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Mike B

Henninger Flats Bear Encounter - May 2014

My wife and I were eating a snack at one of the picnic tables at Henninger  Flats that had a view of the canyon.  We had our backs to the woods as the view was in the opposite direction.  We previously saw the flyers about rattlesnakes and bears, but we were not expecting to see anything.  There were many people walking the trail and even a couple on mountain bikes.  Heck, the Forestry Service/Fire Dept drove up and down the Mount Wilson Toll Rd a couple times too.  

Due to the amount of activity, the museum, bathrooms, and so many man-made amenities, at least I felt like the place was commercialized and safe.  Needless to say we were surprised to see a large brown bear roaming the camping area behind us.  The Forestry Service Guys were yelling out to warn everyone of the bear, but there was no need for that.  The thing that got me was people taking pictures and filming the bear and the two older gentlemen sitting at a table next to us that just continued to eat their food and essentially Chilling Out and enjoying their break after the long hike up there.  

I guess I was overreacting, but I've never had an experience like that and I remembered a movie from my childhood called Grizzly and that more recent movie with Alec Baldwin (The Edge).  The first movie showed a horse's head falling to the ground after one swipe from the Grizzly, so that was my frame of mind.  I know Hollywood exaggerates everything, but those thoughts were in my head.  My wife was spooked too.
Hikin_Jim

Well, I think you could probably relax a little on this one.  Smile

First, even if the bear is brown in color, there are no grizzlies left in the wild here in California.  All we have are "black" bears (Ursus Americanus), even though their color ranges from a "cinnamon" almost blondish color to tan to brown to black.  Black bears (of whatever color)  are not aggressive to the same degree that true brown bears (Ursus arctos, i.e. grizzly bears) are.  Black bear just wants your snacks, so make sure to store your food, trash, and fragrant items (sun screen, chapstick, etc.) properly if you're out overnight.

So chill a little and enjoy the show.  No horse's heads were lost at Henninger Flats.  Smile

HJ
Mike B

Hikin_Jim wrote:
Well, I think you could probably relax a little on this one.  Smile

First, even if the bear is brown in color, there are no grizzlies left in the wild here in California.  All we have are "black" bears (Ursus Americanus), even though their color ranges from a "cinnamon" almost blondish color to tan to brown to black.  Black bears (of whatever color)  are not aggressive to the same degree that true brown bears (Ursus arctos, i.e. grizzly bears) are.  Black bear just wants your snacks, so make sure to store your food, trash, and fragrant items (sun screen, chapstick, etc.) properly if you're out overnight.

So chill a little and enjoy the show.  No horse's heads were lost at Henninger Flats.  Smile

HJ


Thanks Jim.  I knew it wasn't a Grizzly, just my childhood emotional scarring creeping to the surface, but I definitely didn't know the difference between black and brown bears and that there weren't any of the more dangerous Brown Bears in California.  The one we saw must have been the cinnamon- colored Black Bear.  This is really relieving because we haven't gone back up that trail for fear of our lives.  I even Googled if there were any attacks there.   Confused
Hikin_Jim

Attacks by black bears are very rare.  A lot of the people who got "attacked" did something stupid like try to pet a cute little bear cub.  A mama bear *will* attack if she thinks you're messing with her cub.  Do NOT get between a mama and a cub, cute though they may be.

Here's a photo of a black bear (note that the color is clearly not black).


HJ
fortified

I have probably trail run, hiked to Henninger around 1,200 times over twenty years, and have never seen a bear there, or the thousand of times anywhere. Almost all of my runs begin just before sunset. One time, halfway between Henninger, and Inspiration Pt. something very large scrambled across and up a hill 10 times faster than any human, with lots of noise. It began as I turned A corner.
I run alone. After sunset, wherever I am, I make loud noises, and whack my ski pole at objects to warn my coming. Singing very loud off key seems to work as I have never seen a bear, own Mountain lion. While the road to Henninger is usually void of people after sunset, the Sam Merrill trail is busy after these days, after dark. People hear its haunted, and are searching for ghosts
fortified

