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Treadwell's death and body recovery - a live-action account

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Preacherman, Aug 28, 2005.

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  1. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    The following is of interest to us gunnies, given the details of firearms and their use against two bears trying to attack the Park Rangers, police and others involved in the recovery of the bodies of Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend a couple of years ago. Grisly stuff.

    From the Anchorage Daily News (http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/story/6869328p-6764794c.html):

    Treadwell book excerpt: Pilot makes grisly discovery

    By NICK JANS

    Published: August 28, 2005
    Last Modified: August 28, 2005 at 07:43 AM

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Few Alaska stories have captured the world's attention like the life and death of Timothy Treadwell, the Californian who spent 13 summers living among brown bears in Katmai National Park. Interest in the deaths of Treadwell and companion Amie Huguenard has peaked again with the movie "Grizzly Man" and the book "Grizzly Maze: Timothy Treadwell's Fatal Obsession With Alaskan Bears," released earlier this summer. Juneau writer Nick Jans tells a rich tale of Treadwell's bizarre life, his interactions with Alaskans and what happened on the Katmai coast. A warning: The following excerpt contains graphic detail of Treadwell's and Huguenard's deaths.

    When Andrew Airways pilot Willy Fulton lands at Upper Kaflia Lake at 2 p.m. Oct. 6, 2003, things don't seem right. He's flown Tim Treadwell for years and is expecting the usual neat pile of gear down by the water's edge, ready for a quick load and fly-out. Neither did Treadwell make his customary contact with his hand-held VHF radio as the plane approached. Fulton taxis the Beaver into the tiny bay below camp. As he steps out onto the floats, he sees movement on the knoll. His view partly blocked by the brush, he figures it's a person shaking out a tarp. Things are all right after all. Tim and his companion, Amie Huguenard, were just somehow delayed, maybe the weather, a video opportunity, or a morning hike that went on too long. They'd better hurry; the weather isn't getting any better. Pounding rain and a lowering sky.

    He calls out their names.

    Silence. A little strange, but nothing to worry about.

    Unarmed, clumping along in the floatplane pilot's standard footgear -- hip waders -- he starts the 80-yard climb up the more direct of two main bear trails that wind toward camp. "About halfway up, I got kind of an odd feeling," he says, "and decided to go back to the plane." He wants to take off, look things over from the air. Tim and Amie will probably be coming along through the brush from the creek, waving to him. The Beaver is moored to a clump of alders against the bank. Pausing to untie, Fulton glances over his shoulder. And behind him is a bear, coming fast and low, eerily silent, 20 feet away. As the pilot leaps to his floats and pushes off, the bear is a body length behind. Fulton scrambles into the cockpit and slams the door. The bear, a big, dark male, skids to a stop at the water's edge, eyes still fixed on him. Huffing, the bear paces the bank as the plane drifts out into the lake. Normally Fulton would have a shotgun in his plane, as per state regulations, but he's left it back in Kodiak.

    "I've been charged by a few bears, but this was different," Fulton says. "He wasn't doing that usual bear-of-the-woods thing, acting big and bad. He was crouched down, sneaking on me. That look in his eye was real different too. Right then I felt like he was out to kill me and eat me." Fulton's heart is thumping. Now he knows something isn't right. The Beaver's engine rattles to life, and the bear fades into the alders.

    Fulton is shaken by his own near scrape, but this is swept away by waves of dread. Maybe it happened this time, maybe he went too far. ... Oh, Jesus ... He taxis out into the center of the lake, turns into the wind, and takes off. Circling over the camp, he can see the tents -- still staked out but mashed flat. And in front of one he sees a large bear, the same one, he figures, feeding on human remains -- a rib cage for certain. But just one body -- someone's still alive down there. He makes pass after pass, 15 or 20, he figures, swooping lower and lower, trying to drive off the bear and looking for other signs of movement. "I just about knocked him off the body, I was so low," Fulton says. "The floats were maybe two or three feet over his head and I couldn't get any lower because of the brush." His voice has the same tone as if he's talking about weather, instead of high-stakes, screw-up-and-die flying. But the bear doesn't budge and, by the last few passes, doesn't even look up. "He just crouched down," Fulton remembers, "and ate faster."

