A Close Bear Call

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They just needed Sadie, Alan Gage's dog, to run him off !
IMG_0404_zpsjcyxdelt.jpg
 
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I watched the vid 3 times and saw absolutely nothing to indicate it was anything more than it just being curious. If it was predatory you wouldn't see it coming, predatory bears stalk their prey usually from within the treeline and explode out of it when they gauge the timing to be right. they don't amble along in plain sight....
 
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Forgive me, but to my understanding a charge is a defensive action intended to neutralize a threat. This bear did follow the guys, pretty scary I admit. However, I have watched my dog follow bubbles along the creek and leaves blown across the back yard, even going so far as to put a foot on them and then let them go. I wouldn’t want a bear to do that to me but is it predatory?
 
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You can be an expert canoeist, survivalist - able to start fires in the rain, find food in the wild... It means nothing without the right attitude and situational awareness. You don't have to be paranoid or in constant fear, but you do need to look around, stop and listen (and in this specific case, STFU) once in a while. Bringing bear spray and not having it on one's person either demonstrates complacency or a lack of understanding.

And as for the bear - big difference between the rural dumpster raider and the taiga dweller. That bear looked curious to me, not predatory - but that could have changed in an instant with the wrong reaction. The guy that noticed first had an instinctive prey reaction - scream and run. My thought is that the other guy not running/nor reacting similarly probably saved them.

Look at me - armchair QB. They lived and their experience won't soon be forgotten - I hope they decide to use it to their advantage.
 
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That bear appears more curious than threatening. Often they are sizing you up and are showing you how big they are or how threatening they are in an effort to make you run. I've had success with standing my ground, opening my coat and holding the coat out like wings with each hand. About like the dirty old man that flashes the ladies. This provides you with a much larger profile to intimidate the bear.

It's probably best to not confuse flashing with mooning!
 
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That bear appears more curious than threatening. Often they are sizing you up and are showing you how big they are or how threatening they are in an effort to make you run. I've had success with standing my ground, opening my coat and holding the coat out like wings with each hand. About like the dirty old man that flashes the ladies. This provides you with a much larger profile to intimidate the bear.
I think this (my bolding) makes sense.

It looked to me that the only time their actions made the bear turn and run was after one of them suggested they stand together and put their arms up in the air.
 
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Americans continually under estimate black bears. This post is an example of experienced outdoor people under estimating them.
Bears are smart, they are really strong and they have equipment. This is not the behavior I want to see. I would not sleep there and would leave as soon as possible.

My herding dogs have chased bears out of camp plenty of times.

A friend of mine was a timber framer that did a lot of work up by Lake Tahoe. One site had a lot of rock outcrops and large acreage near the Tahoe National Forest. They had visits from 7 different bears during working hours. One day a new bear showed up. Kind of blonde looking fur and easy to spot. The bear watched the crew for 30 minutes. He walked around the work site. My friend was running a saw working on trim, and watching the bear with his peripheral vision. "All at once, the bear dropped his shoulder and charged me." was how he put it. My friend jumped in his truck. Do not confuse sizing up the situation with sizing up you.
 
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saw absolutely nothing to indicate it was anything more than it just being curious. If it was predatory you wouldn't see it coming, predatory bears stalk their prey usually from within the treeline and explode out of it when they gauge the timing to be right. they don't amble along in plain sight....
Except for the brief section where the bear was running full speed towards one of the fellows, who yelled and ran. If that was a wide angle lens, which is most common with such vids, the bear almost got him. Also, it's sort of difficult for a bear to stalk from the treeline when there are no trees anywhere around. The bear was more than curious.
 
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Except for the brief section where the bear was running full speed towards one of the fellows, who yelled and ran. If that was a wide angle lens, which is most common with such vids, the bear almost got him. Also, it's sort of difficult for a bear to stalk from the treeline when there are no trees anywhere around. The bear was more than curious.
all I saw there was what's commonly called a "bluff charge", I've had that happen to me a couple of times, it's basically bear talk for "I want to know if you're prey or a threat", prey runs, threats hold their ground. Not running tells him that you're stronger than the bear and can defend yourself. It's definitely scary to be on the receiving end of a bluff charge, but if you hold your ground the bear is intelligent enough to realize that IT may be the one getting hurt.
 
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I don't know about your experience Scoutergriz but I think most bluff charges happen spontaneously upon the first encounter, not almost two minutes later when the threat is walking away and was unaware that the bear was even there. If that wasn't an aggressive bear it would have slipped away unnoticed.
 
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I've been charged by both black and grizzly, and I've evaluated such reports over my 20 years of human-bear conflict management as a wildlife biologist. "Bluff charges" are easily identified, usually preceded by vocalizations, jaw snapping, foot stamping, etc. The reason I put bluff charge in quotes is that what the bear is doing is not so much a bluff, but as intimidation with the possibility of further aggression if necessary , depending on the reaction of the person/animal the bear is interacting with. If the person runs, the bear will follow, with a possible bad outcome. If the person stands his/her ground, then that tells the bear that the cost of attack is greater--the person is prepared to defend him/herself with a possible increased cost to the bear. What we saw on that video was not a bluff charge, it was a chase--full bore running towards one of the fellows. Yes, if the fellow was looking at the bear, it probably wouldn't have run like that (higher cost). But, the bear was coming up from behind the fellow, running. It's hard to tell how close he was to the man, but I'd bet he would have taken the fellow down if he hadn't have turned. And yes, after the charge, the bear was definitely evaluating his options on whether these guys were worth pursuing. Early on, when the fellows first got sort of aggressive, the bear backed off. The rest of the time the bear was biding his time waiting for an opportunity. I'd bet if one of the fellows had stumbled, or fallen down, the bear would have advanced quickly--maybe not attacking, but getting in a better position for an attack--I've seen exactly that sort of behavior on black bear predatory footage.

For anyone interested in evaluating bear behavior, or learning more on how to act, I'd highly recommend watching "Staying Safe in Bear Country", produced by some of the biggest names in bear biology (Steve Hechtel, Stephen Herrero, etc.), and was the standard educational video for bear training throughout state and federal agencies. It's available on Youtube now Staying Safe in Bear Country. It is excellent.
 
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I agree with Mason's assessment, too. This bear was testing and assessing the two paddlers.

I'd still like to know how they got the rest of their gear.
 
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I agree as well with Mason. Thank you Mason for explaining it well.
 
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Well, we will never know really. I've had curious bears in camp before, a lot bigger than that fella too. When attempts at civilized conversation failed, a well placed bear banger always delivered the desired outcome. I suspect it would have worked in this situation too.
 
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