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Wednesday, November 10. 2010
With protection, the Griz populations of Yellowstone and parts of the Front Range have slowly grown, naturally leading to more encounters with humans.
Nobody in the 1800s would go out playing in Griz Country without a firearm.
Grizzlies are not predatory carnivores, but they are mainly opportunistic carnivores, meaning that, if they find a dead, injured, weak or newborn mammal, they will be happy to eat it. Their main foods are grasses, sedges, roots, berries, fish, ants and bugs, etc. They aren't hunters.
Generally, Grizzlies try to stay away from people - unless the people are camping with bacon on the griddle or have other tasty food - bear bait - around the camp.
In Yellowstone, there have been recent incidents of Griz maulings of people. Perhaps many visitors to Yellowstone have a romantic and edenic vision of nature. I have been in Griz Country, and I would never camp in it. I figure that, to a Griz, a human is not much different from a helpless newborn Moose or Elk.
Furthermore, I'd be more comfortable either on a horse or well-armed - preferably both.
Unlike this commenter, I do not think we should kill all the bears. I think we should simply teach people who want to explore wilderness to be prepared for it and to understand the risks. Woodcraft. Same thing with rattlesnake country. Same thing as mountain-climbing. People die.
It's not Disneyland out there.
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Learn about the wildnerness, what to do or not do, or accept the consequences.
Most often people die due to stupidity (weather related, getting lost) rather than anything related to animals.
I felt, and probably was, safer backpacking in Yellowstone than I am in a major city.
Their main foods are grasses, sedges, roots, berries, fish, ants and bugs, etc. They aren't hunters.
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Tell that to the fish, ants, and bugs.
What do they do - order takeout sushi?
I prefer being at the top of the food chain.
When Grizzlies lose their fear of man they become a menace.
I lived in the interior of Alaska for 28 years. Grizzlies enjoy munching on berries, salmon and ground squirrels, but they are opportunists always on the look out for large prey. Old or sick moose and caribou are favorite targets, but they will take down healthy ones if they can catch them. Believe me, grizzlies can really move, but moose can too when they are running for their lives. I once saw a grizzly stalk a huge cow moose that easily weighed over a thousand pounds. The bear moved in as close as it could get and popped up out of the brush to chase that utterly shocked moose over an open space for at least a hundred yards. It looked like both animals were going 40 mp. I was close enough to see the sinews in their muscles rippling. They disappeared from view so I don't know if the moose got away, but I was sure relieved the bear wasn't after me.
These animals, along with wolves and mountain lions, were driven out by man for a reason. I don't say kill 'em all, but the idea of trying to purposefully expand their range is feel-good, see-the-world as I wish it were rather than as it is, foolishness. A lot of what is offered as "science" is the same.
I've had many solo encounters with Black Bear in my life, but when I got in close to a very large (@600 lbs or bigger) one this spring, I watched my life flash before my eyes. His head was about the size of a Volvo engine, and he was within pistol range. So, of course, I drew mine.
Looking back at that encounter, I wonder how dumb I was to have traveled those many years in the woods without a weapon. Also, I am now less prone to say they subsist on berries. The deer in the woods who displaced to the fields seemed to think his sights were set on them. My opinion? Bear eat venison, often.
We live very close to these "new ranges". In fact there is nothing between us and them and have come across one on the trail. Rueger is the answer. Wear it on your chest for quick draw if necessary. Otherwise leave em alone. Had a herd of 12 deer here this summer. Bow seasoned opened and we had four left (one nice 3 year old buck). Rifle season opened and we had our three neighbors who had each invited two hunters (total of 9) then at the foot of our road where there is walk in parking we had 8 (EIGHT) pick up trucks parked out there. That meant AT LEAST 8 more hunters and most likely some of those trucks had two guys in them. So, let's split the difference let's be conservative and say that from the walk in parking area there were 12(Twelve) guys who walked in. Therefore, we had at a minimum of 20 guys trying to shoot 4 (Four) deer. I kept my head down for two days. Don't see any deer here now. Might as well let the bear have em. My thought is this. MOST hunters do not need the meat. There should be some formula for hunting. Let's say the number of people in your immediate household, some way related to your net income. How does that sound? Otherwise go to Wal Mart and buy your damned meat!
This family has a long tradition of eating game through the winter months. But, we don't "HAVE TO" anymore. I have people whom I love dearly that do need to put some meat in the freezer.
The other suggestion is this. Let's reduce "deer season" to two days over one weekend. That works doesn't it? That way every living being gets a break. I don't have to put up with all the hunters who will show up every weekend for weeks, the deer get a chance to beat the odds.
Recent estimates put the deer population in America at 30 million. I live on deer range, too. If you saw a herd of 12, that means I would estimate there are 100 within a one mile range of you (depending on the terrain). The attrition you describe tells me the deer avoided the bow hunters, which has a lower harvest rate than firearm season. The same things happen later - the deer escape.
