Grizzly Bear Shot and Killed By Hikers In Denali National Park and Preserve

A grizzly bear that emerged from a thicket and charged two backpackers in the backcountry of Denali National Park and Preserve was shot and killed by one of the two who was carrying a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol, according to park officials.

The killing Friday is believed to be the first instance of a hiker killing a grizzly in the park's wilderness. The killing occurred in the original Mount McKinley National Park portion of the Denali, which was expanded by two-thirds in 1980.

Until February, when Congress changed the rules, it was illegal to carry a loaded firearm in that portion of Denali. While the rule change now allows hikers to carry firearms in all areas of Denali, it still is illegal to discharge them, park officials said.

Park officials did not speculate whether the killing was justified. This is believed to be the first instance of a visitor to a national park killing an animal with a firearm since the gun regulations were changed.

According to a release from the park, the two backpackers, a man and woman, were hiking in dense brush along the edge of Tattler Creek, which is at the west end of Igloo Canyon roughly 35 miles from the park headquarters.

"The man, who was in the lead, drew a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol when they heard a noise coming from the brush. When the bear emerged from the thicket and ran toward the other hiker, he fired approximately nine rounds in its general direction. The bear stopped, turned, and walked back into the brush, where it quickly disappeared from view," said the release.

The two then headed roughly 1.5 miles back to a road, where they encountered a park employee, who called in the incident and took the two backpackers to the Toklat Road Camp. A ranger there did a short preliminary interview with them at approximately 10:00 p.m. Because of the concern that a wounded bear was in the area, four backcountry units were immediately closed, and bus drivers were instructed to not drop off day hikers in the Igloo Canyon on Saturday.

"Early Saturday morning rangers and wildlife technicians flew to Toklat via helicopter to conduct a secondary interview with the two backpackers. Afterwards they flew over Tattler Creek and all of side tributaries, very low at times, to determine if there was an active, wounded bear," the park release said. "No bears were seen during the overflight, and late in the afternoon three rangers hiked into the site. The bear was found dead in a willow thicket approximately 100 feet from the pistol casings at approximately 6:00 p.m.

"The bear’s body was transported via helicopter to a landing site on the park road and brought back to headquarters on Sunday, where park wildlife biologists are assisting with the investigation of the bear carcass. The backcountry units have been reopened."

The case is still under investigation, and the names of the backpackers are not being released at this time. Park wildlife biologists and rangers are trying to determine if there was a justification for shooting the animal.

The estimated grizzly bear population in the park north of the Alaska Range north is 300-350 animals.

Comments

Anons: A point of clarification. The bear that climbed up on a roof to kill that young woman in Alaska was a black bear, not a grizzly. Black bears are superb climbers. Grizzlies can climb, but they're not very good at it.

What is with all the sheeple here? What happened to the right to protect oneself and family, let alone a complete stranger? Most .45 shots are probably within 20 feet and that is no bluff charge. If you have EVER read anything about the grizzly, they get very upset when surprised and will almost always attack. This is what it sounds like here. These people are lucky to be alive. If there is a distance issue, then it is most likely a bluff, but traveling through the brush, these people were almost bear soup.

This comment is particularly hilarious:
"Submitted by HSR (not verified) on May 31, 2010 - 5:02pm.

Good I don't want to meet you in the "Forest" with your concealed handgun! So please don't come to Alaska and definately stay out of Denali if you can't hike with your gun"

Get me some popcorn! I wonder if this person realizes how many people are around them with a concealed pistol? Most states allow concealed carry just by simply showing up to the sheriff's office and requesting one! In Alaska, probably most of the population has one. Get down to the normal states and even democrat states like Washington for example and nearly half the population has concealed carry permits that are over the age of 21! Naive. Don't even get me started on a place like Arizona.

Anyway, welcome to the real world. Bad things happen and there are no do-overs. My heart goes out to the hikers since this will leave a fear in their hearts for some time due to nearly meeting their demise.

