Canada: Decision to climb tree proved fatal for bear's victim


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Harry Tuttle
June 7, 2005, 08:32 PM
http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/Alberta/2005/06/07/1075053-sun.html

CANMORE -- A woman killed by a grizzly bear Sunday made a split-second decision to climb a tree - a choice that failed to save her life.

Isabelle Dube was running with two friends Sunday on a popular hiking trail in Canmore, 90 km west of Calgary, when the group came upon the bear.

"They came within 20 to 25 metres of the bear when they first saw it," Dave Ealey of Alberta Sustainable Resource Development told reporters. "As they communicated to each other as to 'What do we do?' they started backing up. Isabelle apparently chose to climb a tree.

"The other two continued to back up. They backed up out of the area to a point where they were no longer able to see their friend and they said they were going to go get some help because she was basically shouting at the bear, because the bear was close to her."

The two friends ran almost a kilometre to the clubhouse of the SilverTip Golf Course to get help.

A Fish and Wildlife officer responded, and found the bear with Dube. The officer shot the bear.

Ealey wouldn't speculate if Dube made the right call.

"Who knows? Some people are not that adept at climbing. They may choose the wrong tree. Bears have the potential of being able to get you out of a tree, and that's basically all I can say about that."

Provincial officials confirmed earlier the bear was the same one that had been relocated to a different part of its home range after it followed a woman. The bear was moved about 12 km, on the other side of a mountain range.

Ealey said the bear had been given a radio collar at that time. Wildlife officers knew as early as 5:30 a.m. Saturday that the bear had returned to the Canmore area.

"We knew where it was and where it was travelling," Ealey said. "But there had been no indication that it had been aggressive or persistent around people."

Dube, 35, was married and had a young daughter. She was the first person killed by a bear in Alberta since 1998.

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Harry Tuttle
June 7, 2005, 08:35 PM
Danger next door when people live on bears' turf

http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/Alberta/2005/06/07/1075052-sun.html

By KERRY DIOTTE, CITY HALL BUREAU

A grizzly bear expert says a weekend fatal attack on a woman near Canmore shouldn't turn people against the burly brown beasts.

Ex-Edmontonian Dr. Ken Macquisten chooses his words carefully when speaking of the tragedy that saw a jogger killed by a grizzly near Canmore, 90 km west of Calgary.

Obviously it may not be the most opportune time to be singing the praises of bears, given a young mother - Isabelle Dube, 35 - died Sunday when she and her two friends came upon a grizzly that had been trapped, tagged and removed from the area only a week before.

According to The Canadian Press, the attack on the woman came while she was running on a trail in a so-called wildlife corridor that people had been asked not to use near SilverTip Golf Course.

The corridor was designed to allow wildlife, including cougars and bears, to move between habitats.





But the man who grew up caring for orphaned black bears at the Valley Zoo and now heads up two grizzly sanctuaries in British Columbia hopes people won't tar all the beasts with the same brush.

"I'm extremely sorry for the young lady who was the victim," said Macquisten, 49, who's a veterinarian.

He admits this particular attack "was odd in that there were three people together" during the encounter, yet the bear actually climbed up a tree to grab the woman.

Macquisten noted that is extremely unusual. Bears in general and grizzlies in particular usually don't attack people when there are three or more humans together.

The fact the bear climbed the tree is also unusual, said Macquisten.

"From what I've read about the attack, it sounds like predatory behaviour."

While he feels for the woman, Macquisten dreads what others might now think of grizzlies, due to this one particular bad-news bear that wound up being shot and killed by a wildlife officer.

"I'm very sorry for grizzly bears in general because it's another black mark against them and another mark against their coexistence near people."

He said the key is trying to find that delicate middle ground between "killing bears and doing nothing" when they become problems in populated areas.

"We're really trying to find ways to coexist with bears. Grizzlies have been relocated hundreds and if not thousands of times without this happening."

Nor is Macquisten about to question the decision of the wildlife people in this case who relocated the bear only to have it come back to the area and kill a woman.

"The other alternative for them was to destroy the bear up front. But if that's the attitude we take, all the grizzlies in North America would be doomed."