10.7 million hunters went afield in 2006 (survey year) and probably not half of them succeeded. It is not a 100% success rate.
Of course, you know that those hunters spend more money on your local/statewide economy than many other outdoor sports combined.
Driver-deer related accidents are a huge problem in the US, and the North American Whitetail kills more drivers on our roads in accidents than any other mammal-human death stat.
I am sorry for you, apple pie, that you live in an area that has so much hunting pressure. If the hunters disappeared tomorrow, the deer population would degrade in health, becoming more prey to disease and coyotes. If you reduced the season to 1 weekend, the pressure would be higher, and accidents would increase, unfortunately.
This easy beat-down brought to you by a hunter.
What in the world does "need to" have to do with anything? Seriously, the right to hunt has nothing to do with "need". You want another big government answer to solve your problem of too many guys all deciding to hunt from the end of your road? I heard another idea the other day... make it illegal to paint your fenceposts orange or refuse to permit hunters access to your privet land. Spread those bubbas out a little. Ouch! Big government solutions can go both ways, and rarely accomplish what they were intended to.
Where the deer spent their summer is not likely to be the place they spend their fall or winter. I doubt your counts have any real relevance to the actual deer population.
Seeing as we are speaking about wild things and BD has a great love for birds, I thought this might be the right place to post this:
I've come across a few black bears in my day, and had a couple of scary encounters, but I've never personally seen a grizzly. From what I've heard, the black bears scare me a little more. But there's no way you could out-run either one of them. You'd just die tired.
When I worked in the oil and gas industry in north-eastern British Columbia, the journeyman's rule-of-thumb is that you don't have to run faster than a bear -- you only need to be able to run faster than your helper.
Plus, I always made sure my helpers had plenty of liverwurst smeared on their hardhats.
I grew up near Grizzly country in Montana and spent many a night camping in their world. Always kept a clean camp and carried a SW .357 with specially made "bear" bullets.
I had a number of encounters with Grizzlies over the years even had a stare down with one in camp one morning. I also lost a good friend to one 30 years ago. That said I'd hope we would expand their range with more relocations to former ranges. (We always suspected the MT Fish & Game did this anyway for single problem bears. I swear I saw Grizzlies in the Pryor Mountains on a number of deer hunts).
Yes they are dangerous and there will be issues with livestock but knowing they are still out there actually gives me hope for mankind. I lump relocations/range expansion under conservationism and good stewardship of the land and animals.
I gotta know what that .357 bear bullet is. I upgraded to Hornady LeveRevolution (plastic tip) bullets, but wonder what is better, other than a bigger caliber.
It was a FMJ round with some extra "rifle" grains added to make it a hot round. It can't remember the exact ratio after all these years. The idea was to punch through the hide and take out bone instead of bouncing off, especially if you hit the skull.
It's a .357 magnum combat revolver - model 19 with a 4 inch barrel. The plan was 5 shots for the bear and if that didn't work 1 for me.
At the time it was the only large caliber pistol I could afford and it was a used Montana Highway Patrol weapon. Also it's not to heavy to carry in a holster like a larger .44 & .45 calibers.
Mine is a GP100 .357 Magnum, w a 6 inch barrel. The idea is that I don't live in griz country, and a cinnamon bear of that size is also pretty rare. I was incredulous - couldn't believe what I was seeing.
The longer barrel adds velocity, which is very good. I saw a vid of this cal. destroying a cinder block - I expect that the skull impenetrability issue would be overcome by that. If he'd rushed me, I planned 2 in the head, 4 to the heart/lung area (screw the bone breaking meme) and then I would've filled his eyes with turkey shot at 12 guage. If I'd have had that much time...
The next week a guy kil't a griz in Denali with a smaller cal. pistol, so I expect I'd have been okay.
All of you wanting a great bear load for a revolver, get a box of Federal Cast Core cartridges. .357-.44. They use a very heavy HARDENED lead bullet that penetrates extremely well and causes severe bleeding.
We have lots of grizzly here in NW Wyo and I gave up on the pistol, I now carry a Rem. 870 12 ga. w/ 3" slugs as my main gun. Pistol is backup. Most people aren't good enough with a handgun in a panic situation to stop a bear at 15', shotgun is much better choice. And stay away from those pistol grip models, they don't aim worth a crap.
Cast lead sounds solid. Now its back to the argument of velocity vs. density of the round. I think I'll stay with my velocity idea, until the day I start bouncing bullets off of bear skulls, after which point I'll make the change out.
I just zeroed my Mossberg for .12 g slugs. I switched out the extra-extra full choke for Modified, and am now good to go for large bear. I reckon he's long gone by now, but I'll see if he left any sign next time I'm in those woods.
Here in Wyoming with no hunting pressure, the grizzlies are attracted to the sound of gunshots which they have learned to associate with fresh elk meat.