Perhaps the best book on bear behavior -- both black bears and grizzlies -- is Stephen Herrero's Bear Attacks, Their Causes and Avoidance.

Here are some pertinent excerpts:

A charge was the most common aggressive action directed at people who were hiking and became involved with a grizzly responding to a perceived threat. Often such charges seemed as if they would lead to an attack because they came so close. In 14 out of 20 of this type of incident in which the distance of the closest charge was known, bears came to within 16 feet of a person; in the remaining such incidents bears came within 20 to 66 feet of a person. It is clear that close charges can occur without injury. Sometimes a person was charged again and again.

... a firearm might be useful if you suddenly encounter a grizzly bear, especially a female with cubs, and you are charged by the grizzly. If you have a firearm, you may choose to shoot a charging bear, but remember that a wounded grizzly is almost always highly dangerous and may try to attack the person who has wounded it.

For protection against a suddenly encountered and charging grizzly, many people will be safer without any firearms ... I think that for some people, carrying a firearm tends to turn off the alertness to signs of bears and to situations in which bear danger might develop. With the perceived security of a firearm, people become bolder, which can be bad for several reasons. If you are expert with firearms under "combat" situations, you are more likely to provoke grizzlies and hence to have to use your expert ability. In this case the unnecessary killing of a grizzly bear may occur. On the other hand, if you are not expert with firearms in tense situations, you run the risk of wounding and further enraging a grizzly. To kill a charging grizzly bear in order to defend yourself, you must be capable of shooting to kill an object hurtling at you, perhaps through dense brush, at speeds of up to 44 feet per second. If you aren't expert enough to do this, then you may be better off without a firearm or at least keeping the firearm for use only in very few situations.

To the last anon: You don't get it, the back country of a National Park is the realm of the wildlife. We are the visitors there. And if you decide to enter the bear's country, you should be prepared for the remote possibility to get killed, same as you accept when climbing mountains or dive in the sea. There are forces of nature that are stronger than man, and this is the very core of wilderness - the wilderness I seek when I go there.

So far it is one bear. But it happened in the very first week when you could expect visitor-bear-encounters to go wrong.

We will see what else happens during this season and maybe the next. But let me predict one thing: If a) more hikers will kill wildlife, they perceive as threat, and b) there will be no way to repeal the gun rule, then c) huge tracts of the back country of many National Parks will get closed to all visitors, because ultimately the mission to preserve the wildlife trumps over the mandate to allow access in the dedication of a National Park.

By the way, I recommend checking out the film "Grizzly Man" if you haven't seen it. Interestingly, it probably provides fodder for both arguments on both sides of the table.

I cant believe that all of you value the life of a bear over a human... that is the dumbest thing i have ever herd of... i think that this man did exactly what most humans would have... There life was in danger and he defended himself... i would have done the same thing... he did not discharge his weapon in a reckless manner... and he did not intend on going into the woods to kill a bear.... it is an unfourtanate event but nevertheless the man did what he had to do... ask youself what would you be saying if the story read... man and wife killed by bear, and man was armed with pistol, but never fired a shot... we would all be saying how stupid he was for not defending himself...One thing you may not like to here but is the truth is that humans are at the top of every chain regaurdless of in a city or in the backcountry, like it or not thats just the way it is... so all of you libeials living in a city enviroment were you do not come into contact with wildlife on a regular basis need to get a life and stop putting down everything you read.... think before you speak.... any homegrown Alaskan native would have done the same thing.... i tell you i am from the southern part of the US and were i am from, we would have not hasitated to defend ourself against any wildlife, if we have no choice. This man was justified and any charges filled against him would be obserd...

The more we allow handguns in National Parks, the more likely we are to see the accidental shooting of a backpacker "rustling" in the eye-high tundra plants. If you want to backpack, don't bring a gun. If you want to hunt, don't bring a backpack. If you want to stay home and watch National Geographic, by all means do so. Just don't shoot me if I surprise you in The Bush.

