In my earlier article, I attempted to give information to stay out of trouble with bears. However, I have not discussed your survival, after being confronted and attacked by a bear. There are means of surviving a bear mauling-they are mostly dependent upon your Prayers and memory of steps to protect your vital areas. According to experts, the claws of the bear can cause fatal wounds-the jaws of the bear, will cause more damage more quickly and are the necessary focus of your strategy to survive. Never attempt to ENTER Bear country without each member of your party having the best Pepper Spray device for Bears specifically. Every member of your group has the same chance of being dragged off and killed by a bear. Your ability to come to the aid of an attack victim is the only chance of their survival. Attacks are so sudden and overwhelming-your ability to react in time to prevent injury, is very limited.
You may only walk two steps from the protection of your vehicle,before you are in unimaginable peril! Stepping off the trail for purpose of nature’s call may deliver you into the jaws of death, unless you are extremely careful! The two most important priorities you must choose are those of being as smell free as possible. Perfumes, cologne, yummy food smells, women’s menstrual scents, are irresistible to the keen smell of bears. Elimination of these and other unnatural scents, are critical to avoidance of bear encounters. Bear cubs are curious and capricious. They are also very quick to wail for their Mamas. The squall of a cub near your person is the most important sound to avoid, in bear country. Make so dang much NOISE that the female with young will hear and call her cubs away from you. Hopefully, as I show in my earlier article, you are not between the mother and cubs! In addition to the threat of bears with small cubs, the article also reveals behavior of some young adult cubs stalking humans with their mothers.
Climbing a tree is not your best protection. a) your ability to get up a tree is incomparable to the speed of a climbing bear. b) any tree that cannot be uprooted by the bear, must be strong enough for you-branches that barely hold your weight is critical. Then, the bear may stay at the foot of the tree until you fall asleep and become supper or breakfast. Once more, Bear Spray is your most valuable weapon of defense. I must repeat the caution-it is pointless to attempt outrunning a bear. Jam a stick in its mouth asap! Spray the bear directly in the face and eyes with the spray. You may find spraying first is better in your situation-however, do not let that bear get your body parts into its mouth! That is truly the ‘maw‘ of death! Previously I wrote about the odds of escaping a bear by running. Don’t do this. When hiking with someone you would rather never see again, shoot them in the kneecap-before you run away! Just saying…..Montana Divorces are efficient. Once again a fit of gallows humor-not funny considering how many people murder their family and friends these days!
Checking in at the local ranger station or park headquarters is well worth the effort. They can tell you if bears have been seen in areas used by hikers. Whether they report sightings of bears, or not, you must go ahead as if they are swarming all over the place! They range in large areas and can move about very quickly. In addition to being ready to survive a bear mauling, you must think of your options, if this should happen. Lives have been saved many times, by utilizing compresses on bleeding wounds-pads designed for menstrual cycles are an ideal space-saving compress. Speedy action to avoid loss of blood and shock, are of utmost importance. Ability to respond as an effective team to save the victim’s life and minimize damage is critical. Anyone not able to comprehend and learn the skills necessary for administration of first aid procedures-should not be considering the idea of hiking, biking, camping, or any activity in the ranges of bears.
- How to Not Get Eaten (thedailybeast.com)
- Park Rangers: Bear in Mauling Only Protecting Cubs (abcnews.go.com)
- Yellowstone Officials Won’t Hunt Down Killer Grizzly (newser.com)
- Keeping bears at bay at home or outdoors (cbc.ca)
- ‘Avoid the temptation to run’ from a bear: expert (ctv.ca)
Regarding the matter of Denny’s possible misogyny: about 5 or 6 years after I met him, a defining event occurred, which up-ended my theory of Denny’s thinking about women. I knew he was my friend-I lived in the Bucyrus Erie, an old city bus, Denny rigged-up as a survival shelter for lost hikers, hunters and stupid blunderers, who might get stuck on the road. Having a woman around; to cook on the old Monarch cookstove, wash the pots and pans afterwards; and throw down coffee grounds, to keep down the dust; while sweeping the floor-suited Denny just fine. His regard for most women, was diminished– possibly due to his childhood experience, living at an Ursuline Nuns’ School-where he received the ‘treatment‘-and started hating Jesus Christ. I could understand his perspective, having attended just such a school myself .
