This story has a lot of twists and turns from various officials-

This story, at least the earlier version of it, has already been discussed a lot in “have you hears any good wildlife . . .”

I decided it was time to post the outcome: dead man and dead bear.  Was this a screwup, bad luck ??  There hasn’t been very much accurate official information. The incidents took place in the Kitty Creek area, east of Yellowstone Park adjacent to the Washakie Wilderness.

Officials kill bear suspected in fatal mauling near Yellowstone. Billings Gazette. By Ruffin Provost.

June 23 Update. Griz victim knew of trap. Friend of slain botanist said the scientist went into bear area despite warnings. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

392 Responses to Officials kill grizzly bear suspected in fatal mauling near Yellowstone

  1. jon says:

    My own personal opinion is that it is bad luck Ralph, but we will not know for certain until they release the info. I don’t believe the hiker had bear spray on him. I am interested in why the bear attacked the man in the first place. I posted another link to a case where a bear in Alaska attacked a man on his bike while on the way to work. The bear had a cub with her.

  2. Mike says:


    How DARE these people tranq a bear with powerful drugs and then kill it when their personal Frankestein wakes up.

    Get the HELL out of the woods and leave the animals alone.

    We are not a bright species. I am so god damned pissed off about this.

    This so morally bankrupt and so unethical on so many freaking levels I don’t even know where to begin.


    • jon says:

      One might make the argument that tranquilizing the bear might make more aggressive towards people. Just a thought.

    • Mike says:

      You just said the same exact thing Elk said. Obviously you cared enough to reply.

    • jon says:

      SB, someone needs to speak up for the animals. This is not a case of putting one species over the next. This is about who is at fault here and whether you want to admit it or not, human error is the reason why this 70 year old man was killed. I am sad that he died and I know his family must be going thru hell and I understand their pain. Some say, that not having common sense just might get you killed. I believe this to be very true.

    • Save bears says:


      Based on what I have seen posted by you on this blog as well as other chat systems and blogs, I am spot on in my assessment of you, if you feel personally attacked, I don’t care. You are someone who has very little understanding and visit the area maybe once or twice a remind me of those radical elements in PETA and ALF, you are not an expert, but you continue to condemn the very well recognized experts in their fields..

      As far as saying what I am, I don’t care, until Ralph tells me I can’t post, or to alter what I post, I will continue to post what I want..

    • jon says:

      SB, I know and some others as well that grizzly bears are very capable of killing people if they see them as a threat or maybe if they are very hungry, but why do these bear biologists talk as if grizzlies are no threat to people? They tell you that bears will run away from you if you see them. This might happen most of the time, but not all. Depending on the circumstance, do you think a grizzly mother with a few cubs is just going to run away when they see a human that they feel is threatening them? These biologists need to stop lying to the public about how harmless wild predatory unpredictable animals are and how they will run away everytime they see a human. Telling people that bears are harmless when they have killed people, most times caused by human error is wrong.

    • Mike says:

      Save Bears –

      Like I said you focus on personal attacks rather than staying on topic. Here you are doing it again.

      Rarely do you ever a off a counter-argument, but instead attack the messenger. It’s a tactic you get hung up on. Rather than attacking me, how about making the case that this incident was properly handled? Oh that’s right. It would be impossible to do that. So instead of trying, you just focus on personal issues. I hope in the future you bring something to the table here.

    • Save bears says:

      Mike if you read the whole thread, I have commented on many aspects of this situation, but you choose to jump in the middle with your radical put downs of the people that do this for a living..

      If you feel personally attacked, then get a thicker skin or get of the pot, all protocols were properly followed in this, the guy made a bad choice and it ended up getting him killed and the bear killed, the culpability is his and his alone..

      Until such time as people loose their obsessive fascination with bears and other wildlife, this is going to continue to happen.

    • Save bears says:


      Not all biologists tell people that bears will run away from them, it is a well known fact that bears are fully capable of killing humans as well as just about any other thing they take a mind to kill..

    • jon says:

      sb, me and you both know that over the years, just about most wolf biologists we know about have said that wolves are harmless and will never attack humans. The real world tells us that is incorrect and false. I am not faulting wolves or bears for being dangerous. I prefer to keep them wild and unpredictable. That is the way nature should be. Everything in this world can be dangerous to us, but purposely telling people that wild animals are harmless and afraid of us is wrong and it’s not the truth. Wild animals are unpredictable and depending on the circumstance, they will attack.

    • Save bears says:


      We are not talking about wolves.

    • Save bears says:

      It is a well known fact that bears will attack in the right set of circumstances, and the biologists I know and have worked with have always acknowledge that..

    • Mike says:

      Save Bears – If you want to talk wildlife, let me know. I’m not going to get dragged into your endless personal attacks.

      By the way, BP “did it for a living too”.

    • Save bears says:


      BP has nothing to do with this either, talk about deflecting the conversation.

      As far as talking wildlife with you, I don’t think that possibility exists, you are at an extreme…

    • jon says:

      sb, may I ask why you think Mike is an extreme radical? Does caring about animals and feeling pissed off because they die of human error make someone an extreme radical or do you just try to discredit him and what he has to say because you don’t like to hear his opinions on things? Layton asks me about outside wildlife experiences, does that have anything what so ever to do with the fact that wolf haters make wolves out to be much more dangerous than they really are sb? I am only stating what really goes on sb. Some discredit others believe they don’t like the opinions they have.

    • Save bears says:


      No, plain and simple I don’t like Mike’s uniformed opinions and radical views on wildlife.

    • Mike says:

      Save Bears – You sound like Dubya and his “fuzzy math”. Repeating something doesn’t make it true.

      Trust me many people would consider your use of lead shot in obtaining game as radical. There are many things I could say about you which are out of the mainstream but there’s no point. I’m not going to try and discredit you because quite frankly I can make a case for my positions – something you are very bad at.

    • Save bears says:


      Where did the lead shot thing come up, I don’t even hunt with a gun?????I use broadheads made of stainless steel, so please explain what the hell you are talking about…I don’t know of a bow hunter that uses lead shot..

      See this last post, is just more confirmation, you don’t know what the hell you are talking about, I have been a bow hunter every since I came back from the first gulf war!

      Again, please explain what the heck you are talking about..?