THIS IS A REAL PHOTO
http://proof.nationalgeographic.c...steve-winter-cougar-hollywood.jpg

The lion has been their for two years. Google p-22 for more info. P-22 is the lions name.
BrownMtnBob

The number of people ever documented to be killed by black bears in CA (the only type of bear currently in CA)=  ZERO

Black bears do not even protect their cubs.  CA blacks are harmless.  There are brown colored black bears.....they are "cinnamons".  Essentially, a ginger black bear.
fortified

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:23 pm    Post subject:  


"The number of people ever documented to be killed by black bears in CA (the only type of bear currently in CA)=  ZERO "
___________________________________________________

But Californians have been killed by black bears...... while in Alaska...

According to the Ca. fish and game, their have been 12 attacks, but no deaths since 1980.  Something a little unnerving...... Half of the incidents occurred while people were sleeping in tents. I assumed this never happened. The other interesting part is that once the people were struck, and/or bitten, the bear didn't just go in for the kill. A couple of the other incidents were in  campgrounds. It seems just hiking and being attacked is very rare.
https://www.dfg.ca.gov/news/issues/bear/bear_incidents.html
arocknoid

That DFG info is not up to date. The LA Times also used it, in error, on their story about an attack in Ojai in 2012. Updated info, and story link:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/l...f-ojai-as-she-walks-her-dogs.html

(sixteen attacks in CA, not twelve)

Black bear attacks are rare. The incidence is increasing, but the absolute numbers are very low. Victims of attack would disagree that they are "harmless," yet the common tendency of humans for irrational risk assessment continues to lead to overblown fears.

Bears and mountain lions and sharks--Oh My!! a cornucopia of news/mag/blog stories due to primal fears!

(Wait a minute--there *have* been people killed in California by sharks and mountaind lions... and lightning....and bees...and snakes...and dogs...and other hikers...YIKES! Don't get out of the boat! Don't go into the forest! Wink

One oft-repeared misconception is that black bear mothers don't defend their cubs. Read the incident reports, including but not limited to the 2012 Ojai  attack above and the CA DFW compendium, and Stephen Herrero's et al retrospective study of fatal attacks in North America since 1900. Lone males account for the vast majority, 92%, of fatal attacks; many of these are predatory attacks, ca. 80%. Non-predatory attacks, including those observed for mothers with their cubs, are less likely to be fatal.

Habitat and population issues for both humans and bears continue to result in increasing interactions between the two. Give bears respect, not unreasoned fear, and most importantly control the food (and trash) issues which are the nexus of many bear confrontation events. ( A fed bear is a dead bear.) And just don't go all Timothy Treadwell, too. RIP.

Marilyn Monroe watches black bears scavenging trash; pre-makeup, on location for "River of No Return:"




"California man saved by a black bear from mountain lion attack!" If it bleeds, it leads! You can't make this stuff up-- or can you? sheesh

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2...rom-lion-attack-not-substantiated

Keep an eye out for bears for the enjoyment from such a sighting. Just don't Disney-fy the encounter a la "Oh look at the cute fuzzy li'l bear! Want a cookie? Where's your mama?"

cheers,
arocknoid

PS there is a third movie reference embedded above, for Ellen. hah
Hikin_Jim

Hi, 'Noid, nice to see you over this way.

I have read about black bear attacks.  The fact that a person gets mauled instead of killed is of little comfort to me.  Interesting that about 80% were solo men.

However, in all of the black bear encounters I've personally had, and I've had several out on the trail, the black bears have all run away like big wussies.  I've never had one act aggressively, even in the Sierra.

