Contributors to this thread:
Unprovoked Bear Attack
I never feared Black Bears much, but this makes me think a bit
I see black bears a lot while out hiking or hunting. They always take off as soon as they figure out what I am. Well, they always did until one time a few years back when I was bow-hunting for elk. I had a black bear that turned around and charged me even though I was standing still and it had been walking away from me. I was 7 miles up a road and heading back to my truck, given up on elk, and had my bow on my back pack. The first time the bear bluff charged, which gave me enough time to get the bow of my back and ready to shoot. Then it comes at me for real, and my first shot deflects of some brush and hits a stump behind the bear. The bear hears the sound and pauses, long enough for me to get a second arrow ready. I didn't miss with the second shot when it came back at me. It was kind of an eye opener for me, as I usually only carry bear spray in areas that there are grizzlies.
every one dismisses black bears,,,, do some research,,,, more black bears have attacked a lot more than any grizzlies in the lower 48 and Canada,,,,,,
I have baited bears for a long long time,,,, this is not boo boo, no matter what the Outdoor Channel shows you
they are not overly aggressive,, but they need your respect,,,,,,
I wonder what the statistics say about black bear attacks...;^)
Of course black bears attack more people than grizzly bears. They are as ubiquitous as water.
More people die from encounters with cattle every year than die from bear attacks.
Kevin Dill's Link
I’ll post a story I’ve posted a few times here over the years. While I’m more than comfortable around bears after years and years of hunting them... there’s always that ONE you’ve got to keep an eye on....
Where we deer hunt, losing deer to bears and coyotes has been an on going problem for years. A few years back on our last night of hunting, I drilled a doe pretty good. She took off and collapsed about 40 yards away. Being the last night, I waited about 15 minutes, took down the steps and the stand, went and gutted the deer and dragged her back to the stand location. I was going to attempt to drag out the deer, my bow, pack, clothes, stand and steps all in one trip but only made it about 20 yards before I figured out it would be too much. I dropped the deer and brought everything else out to the two track and was back to the deer about 20-25 minutes later.
Upon arriving, I came upon a really good sized bear who already had laid claim to the gut pile. Thinking of course that the bear had the deer on it's mind and was going to follow the blood trail from the gut pile to the deer, I started yelling and waving at the bear to get him to hit the road. After two weeks of terrible deer hunting, there was no way in the world I was let that bear have that deer. Most of our encounters with bears up to that point had been uneventful with every bear leaving as quickly as possible. But much to my surprise, this one wasn't real anxious to leave. He stood on his hind legs and looked at me, snapping his jaws several times. He bluffed/charged twice a few yards toward me and then reluctantly backed away, all the while looking back snapping his jaws as he wandered slowly back into the woods.
Needless to say, I BACKED all the way out of the woods to the two track with the deer. 8~)
One from 2017 in the link below. Another black bear killed a young man while he was trail running just a week or so earlier if I recall correctly.
I had one grab the ladder on my stand and try to shake my butt out of it. All the while clacking its teeth together.
We have lots of black bears and encounters in Northeast PA. Most problem bears in our area are from people feeding them. THey lose their fear and start to associate people with food.
I had one bluff charge me while Spring Gobbler hunting on the ground with my bow one year. (Thankfully it was after legalizing concealed carry during archery seasons. ) It was a beautiful cinnamon/blonde bear that I watched feeding along until it got to about 40y away. At that point I stood up figuring it would run off when it saw me. Nope! Just kept coming so I took my head net off and started yelling at it and waving arms trying to look BIG. That didn't work either, so I got the pistol out and pointed.........................It then bluff charged me twice, stopping just out of arm's reach.(I still had the pistol pointing at it's head) It popped it's jaws and raked a sapling with it's claws as I slowly backed away. It held it's ground and just stayed there watching me until I got more than 100y away. Found out later is was the yearling cub of a known bear in the area that people were feeding(it was all over FB.) That bear had absolutely NO FEAR of me!
A few years ago, I was reading an article about bear attacks in Canada and the U.S. I found it pretty surprising that a person attached by a bear is more likely to be eaten by a black bear than a grizzly.
Larry Kaniut is one of the most respected bear experts in the world. In the past he was the guy they flew in to inspect the site of a mauling that led to the death of people.
Interesting the points he makes about the differences between Griz and blackies. The habituated Grizzly bear is the most dangerous bear in the woods. The wilderness grizzly unless startled or protective is far less dangerous. Just the opposite for black bears. The habituated black bear is the least dangerous of the species, the wilderness black bear the most dangerous. They are far more likely to hunt man as food than a wilderness Griz. Neither can be trusted, and both should be prepared for.
There was a video about 20 years ago shown on one of our local hunting shows on PBS.... of a guy who was stalked by a black bear. He had a video camera... and basically held it in between him and the bear as the bear slowly walked at him. Yelling at the bear worked some.... but the bear kept walking at the guy for about 20 minutes.... backing him into a pond.... the bear got to within a few yards at times. You could see the look in the bears eyes as he had his camera rolling. That bear wanted to kill that guy. The guy was able to keep the bear off him by yelling.... and eventually made it to his truck without being attacked. It was either in northern Michigan or Ontario. The guy was trying to record a moose he saw.