    There's no sign of anyone. Still, Tim or Amie -- he's not sure which -- could be hiding somewhere, maybe in one of the tents or out in the brush, maybe even a mile or two away. He taxis to different places on the upper lake, stops the engine, and calls, his voice echoing in the rain-swept silence. Then he takes off, flies to the lower lake and to different places in the bay, stopping and calling again and again. No answer.

    Willy Fulton lands, taxis to the west end of the lake, and raises Andrew Airways, back in Kodiak. Operations manager Stan Divine in turn calls the Alaska State Troopers in Kodiak and the National Park Service in King Salmon, which is on the mainland, a hundred miles west of Kaflia, on the far side of the Alaska Peninsula. Ranger Joel Ellis takes the call at 2:35 p.m. Though he's in his first year in Alaska, just completing his first season at Katmai, he's had 20 years of experience as a ranger, including posts at Yellowstone and Grand Teton -- places with grizzlies.

    Ellis immediately contacts Allen Gilliland, the Park Service pilot, to get the Park Service Cessna 206 floatplane ready. Then Ellis touches base with the state troopers, as well as the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. He relays a message through Andrew Airways, asking Fulton to wait where he is. Though it's Sunday afternoon and offices are closed, Ellis is able to make contact with both agencies. He also calls ranger Derek Dalrymple and tells him to hustle in. The rangers grab first aid gear and two Remington Model 870 pump shotguns -- preferred for their sure, nonjamming actions -- and boxes of rifled slugs. Ellis is wearing his .40-caliber Smith & Wesson service pistol. There's a strict protocol to be followed. Ellis is medic and operations commander of the rescue effort. With acting park superintendent Joe Fowler out of town, chief back-country ranger Missy Epping assumes the formal role as incident commander. She'll remain in King Salmon to supervise communication, pass the word up the chain of command, and get the paperwork moving. Unlike Ellis, who is new to Katmai, Epping has a personal stake in all this. She's known Treadwell for years and considers him a friend.

    The Cessna is in the air less than an hour after Ellis takes the initial call. Ellis says, "At this point we were on a rescue mission, not knowing if people were dead or alive." On the other hand, Gilliland, planning for the worst, has brought along a couple of body bags from the King Salmon Police Department.

    The two men accompanying Ellis, though selected by circumstance, might have been hand-picked for what lies ahead. Gilliland is more than just a pilot. He's an avid and skilled hunter who knows the country -- as well as a certified firearms instructor. Before he became a Park Service pilot, he was a cop in King Salmon for 16 years. Dalrymple, though a seasonal ranger, has been involved in investigating three previous bear-mauling incidents in the Lower 48. He is, as Gilliland later says, "very experienced -- a steady guy to have around."

    Eighty miles away in Kodiak, state troopers Chris Hill and Allan Jones are airborne. The weather between King Salmon and Kaflia is getting iffy, closing down. Another fast-moving coastal storm is forecast, which may force the Park Service plane to turn back. The troopers are in radio contact with them; if everyone makes it, they'll rendezvous after landing at upper Kaflia Lake.

    The Park Service plane runs into skeins of fog and rain, ceilings below 300 feet. Gilliland isn't sure they can make it in. Fulton tells them they damn well better. Someone may be alive, and he's not leaving. With him playing the role of air controller, the Park Service plane makes it through the weather and taxis down the lake. They confer with Fulton, who by now has been waiting for nearly three hours, alone in the world of unspoken fears, unable to help or do anything for his friends. He jumps in the 206, and they taxi the half mile east toward the outlet stream and the knoll. As they coast toward shore, Gilliland points out a bear on the hill, standing by one of the tents.