    • Save bears says:

      By the way Mike, I am not a bird hunter, and don’t hunt with a shotgun, I hunt with a bow, no lead at all, I use wood arrows, with a glue on tip…

      So now I am really wondering what the heck you are talking about?

      Please be verbose in your answer, because, this message really caught me at a loss…I will be more than happy to post a picture if Ralph lets me, showing the bow and arrows I hunt with..

    • jon says:

      SB, i would like to see the pics. I don’t think Ralph minds if you post links to pics.

    • Save bears says:


      I will be more than happy to post a picture of my long bow and arrows, but I am still at a loss to what Mike is talking about, I have mentioned quite a few times on this blog that I am a bow hunter and have been for many years…I own guns, but rarely use them for anything anymore, in fact I have started to give them to my grandson..!

      As I said, I am at a loss!!!

    • Mike says:

      Save Bears –

      How does it feel to have people just make things up about you?

      Now that you know, do me a favor and cease tossing that sort of thing my way.

    • Save bears says:

      Oh, ok Mike, that is how you justify your lie? I, based on what I have read around the web, didn’t make anything up about you, I posted based on what I have read…

      But at least we know for a fact you were telling a lie..thanks for he confirmation..

    • Save bears says:

      Now if anyone wants confirmation about Mike getting to close to bears, just visit the Glacier Park Chat and look up Montana09 and look at his bear pictures, and you can visit the forums at and see some of the same stuff, he is a hypocrite of others but practices unsafe behavior around wild animals…

      Mike, thanks for letting everybody know you were telling a lie..

    • jon says:

      If Mike did infact take those pictures, I give him credit for having the guts to get so close to grizzlies as I would never do it myself or ever advise it to anyone, but people are going to do what they want regardless of how dangerous something may be. I am sure Mike knew of the risk involved. Those are huge grizzly cubs. Timmy Tredwill learned the hard way.

    • Mike says:

      Save Bears –

      Like I said three times before, here you go again on your personal attack crusade. You seem to have some weird obsession with me.

      Pleae let it go. It’s getting really creepy.

    • jon says:

      Montana going by the pics looks like a very beautiful place Mike and sb. sb, do you prefer Montana over Idaho when it comes to wildlife and scenery?

    • Save bears says:

      “Give him Credit” wow, is all I can say Jon!

    • jon says:

      sb, not many people would get very close to a family of grizzlies like that. I sure as hell wouldn’t. I’m not saying it was a wise decision. Mike knew the risks involved.

    • Save bears says:


      If it is getting creepy, then don’t read it, you need to be exposed for your hypocrisy..which is what you are a hypocrite…you start this crap with your accusations and condemnations and then you feel it is creepy because someone knows what Bullshit you are pushing?

    • Mike says:

      Jon – Thank you for the comments. Those photos were taken while I had a GNP ranger at my side most of the time. I have received good feedback on the series, even from some of the top staff at GNP who see a lot of grizzlies. I respect the heck out of those Many Glacier rangers. They have a tough job and I appreciate it the work they do.

      As for Idaho, I have limited experience there, but from what I have seen it is indeed beautiful. The three major ecosystems all have their charms. Flip a coin. But I tend to prefer the Gallatin NF, Beartooths, Teton and Glacier NP to everything else in the lower 48.

    • Save bears says:

      And Jon, if he had been nailed? Would we be saying that the officials were wrong when they took action?, He is simply a in town wanna be hypocrite that condemns others for the same damn actions he participates in..he is the type of person that wildlife managers dread dealing with…

    • Save bears says:


      I am just as enthralled with on state as another, I have no real preference, they are both beautiful states and I am happy in either of them..

    • Mike says:

      Save Bears –

      Please cease with the false accusations and personal attacks and try to remain on topic.

    • Save bears says:


      I will not, I will continue and expose your bullshit, you are simply and most importantly a hypocrite that thinks the rules don’t apply to you, makes it a pretty uncomfortable position to be in doesn’t have admitted today, you were lying, you have been exposed for getting to close to wild bears and your offering prints for a profit!..what more can we dig up on you? Sorry, you may want to change your strategic position..

    • Mike says:

      Save Bears –

      Again with the false accusations.

      As stated before, I had a ranger one foot to my right for the entire shoot, and I never approached any bear. As you can see, they came towards myself and the ranger on a shoreline that curved away from our position. There was an exit, the mother knew of our presence from at least two hundred yards and just walked the shoreline.

      I’m friends with the Many Glacier rangers because of how animal friendly I am. They see that I’m there for the animals, not for myself and they appreciate it, which is why they gave me the green light on something they wouldn’t do for too many other people. I don’t feel that wildlife “owe me” something, whether it be meat or photos. In this shrinking world of true predator habitat I owe the wildlife respect and a measure of self awareness in my actions.
      You won’t find “greener” photos than these and you can see how natural the bears were as they approached, and then ambled away. The ranger and I were positioned behind a large boulder and the shoreline curved away from us along Sherburne.

    • jon says:

      Yes, I would sb. Mike knew the risks of getting that close to the bears and it turned out ok for him, but I think he would hold no grudges against the bears if they did attack him because he understands the risks of getting close to wild animals and the potential danger of being attacked. If they did attack Mike, I would not want the bears put down. Mike understands I am sure if he got attacked, it was for a reason from the bears. I don’t advise anyone getting that close, but if you want do, consider and accept the risks of doing so.

    • Save bears says:


      I know virtually all of the rangers that work in Glacier and they tell a different story than you do, you can claim what you want, but I know I will leave it at that..

    • Save bears says:


      It does not matter if Mike held a grudge, what about his family, his friends and the authorities? As I said, I know virtually all of the rangers in Glacier and they tell a different story than Mike does…

    • Mike says:

      Save Bears-

      Perhaps it’s time to go outside and get some fresh air? You are losing it.

      So what “different story” do the rangers tell? Please inform us all, I need a good laugh.

    • Mike says:

      ++As I said, I know virtually all of the rangers in Glacier and they tell a different story than Mike does++

      Oh really? Please elaborate on this one.

    • Save bears says:

      Mike as I said, I will leave it at that, you have a far different opinion of your self than the rangers that work in the park, did you ever think they were on your hip, because of another reason? People like you create problems for people like them..

