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#199190 - 03/29/10 03:29 PM Re: Fatal wolf attack in Alaska [Re: Susan]
MostlyHarmless Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 982
Loc: Norway
Originally Posted By: Susan

Do you mean that we can't call stupid, stupid? Why?

Unless you actually qualify for the revenge of Blasts Cat of Punishment there is no clear cut "you can't". A more interesting discussion is the grey areas of please don't.

I for one love the discussion about why things go wrong and how things could and should be done different. A lot of those discussion starts with real life events - and some indisputable incredible stupid acts. But I am not comfortable with name calling and personal characterization. We don't know all the facts! Media will get the details wrong. We can use whatever info available to conclude that doing XYZ is stupid, but I won't be a part of bashing and name-calling possible dead or injuried persons based on media reports alone.

It is a huge leap from "running with headphones is stupid" to remove-from-genepool-statements.

Such a practice can't be the responsibility of the moderator. It is the collective efforts of the forum members that decides the code of conduct - "soft rules" - of how things shall be and what is proper behaviour. If the majority wants to do bashing and name calling - ... then that is the code of conduct. My post here is what I can do to nudge this forum in the oposite direction.

Edited by MostlyHarmless (03/29/10 03:30 PM)

#199215 - 03/30/10 12:56 AM Re: Fatal wolf attack in Alaska [Re: MostlyHarmless]
scafool Offline

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
I seldom call a dead person stupid.
First of all it has no effect on the dead person, not even in the slightest way, but more importantly it does nothing to help understand what happened.

Of course there is the point that we all have our idiot moments and that I don't like the idea of upsetting relatives but I really don't worry much about that part of it.
I may be a liberal but my heart does not bleed much.
I function more like a pragmaticist and realist than as a Bambiphile.
May set off to explore without any sense of direction or how to return.

#199245 - 03/30/10 01:33 PM Re: Fatal wolf attack in Alaska [Re: scafool]
rebwa Offline

Registered: 01/25/09
Posts: 295
I read it more as being in the wrong place at the wrong time, more than anything else. Sort of like finding yourself under a concrete overpass when the big earthquake strikes. Situational awareness should never be taken lightly but if the wolves were stalking prey, then the ear buds or the running might not have made any difference. If multiple wolves were involved, probably only a person with a firearm and trained to use it could have prevented it. Wild animals do unpredictable things, last year there was a cougar spotted in the Safeway parking lot about 3 miles from my house, here in W. Washington. Probably most of us are not on the lookout for a cougar when we pull into a grocery store parking lot either.

#199250 - 03/30/10 03:06 PM Re: Fatal wolf attack in Alaska [Re: rebwa]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1072
Loc: Channeled Scablands
I have seen a wolf in the wild in NE Washington. I saw it only
because it let me see it. I was walking quietly on a trail and
still didn't hear it, even after it came towards me on the trail
and then turned and walked away.

Head phones or not, if wolves or cougars are stalking you, it is unlikely you will hear them. Animals that can stalk creatures
as large and quiet as elk would have no trouble sneaking up on
a human if they desired.

Susan, you sound like the "stupid" police.

#199262 - 03/30/10 06:50 PM Re: Fatal wolf attack in Alaska [Re: clearwater]
JBMat Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 745
Loc: NC
Hmm. Was the guy running alone on a deserted beach with his IPod stupid because he was struck by a plane with no propellor/engine noise that was ditching into the ocean?

I call that the ultimate 'wrong place at exactly the wrong time" scenario... yet it happened in NC about 10 days/2 weeks ago.

Hell, my cat sneaks up on me, never mind a wolf.

There are times we are distracted totally, while other times we are focused on the here and now.

Stuff happens. Sometimes you can do something about it, sometimes you can't.

Edited by JBMat (03/30/10 06:51 PM)
Edit Reason: spelling

#199263 - 03/30/10 07:22 PM Re: Fatal wolf attack in Alaska [Re: JBMat]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4984
There's no doubt that wolves and gliding propeller-less planes can be very quiet. But just because those threats are very quiet, there's no point in further reducing your SA. Earphones may or may not have contributed to the wolf attack, but a wolf should not be unexpected in the wilds of Alaska. OTOH that guy on the beach was just running in the wrong direction; it's fairly unusual for a plane to land on a beach in NC. Stuff happens, but that's no reason to let down your guard and go condition white with your SA.

