Walkabout In The Weminuche Wilderness

Herschel Smith · 05 Aug 2018 · 30 Comments

"There are no socialists in the bush" - HPS All of my physical training only barely prepared me for the difficulty of the Weminuche Wilderness (pronounced with the "e" silent).  It's National Forest land, not National Park.  The Department of Agriculture no longer prints maps of the area, so we relied on NatGeo for the map, and it's good, but not perfect. We have a lot of ground to cover, including traveling with firearms, the modification I made to one of my guns for the trip, the actors…… [read more]

Bear Attack In Beartooth Mountains And Teton Wilderness Of Wyoming

BY Herschel Smith
6 days, 19 hours ago

Buckrail:

WYOMING – A backpacker was injured after a surprise encounter with two bears resulted in his being flown to an area hospital where he is receiving medical treatment.

Park County Sheriff’s Office notified Wyoming Game and Fish Department Sunday that a man had been injured by a bear while backpacking in the Beartooth Mountains near the Wyoming-Montana border. The injured male was flown by helicopter to an area hospital where he is receiving treatment.

Upon notification, Game and Fish immediately responded to the area to provide assistance to the victim and other party members. WGFD began an investigation on the attack that included interviews with the victim and members of his party.

The investigation is ongoing—WGFD personnel are still on-scene gathering further details today—but based on the initial investigation, it appears to be a surprise encounter between the individual and two bears.

The injured man is described only as an out-of-state recreationist. He was backpacking with three other people on the Shoshone National Forest near Granite Lake. The victim was apparently hiking ahead of the group when he encountered two bears at close range. The encounter happened too suddenly for him to deploy bear spray he was carrying.

Here is an update.  Most encounters like this are going to be “surprise encounters at close range.”  Be prepared.  Carry guns, easily accessible.  Forget about deploying spray.

In the Tetons, there is this worse outcome.

Two hunters were involved in a bear attack Friday, September 14, in the Teton Wilderness while field dressing an elk near Terrace Mountain, approximately 5.8 miles northeast of the Turpin Meadow Trailhead.

Florida resident Corey Chubon shot an elk during a guided bow hunt late Thursday afternoon. He and his guide, Mark Uptain of Martin Outfitters, were unable to locate the wounded animal before nightfall. The pair returned Friday morning to locate and remove the elk. They found the undisturbed carcass in the early afternoon and were preparing to pack out the elk when they were aggressively charged by two large bears.

Chubon was able to run to his pack a few yards away and retrieve a pistol but was unable to safely fire a shot at the bear that had pounced upon Uptain. The attacking bear then spun, charged Chubon, grabbed his foot and dragged him to the ground. He sustained injuries to his leg, chest, and arm, but was able to throw the gun to Uptain and get loose before running from the scene to phone for help.

[ … ]

An interagency helicopter was dispatched to the scene to assist with transport of the injured hunters. Chubon was taken to St. John’s Medical Center for treatment to his wounds. Search and Rescue personnel were unable to locate Uptain before the search was suspended for the evening.

What a shame he didn’t have a pistol on his belt.

Bears Just Don’t Care, And Coywolves Only A Little Bit

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 1 week ago

Charlotte Observer, news from Atlanta.

A Georgia woman screamed in fright as a bear climbed through an open window and into her minivan, tore up a child seat and ate her lunch.

“A bear beat me to my lunch today and is now hanging out in my van for over an hour and I have set the alarm off multiple times!” Carrie Watts posted on Facebook with her video of the bear.

Watts was working as a caretaker in a home Tuesday on Lake Burton, in the northeastern corner of the state, when she looked outside as the large black bear munched away., Atlanta Fox affiliate WAGA-TV reported.

The bear ate her sandwich, chips and cookie, Watts told WSB-TV, the ABC affiliate in Atlanta.

“I panicked. I started screaming,” she told WSB-TV.

She set her minivan’s alarm off multiple times to no avail, Watts posted on Facebook. The bear stayed in the vehicle for an hour before leaving, she posted.

I don’t think a car alarm is going to do the trick dear.  In other news of Coywolves, they are where you might least expect them.