Macquisten said "risk management" is the key phrase that has to be remembered.

"That's what these wildlife managers are always faced with - managing risk. If we were to wipe out all the grizzlies there'd be no risk to humans, but the world would be a poorer place for it."

There are an estimated 700 grizzlies in Alberta, 13,000 in British Columbia and only 1,200 or so in the lower 48 U.S. states.

Macquisten points out there has not been a fatal bear attack on a human in Alberta since 1998, but there's always a danger when humans and bruins interact.

"There are no absolutes in this business," he said. "There's always a degree of unpredictability.

"In bear country there is an inherent risk and people need to take appropriate cautions to minimize that."

He says travelling with others, wearing jingling bells and carrying good-quality bear spray are some precautions that can lessen the chance of an attack.

Canmore Mayor Ron Casey said the woman's death was "a sad day," adding the attack could spark an increase in the debate about expanding homes and resorts in wildlife areas.

"If we want to try to cohabit with wildlife, as sad as these occurrences are, they are also a fact of where we live," Casey told reporters.

monsternav
June 7, 2005, 09:23 PM
Typical of media. It took two stories to get (what seems to be) the whole story. With the first story it seems that the Wildlife people might be a bit to blame but then this:

According to The Canadian Press, the attack on the woman came while she was running on a trail in a so-called wildlife corridor that people had been asked not to use near SilverTip Golf Course.

Sounds like stupid people took a gamble and lost. So did the bear.

lunaslide
June 7, 2005, 10:27 PM
Loving Monsters (http://www.techcentralstation.com/110503A.html)

Preacherman
June 7, 2005, 10:35 PM
Hmmm... I wonder if she was menstruating? This is a well-known contributing factor to aggression from bears, and might explain why the bear was so intent on getting at/to her. Of course, it's probably not politically correct to ask, so we may never know... :scrutiny:

Harry Paget Flashman
June 7, 2005, 10:37 PM
Back in the early 70's, while stationed in San Francisco, friends and I used to hike in the Sierra's. We met a park ranger in Yosemite and not knowing much about bears we asked if there were any Grizzlys in California and how to tell the difference between black bears and grizzlys. The ranger said with a straight face and deadpan delivery, "Well, if you encounter a bear and are dumb enough to climb a tree to try to get away from it, then if it's a black bear it'll climb up after you... a grizzly will simply push the tree over."

The moral I got from the story was not to climb a tree.

About a year later while taking pictures of two black bears and getting too close up at Glacier Point in Yosemite I was chased. Never crossed my mind whether to climb a tree, run or stand my ground. It was 50 yards back to the truck and I outran them both. I was so full of adrenaline I probably could have stayed ahead of them to Fresno.

jefnvk
June 7, 2005, 10:42 PM
Yeah, trying to climb a tree doesn't sound like the right idea.

What you gotta do, is be able to run faster than the slowest person in the group :D

Blue Jays
June 7, 2005, 11:33 PM
Hi All-

Even if the joggers were on a trail they shouldn't have been using, the fact-of-the-matter is that the bear that had previously PROVEN itself dangerous to human beings was only moved 12 kilometers (7.45 miles) away.

The treehuggers and environmental kooks will somehow consider this a "righteous" killing by the bear and an "honorable" way for the woman to die. Could you imagine the horror as the claws scraped along her legs and then sinking into her abdomen...followed by the jaws eventually crushing into her neck? Even a tiny Ruger SP101 in .357 Magnum might have been sufficient to frighten the bear and send him off to find an easier dinner.

What a horrible and tragic story that could have ended much differently with the presence of a decent firearm.

~ Blue Jays ~

Libertyteeth
June 8, 2005, 01:33 AM
A .357 is adequate to kill a griz if it is on top of you, and you shoot it under the chin or in the top of the mouth.

There was a case in Montana several years ago in which biologists were in the process of releasing a trapped griz from a culvert trap in the back of a pickup. Just as the guy on top of the trap got the door open, the driver gunned the truck and the trap, the griz, and the biologist all tumbled out.