    Ellis recalls, "We got out of the plane, guns ready. We were in a combat-ready situation, yelling for the people." The shouting is also to alert any bears in the area and drive them away. After tying up the plane, they immediately begin to move forward, hands clenched around weapons, still calling out for Treadwell and Huguenard. Ellis, Dalrymple, and Gilliland thread single file along the steep, narrow trail rising through the alders. Fulton, "amped up" as he says, clambers ahead of them, unarmed, and has to be reminded more than once to slow down. They break into the open below the crown of the knoll and pause, spreading out so that they can all fire at once if necessary. At Gilliland's urging, they decide to wait for Hill and Jones, who are just landing. Because of a lack of space in the tiny bay and overhanging alders everywhere else, the troopers will have to moor 200 yards down the shore and muscle their way along the bank through heavy brush. Gilliland suggests the troopers might have a large-caliber rifle, and the extra firepower could make a difference. Tense and dry-mouthed, standing in the cold deluge of rain, the four men remain facing uphill toward the crest of the grass-crowned knoll, where they last saw the bear. Off to their right is a marshy, open swale; ahead, a curtain of 8-foot alder brush and chest-high grass that restricts visibility to a few arm lengths. The bear trails that snake through the growth will require them, in places, to bend at the waist.

    Gilliland, the pilot, channels his jitters into his eyes, scanning the brush in all directions. The threat, as it turns out, comes from the rear.

    "Bear!" he shouts. It's less than 20 feet away, head low, moving silently toward them, its outline blurred by the alders. All four men yell repeatedly, throwing all their pent-up emotion into it, trying to haze the big male away. Instead of retreating -- as almost any bear would, from a tightly packed, aggressive, loud group of humans -- it stares straight at them and steps forward. In his official Incident Report, Ellis will write, "I perceived the bear was well aware of our presence and was stalking us. I believe that."

    Gilliland concurs. "We were between the bear and its carcass, but it didn't charge us to defend it like most bears would do. It had circled around us and was coming quietly from the rear."

    Fulton adds, "He had that same look in his eye. I think he meant to kill all of us."

    The first movement toward them is enough of a signal to the men, whose nerves are stretched like piano wire. Ellis says, "We didn't confer. We all just started shooting." Fulton, who is between the men and the bear, finds himself literally in the crossfire.

    "I just remember gun barrels swinging toward me," he says. With the bear a dozen feet away, he dives to the ground and the fusillade explodes overhead.

    A half-ton brown bear, as experienced hunters know, can be almost impossible to stop, especially worked up, coming straight in. There are tales of magnum-caliber rounds -- slugs damn near the size of a thumb -- deflecting off the thick, sloped forehead, and charging animals absorbing incredible punishment, dead on their feet but still coming. Gilliland says he never saw one go down once and stay down. But the barrage unleashed by the rangers is staggering: five rounds each of one-ounce rifled shotgun slugs from Dalrymple and Gilliland, and 11 soft points from Ellis' .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun -- 19 shots in under 15 seconds, the booming crash of shotguns overlaid with the sharp, rapid crack of pistol fire.

    Troopers Jones and Hill are just tying off their plane when they hear the volley. "I thought it was some sort of fancy multiple-report cracker shell the Park Service guys had," recalls Jones, referring to the shotgun-fired noisemakers often used to scare off aggressive bears. "It was a continuous series of shots, quite a racket."

    Gilliland's report reads, "I fired five rounds ... with one hit to the head below the eye and four hits to the neck and shoulder." In retrospect, Gilliland feels his first shot killed the bear instantly. But given his experience and the extreme close range, he didn't take chances.

    Ranger Dalrymple's version is more laconic: "I shot until the threat was stopped."

    The big bear drops in his tracks, twitches, sighs out one last breath, and is dead. The men stand stunned in the rain, wrapped in a cloud of acrid powder smoke, their ears ringing and their breath steaming into the air. They're alive. Ellis paces off the distance separating him and the bear: 12 feet. Gilliland says later, "If it was an all-out charge, he would have taken down one of us."

    Pilot Willy Fulton is back on his feet. "I want to look that bear in the eyes," he says. He studies the blood-spattered face, the small, rapidly glazing pupils, and says he's sure it's the same bear that chased him to the plane, the same one he saw on the knoll. The four men continue the last 30 yards to the campsite, no less on edge. Below, the troopers are in sight, making their way through the brush along the lakeshore.