Then-along came Gertie-without notice, or even a hint-she showed up at the old oak table, in Denny’s cabin. She became a permanent fixture, and one of the Characters up Elk Creek, until her death, some years later. It seems, she had been tossed out of her home, shared with her arthritic husband-by his ‘children’. They put him in a rest home and booted Gertie out the door. After her eviction, she proceeded to hang out on a bar stool, and drink herself to death. How Denny found out about her situation, I don’t know. However, he brought her up to the Creek, put her on a maintenance alcoholic’s regime, and she perked right up. There was absolutely no romantic component to this relationship. The beneficiary of the arrangement, appeared to be-Gertie. One fly in the ointment, showed up early. Gertie was wildly jealous of other women. Denny had made a few comments about Gertie’s presence, mainly that, “she better NOT get Religion!” Whenever anything broke, or just fell apart-Denny would say, “must be Jesus Christ, walking by”. His expression dared anyone to contradict him, and that’s all there was to it. I am sure of one thing-if Denny had imagined the lengths Gertie would go to-in defense of her position as his number one woman-he would never have signed-on to the job of her caretaking. She was never able to ambulate well, this could be a big problem, since the outhouse was about 100 feet from the cabin. Years after her death, the smell of urine, behind the propane bottle, would still make your olfactory senses cringe. The crazy brother of some Texas LieYar (Denny’s term for lawyer), that owned a place up on the Skimmerhorn, thought Gertie might be hoarding a few coins. This lead to him dropping-in whenever Denny was out-getting Gertie drunker than a Boiled Owl. Having to clean up the big mess, after these visits, got Denny’s goat. He told Ralph to stop getting Gertie drunk-a reasonable request, since Gertie’s inability to make it to the outhouse was the reason for the messes. The next time Ralph made his usual visit, he got an unwelcome surprise from Denny. The Day of the Shooting Incident, Ralph came boiling into the Craft home, where we were discussing our plans, for the weekend. Ralph screeched-“Denny’s gone CRAZY and he SHOT me! A hard thing to believe, as Ralph was churning around the room like a tornado, before racing off to the Sheriff’s Office. We knew Denny was unhappy with Ralph, however, if Ralph was actually shot-why would he be flying around the countryside-like a flock of geese? So it was decided, we would go on up the Creek, to calm Denny down, before the Deputies showed up. For all we knew, he was holed up, in one of his many emergency shelters, preparing for a shoot-out! As we were half way up Greenough Hill, we met Denny coming to town, for the purpose of turning himself in, for shooting Ralph. Denny did NOT shoot Ralph-he shot gravel in front of Ralph’s feet. Gravel ricocheted right up into his shins, just as Denny had planned. At the end of the day-the Judge told Denny he had to pay the Emergency Room bill-and he had to stop shooting people! Denny agreed to that, and things went back to normal. Except, Ralph never drove by Denny’s cabin again. He had to take the longer, Garnet Range Road-wisely, fearing for his life. We all appreciated this, because Ralph was a big pain in the neck, who kept coming around, snooping in everybody’s business.
Denny’s condition, after Gertie’s rescue, was significantly altered. Whenever the ‘couple’ went shopping for groceries, it was common for Gertie to publicly, whack Denny over the head, with her purse. Accusing him of ‘looking‘ at the women in the store. A ‘school teacher‘ from California, owned a cabin just up the hill from Denny’s claim. She usually showed up once or twice a year, bringing her friends, who were all Lesbians, to my knowledge, for a visit. Denny was her official caretaker, and for a few dollars a year, kept things copacetic around her place. Because of this, she was able to leave a furnished cabin back in the woods without vandals and thieves stripping the place. When the gals from California arrived, they enjoyed great hilarity with Denny, and kept him plied with booze and food, for as long as he wanted to go on about whatever was on his mind that day. The situation got out of hand. One evening-Denny arrived back at the cabin, just before dark, to find Gertie gone. He frantically searched for her, in the creek, and wherever he thought she might be. Finally, he retraced his own route back up to ‘those women’s‘ cabin. Luckily for Gertie, he heard her faint cry, from the ditch, where she had tumbled on her way to retrieve Denny from ‘those‘ women!
Whether hunkering down-to avoid Gertie’s unprovoked purse attacks-or dealing with other indignities, suffered while Gertie lived up Elk Creek-Denny did not complain, or act maliciously. I never could figure out why he didn’t just leave Gertie in the store, after those purse whippings! Gertie was a good hearted old gal, we had fun fixing up her hair, with wildflowers, because her delight in the reflection of her stick-straight hair, all Gussied-Up-was so cute. Things have slowed down, on the Creek, over the past 18 years. Denny always had company coming through to hunt, fish, camp, or do the mineral work on their claims. Now that he is gone, there are treasure seekers, with stories of Denny’s hidden Gold fortune, ringing in their ears, who dig around his cabin-stealing whatever they want. I miss all of Denny’s whimsical signs, and little panoramas placed around the claim. He kept three outhouses, fresh and stocked, with paper and corncobs-for his guests’ convenience. I bring my own paper, when driving up to the mining claims, where I always use my favorite outhouse, for old-times‘ sake.