Instantly a very irate griz was on top of the biologist, who emptied his .357 into the bear's head, killing it. Witnesses reported that you could hear ...bang bang bang click click click click click.

Of course in Canada, the .357 would be contraband.

jlwatts3
June 8, 2005, 02:26 AM
Libertyteeth, did the biologist then proceed to reload and shoot the driver of the truck? :evil: It would take a lot of self-control not too at that point.

Cosmoline
June 8, 2005, 03:02 AM
"From what I've read about the attack, it sounds like predatory behaviour."

He's right about that. Very odd in a griz., and considering this animal's past it appears the bear did indeed learn to view humans as prey.

Sindawe
June 8, 2005, 03:09 AM
I suspect that griz have no problem seeing humans as food when not well feed. Remember what happened to Timothy Tuesdale and his companion last fall? IIRC from another article about this sad incident, the bear was a young bear, and may have not been too skilled yet at hunting.

Cosmoline
June 8, 2005, 03:18 AM
Treadwell had spent years helping the brownies overcome their fear of humans, and sure enough his plan ended up working quite well. My encounters with brownies around here, where they are not protected from hunting or defensive shooting, have involved seeing one through the bushes a football field away, then watching it run like hell to get away from me. There's a reason for that behavior, just as there was a reason for the behavior of the bear in the story.

El Tejon
June 8, 2005, 09:56 AM
Good grief. :rolleyes:

I starting to believe people should not be allowed outside unless they are hanging onto a "magic rope" like in pre-school. Where is the adult supervision? What happened to the ability of Western man to cope?

Threat? Front sight, press.

dolanp
June 8, 2005, 10:36 AM
Any bets on how much some surviving family member sues the Wildlife department for? :rolleyes:

Oh wait it's Canada, they may not have caught that disease yet.

Blue Jays
June 8, 2005, 10:44 AM
Hi El Tejon-

You can't blame all sheeple for being without a gun. They've been conditioned to think that firearms are "bad" and that if they need help, all that is required is a cellphone so that they can immediately summon a helicopter by providing their general location. Those people will then come with guns to address the situation.

The simple fact-of-the-matter is that park rangers should be at the trailheads advising people to not enter the woods unless they have a substantial firearm strapped to their hip. Since we live in an era of Political Correctness we know that this would never happen and an innocent dead woman is the result. I'm sure her widower and young child are very appreciative of the absurd rules that ultimately killed their wife and mother.

~ Blue Jays ~

Sawdust
June 8, 2005, 11:17 AM
The simple fact-of-the-matter is that park rangers should be at the trailheads advising people to not enter the woods unless they have a substantial firearm strapped to their hip.

That's funny. Now we should pay people to stand at trailheads to tell other people that wildlife is dangerous. :rolleyes:

You *are* joking...right?

Sawdust

Biker
June 8, 2005, 11:36 AM
I work at a zoo and have noticed that when one of our female zookeepers is menstruating, the bears and cougars are definately affected. BTW, the Grizz are extremely intelligent. I notice them checking the padlocks to their cages and dens on a regular basis.
Biker

Blue Jays
June 8, 2005, 11:45 AM
Hi sawdust-

Of course my proposal is a joke. Wild animals are just that...wild animals. They sometimes need to be brought under control with a gun, but the folks who run governments in this part of the world feel that the life of a bear exceeds that of a human being. God forbid a f-f-f-firearm be along for the walk in the woods.

Read some of my other posts above for greater detail and insights on where I'm coming from.

~ Blue Jays ~

BeLikeTrey
June 8, 2005, 12:12 PM
"In bear country there is an inherent risk and people need to take appropriate cautions to minimize that."

