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arrowflipper's picture
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Yet another bear attack

What's up with the bears this year.  I have lost count of how many bear attacks we've already had this year.  And now, here's another one.

Bear attacks Idaho bow hunter near Yellowstone park

SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - A bear, possibly a grizzly, attacked an Idaho elk hunter armed with a bow and arrows who may have startled the animal near Yellowstone National Park on Saturday, wildlife officials said.

The 40-year-old man was airlifted to a hospital suffering from a broken arm and wounds to his hand that required surgery, but his injuries were not life-threatening, said Gregg Losinski, regional conservation educator with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

The attack was the latest in an unusual spate of bear attacks in the Yellowstone area this year. Losinski said the man and a hunting partner were seeking elk near Island Park, Idaho, south of the Montana border, when they startled a bear.

The bear charged at the hunter, who was nearer the animal than his partner. The partner used a bear spray canister, which shoots an aerosol mixture of hot pepper, as the animal retreated.

Idaho conservation officers said early indications suggested the bear was a grizzly but they were awaiting confirmation from DNA evidence gathered from the scene.

Wildlife officials decided not to capture the animal, based on the description of the attack provided by the hunters, both from Island Park, and an investigation of the scene.

"It's very clear from the incident that the bear was surprised and ran away. It did not intend to kill or consume the men," said Losinski, who is a member of a federal-state task force on grizzly bears.

Thousands of black bears roam Idaho but their out-sized, hump-shouldered grizzly cousins are fewer in number. There are about 600 grizzlies in the greater Yellowstone area, which spans parts of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.

Grizzly attacks on humans are rare in the Northern Rockies, where the vast majority of conflicts between people and bears involve damage to property -- from trash cans to livestock -- by the bruins.

Even so, the number of deadly grizzly encounters in the region so far in 2011 is higher than the average of one every two years, government figures show.

In July, a female grizzly in Yellowstone killed a hiker it perceived as a threat to its two cubs in the park's first fatal mauling since 1986.

Then last month, park officials said a grizzly had also killed another hiker whose body was found on one of the park's backcountry trails amid circumstances that remained under investigation.

Earlier this month in Montana, a grizzly attacked a hunter in what has been described as the state's first such incident in a decade to result in a death.

In that case, a Nevada man hunting black bears in the rugged mountains of northwest Montana was assaulted by a wounded grizzly on September 16. He was then inadvertently shot and killed by a friend targeting the attacking bear in an attempt to save him, officials said.

Grizzly bears are protected in the Lower 48 states under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, making it illegal to kill them unless they are threatening human life.

hunter25's picture
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I just read about this one in

I just read about this one in the mornig paper and was thinking the same thing. In addition to the bears we have had multiple coyote attacks here in Colorado. And yesterday we had a mountain lion snack on a dog at the local ski area.


It's sure been a crazy year.

SGM's picture
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IMO it is based on a few

IMO it is based on a few factors this year. One fact is it has been drier than a popcorn fart in allot of the west driving bears and other critters to look for food in other than traditional areas. Second on the grizzlies, there seems to be too many in the Yellowstone Area and they are moving and expanding their range. Due to their expanding range, I think they surprise folks who were not prepared to see one. Just like the wolves, I think states should look into a limited hunt and harvest to control the population and keep it in balance. I know endangered species act and all but if they are stable and expanding they need to look at lifting the status. Last thought is that possibly there was an unusually high amount of folks out hiking these areas this year. If this is true the odds will be higher and we will see more bear encounters.

GooseHunter Jr's picture
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Yep between the bear and

Yep between the bear and coyote attacks it has been abusy season fior them.  I too agree with SGM and the drier weather may play a huge part in this.  They are having to move around top find the food and water which is leading them to more populated places thus gwetting themselves into trouble with the game and fish.  Hopefylly we can make it a few more months and these animals may start to get back into the normal hunting patterns and maybe in the meantime we will not have any more attacks and if so hopefully nobody is seriously hurt from them

Critter's picture
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I personally don't think that

I personally don't think that the weather has anything to do with it.  In this last case it was a bow hunter that was doing what bow hunters do.  Being nice and quite and sneaking through the woods and then surprising a bear in it's bed.  Now that is going to create a response from the bear. 

In the last part of the article they talked about a hunter that mistook a grizzly for a black bear.  If any of you have ever bought a black bear tag in Montana you will know that you are required to take a test to be able to tell the difference between the two before you are able to purchase the license.  He made a mistake, weather it was on purpose or by accident he took the shot and wounded the grizzly.  Then when the bear attacked either the hunter that wounded it or his friend made another mistake and that was by taking a shot while the bear was on top of or mauling the other hunter.

All the other confrontations that I have read or heard about was brought on by carelessness by the human either after they saw a bear or by not taking care of things properly at their camp.   

numbnutz's picture
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Here in Oregon there has been

Here in Oregon there has been 150% more attacks and damage claims from bears this year than in years past. Atleast out here weather has nothing to do with rather the population is getting to big and the bears are being pushed from the woods to the populated areas. I'm pretty sure with in the next 5 years we will be aloud to hunt with bait and dogs again. I saw a chart that showed bear damage and attacks from the past 20 years and it keeps going up ebery year, soon the politician will step in a reverse the law which bans the use of bait/dogs for hunting, There has been talks of it already inmotion at he capitol.

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