Usually around here when a mountain lion or a bear mauls a human being, law enforcement tracks it down and kills it. If memory serves that's what was done in Alaska with the bear that mauled the girl mountain biking in a park near Anchorage. (I don't know what Denali's policy is on that). In Yosemite, a bear that injures a visitor is killed, I believe. So my point is that there would have been a dead or mauled woman and a dead bear.

To those of you who think that the couple should have just gone ahead and been mauled, have you ever seen the injuries from an animal mauling? What if the victim had been your wife, would you still have let the bear charge?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that no one would have wanted the hikers mauled.

But the question that arises in my mind is whether the shooting could have been avoided? Had the hikers been adequately schooled by park officials on how to deal with wildlife in general and bears particularly? I know at Yellowstone, just to name one other park with bears, if you're going for an overnight in the backcountry you need to sit through a video and sign a paper attesting that you understand where you're going and what you might encounter.

There's an abundance of literature out there on bear behavior and how to deal with it, on how bear spray is more effective than a sidearm, on how to behave in backcountry inhabited by bears.

There's also been much concern voiced since the gun regs for national parks were changed over inexperienced backcountry travelers going armed into these situations and resorting to their weapons when it's not necessary.

Until more is known about this incident -- and park officials told me today the investigation is ongoing -- it's impossible to say whether the shooting was justified or not.

I've been charged by a black bear in Kings Canyon. It happened in seconds. Fortunately it was a bluff charge. I can't imagine being charged by a bear the size of a grizzly. For bear spray to be effective you have to be closer to the bear than I would want to be. And even if the hikers didn't make noise, didn't have bear bells, once the bear charges the fact that they may not have been the best bear-country prepared hikers is irrelevant to what they should be permitted to do to defend themselves.

Oh my god, these comments are hilarious. You guys can't even spell!

I keep reading the argument "how is the hiker supposed to know if the charge is a bluff or for real?" This begs the question should there be any stipulations for those venturing into wildlife territory? It also poses an ethical dilemma, should man be allowed to blast anything that evokes a fear response in him just so he can take a walk through the park? How are we to separate men defending their lives from cowards hiding behind a gun? I think the conservationist's great fear is that the new law will give men, who aren't of the proper disposition and mindset to preserve and admire nature while accepting that they are in it's domain, license to carry and discharge their handguns in the name of moral superiority and without consideration for the long-term effects their actions will have on the eco-system. This is the part where someone cues Bubba: "I'll put down ever last bear if it means keeping my kids safe!" If safety is your concern, then stay the hell out of the wild.

For my part, I believe the wilderness should be kept wild and I don't intend to venture into it to test my resolve or the stopping power of my sidearm just to get a glimpse of "nature." I've got National Geographic and Discovery for that.

Oh my god, these comments are hilarious. You guys can't even spell!

I keep reading the argument "how is the hiker supposed to know if the charge is a bluff or for real?" This begs the question should there be any stipulations for those venturing into wildlife territory? It also poses an ethical dilemma, should man be allowed to blast anything that evokes a fear response in him just so he can take a walk through the park? How are we to separate men defending their lives from cowards hiding behind a gun? I think the conservationist's great fear is that the new law will give men, who aren't of the proper disposition and mindset to preserve and admire nature while accepting that they are in it's domain, license to carry and discharge their handguns in the name of moral superiority and without consideration for the long-term effects their actions will have on the eco-system. This is the part where someone cues Bubba: "I'll put down ever last bear if it means keeping my kids safe!" If safety is your concern, then stay the hell out of the wild.

For my part, I believe the wilderness should be kept wild and I don't intend to venture into it to test my resolve or the stopping power of my sidearm just to get a glimpse of "nature." I've got National Geographic and Discovery for that.