A coyote has been terrorizing two East Bay neighborhoods, killing at least four dogs and injuring several others in people’s backyards in the past month.

One of the attacks happened last week in Danville when a coyote leaped a six-foot high fence of a home and went after two dogs who lived there. Though the dogs survived, other pets were not so fortunate.

Nine-year-old Lucy is recovering from surgery after a coyote attacked her in her own Alamo backyard on July 6. Kent Molinaro says he was in shock when he looked out the window and saw his Jack Russell Terrier.

“I see a coyote with Lucy in his mouth,” Molinaro said.

[ … ]

“All of a sudden he made a funny bark and I saw one of the two dogs being carried to the back fence of the yard,” said Danville resident Dave Bruce.

As the dog was being attacked, another pet nipped at the coyote until he dropped him.

And much farther to the East.

Police in Burlington, Massachusetts, are reminding residents to be vigilant after a coyote possibly attacked a dog on Thursday night.

Authorities said a Winn Street resident reported that a wild animal, potentially a coyote, came into her backyard at about 8 p.m. and grabbed her 9 pound Maltese, pulling it into the woods.

Responding officers searched the perimeter of the woods but were unable to locate the dog.

“This was a very unfortunate situation where a resident lost her beloved pet,” Burlington Police Chief Michael Kent said.

[ … ]

To prevent those attacks, police recommend the following tips:

  • Keep pets on leashes at all times if outdoors
  • Do not approach, feed, pet, or try to interact with wildlife
  • Don’t hesitate to scare or threaten wild animals with loud noises or bright lights

Hey, does a .45 ACP count as a loud noise?

I guess the moral of the story is that a bear just doesn’t give a shit about anything.  A Coywolf, only a little bit.

B.C. Man Describes Grizzly Bear Attack

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 2 weeks ago

Global News:

A Bella Coola man is recovering in Vancouver General Hospital after he was attacked by a sow — or female — grizzly bear.

Jordan Carbery said he spotted some movement outside his home sometime after 5 a.m on Tuesday. He went outside to investigate and saw some cubs in a cherry tree.

One of the cubs fell out of the tree, which was near the entrance of his home. That caught the attention of the mama bear.

“I looked over to see a sow grizzly bear looking right at me and heading straight for me,” he said.

He tried to run back to the house.

“Suddenly I was just run over,” he said. “It felt like two football players tackling me.”

Carbery found himself on the ground and “next thing I realize is that the bear had my head in its mouth and was picking me up.”

“My scalp tore and it dropped me,” he said.

The bear grabbed him again, he said, and let him go.

He tried to fend off the bear by kicking at it. “I kicked her in the face three times at least,” Carbery recalled, “and then I tried to hit her in the face in the snout. She was like a prize boxer. She was so fast.”

Carbery managed to create enough separation between him and the sow to make his way into the house.

Since he was in an area with no cellphone coverage, he had to drive himself to hospital.

As he ran out his to his car, the bear charged at him again.

Good Lord.

Sir.  I don’t mean to pile on when you’re in such pain, but why did you leave home without a gun?  The first time, and the second time?

Why, oh why?

Bear Attacks Montana Researcher

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 2 weeks ago

Capital Press:

A grizzly bear researcher for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is recovering from serious injuries following a bear attack in Montana, and a rancher says one or more grizzlies killed two llamas 12 days earlier elsewhere in the state.

Amber Kornak, 28, of Libby, Mont., was working alone near a stream in the Cabinet Mountains south of Libby. She was collecting grizzly hair samples from bushes for DNA testing, said Jennifer Strickland, a USFWS spokeswoman.

Kornak, a seasonal employee, was just a couple of weeks into her “dream job” when she was attacked from behind, suffering two skull fractures and severe cuts to her head, neck and back, her friend, Jenna Hemer, wrote in a GoFundMe post soliciting money for her recovery.

Kornak sprayed the bear with repellent and walked two miles to her vehicle and drove for help, Hemer wrote.

