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Re: [John Muir Trail] Grizzly bear kills Yellowstone hiker

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  • Roleigh Martin
    When I first started hiking in the High Sierras back in 2000 I brought bear spray with me, I was scared back then. I stopped bringing the bear spray around or
    Message 1 of 8 , Jul 7, 2011
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      When I first started hiking in the High Sierras back in 2000 I brought bear spray with me, I was scared back then.  I stopped bringing the bear spray around or after 2004.  By then I had read many of the books on bear safety, paying attention to black bears.  With knowledge and experience in the back country, I lost my fear but not my respect for knowing and following the rules.

      I reference these books  in my Amazon Wish List of Books on Thru-Hiking.  Also I have gone about 5-6 years without encountering any of the black bears in the back country except for a black bear who visited our camp site at night at Cloud Rest Junction (just above Half Dome).

      I typically see the bears around Yosemite Valley or Reds Meadows where there are plenty of humans and poor food safety habits.

      If you follow all the backcountry rules you're told to read and sign when you get your permit, you should be fine.

      See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bear_attack#American_black_bears to get a perspective of the risk of a bad incident.  "Likewise, Stephen Herrero, a Canadian biologist, reports that during the 1990s bears killed people in the U.S. and Canada, or around three people a year, as compared to the 15 people killed every year by dogs.[2] Multiple reports remark that one is more likely to be struck by lightning than to be attacked by a bear when outdoors; around 90 people are killed by lightning each year.[3]"

      and

      Compared to brown bear attacks, violent encounters with black bears rarely lead to serious injury. However, the majority of black bear attacks tend to be motivated by hunger rather than territoriality, and thus victims have a higher probability of surviving by fighting back rather than submitting. Unlike grizzlies, female black bears do not display the same level of protectiveness to their cubs, and will seldom attack humans in their vicinity.[10] The worst recorded fatality incident occurred in May 1978, in which a black bear killed three teenagers whilst fishing in Algonquin Park in Canada.[11] The majority of attacks happened in national parks, usually near campgrounds, where the bears had become habituated to human contact and food.[10] 1028 incidences of black bears acting aggressively toward people, 107 of which resulted in injury, were recorded from 1964 to 1976 in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and occurred mainly in tourist hotspots, where people regularly fed the bears handouts.[11]"


      http://www.amazon.com/wishlist/1NEE9MR90GNQV/ref=cm_wl_rlist_go?_encoding=UTF8&sort=universal-title&layout=standard



      On Thu, Jul 7, 2011 at 2:02 PM, puweiliu <puweiliu@...> wrote:
       

      I feel so sorry for that poor guy! I know there are no grizzly bears around JMT but this do make me starts to re-consider if I should take a bear spray with me for my coming JMT hike....

      Please be carefully out there!

      http://news.yahoo.com/grizzly-bear-kills-yellowstone-hiker-223309866.html


    • Roleigh Martin
      Our library has two good pages of resources on bear safety/issues, canister use.
      Message 2 of 8 , Jul 7, 2011
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        Our library has two good pages of resources on bear safety/issues, canister use.

        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johnmuirtrail/links/Bear_protection_001262975015/

        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johnmuirtrail/files/Bears/

         Special thanks to John Ladd who did most of the work on these two pages.
      • John Ladd
        ... As others have said, short answer is No . Long answer is No, no, not even close . The very long answer is found in the files and links area as Roleigh
        Message 3 of 8 , Jul 9, 2011
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          On Thu, Jul 7, 2011 at 11:02 AM, puweiliu <puweiliu@...> wrote:
           

          I know there are no grizzly bears around JMT but this do make me starts to re-consider if I should take a bear spray with me for my coming JMT hike....


          As others have said, short answer is "No".

          Long answer is "No, no, not even close".

          The very long answer is found in the files and links area as Roleigh recently suggested.

          Our Black Bears (who are usually brown, if you are lucky enough to see one) are really sweet.

          You can thank all the folks who carry legal bearcans for this.  While even in the 80's a bear wouldn't have hurt you, it could have gotten unpleasant when there were food accustomed bears in the backcountry.  Since bearcan restrictions, our backcountry bears are no longer a problem.  The only food accustomed bears are found in the frontcountry, esp. in the Valley -- and even there, they are under control

          John
        • kennethjessett@sbcglobal.net
          Good information, thanks for that Roleigh.
          Message 4 of 8 , Jul 9, 2011
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            Good information, thanks for that Roleigh.
          • jtrolka
            Just to reiterate, from yet another source, no, there s no reason to carry pepper spray on the trail, and furthermore, unless I am mistaken, it is not allowed.
            Message 5 of 8 , Jul 10, 2011
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              Just to reiterate, from yet another source, no, there's no reason to carry pepper spray on the trail, and furthermore, unless I am mistaken, it is not allowed. I seem to recall going through an orientation with a ranger in YV who told us firearms and pepper spray were illegal in the backcountry.

              From my experience, however, it's not necessary anyway. The bear issues that happen in the Sierras were generally the most severe around the more populated areas. In the past ten years the rangers have aggressively been educating and enforcing good stewardship principals with all the visitors to the park, and the change has been dramatic.

              When I first went to Yosemite, in '98 or so, a bear actually jumped over me while running away after scoring some pasta that others had left out. In the past two years, I haven't even seen a bear on the valley floor, or in Little Yosemite Valley. I would expect that once Banshee and I are out on the trail, chances are even less likely that we'll encounter them, but then again, I'm pretty agro about keeping a clean camp and locking food up tight in bear canisters, which remains the best and safest assurance that you will avoid an unwanted encounter.

              Crustyfoot

              'Jeff'

              --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, John Ladd <johnladd@...> wrote:
              >
              > On Thu, Jul 7, 2011 at 11:02 AM, puweiliu <puweiliu@...> wrote:
              >
              > > **
              > >
              > >
              > > I know there are no grizzly bears around JMT but this do make me starts to
              > > re-consider if I should take a bear spray with me for my coming JMT hike....
              > >
              >
              > As others have said, short answer is "No".
              >
              > Long answer is "No, no, not even close".
              >
              > The very long answer is found in the files and links area as Roleigh
              > recently suggested.
              >
              > Our Black Bears (who are usually brown, if you are lucky enough to see one)
              > are really sweet.
              >
              > You can thank all the folks who carry legal bearcans for this. While even
              > in the 80's a bear wouldn't have hurt you, it could have gotten unpleasant
              > when there were food accustomed bears in the backcountry. Since bearcan
              > restrictions, our backcountry bears are no longer a problem. The only food
              > accustomed bears are found in the frontcountry, esp. in the Valley -- and
              > even there, they are under control
              >
              > John
              >
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