    • Mike says:

      ++Yes, I would sb. Mike knew the risks of getting that close to the bears and it turned out ok for him, but I think he would hold no grudges against the bears if they did attack him because he understands the risks of getting close to wild animals and the potential danger of being attacked. If they did attack Mike, I would not want the bears put down. Mike understands I am sure if he got attacked, it was for a reason from the bears.++

      Absolutely. Also factor in that I had a ranger right next to me, and I was using a 420mm lens on a crop body which is an effective 672mm, and those pictures were 50% crops, so think 1000mm.

    • Save bears says:

      Mike, I will be happy to let you know what I know from the rangers, but it would not be good for you, to do this in a public forum, ask Ralph for my email address, and I will be happy to send you the information I have gathered from the rangers…you might want to re-consider your position on this one, I corespond and talk to there people all of the time, remember my home is located in the NF of the Flathead, I spend a heck of a lot of time in the park every year..

    • Mike says:

      ++Mike as I said, I will leave it at that, you have a far different opinion of your self than the rangers that work in the park, did you ever think they were on your hip, because of another reason? People like you create problems for people like them..++

      Here we go again with the Save Bears Vendetta Series. Is this going to be a Novelette? Let me know so I can grab a drink and something to munch on.

    • jon says:

      sb, tell a different story about Mike having a ranger at his side? I don’t know what goes on in glacier park. He could very well be telling the truth, I really have no idea. About his family? I don’t know his family, but my assumption is that they understand that getting close to wild bears can turn out to be a very dangerous matter. sb, I think more often than not, when a wild animal kills someone, people want revenge and payback and that is why they want the animal put down responsible, but instead of wild animals getting the blame for doing what they naturally do, defending themselves, maybe they should look at why the animal attacked in the first place. More often than not people are focusing on animals and not accepting that attacks like that could have been prevented with common sense. Human error is responsible for a lot of animal attacks on people sb. sb, a year ago I read a story about an australian 5 year old who was taken and killed by a saltwater crocodile, the parents of the boy told them they didn’t want the crocodile killed because it isn’t the crocodiles fault that it took their son.

    • Save bears says:


      I guess that answers you question, he did in fact take the pictures.

    • Save bears says:


      I have stated what I will state in a public forum, anybody that wants more information is more than welcome to get my email from Ralph, I am telling him it is okay and I will pass the information along to those who are interested…

    • Mike says:

      No thanks, Save Bears. I’m friends with the rangers and already know what they think.

    • Save bears says:

      Figures Mike..

    • Save bears says:


      By the way, I have your email from you blog, so I might just take a chance and forward what I have been told about this..

    • Mike says:

      Maybe you can go outside and argue with the squirrels now.

    • Everyone please talk about the issue or just shut up.


    • Save bears says:


      Ralph has asked us to shut up and I will honor his wishes, if you require more information ask Ralph for my email and I will be happy to further elaborate..

      Thank you!! Ralph

  3. cc says:

    My sympathies go out to the man’s family. According to the article, the man deliberately ignored verbal and visual warnings to stay out of the area due to the likelihood of a dangerous bear encounter. If that holds true, the poor man made a very foolish decision.

    • Save bears says:

      He made a fatal decision..

    • jon says:

      Mine as well. It is very very hard to lose someone you love, but I have to wonder what in the world was this guy thinking or maybe he wasn’t thinking at all. Those that have the it will never happen to me attitude just might get you killed when you least expect it. Pepper spray should be a must in bear country. People should always be aware that something bad can happen any moment in time. People should really lose their nothing will happen to me attitudes.

  4. Mike says:

    The egotism on display here, the vile behavior is so appalling, so insulting that one cannot even began to properly ascertain a sane path of logic for the actions.

    The collective IQ of the human race just shot back five points from the actions of Servheen, the hiker and this grizzly study team. Shame on you all.

    Once again a rare animal pays for impossibly blatant human stupidity with its life.

    There are too many cooks in the woods, too many leeches which poke and prod and crowd and sprawl.

    From the Billings Gazette:

    • jon says:

      I read the comments in that link you posted Mike. One said we have to shoot bears in order to make them afraid of us. I don’t get it, how do you teach a dead bear to fear people? Another poster wrote they are wild animals and will defend themselves (this is what the real world teaches us as we know about the attacks on people by animals we have all heard about throughout the years and years). I think some are close minded and want to believe everything that these experts throw at you about how bears never attack people when they do, most of the time out of self-defense which is understandable. If a bear sees a person as a threat for whatever reason, there is a good chance it will defend itself. It makes no sense to me why a bear should be put down for it. It is like we are trying to take the natural instincts out of wild animals so they pose no risk or danger to use what so ever.

    • Mike says:

      Jon – It’s insane behavior. That’s the only explanation.

      You raise an interesting question: How do you teach a bear to fear humans when it’s dead? I guess that only works when you shoot a mother bear with two cubs who are ready to go off on their own. That seems to be the only way. Or maybe to kill one of two mating grizzlies.

      It’s obvious to me that a groggy, tranqued bear that was tormented by human handlers woke up and fought back when a hiker who allegedly ignored warnings wanted a closer look.

      So we kill the bear? Huh? What form of twisted, insane logic is this? It’s certainly not something I want to associate with on any level. It’s like a deranged child who loses a game and punches his friend in the gut. That’s the closest analogy I can think of. There is something so off, so pervasively disquieting about this incident that I can only shake my head in complete disbelief.

    • jon says:

      You can’t teach a dead bear to fear humans. Savebears friend Chris Servheen even said that.

    • jon says:

      I often wonder if one of the reasons for killing a bear in a instance like this is payback. Payback for the family of the victim who killed their loved one. I wouldn’t put it past our species. An eye for an eye type of scenario. Killing a bear that in my opinion attacked out of self-defense will not bring the hiker back. I don’t think Steve Irwin would have wanted the stingray that killed him killed. You would be surprised. I have heard of stories of people being attacked in the ocean by great whites and demanding that the sharks be killed because it attacked them or their loved one. We kill for all of the wrong reasons in some instances.

  5. Nancy says:

    No, he made a very bad decision, knowing what was going on in the area and the outcome was fatal for him and the bear.

  6. jon says:

    He must have seen the sign. Lack of common sense is a killer.