She underwent four hours of surgery at Kalispell Regional Medical Center, including removal of bone fragments from her brain and is home facing a long recovery, Hemer wrote.

“She aims to make a full recovery and get back to doing what she’s passionate about, working with grizzly bears and other wildlife,” Hemer wrote.

Strickland said Kornak was following USFWS work protocols, and that those protocols are being reviewed.

Officials speculated noise from the stream may have prevented Kornak from hearing the bear approach, the Associated Press reported.

Dillon Tabish, a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman, said the incident is under investigation and the department will confirm the type of bear. Generally, black bears are less prone to attack humans than grizzlies.

The incident follows another attack 12 days earlier more than 100 miles southeast of Libby, when a grizzly or grizzlies broke through a fence at mid-day and killed two trained pack llamas worth about $4,500, the rancher who owned them told Capital Press. Ten other llamas were not injured, he said.

He asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals from environmental extremists.

Since the attack, he’s been locking his llamas in his barn at night and is installing electric fence to protect them and his family, he said. Their nearest neighbor is a quarter-mile away.

“We’ve had grizzlies in our yard occasionally but this was the first kill and it’s spooky to have them come in broad daylight,” he said. “We don’t go too far away from the house without bear spray. I used to carry a Ruger 454, but it gets heavy and I think spray is more effective.”

Thanks, but I’ll keep a gun with me in the bush.  I grok that a big bore gun gets heavy.  But what’s your life worth, sir?

As for the poor researcher, get a gun, dear.  And don’t go out in the bush alone.

And no, TCJ correspondent Fred didn’t send this one to me.

Grizzly Bear Mauls Bow Hunter

BY Herschel Smith
1 year ago

Via reader Fred, SJ:

A grizzly bear mauled a bow hunter in southwestern Montana, slashing a 16-inch cut in his head that required 90 stitches to close.

“I could hear bones crunching, just like you read about,” said Tom Sommer, as he recovered in a Montana hospital on Tuesday afternoon.

Sommer said he and a hunting partner were looking for an elk they had been calling Monday morning when his partner spotted a grizzly bear feeding on an elk carcass in the southern end of the Gravelly Range, just north of the Idaho border.

“The bear just flat-out charged us,” Sommer said. He said it closed the 30-foot distance in 3 or 4 seconds.

His hunting partner deployed his bear spray, which slowed the bear’s charge. Sommer said he grabbed his canister so quickly that he couldn’t release the safety and he couldn’t afford to look down as the bear closed in. He ran around a tree twice and dropped his bear spray in the process.

Sommer then grabbed his pistol and turned to confront the bear.

“It bit my thigh, ran his claws through my wrist and proceeded to attack my head,” Sommer recalled Tuesday.

He still had his pistol in his hand and was going to shoot the bear in the neck when it swatted his arm down, Sommer said.

“Just like that it stopped. He stopped biting me, he got up and started to run away,” said Sommer, who splits his time among Idaho, Missouri and Florida.

His hunting partner had been able to deploy the rest of his bear spray, ending the attack Sommer estimated lasted about 25 seconds.

“It could have been a lot worse,” he said.

Sommer found his bear spray canister. His hunting partner had some blood coagulation powder and they made a turban, stopping the bleeding after about 15 minutes.

They walked a mile back to their spike camp and rode mules another 4 miles out to their base camp, followed by a two-hour ride in a pickup truck to get to the hospital in Ennis.

“Through it all I was very conscious, very level-headed and low key about it,” Sommer said. “Besides some scars, it doesn’t appear that I will have any problems.”

“I’ve been a hunter my whole life,” said Sommer, 57. “I have no grievance against the bear. He was just doing what  bears do. But I would have shot him just the same.”

There’s a picture at the link.

Good Lord.  This guy was probably without medical attention for four hours.  I’m sure it hurt.  You have to admire him for endurance and determination.  As for deploying the bear spray to end the attack, I’m sure a .44 magnum or .454 Casull would have ended it too.  I guess they didn’t have time to deploy the guns because of the closing time of the bear assault, if I read the report right.

I guess the lesson is that you’d better watch your six (and all other azimuths) in big bear country, continually.