When I did my backpacking trip in Denali the rangers showed us a 30 minute film similar to what I saw at Glacier NP, on what to & not to do. They stressed when walking through the bush, to shout out Hey bear! or something similar. If you're not on the tundra, most of the time you can't see very far, and the noise of the creek or river is also fairly loud. So its fairly easy to walk up on wildlife if you're not careful. I was most cautious/nervous during the first couple of days of hiking upstream with the wind in our faces. My hunch is the couple weren't shouting out enough, and if that's the case the incident could have been avoided.

Once the bear charged, I can't fault them for shooting it. I know how scary that must have been.

I did read Bear Attacks, Their Causes and Avoidance, before our trip & had the others in my party do so too. It helped everybody to stay bear aware.

Denali has been our best wilderness experience to date.

If you know that you've had "30 hours" of firearm training, you haven't had enough. I've both been trained and trained others for over 40+ years and don't necessarily feel I've had enough. And Goddess save me from someone trained by Blackwater. Denali is not Fallujah.

Does anyone actually know if the bear got one round in the front and the rest in the rear? Shooting at a threat that is running away from you is NOT self defense.

Rick, I agree that I don't think you can have enough firearms training but it's impossible for someone my age to even attempt get 40+ years of that since I'm not even that old. Please don't poo-poo the training, that 30 hours was in the past 2 months and tailored to my specific training requirement, different from anything I've done in the past. They don't have any dynamic bear threat reaction courses available around here, and I live in a state where the local ranges get upset if you draw a weapon from a holster because they consider that procedure "unsafe!" That requires extensive dry fire practice at home and a lot of travel just to train, pushing myself until I get it wrong, then fixing it. That's why I took the training I did. If you don't know Tom Perroni, Google him. I agree, nothing in the US is like Fallujah and the training is not that way, either. But his experience in high-threat areas makes him more qualified to teach me how to handle low-threat areas than any instructor within 100 miles of here. Keep in mind, my mindset is that the firearm is a LAST resort. This is strictly self-defense in case spray doesn't work. I'm prepared to spray if the bluff charge gets too close, but if the bear steps out of the spray or I run out, I need to be able to react to that.

About me, 20 years of active shooting experience, going to the range with a wide variety of arms every week (even in different states) and participating in some shoots and matches. While I may not come close to other the experience of others, it doesn't mean I'm not paying a lot of my own cash to be mentally and physically prepared for a threat that will probably never happen. Under stress we all default to our level of training. The guy who shot this bear in Denali defaulted to his. I can assure you I will not react the same way, but might have if it wasn't for my training. I've read the books, am bear aware and am now many dollars poorer but better prepared for the "just in case" and that's a lot more than most CCW folks out there.

I've been backpacking since I was a boy scout; I'm now 50 years old. In all my time backpacking I can't ever remember anyone taking firearms training in preparation for a trip in the back country. Obviously you're a firearms enthusiast who feels it’s necessary to be prepared at all times to defend yourself with lethal force. It sounds like you're putting more emphasis in firearms training than how to survive, and understand how to avoid conflicts in the wilderness. Using a gun as a last resort? If you use pepper spray and for whatever reason that doesn't work, chances are you won't have time to draw your gun. Please understand, there have been many in Alaska who have gotten shots off on bears, and still had their heads ripped off.

Walking up on a moose or caribou isn't a very healthy experience either.

I know you're planning on visiting Yellowstone, do some research to see how often people are attacked by bears there. I think you'll find it seldom happens, especially if you're not hiking around with a false sense of security that a carrying a firearm can bring about.

Not to mention guns & ammo are heavy!

im glad these hikers defended themselves, but i am not happy that the bear had to die. personaly i do not care if it was a "bluff charge". the bear presented a threat to the hikers and they reacted appropriately, they would not have fired unless they feared for their lives. I just hope that these people are not battered by the animal rights activists and the anti-gun groups.

Here in Florida, when we have a nuisance black bear, the State Wildlife officials of Florida Fish & Game are supposed to come out, check out the problem, and relocate the problem bear before it or any humans get hurt.

However, the reality is that they won't come out until someone is actually injured.

