on bear behaviour (opinions on which changes with new and additional information), so keep up on this stuff.

Yes, I understand your Wikipedia reference, and like lots of generalisms, it has it's uses. Like a lot of general statements, it also has limitations and modifications.

The reference is similar to the argument for geodisic domes as maximum volume for minimum surface area, therefore they must be most energy efficient. Except that calculation is done without an insulation value, which changes the picture quite rapidly. Same thing - a general rule that is "true" but has to be thought about and put in context before thinking it applies to a specific instance. Unlike physics, the biological sciences are more variable, so Bergmann's Rule needs a big grain of salt - elephants and other large tropical land mammals, for instance, don't exactly fall into that rule, do they?

Do some research, specifically in terms of bears, since that's what we're discussing. Check the range of weights for various populations in different geographic regions, such as southern U.S., mountain state U.S. central Canada, Yukon and coastal Alaska. You're not going to find a uniform size increase with latitude. Instead, you're going to find a better correlation with habitat, food source, climate, need to hibernate and some other factors. Why are coastal Alaskan bears so big? Salmon swim into their mouth without much effort on the part of the bear, and it's a mild climate, they eat for more months of the year. Same latitude, tougher climate, you'll find a considerably smaller bear.

Like I said, I don't think you're stupid, but you are presenting half truths, angry personal arguments, generalist rules and the like, as fact.

Luckily, nobody here has to rely on either of our opinions, they can do their own homework. Bears are generally not a big deal when camping, and that's been pointed out by many posters.
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Old 12-20-2012, 09:07 AM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquadog View Post
This started as such a civil thread with lots of good information. I hope other readers don't lose that fact in this little tiff.

This is not about saving face, it's about presenting factual information. If you do some research using current references related to bears, you'll find that what I've noted is not B.S. but based on case studies. I live in bear country; work in the wilderness; and have to keep current on bear behaviour (opinions on which changes with new and additional information), so keep up on this stuff.

Yes, I understand your Wikipedia reference, and like lots of generalisms, it has it's uses. Like a lot of general statements, it also has limitations and modifications.

The reference is similar to the argument for geodisic domes as maximum volume for minimum surface area, therefore they must be most energy efficient. Except that calculation is done without an insulation value, which changes the picture quite rapidly. Same thing - a general rule that is "true" but has to be thought about and put in context before thinking it applies to a specific instance. Unlike physics, the biological sciences are more variable, so Bergmann's Rule needs a big grain of salt - elephants and other large tropical land mammals, for instance, don't exactly fall into that rule, do they?

Do some research, specifically in terms of bears, since that's what we're discussing. Check the range of weights for various populations in different geographic regions, such as southern U.S., mountain state U.S. central Canada, Yukon and coastal Alaska. You're not going to find a uniform size increase with latitude. Instead, you're going to find a better correlation with habitat, food source, climate, need to hibernate and some other factors. Why are coastal Alaskan bears so big? Salmon swim into their mouth without much effort on the part of the bear, and it's a mild climate, they eat for more months of the year. Same latitude, tougher climate, you'll find a considerably smaller bear.

Like I said, I don't think you're stupid, but you are presenting half truths, angry personal arguments, generalist rules and the like, as fact.

Luckily, nobody here has to rely on either of our opinions, they can do their own homework. Bears are generally not a big deal when camping, and that's been pointed out by many posters.
Please point out where I have presented a half truth, a personal argument, or generalist rules (that don't have a scientific basis).

Obviously there are exceptions to Bergman's Rule so it is not a "rule" in the traditional definition but it has been accepted by science none the less as a useful generalization with much more conformity than exception. I already know from reading many things that black bears here in CO are smaller on average than those in higher latitudes. A 300 pound black bear is considered big here. Not so much the case in Canada and Alaska. Is that difference directly attributable to the latitude difference itself? No (because the rule is about correlation not causation which no one said was uniform), but does it matter? No, my whole point about Bergman's Rule was that bears are less dangerous where they are smaller like most animals that are dangerous from their physical strength. And the end reality is that the further north you go, the bigger most animals get in general (like you pointed out, its not necessarily uniform, but the scientific generalization is still applicable nonetheless). That includes bears. Therefore the further north I go the more I worry about bears regardless of the species. They have bears running around Arizona...how big do you think they are (regardless of the reason for that)?To see a grizzly all I have to do is drive to Wyoming...but staying here in CO I don't have to worry about grizzlies or truly large black bears, at least at this time.
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:00 AM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Myfuture_yourdebt View Post
Please point out where I have presented a half truth, a personal argument, or generalist rules (that don't have a scientific basis).

Obviously there are exceptions to Bergman's Rule so it is not a "rule" in the traditional definition but it has been accepted by science none the less as a useful generalization with much more conformity than exception. I already know from reading many things that black bears here in CO are smaller on average than those in higher latitudes. A 300 pound black bear is considered big here. Not so much the case in Canada and Alaska. Is that difference directly attributable to the latitude difference itself? No (because the rule is about correlation not causation which no one said was uniform), but does it matter? No, my whole point about Bergman's Rule was that bears are less dangerous where they are smaller like most animals that are dangerous from their physical strength. And the end reality is that the further north you go, the bigger most animals get in general (like you pointed out, its not necessarily uniform, but the scientific generalization is still applicable nonetheless). That includes bears. Therefore the further north I go the more I worry about bears regardless of the species. They have bears running around Arizona...how big do you think they are (regardless of the reason for that)?To see a grizzly all I have to do is drive to Wyoming...but staying here in CO I don't have to worry about grizzlies or truly large black bears, at least at this time.
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:19 PM   #67
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:34 PM   #68
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For those who care, these are fascinating animals. As the Yukon Environment site notes, "most like man" in several ways, finding a place in myth and legend. When you see what they can do (the cabin photos) but typically don't, you realize that they're actually pretty mild mannered, and with the cautions many posters have noted, aren't a big issue when camping.

http://www.env.gov.yk.ca/animals-habitat/mammals.php click on black and grizzly bears, and whatever else strikes your fancy. If the Least Weasel was bigger, we'd live in fear, it has attitude!

