Have a gun...


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KodiakBeer
July 25, 2011, 02:39 PM
The teenage outdoor education students, having progressed to the point of being on their own in the vast Alaska wilderness, were lined up single file for a river crossing when the grizzly burst with fury into the front of the line, badly mauling two in the group and injuring two more.


Perhaps the course of instruction should have included firearms? Just a thought...

http://www.adn.com/2011/07/25/1984283/alaska-bear-mauls-teens-learning.html

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ArmedOkie
July 25, 2011, 03:46 PM
who goes into the alaskan wilderness without a bazooka?

TexasBill
July 25, 2011, 05:09 PM
"There was no instructor with them because that far into the course, they've learned enough survival skills, Palmer said...."

"...Our basic goal is that when a student graduates from the NOLS course, they have the experience and background to be able to take other people out into the backcountry," he said. "We're training people to be outdoor leaders."

Rule #1: Take a gun.
Rule #2: See Rule No. 1.

KodiakBeer
July 25, 2011, 05:11 PM
"...Our basic goal is that when a student graduates from the NOLS course, they have the experience and background to be able to take other people out into the backcountry,"

Then they've met their goal, since it doesn't include bringing them back.

Cosmoline
July 25, 2011, 05:15 PM
"They startled this bear," Jon Gottsegen said in a telephone interview from his Denver home, his 17-year-old son Samuel among the four injured teenagers. "It sort of came around a curve."

This business about "surprising" bears always seemed pretty bizarre to me. This animal can smell a human for miles and has excellent hearing. Folks seem to think bear are these old half-deaf blind men who are so easy to sneak up on even a noisy pack of teens can do it.

Of course they didn't surprise the bear. They just stumbled right into the sow's turf. The sow knew they were there, and expected them to stay back. It's the humans who were surprised.

KodiakBeer
July 25, 2011, 05:21 PM
This business about "surprising" bears always seemed pretty bizarre to me. This animal can smell a human for miles and has excellent hearing. Folks seem to think bear are these old half-deaf blind men who are so easy to sneak up on even a noisy pack of teens can do it.

They were crossing a stream (presumably a loud mountain stream), so the bear probably didn't hear them. Also, they sleep most of the day so if the wind is in your face it's pretty easy to surprise a bear in such a place.

Cosmoline
July 25, 2011, 05:25 PM
I just don't buy it. These critters can smell when you've brushed against a branch a week after the fact. They are wild predators and can certainly hear a group of teens crossing a stream even if the wind is blowing the scent away. Heck we know they can hear the "click" of a safety when approaching a baited stand.

I think people equate the explosive attack as a form of "surprise" when it's anything but. She knew they were there, and may well have sent out warnings like jaw clacking that THEY didn't hear because they were making noise in the water.

I actually question the utility of bells and noise making. I've never seen any evidence that it makes any difference. I think people are better off using their own ears without distractions.

KodiakBeer
July 25, 2011, 05:31 PM
Well, I've surprised bears on a number of occasions. At this time of year especially, they can be absolutely torpid in the middle of the day. Their bellies are full of salmon, the streams are noisy, a cloud of bugs is usually hanging around their head.

Even if the sow was aware of their approach, it only takes one of the cubs to squeal in fear and surprise to set her off.

Really though, it hardly matters what set her off. The simple fact is that sometimes bears do what she did, and they weren't prepared for it.

Cosmoline
July 25, 2011, 05:38 PM
Sure, they explode out of cover and dart around. We tend to assume it's because we "surprised" them. But that doesn't jibe with their incredible senses. I think the "surprise" is that we're stupid, deaf and nose-blind enough to get near them, not that they truly don't know we're there. Other animals don't seem to elicit the same reaction, I think because the other animals know perfectly well there's a bear in those bushes from the scent and other sign.

catnphx
July 25, 2011, 05:40 PM
Then they've met their goal, since it doesn't include bringing them back.
That was absolutely funny!!! Very nice ... LMAO.

KodiakBeer
July 25, 2011, 05:54 PM
A few years ago I was over on Afognak Island helping a buddy with his set net site and we came across a bear that was actually snoring. We could hear him from 40 or 50 yards away. We didn't wake him, even though it could have made a hilarious YouTube video if we'd have put shaving cream on his paw or something. Hilarious before the screaming started....

I take your point though. You're probably right that most of the time it's our own lack of awareness and poor senses to blame and that we are the ones surprised, rather than the bear.