--"Take appropriate cautions"-- carry big enough bang and if you can't carry boycott the place and tell your friends to do the same


"If we want to try to cohabit with wildlife, as sad as these occurrences are, they are also a fact of where we live," Casey told reporters.

so if this is a "fact" then we should be allowed a defense right? the man admits there's danger and states it a "fact" of certainty.
heck it is a "fact" STD's are rampant out there, if we go in (so to speak) we carry protection... Heck the government supplies it to our children in schools...
there is quite a parrallel here but I guess I haven't crunched enough granola to have my deductive reasoning skills successfully removed yet...
I spend alot of time in the woods or in wildlife areas, MY risk is managed properly, I guarantee it. Too bad a Wildlife representative can put the information right there in your face and still no-one "takes appropriate cautions".
Go in armed or not at all... :banghead:

El Tejon
June 8, 2005, 12:22 PM
Blue, you're right, of course. I was just crying out in the wilderness. :banghead:

MechAg94
June 8, 2005, 12:24 PM
Sounds like 2 runners/hikers used a successful escape strategy to me. :D :neener:

Red Tornado
June 8, 2005, 01:13 PM
In all seriousness, +1 on MechAg94. Backing away is textbook behavior to avoid being bear chow. I believe it's the basic indicator of being viewed as fellow predators, whereas running is prey behavior. Climbing trees is apparently also prey behavior.

Another tragic encounter that never should have happened. Regardless of whether you're packing or not, learn to read the signs and don't go where you're not supposed to. :(

TallPine
June 8, 2005, 01:24 PM
Remember Pavlov ...?

You don't suppose the grizzlies have come to associate the tinkling of little bells with food ?????? ;)

Zundfolge
June 8, 2005, 01:53 PM
That's funny. Now we should pay people to stand at trailheads to tell other people that wildlife is dangerous.
No, but I see no reason not to have signs at the trailheads advising people to take "prudent measures (incuding carrying a firearm)" since there are wild animals ahead.

But many trailheads in parks have little signs telling you what you can't do on the trail with little pictograms (like "no campfires, no motor vehicles, etc) ... usualy there's one "no firearms" one in the bunch (even if its perfectly legal to carry there) :fire:


Sounds like 2 runners/hikers used a successful escape strategy to me. :D :neener:
Yeah ... always take 1 idiot with you into the woods :neener:

Blue Jays
June 8, 2005, 02:20 PM
Hi All-

So who is the dumber of the two:

A law-abiding and honorable person who hikes in the wilderness without a gun because it's against the law
A so-called "criminal" who illegally packs a gun to protect his/her family from predators and could be caught and jailed
See? It's a tough call. Kind of goes back to that whole "judged by twelve rather than carried by six" argument. Many folks have families and jobs and therefore see imprisonment due to illegal firearm carry as a greater risk than a bear attack. It's a mighty big responsibility to determine you could be imprisoned if caught...but you're going to take your .357 Magnum revolver along anyway.

~ Blue Jays ~

Mongo the Mutterer
June 8, 2005, 02:33 PM
"I'm very sorry for grizzly bears in general because it's another black mark against them and another mark against their coexistence near people."You guys who live in bear country let me know how you like the "coexistence". These tree huggers would make me ROLF if they weren't so SERIOUS about what they say.

I personally love nature, and I would love to see a grizzly, but something tells me I wouldn't want to do it up close and personal like...

And I would not be in any area with them unarmed.

Preacherman
June 8, 2005, 03:06 PM
It never ceases to amaze me how Northern Hemisphere tree-huggers and animal-lovers can be so extraordinarily dumb about dangerous animals. Being from South Africa, I can assure you that our local versions down there (and in the rest of Africa), whilst they may be animal-lovers and a bit demented about things like hunting, do indeed treat predators with the greatest possible respect! They've learned the hard way that love is best practised at a safe distance when the object of their affection is equipped with teeth, claws and an appetite.

Every year or so, we used to get (and may still get, for all I know) a visiting tourist or environmentalist who would get daffy for some reason and get out of their car in the presence of lions, or walk up to an elephant ("Don't worry, they're not carnivorous!" :D ), or do something else stupid. When the inevitable occurred, his/her traveling companions would typically make a huge fuss about why there were no armed rangers standing around to warn them. The armed rangers would typically respond that they had more sense than to stand around in the presence of danger, guns or no - and the rest of South Africa would typically yawn, shrug, and make some sort of comment that the animals had to eat, too...

:D

DarthBubba
June 8, 2005, 03:06 PM
This is why I hike with a new .480 Ruger, (When in the Northwest)

It may not stop the bear on the first shot, but it will slow them down on the way to the buffet.