Looking over some re-claimed mining areas, it occurs to me, there are unseen dangers lurking on mining reclamation and active operating sites. Innocent people need to be warned of this, before endangering their lives, when in Gold Country, I will describe a few of these. Concern number one, in my mind, are the settling ponds standing on many claims, –active or reclaimed. Also included in this category, are deep dredge holes found along rivers and streams in resource-rich lands. Children wading, chasing frogs, or fishing near these water bodies are in a dangerous situation-if they try to wade into the ponds, or dredge-holes with water. The decomposed granite from gold mining will act like quicksand. In very short time, it will be impossible to get out without assistance. There have been instances, of adult men, trying to dredge from these ponds, unable to extricate themselves from them without help. A lone dredge operator is very unlikely to escape one of these death traps, unless help is close. Dredge-holes are dangerous because they have been scooped out by huge buckets, leaving steep banks beside deep holes of water.
A deadly practice of inexperienced people in Gold Country-delving into banks of decomposed granite, hauling out buckets of pay-dirt to wash in nearby streams. Eventually, these banks are undercut so badly, someone is crushed by a multi-ton overhang landing on their body. No amount of Gold is worth One Life! This has happened in our mining district-and there are worse dangers, in over-worked underground mining sites. Areas have been tunneled into by so many seekers of wealth, that mountains become honeycombs. Those venturing about such places, are in danger of falling into old mine shafts.
It is Critical that people use common sense, when approaching active mining operations. There are many things going on at once, the roads are minimally passable, and it is in your best interest, to exercise extreme caution, in these areas. Approaching too close to operations is dangerous for more than one reason. Miners have problems with weird yahoos that drop by, so they are armed and serious. Don’t startle miners-don’t go near their sluicebox– and do NOT get in way of equipment. Also, remember wildlife, of all kinds, are living in the area. See my preceding article to avoid deadly encounters with some of these. A few common sense practices, will serve to keep you safe and sound-in Gold Country. Exploring Ghost Towns and old diggings of miners is fun and fascinating.
This is the most dangerous time of year, when hiking, fishing, biking, trails and woods of Montana. A Female black bear is as dangerous, if not as daunting, as a Sow Grizzly, when emerging from their dens. There have been two Grizzlies killed in Western Montana, in the past couple of weeks. This is preventable. Make plenty of NOISE, when on those trails, especially near water sources. Importance of preparation, as outlined in my earlier article, cannot be emphasized too much. The prospect of finding yourself in the not-so-tender arms of a Mama Bear, not pleasant!
- The Bear in my backyard (chutneybynancy.org)
- Deep snowpack, more grizzlies mean more encounters (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
Visit Montana, this summer. There are unending opportunities for exciting outdoor recreation adventures. Have the time of your life! With some precautions, your trip will be relaxing, entertaining , and provide whatever you may be looking for on your travels! When planning your visit, it is critical to discuss the matter of Bears. A serious issue, for those who travel and vacation in the state, or who may decide to make The Big Sky Country, their home . It is truly wonderful, to enjoy the beauties and marvels, of Nature. Before you go there, know that, bears are dangerous territorial rivals, on trails, in Huckleberry patches, and sometimes, on your own doorstep. The worst places, to venture on hiking trails, in the state, are Yellowstone Park and especially, Glacier Park! The Grizzlies in the parks are unafraid of humans, from their constant exposure to human garbage and frankly, stupid behavior. There are female grizzlies, in Glacier Park that are roaming, with their young adult cubs, stalking humans. After all, the easiest prey in the food chain, are humans. If you are in a relatively, remote area, elsewhere, in the state, and meet a Grizzly, it is possibly, one of the Parks’ bad bears, that has been relocated. They have been shot, at least once, with PCP, and are meaner and more dangerous than those bears,who have managed to stay out of trouble in the parks! It is not reasonable, to expect to hike, fish, camp, pack, ride trails or otherwise engage in outdoor activities, without the possibility of being confronted by Ursus Arctos horribilius , or their equally deadly cousins, the smaller, black bear. If you decide to get far away from it all, into the back country, the Bob Marshall Wilderness, for instance, you stand a good chance of meeting either, a Black Bear or Grizzly. If they have cubs, and you are between them and their young, you are in big trouble.
What you Should Never Do, when encountering bear(s). 1) Promptly Lay Down and Play Dead. Do that in Glacier, and you WILL feed the bears, which is against Park rules, anyway. 2) Outrun the Bear. Better to hope the person with you, cannot outrun you. Run downhill, if you have NO other choice. Bears are slower, when running down the hill. A very fine point, when you consider that a male Grizzly can, from a standing start, run up to 25 mph, in 6 seconds. In those 6 seconds, the bear covers 109 yards! A Sow with cubs, will amble along, at a mere 15 mph, much faster than most sedentary people, or World Class athletes. In all likelihood, if you are jumped by a bear, it will happen so fast, you will only, have time to react.