SharpsDressedMan
July 25, 2011, 06:34 PM
I guess there are "survivalists" that DO believe in guns, and those that don't. Whether it will become part of a wilderness survival curriculum remains to be seen. Intelligent people are always looking to improve their knowledge and skills. Perhaps this incident won't go unnoticed in their circles.

KodiakBeer
July 25, 2011, 06:44 PM
Change the scenario. You want your kid to be confident in the modern urban environment, so you send him to some guy to learn some basic common sense techniques who then dumps them in them in the middle of East LA with ten bucks and a bus pass.

BleysAhrens
July 25, 2011, 07:15 PM
Reminds me of a boyscout camping trip a scout master wanted us to go on once. A week long hike in northern Arizona, with bears....me "Will we have a gun with us in case of a bear?" Scout master, "no, we would use our pocket knives if we have to". He was just the sort of person that I knew he was serous..

Walkalong
July 25, 2011, 07:21 PM
dumps them in them in the middle of East LA with ten bucks and a bus pass.Or the west side here. Not fair, or very bright.

Maple_City_Woodsman
July 25, 2011, 08:10 PM
We tend to assume it's because we "surprised" them. But that doesn't jibe with their incredible senses.

I've only ever had one bear encounter, and it was anything but an emergency, so I'm far from an expert on them, and I agree that humans are often to blame for not being aware enough of their surroundings...

But with all due respect, your comments make the animal nose sound like some kind of active sonar system, that detects anything within a 360* radius for miles. That's just not biologically possible. No animals nose, no matter how sensitive, can detect you unless your scent particles are delivered to its nose, either by contact (directly smelling an object) or by the wind (sniffing the air).

Unless you are up wind, then there is no nose which can smell you. Its not possible.

I have a bit more experience stalking deer, whose noses are only 40 times better than a humans, and still better than a dog. I can tell you 100% that I have surprised them before, especially practicing in the off season when there guards are lower. Even as an amateur, I have belly-crawled within 20 yards of a grazing whitetail. I could have gotten closer, but after a few hours of inching along with the gusts of the breeze I got bored, stood up, and walked away. I have never seen a deer so surprised.

An animals sense of hearing works in a similar way. Even if it is super sensitive, there brains will block out noises that are loud or repetitive - like a babbling of a loud rushing river. In this way it is possible to mask the sound of approaching hikers. The bear may indeed have physically heard the sound of their walking, but not registered said sounds as anything different than the splashing water it had been ignoring all day.

And then you have the fact that its simply impossible for any animal to be 100% alert, 100% of the time. They have lapses in their awareness just like people.

Millwright
July 25, 2011, 08:17 PM
Cosmo,

Yours is the most sensible "splanation" for "surprise bear attacks" I've read in a long, long time ! >MW

jonmerritt
July 25, 2011, 08:49 PM
What do you call a survivalist thats does not belive in guns???
.......
......
....bait!

Cosmoline
July 26, 2011, 02:10 PM
But with all due respect, your comments make the animal nose sound like some kind of active sonar system, that detects anything within a 360* radius for miles. That's just not biologically possible. No animals nose, no matter how sensitive, can detect you unless your scent particles are delivered to its nose, either by contact (directly smelling an object) or by the wind (sniffing the air).

My observations are based on many encounters with local black bear, where they tend to burst or dart out from bushes in front of me. These type very rarely attack, but the furious and "explosive" reaction is the same for them as it is for the brown bear. Either they're truly unaware of me thumping and clanging along the trail or they're just surprised that I'm not aware of them.

Their noses are legendary and may be among the most sensitive in the whole animal kingdom, but as you say wind can make a difference. This just leaves excellent hearing, pretty good eyesight and the combination of senses such beasts tend to have such as being able to feel the vibrations of someone walking along a dirt trail.

We've based a lot of our bear defense around this idea that we just have to make a lot of noise for them--as if bear are some cranky old sourdoughs. It makes no sense to me, having seen them in the wild and how attuned they are. I think it's more reasonable to conclude that they're surprised by our stupidity at running right into their turf. Which is why we get these explosive defensive reactions and sometimes attacks.