Crazy story for sure. What are the odds this guy had a hatchet with him? May have been a different result if he hadn't. I never really feared black bears but always had a respect for them. This may make me take it up a notch.
Elk hunted in griz country more than a few times, first time packing this year.
Dang Rut Nut! If I ever got an invite from you to.........do basically ANYTHING, I’d have to respectfully decline! Snake bites, bear encounters. I’m afraid I’d get hit by a meteorite, or something similar! ;-)
Exactly how I feel about hangin round a Hawkeye fan t-roy!
As said before, black bears will kill you to eat you. At least I can respect that. Grizzlies kill you for sport and then commit wanton waste.
A hatchet or hand ax is an excellent choice if you are on hands and knees following a blood trail in heavy cover in places hand guns are not allowed. Of course you also have someone with a gun watching over you as you are looking at the ground.
I remember that footage Big Bear.
Bears I know nothing about, but hogs I have more than a passing acquaintance with. Hogs, and I assume bears, don’t give a damn about statistics, or what you expect them to do, or what some expert has said they will do. If they want your ass, you better have a plan. Most of them won’t, but it just takes one who will.
Yes, that’s the part where you never trust them and be prepared. I’ve bow hunted elk many times with nothing but my recurve on me. I was in some real thick cover sneaking along when I came to a huge pile of steaming crap. That was no black bear. And there was no doubt, he knew I was there. I was completely at his disposal, knocked arrow being meaningless. Never saw the bear but again, I know he knew I was there. Another time I was bugling back and forth with a bull. I was up high, and it was sleeting. All of a sudden I had an animal snarl screaming, and loud. The wind was directly out of the west, and he was coming from the south. He was coming and coming fast. I had no tree to climb and nothing but my bow. His path was going to bring him behind me, and I knew he was then going to hit my wind when directly behind me. He never shut up, extremely loud snarl scream. Like a bear would make if gut shot. I believed when he hit my wind he would do one of two things. He would leave, or he would come. He kept snarling right up until he was directly behind me. Then silence. After a long few minutes I slowly made my way down. To this day. I don’t know if that was a bear, lion, or wolverine.
I have no experience with bear spray. I do have experience with various weapons for self defense. I never carried before because of the weight and added scent. In Griz country I now carry a Glock 29 at my side, and often a sawed off pistol grip 12 on my back with easy grab to go along with it. Wife sleeps better knowing that, so I tell myself.
Right on, Kevin Dill...
The black bear attacks that have happened in my part of the country are always predatory - the blackies attack you to eat you. I'd rather take my chances getting mauled by a grizzly than hoping to survive a black bear attack, for this reason. People think it's over reacting sometimes to carry the same stuff in our eastern mountains as I have when out west. I'll continue to carry all the same...
I've told this story before but it's relevant and worth repeating...my long time hunting buddy was on a particular honey hole wallow he knows of in Utah waiting for elk one evening and had a run in. This particular area is chock full of black bears, so much so we'll see them walking around in the daylight during season and they always hit gut piles shortly after we down one. Just before dusk a bear came walking in to the water and he stood up to waive his arms at which point it ran off. 10 minutes later here comes the same bear at a sprint past the water hole running right towards the makeshift blind that my buddy is in. He draws and points his .44 mag while saying "WHOA BEAR" and in his mind "had drawn a line in the sand" where some deadfall was across the trail (10 to 20yds away) and made the decision that if the bear crossed that log he was going to start shooting. The bear skidded to a stop with it's front paws on that log and huffed/clicked it's jaws at him a few times before deciding to turn around and walk off. My buddy was a little rattled but it ended without further incident and he hiked out. This is an area where we've all had a hard time drawing bear tags too, go figure...I always carry a firearm in the backcountry.
Speaking of trail running, Kevin. I got charged by a pissed off sow while trail running near Steamboat last year. I was running on some single track near the top of the mountain and the brush was thick on either side of the trail, about waist high. I came around a corner and a blackie was on her hind legs hissing and growling, swinging her paws, then dropped to all fours and came charging down the trail at me as I skidded to a stop. I automatically turned and sprinted the opposite way until I remembered you're not supposed to do that, so I stopped and turned to stand my ground. At the instant I stopped, she veered off the trail and disappeared. It was then I saw the little cub scurrying up an aspen. I took a couple pics with my phone then headed back to the trail head. Pretty exciting!
I trust a black bear exactly as much as I do a grizzly. You can't rely on either species to behave as categorized by a library book. It's more about the individual bear, and the specifics of an encounter. Wrong bear...wrong situation....bad outcome regardless of the bear's dna or hair color.
I once stalked a Yukon black bear while it slept near an old carcass. I ended up shooting it at a range of 5 steps. When the arrow struck, the bear rose out of his bed growling and snapping at the air. The recurve didn't exactly feel like adequate defense, but the bear crashed away and died...luckily not in my direction. Watching the power and agility of a mature black bear reinforces the understanding you'd have no chance without a weapon or some adequate defense.
And meanwhile I surprised a big now grizzly last September in Alberta Wilmore Wilderness at less than 25 yds and all I can say is THANK GOD he ran away quartered toward left and had no interest in a free meal. It happened so fast I couldn’t have done a thing.