    The tents are tucked back in the alders, both crushed down but intact; either a bear has walked over them or someone has fallen against them, but the fabric's neither ripped up nor bloody. In front of the sleeping tent is a large mound of mud, grass and sticks. Several metal bear-resistant food containers are scattered on the north side of the camp in some disarray, but sealed and unmarked by claws or teeth. However, it's the mound in front of the first tent, where the bear had stood, that captures the would-be rescuers' attention. There in the muck is what lead ranger Ellis later calls, his voice tight, "fresh flesh" -- fingers and an arm protruding from the pile.

    There is also a chunk of organ Gilliland believes is a kidney. Digging into the bear's cache will reveal further horror. At least one person is gone, but there's still the possibility of a survivor.

    While Gilliland goes down to the lake to meet troopers Hill and Jones, Fulton and Ellis explore the tents. Dalrymple stands guard with his shotgun. Since both tents are flattened, Ellis decides the quickest way in is to slash the fabric with his knife. Someone could still be inside, unconscious and torn up, but alive. But they find only clothing and camping and camera gear, most of it stowed neatly. Food in small Ziploc bags, ready to be eaten, as if lunch had been interrupted. Sleeping tent unzipped. Gear tent zipped shut.

    By this time, Jones and Hill are on the scene. With unmistakable evidence of at least one fatality, the investigation is officially handed over to the Alaska state troopers. Hill is the officer in charge. The troopers brief everyone on crime scene protocol -- the same rules apply here -- and begin documenting the area. Hill takes a couple of minutes of shaky videotape of the wreckage. Ellis and Dalrymple backtrack to the Park Service plane to bring up notebooks and cameras as well. Meanwhile, Gilliland, ever vigilant, spots a bear -- an enormous dark male drifting silently up the same trail he and the troopers have just used. Vision screened by the brush and grass, Gilliland doesn't see it until it's practically on top of them. The animal seems equally unaware -- just traveling the same trail it has for years, every step locked in memory. This guy is bigger than the last one. Just before denning, his muscular frame sheathed in fat, he's at his maximum weight, maybe 1,200 pounds. Bear! Gilliland shouts.

    Jangled as everyone's nerves are, it's a miracle no one shoots. Fulton, Gilliland and the troopers shout and wave. The bear seems nonplussed by the commotion. He considers briefly and shifts into a lumbering lope, off down the hill -- leaving, but with his dignity intact. Just another Katmai bear. Gilliland shouts a heads-up to Ellis and Dalrymple. They stand on the Cessna's floats and watch the bear stroll off to the west, then walk up the hill to join the others. For a time, everyone is busy with shooting photos and jotting notes, freezing the scene in time. Ellis asks if someone should do a perimeter check. Gilliland volunteers. He backtracks to where the dead bear lies in the alders. Skirting the edge of the knoll, weaving on a search pattern through the brush he's a stone's toss from the others, yet totally cut off.

    Gilliland is about halfway around his circle when he finds what's left of Timothy Treadwell -- a head missing most of its scalp; part of a shoulder, some connecting tissue, and two forearms. The face, recognizable and uncrushed, is caught in a grimace. Fulton accompanies Hill down to photograph and collect the remains. Washed by the steady rain, everything is surprisingly bloodless. The wrists and face are pale, like wax. While they're working, Gilliland hears a bear popping its jaws, a clear signal of stress and possible aggression. The animal is close, but the brush is too thick to see anything. Fulton and Hill make their way up the knoll with the body bag, and Gilliland, despite the bear, continues his circling of the knoll. He finds nothing more and returns to the camp.

    The others, excavating the cache, have discovered another head with face intact -- Amie seems peacefully asleep -- as well as some flesh-stripped bones, miscellaneous scraps, and portions of a torso.

    Describing the remains, Ellis sounds like he's struggling for the right words, something to mitigate the horror. "It was way past the initial stages," he tells me. "One or more bears had time to eat most of two bodies and cache the remains. There was no clothing attached to any part. There wasn't much left of anything. We could not tell male from female." When I ask for more detail, he repeats, "We could not tell male from female." Then he says, after a pause, "One part had a watch on it."

    Four men break camp and collect Timothy and Amie's gear. Each makes several trips down the now-familiar bear trail to the lake. Meanwhile, Gilliland taxis Fulton back to his plane at the other end of the lake. His Beaver will carry the remains and gear to Kodiak, where the troopers will continue the investigation. (The body bags are so light -- 40 pounds at the most between them -- that the medical examiner meeting the plane will ask for the rest.)


