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#228387 - 07/25/11 01:10 AM Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
'Several' (maybe five) teens, aged 16 to 19 were on a 30-day survival course in Alaska when they were attacked by a grizzly with cubs.

Near the end of the course, they were alone with no instructor. "... because that far into the course, they’ve learned enough survival skills".

They had been taught to call out to the bears to warn them that they were around, and they were doing that when the bear attacked.

The bear attacked four of the group, and two are in the hospital in serious condition, and two were released with relatively minor injuries.

Teens mauled by grizzly

Is it just me, or does this sound wrong?

What are you supposed to do when you run across a bear that hadn't taken the course, and didn't know that when she hears the calling, to grab her cubs and run in the opposite direction?

Alaska has a reputation for grizzly bears. The National Park Service estimates Alaska has over 30,000 grizzlies, and more than 100,000 black bears.

And the best this so-called "outdoor leadership school" can teach them is to talk to them? Apparently they had no bear spray and no gun. Clever. Makes me want to sign up right now.

Sue

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#228388 - 07/25/11 01:16 AM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: Susan]
MoBOB Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/17/07
Posts: 1219
Loc: here
I would guess that the "calling out" is meant to ensure they are making enough noise so the bear is alerted to them. Typically, wild animals will leave the area upon hearing/smelling humans. However, if the hikers had been in path between the sow and her cubs, then no amount of precautionary measures would have helped. An angry sow only sees threats in those situation.
_________________________
"Its not a matter of being ready as it is being prepared" -- B. E. J. Taylor

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#228390 - 07/25/11 01:32 AM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: Susan]
widget Offline
Addict

Registered: 07/06/03
Posts: 550
Luckily no one was killed. NOLS has been around for a long time and has a good record of teaching outdoor skills, no one is perfect. I do know that they do not believe in firearms and apparently bear spray is not something they condone either.
Overall, I hope the teens get well and get back to growing up. I am sure NOLS will look into how they run courses in bear areas in the future. Most Alaskans in the bush carry some form of bear protection, whether effective or not.
_________________________
No, I am not Bear Grylls, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night and Bear was there too!

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#228391 - 07/25/11 01:32 AM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: Susan]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1386
I think it is just you. Like many similar incidents, the news report are never clear. Also another news report suggests that the group did have bear spray.

A few things to keep in mind though.

Making noise while hiking whether it be loud talking, singing etc is standard for bear country. Is if effective 100% of the time? Obviously not, however making noise in bear country is recommended by many experts who have extensive bear behavioral knowledge.

The group was attacked at a river crossing. This time of year, the water is flowing fast, loud and is almost impossible to hear anything around you and the same goes for the bear. Yes you can argue that the group should of been more aware but we don't know the exact details as we were not there. Depending on the immediate terrain and vegetation, a bear or any animal can be 20 feet from you and not even be noticeable.

Also grizzly bears are well known for being territorial, especially around their coveted fishing spots on the river. The group was actually in the middle of crossing the river when the bear attacked, so yes the territorial aspect may of played part?

In regards to the school allowing these teenagers out on their own in the wilderness without an instructor. The same attack may of occurred with the instructor there also.

As in many of these incidents, there are too many "known unknowns" to attempt to armchair and not second guess or criticize what happened 1000's of miles away...
_________________________
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

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#228396 - 07/25/11 01:42 AM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: Teslinhiker]
MoBOB Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/17/07
Posts: 1219
Loc: here
Originally Posted By: Teslinhiker
there are too many "known unknowns" . . .

Excellent point!!
_________________________
"Its not a matter of being ready as it is being prepared" -- B. E. J. Taylor

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#228407 - 07/25/11 02:09 AM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: widget]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Quote:
I am sure NOLS will look into how they run courses in bear areas in the future.


I suspect the lawsuits will cause more thinking about that than the mere injury of their students.

No guns in bear country, eh? Like I've said before, some people just have to learn the hard way.

Sue

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#228414 - 07/25/11 02:42 AM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: Susan]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1386
Originally Posted By: Susan

No guns in bear country, eh? Like I've said before, some people just have to learn the hard way.

Sue


Simple fact of the matter is that literally millions of people go into bear country every year and do not have any troubles with bears.

Yes you can carry a gun, however keep in mind that a younger bear, especially this time of year in good condition can run upwards of 30 mph. If you don't soon enough spot that bear charging you from 100 feet, do the math and figure out how much time you have to draw the gun, load then pull the trigger and hope that you did it in time. Same basic principles apply for bear spray...if not even less considering the relatively short effective range of the spray.

All in all though, the odds of actually being charged and actually attacked by a bear are extremely slim to none and I have never felt the need to pack a gun in bear country. I can think of a lot worse ways to be charged / attacked in an urban environment...
_________________________
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

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#228415 - 07/25/11 02:52 AM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: Susan]
dweste Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
I wish the attack victims well.

I do not know if anything would work in the momma-and-cubs- situation, but in my imagination I would sure appreciate a thick fog of bear spray to increase chances of distraction to aid safe extraction.

Please educate my imagination so it more closely resembles reality. How does bear spray work? Do bears see through bear spray or can you use the spray to create a blank curtain-effect to hide behind? Are bears threatened by the spray so it makes them more aggressive?

Thanks.

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#228418 - 07/25/11 03:09 AM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: Susan]
Aussie Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/12/10
Posts: 205
Loc: Australia
Bear spray is a type of pepper spray, it works on bears the same way as people, however I think the bear spray is in larger packs which squirt further. Often people use a holster to carry it for quick deployment.

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#228419 - 07/25/11 03:13 AM Re: Teens mauled by grizzly in survival skills course [Re: dweste]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1386
Originally Posted By: dweste
I wish the attack victims well.

I do not know if anything would work in the momma-and-cubs- situation, but in my imagination I would sure appreciate a thick fog of bear spray to increase chances of distraction to aid safe extraction.

Please educate my imagination so it more closely resembles reality. How does bear spray work? Do bears see through bear spray or can you use the spray to create a blank curtain-effect to hide behind? Are bears threatened by the spray so it makes them more aggressive?

Thanks.


All you need to know about bear spray.

3 years ago, I purchased a new can of bear spray. For future emergency use reference and to familiarize myself with the trigger mechanism, I took it out into the trees behind our house. I shot a small test spray out onto a base of a tree from about 25' away only to have some of the spray bounce back into my face. Needless to say, it was not a pleasant experience at all and luckily I only got a bit in my eyes which my SO was able to help flush out.

With that said, when it comes to using the spray against the real thing, the environment and wind must be right otherwise not only will you might end up with the full brunt of the spray in your face, the bear attack that you wanted to avoid with the spray may also end up causing you to have a really bad day..

Here is a short video of bear spray being applied against a bear. Keep in mind that this looks like a staged event against the bear that I am not too thrilled to see but does show the spray and it's effectiveness in some cases.

_________________________
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

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