  7. Salle says:

    “Lack of common sense…”

    Unfortunately we don’t seem to learn much unless it costs us dearly. I once had a friend who said, “If people had to suffer the actual consequences of their actions with their lives, we’d have far fewer stupid people doing stupid things in this world. If you knew that your stupidity would certainly kill you, you’d be a lot less willing to do (whatever stupid thing you had in mind) it.”

    Makes sense to me. Too bad that the consequences of the whole series of events led to the death of the bear. Humans are a dime-a-dozen, bears are not. I am sure someone will get upset and try to call me out on this opinion but, if you think about it for just a minute, you’ll realize you have no argument. The only protection we humans really need is protection from our blatant penchant for stupidity and acting on it.

    • jon says:

      You are right Salle. People don’t have any common sense until they experience something tragic like this bear attack. This bear attack could have been prevented. The signs were there and the hiker supposedly knew that. One mistake and it will cost you your life.

    • Save bears says:


      I will agree with you 100%, this individual, knew the danger and ignored it, he chose to go into that situation and is fully responsible for his death as well as the bear’s death, I feel bad for his family and friends, but also will note a friend of his is a self proclaimed bear expert as well as author and has always said bear spray is not needed, but ultimately, it was his choice and as I said earlier, he made a fatal choice, and did not take any precautions, his curiosity got him and the bear killed..

    • Save bears says:


      I seriously doubt this will change anything, read the various comments around the net on the blogs, there is another just waiting in the wings to take his/her chance with nature..

    • I think it’s clear now that the dead man was far on the wrong side of safety.

      We now know that it was very windy too and probably raining. All this obscured the man and the bear’s senses. He had no pepper spray (wind probably rendered it ineffective anyway). He had no gun. After being drugged, the bear might have been in a confused and/or bad mood.

    • mikarooni says:

      “After being drugged, the bear might have been in a confused and/or bad mood.” Well, YEAH!

  8. jon says:

    Situations like these will never stop sb. When man and bear collide, there is going to be a problem. This conflict between animal and man will always be here.

  9. STG says:

    Why do Mike and Save Bear continue to engage in such hostile discourse? How can the FWP avoid a similar situation in the future? Did the man who was attacked carry bear spray or make noise. Was the area posted warning hikers about the bear? Was the bear more aggressive because he had been handled by humans, given drugs and hyper-stressed. Was the FWP following a protocol or does there need to be a better one? Many questions need to be answered so more bears are not killed and management policy can be improved. Are we managing wildlife to death?

    • Salle says:

      “Are we managing wildlife to death?”

      In my opinion, we most certainly are and have no intention to stop at any time soon. Just like anything else, including this man who got himself and one healthy bear killed, we can’t control ourselves when it comes to curiosity and will persue whatever it is that incites that curiosity until it destroys that thing and/or ourselves as well. And many humans call themselves a superior species. The only thing we seem to hold superiority in is bringing about the destruction of everything we touch. How’s that for superiority?

    • Mike says:

      All good questions, STG.

    • Mike says:

      Salle good points. It’s a mental illness more than anything.

    • jon says:

      I’ve been checking out comments left in regards to this story about the bear killing a hiker. Most do not fault for the bear. Unfortunately, when humans start encroaching on animal habitat, is it most likely always the animals that receives the sharpest end of the stick.

      People hiking through wildlife areas should be arrested for being so stupid and naive. They think nature trails are exclusively for them. Predators pay with their lives for being “wild”.

      Why are the animals killed when humans encroach on the animals territory?

      Read more:

    • jon says:

      I agree with everyone above…..effin’d idiots want to know what’s it like to track through the wilderness like a bear and so forth…well, now you know what a Bear’s wrath is if you cross him and it’s pretty much common knowledge now that Grizzlies own Yellowstone..if you go hiking in a mountain and encounter a Mountain Lion in his native habitat, then it’s your own fault…stop going to areas where wildlife is free thinking they are just Teddy Bears or house Cats…these are Predators who instinctually have to kill to survive so it’s your @ss if you go into their homes as those said above…it’s like people swimming in lakes in Australia knowing d@mn well they are a croc infested continent…smarten up and be aware people.

      Read more:

  10. Ralph Maughan says:


    You make good points in every part of your comment. Thank you!

    I think the drugged condition of the bear might have been crucial even though the man violated every safety precaution. I’m glad a number of commenters picked this up right away.

    • I should add that actually pushed a grizzly bear in Kitty Creek one time. Not with my hands. I mean I followed it. It was a good bear. When I heard it breathing not far from me in the woods, I finally retreated. My wife was very angry with me.

      I did have pepper spray. It was relatively new then and might have made me feel far too safe.

      A high testosterone day, I guess,

    • WM says:

      A few years back a friend and I came out of the Hoback country on the west side of the GYE in late September. We had been backpacking above tree line. The weather turned quickly as it can in that country, and became windy and cold as dense front of snow clouds moved from the west, just as we made camp at dark. We were up nearly 9,000 feet, and snow was sure to come in very large amounts. No tent, just bivy sacks and a little plastic, so we quickly made the decision to move to lower elevation, stuffing our packs as fast as we could, with the aid of headlamps. We scrambled down a very steep, rocky unmaintained way trail into the timber in total darkness. We finally got to the head of a drainange, and cut in on a horse trail, where the topography flattened out and the trail followed the broken rocky stream bottom filled in spots with dense riparian brush.

      We heard sounds off in the brush, and believed it to be a grizzly, having seen fresh tracks in a couple of muddy spots where the trail crossed the stream. Not knowing what the right strategy was for that situation, but knowing we still needed to lose elevation, we kept pushing on, in the falling snow and dark.

      No gun and no bear spray. I don’t remember being more unsettled, bordering on scared for about ten minutes, in many years of hiking the backcountry. “High testosterone day” earlier, turned to – I just want to get the hell out of here alive night. We made it through, and got snowed on plenty, but not as bad as if we had stayed high. Made the right decision with a little luck. Footnote: That area was not reported to have much of a grizzly bear population at the time.

  11. Save bears says:

    Every article about this situation has stated:

    No, he was not carrying bear spray.
    No, he was not carrying a gun.
    Yes, He ignored all posted as well as verbal warnings.
    Yes, he was well aware of the operation.

