48 Grizzlies have been killed thus far this season by human causes in Greater Yellowstone. Forty-eight. These human causes are defined as: car collisions, accidental shootings and management removal actions. Locals and tourists alike are to blame. Do you drive too fast at night? Do you leave trash out on your porch or in a garage? Do you leave your BBQ Grill out after dinner on the porch? Do you leave food out in your campsite rather that hang it in a tree or place it in a bear box? Do you whip out your 44 mag before your bear spray while hunting or hiking? Do you know what a Griz looks like compared with a Black Bear? Education is key.
While out hunting I carry a 44 mag and 2 cans of bear spray. I place the 44 Mag in my pack and keep the bear spray hooked to the waist belt of my hunting pack. Others, I know, carry their weapon on their belt and close to hand. To each his own. When gutting an elk, I take the 44 mag out and holster it on my belt. I keep the bear spray on my person at all times as well. Gutting and quartering an animal is labor intensive and I seem to concentrate on what I am doing as to not cut myself. When one’s hands are coated with blood, inside a warm animal, it is incredibly hard to tell if you have cut your hand, especially with a very sharp knife. These days, some bears are attracked to the sound of a gun. They are smart enough to figure out that a gun shot means food. There is a gaint Grizzly Boar behind my house who has been feeding on carcasses during the entire hunting season – archery and gun. While I have not seem him, my neighbors have on a regular basis. Some closer than others. This bear has been shot at several times and this does not curtail his actions. Would he charge a hunter who is gutting his elk? Yes. Would I let the bear have my elk? Yes. Loosing meat to any bear sucks, but I am not going to die for my meat. After all, it is not 1870 and there are other ways to fill the fridge. It just happens to be more fun to hunt than go to Costco. Perhaps the only time I would shoot a bear is if I have no other choice and I am getting mauled. My cans of spray are empty, I am covered in blood, and the bear is still chewing on me. Life or death. I would pull the trigger.
As for trash left out, BBQs and speeding recklessly at night? Well, come on poeple, think about it. A hungry bear doesn’t care and ultimately it just might be your fault if a bear dies. If you want to live among them, then you gotta show some respect. Just because you might be able to afford to live in this wildly beautiful area, doesn’t mean you need to forgot about others around you – the wildlife and your neighbors. The overal general disconnect with the natural world is troublesome.