HJ
tracker

I'll chime in here. Some good stuff has been shared so I'll throw in my $.02.
I'm glad to see people have access to, and even read those Wildlife Incident Reports. I say that mainly because I write them - or review / edit / and approve them. Hopefully, our new online version will have have a data portal link for easy access. That being said, my own opinion on black bear attacks is:
People use the word "attack" because it is the simplest word that somewhat describes the nature of the incidents. With our bears, I think the incidents would be better described as disagreements or misunderstandings. Are they serious and dangerous? You bet, but very different from what happens in a (however rare) mountain lion attack.
My somewhat oversimplified bear advice:
>Don't compete with one food. You will lose.
>Don't threaten one, or its young. You will lose.
>Don't be in-between where a bear is, and where that bear wants to be. You will lose. Laughing
David R

I have had many encounters with bears and I used to be indifferent to them. A couple of years ago I went to Alaska and my attitude has changed completely. I do understand the bears here are very different but I have a much healthier respect for what they can do, even though we have a smaller more passive species. Now if I see a bear my goal is to scare it the hell away so it has a healthy fear of humans and hopefully will stay away the next time an encounter occurs.
Hikin_Jim

Yeah, once a bear gets your food, you're pretty much screwed.  In the bear's mind, it's his, and he will fight to keep it.  You've got to scare a bear off before it breaches your "defenses" (hanging food in trees, Ursack, etc.).  The only one you don't have to scare a bear off on is a bear canister (or similar).  The bear can try all day at a canister and generally not get anywhere.  Given enough time, a bear will eventually get your hanging bag or breach your Ursack, at least that's my opinion.  

The latest generation of Ursacks are reported to have withstood hours long attacks by grizzly bears.  See Ursack Update.  
Quote:
A total of seven grizzly bears and two hours of active clawing, biting and scratching -- yet Ursack survived. After washing the Ursack one could barely (bearly?) tell that it had been attacked.
Those are pretty darned good results.  I doubt my older generation UrSacks would fare as well, although I generally consider them fine for the local mountains.  In the Sierra, I suck it up and carry one of those gawdawful bear canisters.  Heavy, bulky, and awkward.   Ugh.

HJ
Uncle Rico

Looks like these guys had an exciting run. I like how the younger guy sprints ahead leaving the older guy back to fend for himself.  Confused

http://canadajournal.net/canada/b...joggers-retreat-video-10251-2014/
arocknoid

Yes, Uncle Rico, life imitates joke, as in the old:

Two hikers spot a bear across a meadow, which begins to run toward them. One hiker drops his pack to change his hiking boots to running shoes. His partner exclaims, "What, are you nuts? You can't outrun that bear!" "Don't have to," he replied; "Just you."


Tracker, your three rules of You Lose are terrific. Concise and simple.
Remind me of the Competing Lug Nuts rule of driving right of way.
Tom Kenney

The problem with the Ursack is that you may wind up with chili tuna peach compote!  Razz
Gene

I recall a bear death back in the 60s at Glenn Camp below Cogswell Dam.

I was told by one of the Cogsewll Dam Operators two guys were camped there for several days.  Fishing and eating fish.  One night a bear came into the camp and crushed the unfortunate caper's head while he was still in his sleeping bag.  He described them as 'smelly hippies' so the bear could easily mistake them for a fishy snack.
Hikin_Jim

Tom Kenney wrote:
The problem with the Ursack is that you may wind up with chili tuna peach compote!  Razz
With a bear saliva garnish!  Mmmm!  Yum!

The most important thing with bears is preventing them from getting a food reward.  If a bear gets a food reward, he may become increasingly aggressive and have to be put down, hence the saying "a fed bear is a dead bear".

There was a bear at Little Jimmy a couple of years ago who was knocking down people.  The minute they'd set their packs down, he'd shove them out of the way and go at it with there pack.  I think they may have put that bear down.

HJ
tracker

Hikin_Jim wrote:

There was a bear at Little Jimmy a couple of years ago who was knocking down people.  The minute they'd set their packs down, he'd shove them out of the way and go at it with there pack.  I think they may have put that bear down. HJ