Also: http://www.arktofile.net/pages/bear_am.html and http://www.ursusinternational.org/en/factsblack.html and several others.

Yukon male grizzly: 500 to 800 pounds. Coastal Alaskan grizzly sucking back salmon and lounging in the rain: up to twice that.

Yukon black bear average male weight in spring is about 180 to 240 pounds, about 20%+ more in fall. In Yellowstone, about 260 pounds is an average male weight, in New York State, about 300 pounds, Great Smoky National Park, around 250. 600 pounds would be a record bear, although there have been exceptionally large bears recorded.

A bear biologist told me that in coastal regions, after salmon, black bear is the #2 protein in a grizzly bear's diet. Hmmm.
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:55 PM   #69
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After reading this nonsense, I have made up my mind; I am rooting for the bears!

But to leave on a good note, here is an old joke:

Two biology students are tagging bear cubs pulled from winter dens. They tranquilize the sow first and haul her out.

One of the sows starts to wake up early and seeing them with her cub, jumps up with a roar and comes at them.

Both fellas take off at a run through the bush but after a few metres, one turns to the other and says "this is silly, we both know we cannot outrun a charging bear!"

And the other guy looks him in the eyes and says "No, but I can outrun you..............."
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Old 12-25-2012, 09:51 PM   #70
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Kind of hate to have my very first post on this forum something really dumb I did with a black bear. You will probably wonder why they have dropped the IQ requirement so greatly.

I live on a 1.5 acre property in the country. A few years ago I saw a black bear eyeing the beehives a friend keeps on one corner of our property - not hard to imagine what was going through its mind. An old single shot 12 guage was by the back door along with some light trap loads, used for dispatching magpies. I picked up the gun and a few shells and walked toward the bear. When I was about 30 yards away from the bear and it was facing away from me, I fired into its butt. Figured the noise and sting of the pellets would send it running.

I was half lucky. It didn't run back at me, which it well could have. Instead it ran for the closest fir tree and started climbing. It finally dawns on me that this bear not only knows where there is an excellent food source (which will cost my friend hundreds of dollars when it tears apart the hives) but also a bear with one very bad experience with human beings. Rightly or wrongly, I decide this bear has to die. I have no shotgun slugs nor a high power rifle, so call a friend who does have a .300 magnum.

The bear is still up the tree when he arrives. What follows should give pause to any of you planning to possibly kill a bear with a handgun. When he shot it in the heart/lung area, that bear climbed another 25 feet up the tree faster than any cat I've seen climb a tree before falling to the ground dead.

What I WISH I had done was simply fire a shot or two in the air close to my back door. Not sure if that would have scared the bear off for good, The hives are still there, now surrounded by electric netting with solar power. No more bear problems.
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Old 12-26-2012, 11:44 AM   #71
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Good story, they don't die easily, not comparable to a human.

Electric fencing generally works really well. I occasionally get a request for it from campers used to down south bear country. Not enough problems here to carry it. Bears are smart and persistent. I know an outfitter with some fly-in cabins, used to have bear break-ins every year. Put up an electric fence, no problems until the year a tree fell across the line. The bears must have just kept checking until it was OK again....
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:37 PM   #72
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Food

Ok here is a total noob question from someone with limited outdoor experience and very little bear experience. I am asking this specifically to those that stealth camp or camp in bear country. What do you do with your food and food debris and garbage? Like the pots and utensils with food don't they attract bears and if you wash them out, doesn't the puddle of food gunk and water attract the bears? I know this question is dumb but for someone who want to do more and more stealth camping and such I have not found an obvious solution to the cooking and food smell issue.
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:01 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by Nc987 View Post
Ok here is a total noob question from someone with limited outdoor experience and very little bear experience. I am asking this specifically to those that stealth camp or camp in bear country. What do you do with your food and food debris and garbage? Like the pots and utensils with food don't they attract bears and if you wash them out, doesn't the puddle of food gunk and water attract the bears? I know this question is dumb but for someone who want to do more and more stealth camping and such I have not found an obvious solution to the cooking and food smell issue.
Obvious solution: don't eat near where you sleep. Cook, eat, wash your dishes. Move a quarter mile away and stealth camp.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:03 PM   #74
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Ok........

Ok, thank you for the response. I am talking more specifically about if you are traveling in an area where you can't leave trash, there is no where to dispose of it so you must take it with you. I have already ate early and then camped elsewhere but I am talking more specifically in the more remote areas where you must pack your empty cans, etc with you. Or does everyone just eat dried food and what not?
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:21 PM   #75
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I usually hang my food and heavily scented gear from a tree branch using paracord.
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