I also think they're making more warning sounds than we realize. I've always heard the bear before I've seen them. Shuffling around, making sounds. This may be part of their effort to warn me off, but I haven't understood it. In some cases people have been able to observe a sow prior to an attack. The case involving a man who was blinded by a sow a few years back involved a sow who had been acting more and more agitated at the anglers and hikers. The guy who got nailed just stumbled into her. If he had been a moose he would have heard her warning barks and jaw snaps and stayed well away.

StrutStopper
July 26, 2011, 02:22 PM
Bear Spray. Don't leave camp without it. (or a .454 Casul...)

Maple_City_Woodsman
July 26, 2011, 02:28 PM
Hearing a noise you made likely doesn't equate to "danger" for them, especially not for an animal that is at the top of the food chain. Hearing you snap a twig may not automatically = "THERE IS A HUMAN BARRELING DOWN ON ME". More so when you get a bear who hasn't actually seen a human before, or learned anything about how we act.

Vision is a moot point in the wooded hilly terrain the black bears like to inhabit. That same terrain can block and redirect sounds as well.

I agree with you that bears have amazing senses, and that they are usually more aware of their surroundings because of that...

But bears are bears, they are not zen master ninjas. They simply cant pay attention to everything at once, and that leaves them vulnerable just like any other animal and humans. The percentages and instances of that are just smaller.

If that weren't true, 15 year olds with a .243 wouldn't take them over bait every year.

What I'm driving at is that real encounters in real terrain are very complicated events that are subject to a huge host of different factors, and that bears (great senses or not) are still subjected to those factors even if to a lesser extent.

Ronsch
July 26, 2011, 02:29 PM
Generally, most predators (and creatures in general - including man) have a predisposition when a noise is heard to either a) head towards it to investigate it or b) head away from it.

Since grizzlies are essentially at the top of the predator food chain, more likely as not, they are going to head towards the noise to investigate. Again, assuming they follow the typical predator responses, they will ascertain whether the predator poses a threat, and respond. Since a grizzly is at the top of the predator chain, what would reasonable, prudent person think will happen? it is going to attack, and no amount of bells or whistles is going to convince it differently.

In addition, I would seriously question the level of training the "leaders" are receiving and what qualifies them for leading in the Alaska outdoors.

Cosmoline
July 26, 2011, 02:41 PM
Bear Spray. Don't leave camp without it.

They did have that, but had no time to use it according to the reports. These are truly explosive attacks. Like an 800 lb. IED with fangs and claws.

KodiakBeer
July 26, 2011, 02:52 PM
Interestingly, today the "sow with cubs" story has evaporated. Nobody saw any cubs, and certainly nobody probed around in the nether regions of this bear to see what kind of plumbing it had.

We really can't know what sets a particular bear off. Sometimes it is indeed a surprise, but it's a solid point that our puny human senses may simply not pick up the warning signs that a bear gives off.

What do you guys think of this statement in today's paper by the director of the school? "We recognize people are going to react differently," he said Monday at a news conference in Palmer. "You don't know how we're going to react. The bear came really fast, that's was super unusual."

I don't think the director of the school has any understanding of bear behavior whatsoever.

gibson_es
July 26, 2011, 03:08 PM
Maybe they were used to talking bears that that state there pressence before attacking...

sarduy
July 26, 2011, 03:26 PM
who goes into the alaskan wilderness without a bazooka?
Answer: The teenage outdoor education students

SSN Vet
July 26, 2011, 03:59 PM
once upon a time, when I was a wee tyke, I heard a wise scout master say something about "be prepared"....

sounded like a good idea to me.

Diggers
July 26, 2011, 04:00 PM
Exactly sarduy.

They didn't have a firearms because they are high school age kids who are at a "summer camp" their parents probably paid a ton of dough for.

No one is going to run a summer camp where they give untrained 17 year olds guns and send them out alone into the wilderness. Parents aren't going to send their kids there.

The problem here is the guy who runs the camp made a bad choice letting them go out alone with out an armed adult with them.

Here is a good example of bears speed of attack.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMbnmLLnsfw

Cosmoline
July 26, 2011, 05:18 PM
The problem here is the guy who runs the camp made a bad choice letting them go out alone with out an armed adult with them.

Alaska happens. Send an armed adult. Send a squad of Delta force. It doesn't matter. Every time you go out, you roll the dice. If it's not bear it's a broken leg. Or exposure. Or just plain old freezing cold water, which is a much bigger killer than bear.

rbernie
July 26, 2011, 07:09 PM
^^^^

And none of that, however true, has anything to do with THR.

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