    (Continued in next post.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2005
  2. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    (Continued from previous post.)



    While Fulton is warming up his plane, Gilliland taxis back.

    As he's hiking up the knoll one last time, he hears trooper Hill yell, Bear! Gilliland can see it moving in the brush, circling from the right toward Ellis and Hill, who are to his left. Dalrymple and Jones are to the right and behind, standing by the pile of gear on the lake shore. About 30 feet separates the three men in front and the bear. It's a much smaller animal, probably a 3-year-old -- the kind of bear that most often gets in trouble with people.

    Driven off by their mothers and on their own for the first time, some are timid and uncertain; others curious and apparently eager for company; a few aggressive, testing the boundaries, seeing how far they can push things. Teenagers, in other words. There's nothing abnormal about the bear's approach, but its timing couldn't be worse. The men have all had enough -- all of them tired and raw-nerved. Still, they hold off. Everyone waves and yells the by-now-familiar mantra, their voices low and forceful: Hey, bear! Ahhh! Get outta here!

    Vision obscured by a clump of alder, Gilliland circles to his right. He yells to the others that he's going to take a warning shot. There is little reaction from the bear, which continues closing the distance between itself and Ellis -- then turns to go, but circles back, ears forward and staring. It's far too persistent -- either overly curious or aggressive That's it. Ellis shouts for Gilliland to take a shot if he has one. Gilliland replies that he doesn't. The bear moves into a window in the brush, still closing the distance, and Hill and Ellis open fire with their slug-loaded 12-gauge pump guns -- once each. The bear turns, giving Gilliland a momentary opening. He shoots twice. The bear falls and struggles to get up. Gilliland moves in and makes a killing shot to the base of the skull. Four dead now -- two people, two bears. No one takes comfort in the grim mathematical symmetry.

    It's now after 6 p.m., the light fading and the weather deteriorating. Wind rattles in the alders, scattering leaves and ruffling the dark water of Kaflia Lake.

    All three planes have an hour of flying ahead and will be landing on the water in near darkness. There's no time to do a necropsy on the dead bears -- open them up and see what's in the gastrointestinal tract, discover if they even have the bears involved in the predation. That job will have to wait for Fish and Game tomorrow, weather willing. It's a task better suited to trained biologists, anyway.

    One by one, the three planes taxi east, turn, and roar down the lake in the dusk -- Ellis, Dalrymple and Gilliland in the Park Service Cessna 206, bound for King Salmon; troopers Jones and Hill in their Super Cub headed for Kodiak; and Willy Fulton in the Andrew Airways Beaver, alone with his gruesome load and his thoughts. Six men ride the currents of the sky, rising away from this place of darkness and death. But Kaflia will stir on its haunches and follow them the rest of their lives.

    From "The Grizzly Maze" by Nick Jans. Reprinted by arrangement with Dutton, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Copyright 2005 by Nick Jans.
     
  3. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

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    Hmph....

    It seems to me that pruning the branch of bear evolution involving silent flanking maneuvers and human stalking is a good thing.

    It also creepily reminds me of the man eater from Ghost in the Darkness.

    I guess every so often, an animal just "goes wrong" and needs to be dealt with.
     
  4. Rockstar

    Rockstar member

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    Every now and then, doper humans "go wrong" and take their girlfriends with them. ;)
     
  5. larry starling

    larry starling Member

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    I saw the news clip of this guy and im sorry to hear they lost there lives. But I have to say I think there idiot's for what they were doing. I would never do somthing as stupid as what they done....It's sad, very sad..... :eek:
     
  6. athlon64

    athlon64 Member

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    The bears' exposure to Treadwell and girlfriend probably didn't help much for instilling any fear of humans. Perhaps Treadwell’s familiarity bred carelessness, and his luck ran out. He’s not the first, and won’t be the last.
     
  7. hillbilly

    hillbilly Member

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    I wonder exactly which part of "Hey you frickin' moron, that's a GRIZZLY BEAR!!!!" that failed to make an impression on Treadwell for all those years?