    This operation was actually conducted by the IGBC Study Team, which is headed by Chuck Schwartz, he has stated an intensive investigation and review is being conducted, but at this time it appears all proper protocols were followed as required..

    It was stated by his friend and author Chuck Neal stated he knew the risk and still ventured into the area due to his curiosity about the operation.

    As Ralph stated and has been stated many times, this person ignored all safety precautions..

  12. Save bears says:

    Another illustrative article on why the 1872 mining act needs to be updated to modern standards, or completely rewrote :

    • Save bears says:

      Oops, posted this in the wrong topic area, Ralph or Ken, could you move it to the section of have you seen any interesting news?

      Sorry about that..

  13. Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    SB just clarified the procedural questions. There’s another set of questions though, that beg more discussion.
    The question: “Are we managing wildlife to death?” is important. Conceptually, it goes to the heart of much of the debate on this blog about wolves, grizzlies, elk…… all public wildlife resources. More consideration and civil discussion of what “management” means to the steward agencies, the public, and indivuiduals in this blog community would be constructive.
    Here’s a start – from one wildlife resource manager: Are we managing wildlife to death? Depends on what each commenter means by that. The latest grizzly tradgedy is certainly not an example of “management” threatening the recovering GYEC grizzly population. This population is growing. I believe the legitimate and understandable concern about the loss of this bear (which pales in comparison to the death of the hiker) is really about a growing schism between “conventional” wildlife management expectations and – not new, but increasing – “world veiws” of wildife, “nature” and the desires and expectations for wildlife “management” that are alligned with those veiws. For lack of a better description, my personal assessment of the “new” wildlife management paradigm is a believe that “balance in nature” is a real concept; humans are interlopers in “nature” rather that integral members and participants of these ecosystems; and that the best policy of wildlife management is to minimize the greatest degree possible, human intervention and participation in the processes that regulate wildife populations.

    • mikarooni says:

      Just go away; you and your associates have done enough.

    • Mike says:

      I wouldn’t call humans a “participant” in the ecosystem because we destroy it. I think we stopped being “participants” when we overpopulated the country and cleared most of the land for roads and buildings. It’s like saying that BP is a “participant” in the Gulf Oil spill. These little islands of habitat (you guys in the west don’t see just how much is gone in the rest of the country) are all that we have left, and we poke our little heads into every nook and cranny(myself included) relentlessly, always pushing, always busy little ants gnawing hungrily at everything. That’s how it looks from above, I can guarantee you that.

      Things have changed. This isn’t 1890. The wild is pretty much gone. Now we just micromanage the slivers of wildness that our precious egos and instatiable appetites decided to keep around.

      It seems that as a species, we have a horrible time just leaving things alone. We always feel we can improve it, or fix it in some way even though we just end up shooting our own feet(see this latest tranq fiasco). We are not all that different from a crack addict who just can’t put the pipe down, except in this case we can’t leave animals alone, our obsessive eyes always scanning, our bulldozers and gun nuts always pushing.

    • Evan says:

      Good line of questioning! I agree with your assessment of the “new” management paradigm, as I very often fall back on the idea of ultimate natural balance and ‘evil human’ interference when my mind is only partially engaged in a wildlife subject. I believe this is a common mindset in individuals/groups of people who are a) interested in nature conservation; b) usually intelligent and semi- to very well-educated; c) too busy/not motivated enough to delve deeper into the subtler scientific concepts that have been developing over the last century. I think the “balance” concept persists from our limited understanding as individuals and the necessity to simplify/categorize the information we do have in order to psychologically function in the world. Predator-prey interaction studies, paleontology and Darwin’s theory continue to show pretty clearly that the natural world is always in flux. Problem is, we’re such short-lived creatures it’s very hard to see that in action, so we simplify. The changes are often hard to grasp even on the simple end of the spectrum, such as vegetation successional stages, nevermind something as intricate as ecosystem-wide interactions.

      With regards to humans being interlopers and not “natural” I submit again that it is a mindset born in Western theological teachings that the vast majority of this country has been exposed to (in varying degrees), and is a variation of the Dominion of Man over Nature espoused in the Bible. It is a product of always being told that humans are super- (or other than-) natural. That stance gets difficult to see when people (such as myself) make a conscious choice to move towards the Holistic/Aboriginal/etc mindset of having profound respect for nature. The real problem arises when the mindset stops just short of actually living with nature, AS A PARTICIPATORY, EQUAL PART of it, and again sees the natural world as the Eden that humans are corrupting.

      Got carried away… 😉 On a more direct note, in my experience, the death of a research animal (as this bear was) for any reason is VERY rarely taken lightly by researchers and I submit that anyone who implies or states that it was a flippant decision by the wildlife professionals involved is commenting out of ignorance. I am only a lowly field research tech with a few years of experience, but everyone I’ve worked with to date has demonstrated extreme care for the animals they work with and were disappointed and saddened at any resulting harm. Speaking personally, it is a matter of professional pride and a sense of responsibility towards the individual animal and the species that demands all efforts to get the data we need with minimal impact to the subject. The best research projects are designed with that in mind. It is always affecting when an animal is injured or killed as a result of the research being done, but if the research done leads to better understanding of that species as a whole and how we can live with it, then the damage is acceptable, in my opinion. “So that others may live”, to coin a military slogan. The “new” wildlife research community by and large is made up of people with good intent, who care about the natural world enough to try and understand it, and as such it is largely self-policing… certainly not infallible, but operating (I believe and hope) as best as it is able.

      10-15 cents worth of my allotted two… Looking forward to reading other opinions!

    • WM says:


      Well said, and coming from a caring professional with field experience. Would you mind saying what animal species you usually work with?

    • bob jackson says:

      Oh, to be back in the days of being awed and dumb struck. Evan will learn what happens behind the scenes of those seasoned biologists he adores and who appear to be so caring. Or he will have to face reality himself soon if he stays in this govt. profession.

      He will learn he is being snow jobbed by too many of those above him as soon as he is placed in a situation where he is a part of reality and story manipulation on the ground. Or he will soon have to make the decision in his own work of “does he cover up and compromise the report” or does he give it the honest answer?

      I doubt Evan will take the later route. I hope I am wrong but very few do. And if he does the honorable thing and not cover up he will be most likely in an entrenched govt system that doesn’t look kindly to someone who is not a “team player”…thus soon be looking for another profession.