So some Floridians have developed the Shoot, Shovel & Shut-up method that is so prevalent around Yosemite & Yellowstone.

Bottom line, when bears no longer feel any hunting pressure, not even Bow-Hunting, they don't have any fear of humans...and will prey upon them given half a chance. Few are willing to let their grandmothers be eaten by a bear if they can deal with the problem when Wildlife officials refuse to even come out to Navarre, FL and handle the issue. So, the inevitable happens, the bear gets killed quietly, the bullet/evidence is removed from the carcass, and it gets buried in a nice 6' grave. But if Wildlife Officials would do their dang job & relocate the bear WHEN IT IS REPORTED, that kind of thing wouldn't have to happen.

BTW, if FFW guys don't take care of the current issue in Navarre...there wil be one less black bear in the near future...those rednecks do not play at all, especially when little old ladies are involved.

Kurt:

if the man was convicted because of a biologists testimony, he might have needed better counsel. Self defense generally requires a fear of immediate harm-not proof the danger is real. How is one to know when it is real? Wait until the bear is running right in your face? Have your friend run at you from twenty feet away as you try to draw a weapon. Now imagine he is a bear, add the fear and adrenaline, and be realistic... Please don't think you can convict a homeowner by saying the homeowner had to know when the criminal was serious about an attack...

Bears may stop after an initial run. I'd give the man as much benefit of the doubt as I give the bear...

I'd be happy to not shoot at a bear when it charges you if you want it that way. Of course, your opinion may change...

This demonstrates the effects of human overpopulation and open immigration. Our wilderness areas are just that - wilderness areas and should be treated accordingly. There is NOT an unlimited amount of space and as one sage put it, "no more land is being created". In the past, humans didn't have to go so far afield to get away from it all; to find the peace of mind unique to wild areas.

With the paving over, and consequent population, of so many formerly undeveloped areas, our larger population has been forced into diminished wild landscapes. Capitalism operates much like a "Chian letter" and unfortunately, requires ever expanding markets - and it takes thousands of poor working people, and a few middle class people to support one rich CEO. As competition increases between the few to grab those fruits of human labor for themselves, the stakes go up. To show profits for the company, ever expanding markets must be found and cheaper labor must be aquired and imported. This labor used to be supplied by children working their way up through the system - i.e. working at the drive-in, picking berries, etc. As our own population grows too lazy to have their own children, foreigners must be brought in to supply the labor to keep the corporations afloat. These people need places to live, so undeveloped areas shrink, etc. And these newcomers are not raised to value the environment as we do. In the end, they will just make a theme park out of Alaska.

If you really care about Alaska, and the wildlife, have lots of children and bring them up to love the environment. Don't shirk that responsibility - for you can see the results; humans crowding into the wilderness. As far as the bear? I'm very sorry he was shot. But if it was my wife or child, and I felt they were in mortal danger, I would have fired also.

If you love the wilderness: Stop immigration! Have lots of children, and imbue them with your values! Buy from small businesses and not the large corporations whenever possible!

Maybe you would like to "shoot" the people in Arizona?

Phil,
You were a Ranger for 10 years at Denali huh? Bluff charged by Grizzly Bears multiple times? ....and you make the blind statement that they should be charged with a crime? Right of the bat huh....just like that....kill bear=crime... I don't think that fits. Doesn't seem like you were any kind of law enforcement officer, and if you really were ever bluff charged by a bear I am sure you had a firearm with you.

Oh no mister bear.....don't eat me....I know you just want to bluff charge me to see if I am a scaredy cat so I am not going to shoot you unless you bite me first, OK? hahahahaha

Don't come to Alaska????? Yeah OK. Don't bring your concealed firearm here....you can just wear it on your belt in plain sight...

This comment was edited to remove gratuitous language. -- Ed.