    It's like the sad story recently of the high school senior-to-be who was taking her senior pictures with a tiger, because she thought it would be cool.

    The tiger she was posing with decided she might make a tasty snack and mauled her to death.

    It's like the scientist "proving" that bull sharks aren't unpredictable bloodthirsty predatory killers by wading with them, just seconds before one basically bit his lower leg away.

    Them critters have big sharp pointy teeth for a reason..........

    hillbilly
     
  8. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    After all is said and done, I still have to take my hat off to the coastal brownies of Katmai. If some Malibu hippy had decided to camp in my pad, take pictures of me eating and calling me "cudly boo", I would not have waited so many summers before dealing with the situation with extreme prejudice. Treadwell had a good killing coming in spades. And if the bruin had been put on trial instead of shot, I would have voted to acquit. The world and the bears are better off without Timothy Treadwell.
     
  9. CARRY'IN

    CARRY'IN member

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    I believe it was a cover-up; he was killed by right wing conservatives for wanting to save the baby bears. I myself will be swimming with great white sharks off the Faralon islands next month and feeding them by hand. They will not harm me because they will sense I am one with the earth mother and mean them no harm. (Sorry Timothy, I had to.)
     
  10. carebear

    carebear Member

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    Carry'in,

    Don't forget to take along a girlfriend. That's the manly thing to do, expose loved ones to danger.
     
  11. boofus

    boofus Guest

    He studied those bears for years but never did learn to respect them. Mother nature has a nasty surprise in store for any treehugger that thinks their imagined moral superiority makes them invincible.
     
  12. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe Member

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    Charly was an eskimo/caucasion who had been born and raised in the cabin he lived in, on the banks of the little creek where he operated a series of small sluice claims. He used to come up to our comm site every couple of weeks to eat and do his laundry. When he didn't show up for about a month, we went down to see what was up. Two of us were experienced hunters and outdoorsmen. Three were city boys, working in Alaska, "for the adventure."

    When we arrived at the cabin, Charly told us that there was a big, aged Barren Ground Grizzley, with a damaged jaw, prowling around the cabin. Charly was afraid to leave his cabin, even though he knew the bear from many years of seeing him around. We gathered up Charly and a few things and climbed out of the ravine to walk back to the comm center, about five miles and 2000 feet elevation up the mountain.

    As we headed up the slope, I saw the bear slip around the other side of tha cabin and parallel us up the creek. I sent the others on their way and dropped back to the edge of the ravine at the back of the cabin. I had my 03A3 loaded with 220 Barnes and on half-safe. Looking over the edge of the ravine, I saw a 55-gal drum just below me, at the back corner of the cabin. I went to port arms and dropped off the edge onto the top of the drum. Catching my balance, I looked up to see the bear, standing on his hind legs, arms up and reaching for me. I instinctively whipped the rifle around and fired a shot. The bear dropped on me and knocked me and the drum over, pinning me under his chest and dropping his head on my chest, mouth drooling on my face. I assumed I was going to be bear food within a few minutes.

    The other men and Charly came back to the cabin when they heard the shot and found me trapped under the bear. It took all of them to roll the bear off of me. My bullet had caught him under his chin and exited through the base of the skull.

    I was very happy to walk five miles up the mountain with my wet pants full of s**t. I learned that in bear country, there can be two hunters. Only one of them will end up being prey.

    Pops
     
  13. CARRY'IN

    CARRY'IN member

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    I dont hunt bear but I went with a friend as "backup" once. We went up a mountain trail and then turned around and came right back down, finding fresh, HUGE, bear tracks following us up the trail. Who was hunting who?
     
  14. j.tuohy

    j.tuohy Member

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    To some, a brother, friend or relative; to some a greenie, bunny hugger or looney... but to a hungry Brownie... an appetizer...

    To bad he had to take someone else with him when he went but he at least learned his place on the food chain.

    John "tramping the Alaskan Panhandle carrying a VERY big gun" Tuohy
     
  15. MikeJackmin

    MikeJackmin Member

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    These guys were lucky they didn't add one of their own to the causality list - I realize that real life can be messy, but this sounded tactically inept to me.