      To be specific, Govt bear trappers and more so their supervisors, WILL cover up….no different than those in other professions.

      I saw too many cases of bear trapping total screw ups…. Times where the bear broke anchors for snares and the bear is off with a snare that eventually will make that foot fall off. And how was the report written by these field personnel in one case near my area…..”no bears found or trapped”.

      Yes, and what if I hadn’t found the site to know it was a lie?…. And further ethics capitulation was shown in the cover up by not letting folks in the area know there was a wounded bear around…and to be careful.

      Evan, you soon will be faced with those decisions to make…especially if you are in a high profile species study such as bears. If you were a junior member of that three man team I saw covering up would you have kept your mouth shut? All three did in this case. This one incident happened over 20 years ago and the head of that team is still in the govt thick of things….more than likely doing the same compromising.

      Your choice, Evan. Stay fat dumb and happy or learn depth of character. And WM, yes, it is good to give pep talks and cling to hope for the youth…there needs to be more of it so I don’t begrudge you for doing so, but if more of these youngsters were given the balance of reality they could have fought “it” off easier. As the kid quivered and said to Clint Eastwood’s character, William Monday, in the movie Unforgiven, “It ain’t like I thought it was”.

    • Evan says:

      WM – Thanks. I’m in the second year of a bobwhite quail study in north-central Kentucky, working for the University of Tennessee and with the KDF&W. We’re using telemetry to determine habitat preferences in the region, if any, with an eye towards native warm season grass usage. I also spent a season studying Cerulean Warblers in the Cumberlands, again with the University of Tennessee. Birds are pretty far from my primary interests/end goals, but that’s where the opportunities have been for me so far. They aren’t glamorous, dangerous, politically-charged ‘charasmatic megafauna’, nor even Western, but I’ve absolutley enjoyed the work, the people and the chance to build skills that will open doors for different studies down the line…. and the sooner I can get back out West, the better!

      Bob Jackson – You are by far the most entertaining contributor to this blog… so many golden bits of knowledge in the field laying there, just waiting to be scooped up by this readership. But, like panning for gold, getting the nuggets out of the muck is challenging and trying. So many stories that could be great in a lecture, over a creaking saddle, or with a campfire and beers, yet so aimless and jaundiced that they are often hard to take seriously. I respect what you’ve been through and your breadth of knowledge, but damned if I wouldn’t have drank myself to death by now if I saw the world how you apparently do. You must have a good support system.

      As for your accusations/implications, I am definitely an optimist in life, and for my chosen profession. I do have a LOT to learn both technically and in the political positioning of whatever administrations/agencies/groups I wind up with. Simply, I try to learn and perform at a high level, and I’m very competitive when it comes to doing so. I suspect that will be my attitude until the day I die. I’m sure if you and I had an actual conversation about a specific subject (eg. bison herd structure, a very honestly intriguing subject) I would learn quite a bit from you and be better informed for the effort. However, your characterization of a wide-eyed, awestruck kid who idolizes seasoned biologists is convenient for you, but very misplaced. I chose this profession after serving over six years in the Air Force, giving daily TS intel briefs to roomfuls of brigade and company-level commanders and high-ranking civilian officials. I have been overseas in combat zones. I have experienced a good-sized dose of ridiculous government bureaucracy and interpersonal to interagency politics, and have spoken my mind when I thought it necessary. I chose to leave after my enlistment, turned down a lucrative civilian gig in the same theater and CHOSE to pursue this profession. I am 32, extremely proud father of a 12-yr old boy (passionately self-proclaimed future shark biologist), have gone through divorce, and 5 years of being a poor college student while living and working in “the real-world”. I rarely meet people that leave me awestruck intellectually, socially, or morally. But I frequently meet people whom I respect UNLESS their actions demand otherwise. Big difference, Bob. I cannot fathom approaching any profession, or life in general, with the bitter eye of someone who feels they’ve been or soon will be jobbed and/or are the sole holder of the ultimate Moral Compass… if I did, what would be the point in attempting it at all? Optimism is not always naivety, intimidation is not causative of respect and baseless questioning of someone’s character is a poor way to go through life. Still looking forward to gleaning those nuggets of wisdom from your future posts…

    • bob jackson says:


    • bob jackson says:


      You are the one, who with little knowledge, said, “On a more direct note, in my experience, the death of a research animal (as this bear was) for any reason is VERY rarely taken lightly by researchers and I submit that anyone who implies or states that it was a flippant decision by the wildlife professionals involved is commenting out of ignorance.” Evan, with that statement I say, “Gag me”.

      Inept administrative biologists, bureacrats and other govt. puppies love to have lap dogs at their side…like you, if what you say above is what you believe. In Yellowstone the newbies are catered to at first, then, as the newbie becomes more “seasoned”, this individual is thrown to the side for still another new one, the one dropping to the knees and clasping the hands together…all the while the head and eyes looks up to the Virgin Mary in front of them. Most govt employees have one shining moment in their careers and then their star is shattered…forever….for no doing of their own, but rather because of the perception of those around them who thought only of this individual through their own needs and wants.

      I will say most all start out with good intentions but then most all fall by the wayside in maintaining those standards.

      It doesn’t matter if you are fresh out of the womb or 32 years old, you either want to get into the system so badly you are compromising your logic or you truly are naive….or then again, you might be calculating and know how to work those folks who might hire you….and are practising on this blog. Maybe I gave you too much credit in the first place by implying you were niave???

      No, I am not jaded in the least bit. I enjoy all my life, from loving, to raising bison in social order herds. When I went through (and won) the nationally publicized salt baiting case a second time…and PEER asked if I really wanted to go through it again I responded with, “What are they going to do, send me to the farm I have always loved ?” “Lets have at it”…and this is just what we did. As one of my long gone mentors (Thorofare log book ….by Shrum a ranger of the ’30’s, said, “And a fine time was had by all” so it is.

      In basic training the drill sargents were raising hell that first day. They were collecting all the candy from the fat boys. I asked if they wanted my orange too. You see, shit can only go so far before one has to call them on it…whether it is the NPS or military. I ended up the first one to max a particular PT course out of 225,000 recruits and those drill sargents never swayed my emotions once during those 8 weeks. Too many recruits were brain washed. Hopefully not you. Otherwise your hallowed military service just regressed your personal development.