Bears are scarce. Humans are not, to the point of converting the entire wild biomass of Earth into more humans. Bears are more precious and valuable than humans. Humans who think their lives are more precious than the last remaining grizzlies should stay home in bed. Why do you think human lives, given that there are billions and billions of us, are more valuable than that of grizzlies?
Your attitude is why our planet is in such peril: you probably think humans have the "right" to eat every wild tuna, carve every rhino horn, etc for our amusement. Please extinctify yourself and your family and make room for more wildness!

Amen!!!

I would encourage you Kurt to follow up on this with the park Chief Ranger. Surely the investigation is finished by now.

Certain areas of Denali should be closed to hikers. Very soon another bear will be killed because hikers are hiking through very thick brush in the middle of their habitat where they are known to be living and where they are seen every day. There is a lot of area in Denali where you can see what is around you from a great distance. The hikers were foolish to be hiking in that particular area. The shooting was probally justified but easily could have been avoided....

I know some idiot will think I am saying that hikers should not be allowed in Denali at all, thats not what I'm saying...but within Denali there are certain small areas where bears are found every single day. You have about a 95% chance of seeing the bears in these areas all the time, so people who go hiking in them are just foolish.

Way to much speculation at present. Once all the facts are in then we won't have to speculate, right?
First and foremost....I glad the hikers survived and I'm sad the Grizzly had to die! But, if the hiker
left his gun at home we might be reading "Two hikers killed by Grizzly" Don't think we would want to read the latter, but lets wait for all the information.
Happy trails
Mike C.

If you refering to the fellow who spent many monthe with the GRIZZLY and the decidec to take his
girl friend on a little adventure which got them both killed. First they went to an area that they were new to and the bears in that area did not know them. They camped on a feeding train just off the beach and they were just setting up camp when the two bears arrived, first the larger of the two then a smaller one.
The larger bear attacked the young lady first then he want after the boyfriend. The pilot that came to check
on them almost got killed himself. Both bears were killed by a Rangers/Warden using a .40 cal. pistol.
I do beleive the mistake was moving to a new area where the bears had not encountered humans before.
Same story?
Happy trails
Mike C.

My belief is that the person that killed this bear is not a poacher, obviously they are not experienced as you are and if you have lived through multiple bluff charges than i also consider you not only experienced but also very lucky. If a bear is charging and is close enough were a 45 takes it down than that is too close for comfort i dont care who you are and what kind of nerves of steal you have. I have shot many 45s and for multiple shots to take down a grizzly it had to have been at close range. A inexperienced hiker around a charging bear isn't going to wait around to see if its a bluff or not, this person is naturally\instinctively going to protect themselves. If you get charged by a grizzly and its 10ft-20ft away, are you going to gamble with your life that its a bluff charge? Not I !!! OH NO I AM GETTING CHARGED BY A GRIZZLY!!!!, ITS FEET AWAY !!! ILL JUST STAND HERE WITH MY THUMB UP BY BUTT AND WAIT TO SEE IF ITS A BLUFF CHARGE OR NOT. Odds are it may be a bluff, but no one can be 100% certain.
This person should not be charged with any crime for protecting themselves.

[edited for gratuitous remark]

If the grizzly was shot in the front , then it was justified, if the grizzly was shot in the ass while running away then that person should be buried under the jail.
[This comment was very heavily edited for gratuitous remarks.]

Bet the mother of the gentleman killed [near] yellowstone last night by a bear, wishes he would have been armed!No matter how she felt about guns the day before.

As to the comment above: He wasn't killed in Yellowstone, he was killed NEAR Yellowstone in a National Forest, run by the US Forest Service, in which the gun laws of the state of Montana have always been and continue to be controlling. And I think that the unfortunate deceased genteman's thoughts on being armed are what mattered, not his suffering mother's, since I don't think she was there to watch over him.

