By Montana Grant

Posted: June 22, 2019


After bugling for a bull elk, I heard footsteps coming through the pines. My bow was at the ready as the critters came closer. Suddenly at less than 20 yards, a big brown head poked out from the pines. Then another. Two HUGE Grizzly bears emerged.

One Boar stood up and sniffed the air, while the other swatted the dirt and shook his head. They expected to see an elk, and so did I. So, what do you do when you are suddenly Critter Close?

First, I pulled out my handgun. The 357 Magnum was loaded with the hottest Bear Loads that they make. The reality is that stopping one bear is hard, but two? I stepped up onto a log and held my pistol and bow high. Facing the bear pair, I talked calmly and softly to them. “Leave me alone and go back where you came from!”

Both bears turned and marched back into the forest. Whew!!!

The best thing to do is avoid close critter encounters. If you are not hunting, make noises, wear a bell, and be observant. In many cases you will smell the critters. Bears, elk, moose, and buffalos stink. If the smell gets strong, back off. Anticipate encounters and be prepared to deal with them.

Remember that when you adventure out into the forest, you are in the critters living room. They want nothing to do with you but if you surprise them, things will get rough. Mother bears and deer, elk, moose, take protecting their babies seriously. If you get between Momma and her babies, watch out.

Bear spray is also an option. I have seen bears run through a properly delivered spray and continue to charge. Often these charges are a bluff but… Moose and cow elk can be deadly. 4 flailing hooves can do serious damage.

In the Park, most critter attacks come from Buffalo. Last week a tourist was gored and trampled by a Big Buff. They were getting close to take a selfie. One second these huge beasts are calm, and the next they are goring you and throwing you over a tree. If you think you are too close, you are correct. Use a zoom lens to take a picture and back off.

If you don’t, the critter will take your life!

Montana Grant

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