Yeah, that one and one other the following year at LJ were put down. The pack thief got tired of waiting for the hikers to set their packs down, and he started accosting folks as they entered the camp. One PCT thru-hiker laid down to take a short rest and was awakened by his head hitting the ground. I guess using his pack for a pillow didn't work out. I gave the guy a ride to Newcomb's so he could work out new plans. Good thing his wallet wasn't in the pack.
The next one had lost its fear of people, was getting aggressive, and also stealing whatever it could during the night. The last straw for him was taking a sleeping bag that had a kid in it. The kid got pretty severe bruising on his ankle but was otherwise unhurt. In the follow-up interviews, one of the adults from the group said he had substantial crow to eat, and could probably never take other peoples' kids camping. His speeches and assurances about bears not being dangerous were pretty much discredited with the events of one night.
If I had to find a theory for all of the alarming bear behavior at LJ for a couple years, I would blame it on factors from Crystal Lake. The lake had a sloppy concessionaire (maybe more than one) for several years. Then suddenly, the facility closed; leaving a bunch of bears with no easy meals and no fear of people. LJ isn't really that far away.
Question Just my theory, but  there were no reports of bear incidents before that period, and there have been none since the second bear was put down. Saliva from the chomped sleeping bag provided DNA which proved the correct bear was taken.
Hikin_Jim

Wow.  That's a scary one, the incident with the sleeping bag.   Shocked  
I wonder what made the bear do that?  Spilled food?  Poor kid; he'll never want to go camping again.

I wonder if pepper spray in any of those incidents would have helped?  

I have to admit that I'm not very afraid of bears.  I mean I know they're big and powerful, but the local bears in the ANF, SBNF, LPNF, and CNF that I've encountered have all be such wussies and have just run away when they saw me.  Good to keep in mind what they're capable of.  



HJ
Gene

Hikin_Jim wrote:
Wow.  That's a scary one, the incident with the sleeping bag.   Shocked  
I wonder what made the bear do that?  Spilled food?  Poor kid; he'll never want to go camping again.

I wonder if pepper spray in any of those incidents would have helped?  

I have to admit that I'm not very afraid of bears.  I mean I know they're big and powerful, but the local bears in the ANF, SBNF, LPNF, and CNF that I've encountered have all be such wussies and have just run away when they saw me.  Good to keep in mind what they're capable of.  



HJ


I suspect it was the smell of a guy that had been catching, cleaning and eating trout without bathing for several days in a row.
Hikin_Jim

Actually, I was thinking about the boy who got dragged in his sleeping bag, but getting stepped on wouldn't be much fun either.

HJ
Uncle Rico

And then there's this:

Hikin_Jim

Yeah, no worries.  There's just a grizzly bear that could kill you in the blink of an eye arm's length away.

HJ
Mike P

Uncle Rico wrote:
And then there's this:

Grizz Video


Hello, Stupidville, we found your mayor...
arocknoid

Mike P wrote:

Quote:
Hello, Stupidville, we found your mayor...



Well, not exactly. Photographer/videographer was just doing his day job. This is the context:

"Drew Hamilton, a fish and wildlife technician with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, filmed a close encounter he had with a brown bear while working in the field this summer, according to a video recently uploaded to YouTube. The video (was) shot at Southcentral Alaska's McNeil River State Game Sanctuary and Refuge."

Home conversation:
"How was work today, dear? Anything interesting happen?"
"Fine. Like usual, nothing really happened, but I had an interesting observation..."
Mike P

arocknoid wrote:
Mike P wrote:

Quote:
Hello, Stupidville, we found your mayor...



Well, not exactly. Photographer/videographer was just doing his day job. This is the context:

"Drew Hamilton, a fish and wildlife technician with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, filmed a close encounter he had with a brown bear while working in the field this summer, according to a video recently uploaded to YouTube. The video (was) shot at Southcentral Alaska's McNeil River State Game Sanctuary and Refuge."

Home conversation:
"How was work today, dear? Anything interesting happen?"
"Fine. Like usual, nothing really happened, but I had an interesting observation..."


Oops, I stand corrected. Thanks, arcoknoid. I incorrectly assumed it was the usual knucklehead wildlife tourist.
I am sure I can find someone else that will fit that description Smile
tracker

I still think the guy would make a good candidate for mayor. Who he is means he should know better than to be taking video while that close to a brown bear.
His employer goes to a lot of effort to convince people not to do what he did.

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