Another Bear Mauling Survivor

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 11 months ago

News Miner:

Josh_Dybdahl

JUNEAU, Alaska – As Josh Dybdahl waited for help on the side of a mountain and tried to hold pieces of his flesh together after a bear tossed him around like a rag doll, he tried to concentrate on the bright side of things.

“At least it’s sunny out,” Dybdahl recalled telling his hunting partner while the pair were waiting for a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter to find them.

Dybdahl, 30, knew he was losing a lot of blood, he knew that there was a chance the helicopter might not find him and he also knew there were more bears in the brush circling them. But none of that mattered. He had already made up his mind that he was going to live.

Sitting up in his hospital bed Tuesday, Hoonah resident Dybdahl went over the surreal mauling he had suffered just three days prior while on a hunting trip near Port Frederick bay with his friend Anthony Lindoff, 36. The two had taken a boat out to an area just 10 miles southwest of Hoonah to look for deer. As they were getting ready to make deer calls, Lindoff said, he heard something. He hoped it was a deer, but then he turned and locked eyes with a sow brown bear running straight toward him.

“It didn’t get the memo that it was supposed to bluff charge, this was serious,” Lindoff said. “It chased me first, and as I was running, backing away, I was trying to swing at it with my trekking poll because my rifle was in my sling on my backpack. I immediately thought that was the biggest mistake I could have made. . I felt like the worst hunting partner.”

Dybdahl threw off his pack and headed farther down the hill, trying to get his rifle in position to help out his friend. Unfortunately, Dybdahl didn’t know that the same direction he was moving in was where the sow bear had left two of her cubs behind. In what Dybdahl said seemed like a single moment, the bear changed direction and Dybdahl was on the ground. His rifle no longer in his hands, he screamed for his friend to shoot the bear as it pinned him down, and had its teeth in his flesh.

Dybdahl said he had never been more “in the moment,” able to see, hear, and smell everything so intensely. Everything he knew about bears went racing through his head. He realized quickly he was angering the bear more by moving and screaming. His body went limp and he was silent. But even though he made himself appear harmless, the sow didn’t stop. For the next 10 seconds, he said, his whole body could feel the bear’s ferocity and rage.

“When she bit down on my leg, my thigh, she ripped so hard. . I could hear everything,” Dybdahl said. “It sounded like paper ripping and she pulled my thigh. I felt my whole thigh muscle move away from my leg bone.”

[ … ]

Although he flinched when Dybdahl recreated the sound of flesh tearing, Lindoff was not as unsettled on Saturday. When he saw the bear on Dybdahl, he went through six motions in approximately 10 seconds, never skipping a beat. He slung his rifle in front of him, took the gun sleeve off, took off the scope cover, chambered a round, aimed and fired.

“I’ve never de-slinged my rifle that quickly,” Lindoff said.

The bullet entered the bear’s side near her lungs. She had just locked her jaw onto Dybdahl’s skull. Lindoff shook his head at the pure luck that his rifle’s scope was already focused for the shot. One more second to adjust the scope and his friend could have been scalped, Lindoff said.

Josh was very blessed.  If you’re going to be in the bush, carry your rifle in hand, regardless of whether it’s comfortable or not.  Or if you don’t want to do that, carry a sidearm for self defense.  I think most Alaskan’s will tell you to carry a wheel gun, .44 Magnum or .454 Casull.  That’s probably good counsel for the entire Northwest.  Down South here, carrying .45 ACP is just fine.

Grizzly Bear Attack

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 11 months ago

Todd Orr of Montana was attacked twice by a grizzly bear with cubs.  His tale can be read here.  The best report comes from Facebook, and if you don’t do Facebook (I don’t either), reddit/firearms has a more detailed account here.

Todd_Orr

Both links give video he took immediately after making his way out of the wilderness.  He did have a gun.  The bear knocked him around enough that it got dislodged and was too far away to be of any help.

Guns Tags:

Bear Attack In Florida

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 9 months ago

WKMG:

Florida Fish and Wildlife officers have set up three traps in hopes of catching a bear that attacked a Longwood woman on Monday night.

