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Jack Hanna wards off Glacier grizzly with pepper spray
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)
Published: Wednesday, July 28th, 2010
This undated photo shows Jack Hanna hiking at Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park in Montana. TV host and zookeeper Jack Hanna says he took his own advice and used pepper spray on a grizzly headed toward him while hiking with his wife and others in Montana's Glacier National Park on Saturday.
TV host and zookeeper Jack Hanna says he took his own advice and used pepper spray on a grizzly bear headed toward him.
The Columbus Zoo keeper and frequent David Letterman guest said he was with his wife and other hikers in Glacier National Park on Saturday when a bear cub, weighing about 125 pounds, charged them. Hanna told The Columbus Dispatch that he held up a canister of pepper spray, which he takes routinely on hikes.
"At about 30 feet, I unload my pepper spray, and the wind takes it," he told the newspaper.
But the bear kept coming.
Hanna sprayed toward the animal again, but still it kept coming.
"Then the third time I unload that pepper spray right in his face," Hanna said.
The bear turned around and fled.
Hanna said he's been carrying pepper spray on hikes for 15 years, but Saturday was the first time he's used it.
The group was returning from Grinnell Glacier by way of a narrow trail with a cliff on one side and a steep drop-off on the other. They rounded a corner and saw a mother bear and two large cubs about 30-feet away coming toward them, the newspaper reported Tuesday.
"We thought of letting them go by, but the trail was cut into the rock and was too narrow," Hanna said. "So I said, 'Everybody talk loud, and we'll back up until we can get off the trail.'" They moved slowly back up the trail to a clearing.
"I said, 'Crawl up the hill and put your backs against the wall,'" he said.
Then they stood still while the mother and one cub passed by. The other cub, instead, charged toward them.
Hanna had recently filmed a message for the National Park Service encouraging hikers to carry pepper spray
Woman recounts bear attack as caught grizzly ID'd
By MATTHEW BROWN and BEN NEARY, Associated Press Writers Matthew Brown And Ben Neary, Associated Press Writers
19 mins ago
COOKE CITY, Mont. – One of the survivors of a deadly grizzly bear attack said Thursday she realized her only hope was to play dead after feeling the bear's jaw clamp onto her arm in the middle of the night.
Wildlife officials were testing the DNA of a bear captured at the site of the early Wednesday mauling to confirm it was the animal that also killed a Michigan man and hurt another camper near Yellowstone National Park, but they said they were confident they had caught the right animals.
"Something woke me up, and a split second later, I felt teeth grinding into my arm," Deb Freele of London, Ontario, said from a Wyoming hospital. "I realized, at that split second, I was being attacked by a bear, but I couldn't see it.
"It was behind me and I screamed. I couldn't help it — it's kind of like somebody else was screaming," she told The Associated Press. "And then it bit me harder, and more. It got very aggressive and started to shake me."
She kept screaming but then realized that if she didn't do something, she was going to die.
"I decided at that point, the only other thing I knew to do was to play dead, and I just went totally limp, got very quiet, didn't make a sound. And a few seconds later, the bear dropped me and walked away," she said.
The bear believed to be responsible for the rampage at the Soda Butte Campground was lured into a trap fashioned from culvert pipe and pieces of the dead man's tent. Wildlife officials left the 300- to 400-pound sow in place overnight to attract her young, and by Thursday morning two of her year-old offspring were in adjacent traps.
The third could be heard nearby through much of the day, calling out to its mother and eliciting heavy groans from the sow, which periodically rattled its steel cage.
The cub returned at about 8 p.m. Thursday and nosed around the trap for about a half hour. At one point, it climbed halfway into the trap and then backed out and vanished.
"Eventually he'll get hungry and he'll come back," said Fish Wildlife and Parks spokeswoman Andrea Jones.
Montana wildlife officials identified the man killed as Kevin Kammer, 48, of Grand Rapids, Mich. The bear pulled Kammer out his tent and dragged him 25 feet to where his body was found, said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim.
Messages left Thursday for Kammer's mother-in-law and brother-in-law in Michigan were not immediately returned.
Freele and the other victim, Ronald Singer, 21, of Alamosa, Colo., were hospitalized in Cody, Wyo. Singer was treated and released, and Freele was scheduled to have surgery Friday for bite wounds and a broken bone in her arm, said West Park Hospital spokesman Joel Hunt.
Singer and his mother, Luron Singer, did not immediately return e-mail messages from the AP. But Luron Singer told The Denver Post that her son, a former high school wrestler, had been camping with his girlfriend.
When he felt the bear biting his leg, he started punching the animal, she said. His girlfriend screamed, and the bear ran away.
"He is doing fine," Luron Singer told the Post. "He went fishing today."
