Last week another hunter encountered a Grizzly bear attack. He ended up with stitches, a broken arm, and had the crap scared out of him. Fortunately, he is around to tell the story.
Grizzly bears are on the rise. With full protection and unrealized management, their population will continue to grow. At some point, the risk of bear encounters will gain enough attention to consider real management and population control Grizzly bears are not Winnie the Pooh!
So, what happened right for this latest Livingston hunter? He was hunting near Gardiner, just outside Yellowstone Park. Prime Grizzly land. The area was open sage plains and sparse trees. Elk, antelope, and bison frequent this area. This is natures cafeteria.
The victim was not alone. He had a partner, and both were caring pistols, bows and bear spray. Upon arriving at their hunting spot, they heard bugling bull elk. They quickly moved toward the elk and stopped by a tree. Suddenly, the hunter saw a sow grizzly charging at just a few yards. He thought it may be a bluff charge but… He braced himself for an impact. The grizz knocked him to the ground before he could grab his gun or bear spray.
His partner was able to spray the bear quickly and the sow stopped biting his buddy. A second spray burst sent the sow running. Both hunters ended up getting sprayed in the process. Their eyes were burning and needed to be rinsed out with water. They made it to the truck after frequent stops.
The FWP considered the bear behavior normal and the incident is closed.
So, what went right?
The hunters were together. Solo hunting is dangerous and would have resulted in a deadlier outcome.
Guns and bear spray were quickly available. Access was reasonable, and they knew how to use the spray.
They quickly made it to the Bozeman hospital for care.
The attacked hunter used his arm to protect his head and face. He fought back.
The only thing that seems to be an issue is how did they not see a full-sized Grizzly sow and cub in open sagebrush? They marched right up to it, perhaps too intent and excited on a bugling bull. Encounters in Grizzly land happen too often. It is easy to bump into a bear. This appears to be the case.
If we do not better manage predator populations, incidents like this will continue to rise. There was a reason why predator populations were attacked and reduced. When children, dogs, livestock, and people get attacked, it may be too late. We all love nature but…
Be Bear aware!