What you Should Do before any Nature outing: The most important priorities for me; when picking berries, wandering trails, or going out in my yard at night 1) .45 Colt semi-auto, or the Latest, Razoo bear spray blaster sold! It is imperative, that you buy one of these, if hiking, fishing, or camping, in Montana. 2) if you’re planning to camp, keep a container, in your tent or RV, bathroom visits are discouraged at night! If in a tent, keep the container outside of the tent, too many smells. A bear can pick up odors from a long distance, however, they can’t see much of anything 3) if you see a bear, Stop, don’t move, …ease around to an area where your scent cannot be picked up by the bear, downwind. Move very slowly, to avoid their attention. Make haste from the area! 4) Many old timers swear that a solid line of lime, in a continuous circle, of your camping area, will keep bears away completely. I have not tried it, myself. But, if camping in a tent, I absolutely would do this. 5) Many people these days, take dogs on their hiking, fishing,….trips. Bears do not like dogs! One of two things could easily happen, the dog could disappear without a trace; OR the dog could bring a bear right up to you, when being chased by one! Neither of these, is an acceptable outcome. Keep your dog, carefully leashed. A dog hasn’t got a snowball’s chance in hell, of winning, or surviving, a fight with a bear!
A little knowledge and preparation, before you start your journey to enjoy the grandeur and unique culture of Montana, will reward your investment of time and research. When on trails, if there are reports of bears in the area, or not, keep your eyes and ears open. Look for fresh bear scat. Don’t be overwhelmed with alarm, if there is a cell phone in it, at least it’s not yours! What if, God forbid, you have been grabbed by a bear and they’re getting busy, mauling you to death? That is when you go limp, like a rag doll. If you seem dead, the bear may lose interest, now, don’t jump up, and try to run away. They are probably nearby, watching. Wait long enough, before you move, for the bear to move on. Unless you have your bear spray handy, and have seen the bear coming, you don’t want to try to escape a bear’s grasp. I know, it’s counter-intuitive, but, if you struggle, or try to run, the bear’s adrenaline will surge. Pop, like a grape, your head should not be, in the mouth of a creature, that can get it in its jaws! Fortunately, most people have GPS cell phones, and are located, if they have been mauled by a bear. However, if you do not use your common sense, pray and whatever else, you must to survive, they will find only your body to ID and ship home. That is, only, if you do not meet the same fate, as the poor schmuck, whose cell phone is in the bear scat!
In future posts, I will share more about Bears, Mountain Lions and about surviving in difficult situations. Survival is a matter of using common sense and preparing, before leaving, for that Nature Walk. Don’t leave home, without your most important tools. Matches, lighter, and small flashlight. Mix dryer lint with wax, in egg cartons. You will have good little tinder packets to get a fire going enough to dry out more kindling. Keep your fire going. Don’t stink up area, by frying bacon, for instance, or your bacon will be fried. Don’t leave the fire, stay put. You will be found, if the fire is burning. Otherwise, the risk of hypothermia, impaired thinking, and panic, is too great. Ladies, perfume is for city excursions. Unless you want to arouse the curiosity and appetite, of a nearby bear. A delicate subject, but important, for women: during menstrual cycle, don’t camp in bear country, or wander about, on the trail, without precautions; such as, the above mentioned, bear spray delivery system. Especially, for those camping in tents, you could become a Bear Sandwich, if you are camped on trails. You look like the easy meal, that you truly are, when bears stroll down the trail, looking for Snacks. Don’t stake your tent by creeks, rivers, or lakes, prime places for bears, at night. Remember, you are in proximity of Wild animals, who only do what their survival requires. Their food sources are being threatened, by Commercial Huckleberry Pickers, as well as human encroachment on their territories. An established territory, is vital to the survival of the species.
I admit, to treating this subject, with a little gallows-humor, please, don’t take my suggestions lightly. I am not trying to scare you away. Too many times, bear maulings, happen to those who are not familiar with bears’ habits and nature. If you vacation, or live in Montana. Becoming a bear mauling statistic, is not desirable.
- Jack Hanna Wards Of Charging Grizzly Bear Cub With Pepper Spray! (popcrunch.com)
- Montana-the big sky country (bloominglibrary.wordpress.com)
- The Bear in my backyard (chutneybynancy.org)
- Photos: Black Bears, Grizzly Bears, and Polar Bears of Alaska (vanityfair.com)
- Fatal black bear attacks mostly likely work of predatory males, study finds (canada.com)
- Deep snowpack, more grizzlies mean more encounters (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
Yes, this is Montana. However, do not think we have no speed limit. No speed limit effect… too many tourists raced out here to see how fast theycould barrel down the road in their RVs. The ensuing surge of Highway Fatalities, was shocking. Finally, the wise and mighty, passed laws that established reasonable speed limits, saving the Tourist Industry! All is well, the highway Death Rate has been greatly reduced. However, the rumor still persists….no speed limit in Montana. NOT TRUE.