A link to what I can only assume the commenter was referring to: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h-zvKvHc7LVgGFN-WcG2niIDZNZwD9H8BSRO0

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grizzly_Man

Grizzly Man is a 2005 American documentary film by German director Werner Herzog. It chronicles the life and death of bear enthusiast Timothy Treadwell. The film consists of Treadwell's own footage of his interactions with grizzly bears before he and his girlfriend were killed and eaten by a bear in 2003

First of all its not the bears territory....it ours. Human life is sacred and should be protected at all costs. Granted the bears should not be harassed , but we have the right, as humans, to ensure our security.

I disagree with Bruscino. When in doubt, with a bear charging you, shoot first/talk later has to be the default action of any person. Waiting to try and learn what may be unknowable might result in action taken too late and those two hikers might have been killed or maimed by the grizzly bear.

I've really enjoyed reading these arguments. I'm not going to comment on who is right but point out a flaw in all the arguments. Everyone seems to assume that all 9 rounds hit the bear and some people have gone on to write that maybe one or two hit the front and the rest hit the rear etc. etc. making them cowardly- where in the report did it say that all 9 rounds hit the bear?

I agree

Nobody could tell exactly how a wild animal behaves, let alone a huge beast as bear. Do you think wild beast gives you sufficient time to make decision when it rushes to you? Eventhough you have made a hundred of scienarios with studied reactions for each, do you think you can have time to protect yourself and others before you feel sorry? Between going to jail for killing a bear and keeping yourself as a whole, which one do you choose?

Then make a regulation at the entrance of the park that all guns should be kept by the park keepers and each visitor was given a bear spray and a training of how to use it. Please, stop giving lecture without actual effective action.

Let me help you in action: make reservations for bears without any human tresspassing where nobody can enter. Or just like a zoo, where the animals can live in good care and have siblings while human visitors are allowed. In Asia (China, Thailand, and Vietnam) there are public and private zoos for tigers and bears. We - the Americans - can do better job.

Some parks do have areas that are off-limits year-round to humans to protect bears. Yellowstone is one.

Hmmm. So you don't need to carry a firearm in bear country because waving your arms has worked so far. Okay, hitting the brakes on my car has worked so far, so I guess I can forget about wearing my seatbelts. Right. Got it. (Lots of folks seem to be escaping from Mister Roger's Neighborhood lately...)

Submitted by Kurt Repanshek on August 17, 2010 - 5:03pm.


Some parks do have areas that are off-limits year-round to humans to protect bears. Yellowstone is one.

Denali is two. Sable Pass closure. Only a couple clicks from the site of this incident.

In the Wyoming case, I would only say, was the guy poaching? ya know, hunting illegally.
Sounds to me like he was not, hunting and merely trying to protect himself.

Why are we being penalized for trying to survive ? We are suppposed to just lay down and play dead and die, for the poor hungry bear.
No way. Ill pay the fine. If its me or the bear, I dont give a damn about the DNR and its silly rules. I dont care, if the bear, "feels threatened". That bear is a top predator that can literally chomp my arm right off and kill and eat me.
The bear, if I can aim well enough, is gonna die. Fine or no fine.
Here are the fines for killing a bear without a permit.
http://www.wvdnr.gov/Regulations/hunting_hrBeargr.shtm

Humans first. Carnivorous predators, last.

I've really enjoyed reading these comments because as an avid hiker/backpacker it's caused me to question how I would have reacted in that situation. Honestly, knowing myself as well as I do, I suspect I would have shot the charging grizzly in a panic out of blind fear whether it was warranted or not. However, I also believe the commentators are correct who pointed out that when we venture into the wilderness we are accepting a certain level of risk. I am glad those hikers were not mauled, but personally I have decided to stay out of grizzly country, unless I am willing to rely on the bear spray, so that those animals can exist as they have for millennia without being slaughtered by a terrified hiker armed to the teeth with the various firearms I've read described in these comments. Those bears are now confined to an area that is a fraction of the territory they once roamed. The whole concept of "wilderness" is to preserve a place where the plants and animals that are there can live without being molested by humans running around shooting at them with guns.

As a Montana woman proved, you don't need to carry a firearm to protect yourself from bears. Just be prepared to make ratatouille.