      P.S. I do agree with you the decisions made to terminate that bear were not made “flippant”. Most all long term govt careerists in those part of the woods weigh actions such as this heavily…heavily for possible professional backlash and public perception. God, when those who said there would be “an investigation” were the ones responsible for giving the orders who do you think they are going to find at fault? I sure wish someone would be man …or woman …enough to assess their own procedures to then say, “we will never again follow state pressure to only put warning signs up on none wilderness trapping areas. From now on it is “Area Closed.”

      No, they won’t do it because “they” all have to “Go along to get along”. As Billy Idol sang in White Wedding….”Little sister who is the only one???”. To you biologists and to all the MSG clones I ask, “who will be the only one to break ranks?” and stand for your original convictions?

    • Evan says:


      Thank you sir, you most certainly did not disappoint! I see some shiny flakes of agreement settling out as I read. I’m sure we can both agree it’s not likely that you “gave me too much credit” right, Bob!? I’ll keep your admonishment to “learn depth of character” close to my currently fat, dumb and happy heart. Been working on it since my folks brought it up in conversation by the crib one day, and am hoping to get there soon. I’ll damn sure join you in hoping that people of excellent character continue to positively influence our wildlife management resources. In increasing numbers. Preferably, like us, fans of Unforgiven. I’ll have to draw the line at thinking that you are the only one who will ever accomplish such a thing though… that and Billy Idol. Got to call you on that. Shit can only go so far. Meantime, keep on shovelin’ those black sands, and I’ll keep on swirlin’ the pan and squintin’ hard. Teamwork, Bob. Teamwork.

    • bob jackson says:

      Team work?? As Gordo Cooper said to his wife, Trudy, in the Right Stuff, “I move up, you move up.” Ya, that is the team work. My horse, Blondie, a fella I rode for 30,000 miles, and who kept me alive, shared a lot of the same characteristics. He could be 4 or 5 back in the string of horses but he was always putting his head out to the side looking around to what was in front of everyone.
      He didn’t trust the other horses and I didn’t trust the other rangers to do anything right when it came to confronting poachers. No one would ride Blondie in my District (he’d rear up Trigger like in the Yellowstone River and they’d then take him back to the Cabin) and I was continually told to “teach my horse some manners”.

      Why Whiteman manners when I wasn’t in a Whitemans civilized world? Respect…for whom? Ya, team work…with whom?

    • Angela says:

      Evan, in time you will see people compromise their ethics for money and power. I have been pretty shocked at some of the things people in this field will do to maintain a position they worked hard to attain. In my experience, the very best you can hope for is to work in a situation where those in power actually have strong ethics themselves. Try to learn as much as you can about the people you will work for before taking a job. I am extremely grateful to have fallen in with a really good group of people who are world class scientists as well as people of integrity. I’ve worked for the same people for 20 years now because I sort of doubt I could fit in anywhere else. I am too opinionated and insubordinate when my conscience acts up! It really sucks when people are given a choice between their job (security, house, family, etc.) and making a compromise to keep it. The stakes get higher as you rise in your career and make more money. I’m sure you know all this. Take the time to find good people.

    • Evan says:


      I’m definitely with you on the idea of trying hard to fall in with the right group of folks. As I tried to get across in my convo with Bob, new to the field doesn’t always mean new to dealing with folks or challenging situations. I’ve experienced excellent and ridiculously bad bosses (and degrees of each) in the myriad jobs I’ve held through my life, and working with great folks makes all the difference, no matter what field you’re involved with. To those of us, err, blessed with a stubborn streak when it comes to doing what we see as right, correct, and effective, it’s absolutely essential. Sounds like you’re blessed that way too ;-). I’ll absolutely be keeping my eyes out for the right fit when the time comes. Thanks for the advice!

    • bob jackson says:


      Then you need to spot the MSG’s spin masters better than I see you doing.

    • Evan says:

      I’m all over those spin masters at the Garden… there’s no way Lebron is going to the Knicks, no matter what they say.

  14. jon says:

    People at the have questioned the need to kill the bear. Environmental groups are sure demand an explanation.

    • pointswest says:

      I have an explanation… . The man has a family who probably does not was to see a killer grizzly protected…especially when it might kill someone else and cause another family that deep aching grief that might last for years.

      But this may be difficult for some dysfunctional extremist type environment type people who ‘love’ nature to understand.

    • jon says:

      The grizzly killed the man because he most likely saw him as a threat for whatever reason. Do you understand that? The man made a fatal mistake and he got himself and the bear killed for it. You cannot fault nature. These accidents are mostly caused by human error and lack of common sense.

  15. Nancy says:

    Mark, I can only weigh in (and certainly not as an expert) when it comes to wolf management, or lack of, here in southwest Montana. Everytime there is rancher/wolf conflict WS just eliminates them, not just a wolf here or there, entire packs. This appears to have nothing to do with management of a species to me, more like simply satisfying poor livestock practices (or in the case of the Hirschy ranch) – blackmail.

  16. Virginia says:

    The tragic story posted here has been completely overtaken by 65 out of 89 responses posted by three people attacking each other verbally. I would suggest that most people who read this blog are not really interested in reading your personal attacks on each other which really had not much to do with this story. As Ralph stated. “Shut Up” and I say, “take it outside.”

  17. Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    Mike, Nancy – thanks for your responses. I think it’s obvious that there is an intractable conflict between a common hope/expectation that somehow humans CAN be separate (non-intrusive?) from nature and the inescapable reality that we are inhabitants of the global ecosystem and cannot avoid profoundly affecting those ecological processes. Humans, people will continue to be an increasingly dominant factor on the global landscape. Ultimately, our concern for nature, wildlife, open spaces, clean water – each of those corner stones of the conservation movement – stems from our concerns for our own well being as members of the global ecosystem. HOW we manage our own affairs and those resources, including our public wildlife resources, in many ways will determine our own quality of life, dignity in life and the future we desire for coming generations. There is no choice to not “manage” wildlife. The difficult choices are HOW is wildife to be managed and for what societal objectives?