DarthBubba :evil:

Cosmoline
June 8, 2005, 03:23 PM
A firearm is nice, but not really essential. I know many experienced hikers here who don't pack due the extra weight. But OTOH they know enough to keep well clear of bears. Most of the attacks by coastal brownies have been because of food defense (such as the McHugh Creek killings), sow defense of cubs, or habituation to humans (Treadwell). The second two categories are generally easy to avoid. Sows will usually start making a hell of a fuss if they even get wind of human, and if you pay attention and listen you can avoid the problem. Habituation in Alaska is pretty rare (outside of certain NPS controlled areas, but I won't get into that here). As far as a boar defending his kill, if you stumble across one and he acts, it's doubtful any firearm would do you a bit of good unless you have your rifle up and aimed ahead of time. This is why leaving the bells at home and keeping your EARS open is so critical. You can usually hear large wildlife here long before you see it. And if you hear what sounds like bones being broken, be like Brave Sir Robin and boldly run away

Personally, I pack a .357 primarily for black bear, which do sometimes come nosing up to people for food--or frankly to try to eat them.

Blue Jays
June 8, 2005, 04:08 PM
Hi Cosmoline-

Great post. I always have to laugh at backpackers who will leave behind a firearm due to "weight saving" efforts, but who will pack a folding camp chair or similar luxury nonsense. :)

If you're remote enough (and I'm talking no fireroads, etc.) it could be HOURS or DAYS before someone could reach you in the event of an emergency. My inclination is to be darn near as self-sufficient as one can get.

~ Blue Jays ~

HI express
June 8, 2005, 04:33 PM
I am sorry for that young lady, but it goes to show what many of what you have said for many posts about wild animals.."When faced with a wild predatory animal all you have to be able to do is out run the people that you are with." Those two ladies with the victim, sure ran away without her.

Throughout all our lives we get to make good and bad decisions. I am sorry that this lady did not live to regret her decision.

That vets attitude is great. We just learn to manage these grizzlies. Personally I think we ought to teach the grizzlies how to fire a rifle, then we can make it real even. :evil:

106rr
June 8, 2005, 05:06 PM
Moving a rogue grizzly 7.45 miles is similar to letting a serial killer out prison and moving him to the suburbs. They knew for sure that this bear was dangerous. The Canadian govt is just like ours. The life of a woman is worth less than the pride of a beaurocrat or a politician.
On the issue of grizzly numbers -- The official statistic was 700 Grizzlies on "Crown Land" inside Alberta. The amount of Crown land is very small compared to all other categories. This statistic is like the one in America where they say that firearms are the leading cause of death for young men in America. They neglect to mention that the survey was done on a weekend in a ghetto hospital near the drug dealing area.
Any grizzly is easily replaceable, they are genetically the same as Kodiaks. Simply transplant any number you want from Alaska or BC.
I believe that the govt officials in this case have exhibited a callous disregard for human life.

javafiend
June 8, 2005, 05:50 PM
A .357 is adequate to kill a griz if it is on top of you, and you shoot it under the chin or in the top of the mouth.

Shoot the predator? Shouldn't you just call 911 and be good a good witness? :neener:

Libertyteeth
June 8, 2005, 06:00 PM
Blue Jays said
It's a tough call. Kind of goes back to that whole "judged by twelve rather than carried by six" argument. Many folks have families and jobs and therefore see imprisonment due to illegal firearm carry as a greater risk than a bear attack. It's a mighty big responsibility to determine you could be imprisoned if caught...but you're going to take your .357 Magnum revolver along anyway.

In the U.S., at least in Montana, most forest service and wilderness land is open to the carrying of firearms, as far as I know. National parks, though, prohibit firearms. (The 2nd Amendment, of course says, that you have the right to keep and bear arms, except in National Parks. If memory serves.)

On top of this, if you do carry a firearm where the NP nazis prohibit it, it is a federal misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of six months in the federal pen. Based on this, they deny you the right to a jury trial! If they can find additional offenses, they multiply charges, and the sentences run consecutively, but you still don't get a jury trial. :fire:

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