Susan Chalfant, 54, was injured in the attack, classified by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as the first of its kind by a Florida black bear.  Chalfant was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center with serious facial injuries and she remained hospitalized on Tuesday.

“The dogs got agitated, and she turned around to go back to her house, and the bear knocked her to the ground,” said Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Karen Parker.

According to officials, Chalfant was walking two small dogs around 8 p.m. in the 2600 block of English Ivy Court near Markham Woods Road when the bear attacked her before running away.

Chalfant was helped by neighbors and 911 was called, officials said.

“A woman has been mauled by a bear,” the neighbor said on the call, which was released Tuesday.  “She’s so bloody, though, I can’t tell.”

The caller also told dispatchers that the woman was bleeding from her head.

According to the FWC, the neighbor said Chalfant was walking two small dogs, which became agitated and began to bark.  The bear then attacked the woman, the neighbor told officials.

“We believe she was bitten,” said FWC spokeswoman Karen Parker, who added that they only have preliminary information about the incident.

The dogs were not harmed, officials said.

The comments are interesting.  According to some idiotic remarks, it’s her own fault for walking a couple of yap-yap dogs.

My readers know how I feel about OC spray.  It’s a second best option, far behind the first best option, a gun.  If she had shot the bear, the game management folks wouldn’t be searching for the bear and trying to trap it and then “decide” what to do with it.

It would be on its way to bear-heaven, which as best as I can tell doesn’t exist because only humans are made in God’s image.  Shoot the bear.  It almost killed a woman.  Does anything more need to be said?

Prior:

Backpacker Shoots Grizzly In Denali, First Life Saved Since Firearms Legal

Bear Attacks: What About High Capacity Magazines?

Guns Tags:

Bear Attacks: What About High Capacity Magazines?

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 1 month ago

CNN:

… a 12-year-old girl jogging in Michigan is among the latest victims in a spate of bear attacks that have left seven people mauled in five states since Thursday.

Abby Wetherell was out on her nightly jog when she was ambushed by a black bear Thursday outside her home in Cadillac, Michigan. She tried to run at first, but, “It just took me down,” she told CNN’s Piers Morgan Live.

“It clawed me and it was growling,” she said. “It was scary.”

Eventually, she said, she played dead, hoping it would go away. It did, but not before inflicting cuts and scrapes to her face and deep gashes on her legs that required dozens of stitches.

“I just thought I was going to die,” she said. “It was very terrifying.”

After the bear left, Abby ran toward a neighbor’s house, screaming for help. The bear came after her once again, but neighbors were able to scare it away, she said.

Her father, Chris Wetherell, heard her screams and ran out of the house with a gun, but the animal was gone by then, he said.

Authorities also reported attacks in Alaska, Colorado, Wyoming and Idaho …

“The common belief that surprising a mother bear with cubs is the most dangerous kind of black bear encounter is inaccurate, the University of Calgary said in a summary of the study. “Instead, lone male black bears hunting people as a potential source of food are a greater cause of deadly maulings and related predatory attempts.

Other recent incidents include:

A hunter mauled by a bear in Alaska survived 36 hours in the remote wilderness before rescuers found him using night-vision goggles, the Alaska National Guard said Saturday.

A bear clawed its way into a tent and bit a sleeping camper on her arm Thursday night, CNN affiliate KCNC reported.

Two hikers at Yellowstone National Park were injured Thursday after the encountered a female grizzly bear and a cub. The sow charged the hikers, leaving claw and bite marks on one, park officials said.

Two habitat technicians collecting data in Shotgun Valley, Idaho, were injured Thursday when a grizzly bear charged, the Jackson Hole Daily reported.

Or how about 15 stray dogs in Houston, Texas, mauling a woman, or maybe 8 or 9 dogs in Fargo, North Dakota and the man they mauled?  Hey, smart boy, tell me the story one more time about how we don’t need high capacity magazines.  It’s my favorite fairy tale.

Prior: Backpacker Shoots Grizzly In Denali, First Life Saved Since Firearms Legal

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