News of the maulings set residents and tourists on edge in Cooke City, a Yellowstone gateway community tucked into the picturesque Absaroka Mountains. Many were carrying bear spray, a pepper-based deterrent more commonly seen in Yellowstone's backcountry than on the city's streets.
Pennsylvania tourist Sheila McBride said she bought a can of the spray Thursday morning after hearing news of the attacks. She and her husband had no plans to hike or camp but were driving through the park in a convertible and wanted to be prepared in case they were delayed in a remote area by any road construction.
"We've got it in the back where we can grab it real easy," McBride said, pointing to her BMW. "If we're stuck in the convertible and a bear is coming over the mountain, we want to be ready."
Fish, Wildlife and Parks Warden Capt. Sam Sheppard said he was confident the killer bear was the one they had captured because it came back to the site of the rampage, which started around 2 a.m. Wednesday.
Sheppard said it was a highly unusual predatory attack, with campers in three different tents mauled as they slept.
Freele said she couldn't understand why the bear attacked her, because she posed no threat.
"If it was something that I had done — if I had walked into a female with cubs, and startled her, and she attacked me — I can understand that," she said. "She was hunting us, with the intention of killing us and eating us."
Officials have said the bear will be killed if DNA evidence confirms it was the same one that attacked the victims. Aasheim said the test results were expected by Friday.
Wildlife officials said tent or sleeping bag fibers were in the captured bears' droppings, and that a tooth fragment found in a tent appears to match a chipped tooth on the sow.
"Everything points to it being the offending bear, but we are not going to do anything until we have DNA samples," Aasheim said.
State and federal wildlife officials will determine the fate of the cubs, which are feared to have learned predatory behavior from their mother.
The bear attack was the most brazen in the Yellowstone area since the 1980s, officials said.
In 2008 at the same campground, a grizzly bear bit and injured a man sleeping in a tent. A young adult female grizzly was captured in a trap four days later and taken to a bear research center in Washington state.
"The suspicion among a lot of the residents is that the bear they caught (in 2008) was not the right one," said Gary Vincelette, who has a cabin in nearby Silver Gate.
Sheppard said there was no truth to that.
About 600 grizzly bears and hundreds of less-aggressive black bears live in the Yellowstone area.
The region is pasted with hundreds of signs warning visitors to keep food out of the bruins' reach. Experts say bears who eat human food quickly become habituated to people, increasing the danger of an attack.
Yet in the case of the Wednesday's attack, all the victims had put their food into metal food canisters installed at campsite, Sheppard said.
"They were doing things right," he said. "It was random. I have no idea why this bear picked these three tents out of all the tents there."
The 10-acre Soda Butte Campground in Gallatin National Forest has 27 campsites.
Freele, who had been staying there for 13 days with her husband, Bill, said she didn't think she would stop taking long camping trips.
"I know that this is a one-in-a-million, freak event," she said. "I might think twice about camping in the same site."
Paintball attracts unwanted guests: Bears
BILLINGS, Mont. - A newly opened paintball course in Montana had to shut down after odor from disintegrated paintballs was luring possibly dangerous guests: bears.
Big Sky Marketing Director Dax Schieffer says the resort tried to find an environmentally friendly paintball. But it turned out that the one selected contains a vegetable oil that can attract grizzly and black bears that commonly roam the region.
A wildlife official says that some bears were even eating unexploded paintballs.
The resort is on the side of a ski hill, and opened earlier this summer. It shut down in mid-July after the bear problem arose.
Schieffer says workers are now trying to find a paintball that won't attract bears.
Better choices than only having a trekking pole for defense ;)azbackpackr wrote:an old joke... the punch line is that you can tell you're in grizzly bear territory from the poop. It's large, has bells in it, and smells like pepper spray!
I couldn't decipher if he had bear spray but at that point in the trail; the issue involved falling too. So if you spray the bear, providing the wind is blowing in the right direction, the bear does what? fall off the cliff? turn around?Grasshopper wrote:I didn't read the article, but did they say if he had Bear Spray?tibber wrote: Check out the picture closely and read the caption
This happened to me often when I summered in Denali. I spent the night in really thick bear country one particular night, and when I hiked back to the ranger station the next morning a ranger used a telescope to show me 3 bears wandering around within a half mile radius of my camp site. How in the he** I did that several days a week for a whole summer, I have no idea. I was in my 20s, nuff said?tibber wrote:http://missoulian.com/news/local/glacie ... 963f4.html
those of you that are familiar with the narrow rimrock section of the Highline Trail off of Logan Pass in Glacier National Park, like me have often wondered, what happens if you encounter wildlife along the way but in particular a grizzly bear? Check out the picture closely and read the caption .
and you all wonder why I'm such a chicken s..t when I don't want to hike alone or without bear spray in GNP. Altho in this case; it didn't matter either way.
Photos by month from HAZer's w/ Locations.Jason Cleghorn wrote:How often does HAZ see bears here in AZ, and where?