    They did not maintain watch on their perimeter; their armament was marginal (where are the rifles?); they allowed one of their team to wander out of sight, alone.

    Not good, guys.
     
  16. carebear

    carebear Member

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    Mike,

    They weren't going in expecting to practice small unit tactics against insurgents, they were investigating a bear attack. Bear attacks involving predation from coastal browns are fairly uncommon, as is stalking behaviour. Typically they'll move off once they figure out you're a human, with the amount of activity they were kicking up there shouldn't have been a bear left within an acre.

    In any event, I'm not sure if you are really familiar with the terrain and flora up here. Your perimeter is about as far as you can see, the "wall of green" is absolute at the edge of whatever clearing you are in. From the "trails" (not maintained old-growth lower 48 stuff, actual bear trails not more than a foot wide) you can literally see about arms length into the brush.

    It's a whole nother world out there and the bears are like ghosts moving through it when they want to be.
     
  17. CARRY'IN

    CARRY'IN member

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    Most of southeast Alaska is pretty dense most of the year. Bears are quiet and will hide behind bushes right next to you- most people never know they have been within a few feet of huge carnivores. I know, I have seen them do it from a helicopter several times.
     
  18. MarkDido

    MarkDido Member

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    Wouldn't dream of taking my GF along.....

    Wonder if my ex-wife would like to go? :evil:
     
  19. WayneConrad

    WayneConrad Member

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    That is incredibly good writing, and an amazing story. Thanks for posting it, Preacherman.

    By the way, the link accidently contains a "):" at the end. A frowny face seems appropriate for the subject matter.
     
  20. Sindawe

    Sindawe Member

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    I have to wonder if the stalking behavior and predation is a recently learned/thunk up pattern by the bears, as a response to more people in the area.
     
  21. CARRY'IN

    CARRY'IN member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
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    233
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay area
    Bears are predators. Predators stalk. Like most predators, even eating machines like sharks, Bears dont just attack anything- they go after what they know and will not jump on something strange or what they know will hurt them. People are generally strange and dangerous to bears. But you start trying to be one of the family and you will wear out this partial immunity eventually. I find it hard to believe this guy did not understand that female bears will rip apart anything that gets near their cubs and male bears will automatically try and kill other bears in their territory (it is how they control their population). So if you become "one of the family" you are asking for it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2005
  22. VaughnT

    VaughnT Member

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    Location:
    Western SC
    While it was an interesting read, and scary-similar to the Ghost and the Darkness, I can't find any sympathy for either of the dead people. If anything, I'm sad that the bears got killed for their actions.

    This reminds me of the vidclip I found on another website of a tourist in Africa getting out of a safari-car to get better video of a pride of lions eating a gazelle. The worst part of that vid was seeing his family/friends as they watched him get killed and eaten right in front of them. It was gruesome, but you can't fault the lions for doing what God designed them to do.



    Oh, did I mention that I got to shoot a Marlin levergun in .45-70 today? What a great experience, and very surprising in how the OEM porting cut the recoil. I have to buy one. :D
     
  23. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

    Joined:
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    Los Anchorage
    I'm not sure where folks get the idea that bears don't know what people are. The bruins are not stupid. They know all about people and have been living side by side with them for ten thousand years. They can adapt rapidly to human behavior. In the National Parks where they cannot be hunted they tend to be far bolder and more comfortable around people. Likewise, around Anchorage they can be very bold. On state and forest service lands where they can be hunted they are far more skittish and will usually high tail it at the first scent of a person.
     
  24. Ryder

    Ryder Member

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    Location:
    Mid-Michigander
    The locals warned him not to go there at that time of the year. It was later in the season than he had previous experience with. The locals knew what would happen so predatory behaviour at that time of year is nothing new or learned by bears.

    He ignored those warnings and it's possible the female he dragged along was not informed of this elevated potential for danger. Very selfish on his part and if true then he is nothing less than a murderer in my opinion.
     
  25. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    12,156
    Location:
    DFW Area
    Someone told me a video camera was running during the attack. It was dropped early on, but there was supposedly audio.

    Anyone else hear this?
     
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