One could use a gun to scare off the animal just as easily as kill it outright. After they do an autopsy on the animal they will know whether it was starving, wounded, recently pregnant or was protecting a kill site. In other words, they're going to figure out whether this person went up and blew away a healthy bear for fun or not. Last I checked rangers don't **** around when it comes to their wildlife stock. A bear charge may be a bluff 99% of the time, but if it isn't, I don't get why you should lay down and resign yourself to being bear chow. The rangers'll deal with stupid people and poachers the same way they always have.

I just saw this article about the Grizzly being shot in Denali this past summer and hit "reply" as I agreed with the person.

I'm so disappointed in the 2 backpackers who killed the bear. I travel to Denali to go backpacking with a few friends or my son, generally going every 2 years to the backcountry. This past year I went to the backcountry in a great unit and spent 2 weeks alone with plenty of bears around, moose, wolves, etc. Actually as soon as I was dropped off by the bus I walked about 40 yards up a dry creek bed into my unit. I came around the corner and within 35 yards was a Grizzly with her teenager. I respected the animals and acted as I was trained (required for backcountry hikers by Denali) prior to going into the units. I’m also an avid backpacker and know what to expect in the outdoors and how to responsibly handle the outdoor situations.

The 2 bears looked at me and then walked off into the brush. Yes it was close call, there was no bluff charge and, yes, I have been bluff charged before at Glacier. I never brought a gun nor would I think of bringing a gun as I'm at Denali to observe nature, enjoy the outdoors, take pictures and relax. You go to Denali and know what to expect. Oh yeah by the way I have my CPL (concealed weapons permit) and own a quite a few pistols and rifles that I could have brought.

This is the problem with some of our legislators as they ruin the experience for many of us. The bear is dead, people who probably have waited years to go to the park were evacuated and now other people will be looking for a reason to shoot a bear under the guise of self defense. I can only hope the guy is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law to prevent this from happening again.

There was no way for the people to know if it was a bluff charge or for real, unless maybe they waited for it to mall them to death. I'm sick of tree huggers placing the lives of bears above humans. Bears don't own land, we do. Where do we draw the line between human and animal land that we can not set foot on? Humans do not give up there God given right to self defense for bears or any other animal. The "no discharge" part of the law is only for target practice and shooting for fun, it does not say it can't be used for self defense.
Bears and other animals do deserve protections from poaching. This does not mean one should let an animal be placed above the human.

Being a clerk at a local outfitter in Fairbanks Alaska, I've routinely talked to NPS and Alaskans about the grizzlies in Denali, and indeed the rest of the state. Bear spray and training only go so far, especially if you run into a bear that is 'used' to human contact.

You people who are talking about 'bluff charges' and how it was unjustified to shoot are morons. Unless you are in his shoes facing a raging thousand pound bear charging... Gee, are you going ask the bear 'are you bluffing?'. Maybe its faking looking hungry...

Knowing the bear safety is critical, however being able to legally carry firearms is an added plus knowing how often bear spray does indeed fail and cause injury to the user (along with the fact that bush pilots may not let you carry bear spray, but they'll have firearms no problem, something about how stable smokeless powder is compared to aerosol spray at altitude...). Firearms are indeed safer than bear spray, and shooting back beats getting mauled any day of the week.

Step outside, and into the food chain. Humans aren't at the top, and therefore need to be prepared, and no US Government agency should ever take away the legal right to carry a firearm in the wilds of Alaska. Save that kind of activity for the Courthouses.

Besides, as I write this, I've seen that the investigation was concluded and the man from my hometown was found to not be at fault at all, and completely justified in self defense. Perhaps, when animals and humans re-establish the predator/prey relationship, the bears will return to being nervous of humans leave them alone a bit more. Wait, never mind, too many folks from 'outside' come in and think these wild animals fuzzy and cute and decide to feed them... And wonder why the bear bell attracts the bear and the spray just makes its meal of hiker just a bit spicy.