Edited by Russ (03/31/10 12:00 AM)

#236983 - 12/07/11 08:00 PM Re: Fatal wolf attack in Alaska [Re: raven397]
jshannon Offline

Registered: 02/02/03
Posts: 585
Loc: North Texas
Report out and cause was confirmed death by wolves.

At approximately 6:00 p.m. on March 8, 2010 the body of Candice Berner was discovered next to a snow-covered road approximately two miles from the community of Chignik Lake, Alaska. The Alaska Departments of Public Safety (DPS) and Health and Social Services (DHSS) initially investigated the case and determined Ms. Berner’s death was not the result of a criminal act. The DHSS State Medical Examiner asserted that Ms. Berner died from “multiple injuries due to animal mauling.” The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) and the DPS Alaska State Troopers (AST) then evaluated both the physical evidence and the eyewitness testimony of Chignik Lake residents. The investigators concluded that Ms. Berner was attacked and killed by wolves. A joint action to lethally collect wolves from the immediate area was undertaken by the two departments to address public safety concerns and to investigate biological factors that may have contributed to the attack. Genetic analysis of samples taken from the victim’s clothing and from wolves killed in the lethal removal action positively identified one wolf and implicated others in the attack.


#236990 - 12/07/11 09:39 PM Re: Fatal wolf attack in Alaska [Re: jshannon]
Denis Offline

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 631
Loc: Calgary, AB
Well, that report clears up what happened as much as is humanly possible.

Ms. Berner was heading east on the same road as the wolves who were heading west. The report concludes that the curvature of the road and the vegetation prevented her from seeing the wolves (and vice versa). It suggests it's possible the wolves could have been aware of her presence due to smell (they were heading into the wind), but that their encounter also could have been a surprise on both sides. The evidence does not indicate she was stalked from behind but that they encountered each other head on.

It did find it likely she was listening to an music player, but did not find it to be a contributing factor; it says that between the naturally silent movement of wolves and the winds reported that night, she wouldn't have heard them in any case.

It does suggest that fact that she was out running & alone combined with her small stature could have been contributing factors to the initial attack.

It's also possible she fled when confronted by the wolves (either immediately or after being met with aggressive behaviour) which could have elicited a predatory response by the wolves, but there wasn't enough evidence to know if that was the case or not. They really don't know what her initial reaction to the wolves was.

It also found the wolves were healthy and there was no evidence they were acting defensively, that they had been habituated to people, that they were being attracted by food, or that they were suffering from starvation or severe hunger.

The report also linked to a Living With Wolves page which gives the following advice of what do do in the (rare) event you are faced with aggressive wolves. In part, it says:
  • Don’t run, but act aggressively stepping toward the wolf and yelling or clapping your hands if it tries to approach.
  • Do not turn your back toward an aggressive wolf, but continue to stare directly at it. If you are with a companion and more than one wolf is present, place yourselves back to back and slowly move away from the wolves.
  • Retreat slowly while facing the wolf and act aggressively.
  • Stand your ground if a wolf attacks you and fight with any means possible (use sticks, rocks, ski poles, fishing rods or whatever you can find).
  • Use air horns or other noisemakers.
  • Use bear spray or firearms if necessary.
  • Climb a tree if necessary; wolves cannot climb trees.
Victory awaits him who has everything in order — luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck. Roald Amundsen

#236994 - 12/07/11 11:24 PM Re: Fatal wolf attack in Alaska [Re: raven397]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Running = prey mode.
Headset = totally unaware of surroundings.
Two miles out of town = wilderness.
In Alaska, well known wolf country.

Sometimes stupidity has a high tax.

I don't see why wolves are blamed for behaving like wolves. I simply don't. If humans serve the meal, you might as well eat.


#236996 - 12/07/11 11:34 PM Re: Fatal wolf attack in Alaska [Re: raven397]
Hikin_Jim Offline

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 1804
Loc: Southern California
Well, it certainly didn't work out well for that particular school teacher.

At the very least, when leaving Pennsylvania and going to Alaska, it's best to study up on what you're getting in to.

I've gotten spoiled by doing most of my hiking/backpacking in California. I almost paid for that big time on a backpack in Wyoming. I'm just glad the "tax" wasn't as high in my case.

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