    • pointswest says:

      Enlarge the Park out to some natural boundaries. Try and keep the grizzlies inside of the park. Then, people who want to hike in the park can be warned of the dangers. It is a dreamy little dream that we are simply going to live side by side with wolves and grizzlies.

    • Linda Hunter says:

      Mark your questions are good ones and open minded people need to be thinking of these things. In order for people and animals to exist together we need to start thinking creatively in every way. At McNeil River in Alaska people move and live around bears all summer and many other places in Alaska people live with all sorts of animals in all sorts of ways. In the lower 48 states animal awareness from the public is sadly lacking and too many people have knee jerk reactions to the sight of animals and do not act appropriately, many times doing things that panic or scare the living daylights out of the animals that people fear, thus perpetuating a situation unknowingly. In this case, there are too many questions that we will probably not get answered to make an informed decision on what happened to this hiker, but the main message when someone gets killed by a bear is that something went wrong. This is not the normal behavior for a bear as statistics prove out. The professionals who pursue wildlife management need to be willing to start looking closely at what makes it safe for 1000’s of people in one area to live around bears safely and in other areas just seeing a bear can give a person a heart attack. The key to co-existence at this point is for people to learn those differences.

    • Leslie says:

      Mark, frankly you just sound like a talking head. Where is your own voice? Where is your own passion? I’m listening…

  18. Keith says:

    I would have to say that the real victim here is the bear.

    • Mike says:

      Keith – There’s no doubt about that.

    • pointswest says:

      The bear is dead. The man is dead. The real victims are the man’s family and close friends.

    • jon says:

      Tranquilizing the bear could have been the thing that made this bear attack and kill the hiker. You are right Keith, the bear is the victim. The bear did nothing wrong and the hiker did and it got himself and the bear killed. In cases like this, most of the time the animals are the victims and they get killed by human error. Human error and lack of common sense on the part of humans contributes to a lot of unneccesary and preventable bear/animal deaths. Humans are always notorious and lack common sense when it comes to securing their garbage. Numerous bears have been killed because of humans leaving their trash out. We are supposed to be the most intelligent species, so we say, but sometimes some of us are really frigging stupid and clueless.

    • jon says:

      I meant not securing their garbage.

    • pointswest says:

      That is crazy talk…what do you mean the bear did nothing wrong. The bear killed an innocent man. Perhaps the man made a mistake or acted in a foolish manner but that does not mean he deserves to die.

      If the bears killed a human once, he was likely to kill a human again. The same principle is even true in the human species.

      Are you saying that it is perfectly ethical for bears to kill humans…based on that it is natural? If so, then why can’t humans kill other humans? I think the killer instinct in humans is as strong as it is in bears and since it has gone on for eons, it too is “natural.” Why should bears have superior rights over humans when it comes to killing?

    • jon says:

      The bear doesn’t care if he’s innocent. All the bear cares about is if he sees you as a threat or not. The bear most likely saw the man as a threat and killed him for it.

      You said, Are you saying that it is perfectly ethical for bears to kill humans…

      What do you expect a bear to do if he sees a human as a threat? Doesn’t the bear have a right to defend itself?

      Ethical? what about bears being killed for sport? Would you say that’s ethical? What the bear did was natural, it acted out of self-defense and got the man and the bear itself killed. Humans kill other humans for all of the wrong reasons. Bears usually have a good reason when they kill a person. They act out of instinct. Humans should know better, but some of us don’t and we still decide to do wrong.

    • jon says:

      You cannot compare bears to humans. Humans know the difference between right and wrong and we still decide to do wrong. Bears act on instinct, not what is right or wrong. Humans are far more vicious and deadly than any bear could ever be. You are turning this into put humans over animals issue when it isn’t. It is about who is at fault here and the man was the one who was at fault. A bear should have the right to defend itself. Wild animals are unpredictable and they will attack if they feel threatened. This is something that no one can dispute.

    • pointswest says:

      So if Eric-the Retard feels threatened by you little sister, it would be OK if he killed her. I mean it would be her fault. She called Eric a retard and everyone knows it angers Eric when you call him a “retard.” I guess you little sister deserves to die because Eric is retarded, does not know better, and has mental capabilites of a 2-year-old.

      Eric too was just acting out of instinct!

    • I think an interesting question is this. Does it show a hostility toward people or just toward stupidity when we say “someone deserved the ‘Darwin Award?’ “

    • pointswest says:

      Darwin is a hero of mine. I think he is one of the greatest scientists to have ever lived. Darwin, however, does not address beauty, love, nor the human heart.

    • Pointswest,

      The Darwin Award is, I think, a fictitious award given to people who do such silly dangerous things that supposedly the gene pool is improved as they are eliminated.

    • Mike says:

      ++If the bears killed a human once, he was likely to kill a human again. The same principle is even true in the human species.++

      This hasn’t been proven. It’s likely that the torture of the bear by humans led to it’s agression.

    • Leslie says:

      “That is crazy talk…what do you mean the bear did nothing wrong. The bear killed an innocent man.”

      I think we really don’t know all the facts here yet. Why did this man’s wife immediately call the Grizzly Mgmt. when he was missing? My first thought would have been the sheriff, not the grizzly team if my spouse were missing.

      Aren’t those researchers supposed to stay with the bear till he’s awake? Did the victim come upon the bear just as the bear was waking up and what effects do these drugs have on a bear when he’s coming out of them? Perhaps the bear was in an unnaturally aggressive and confused state upon awakening and there’s this guy coming upon him.

      I don’t think, Pointswest, that you can compare this to some other situation, and especially not to between humans. This seems to be a very weird and unnatural grizzly encounter. Even more than the guy, I blame these researchers. And you know that they made the decision to kill this bear as a PR thing. They made the decision really really fast, even after they said they’d wait…I think they’re trying to cover their official asses.

  19. ladywolf46 says:

    Im with you Mike !! I wish they would leave the bears – and the wolves – alone, period ! But I dont think this attack had to do with the trappings going on, although it is indeed a possibility that the bear was agitated as a result and people represented the terrible experience he went through of being attacked; I think it was more a very ignorant mistake of someone who should have known better

  20. pointswest says:

    What I don’t understand is why all the anti-hunters and vegitarians didn’t have a little celebration and make fun of the man’s death they way you do when a hunter gets killed by grizzley.

  21. Nancy says:

    Pointswest, I’m sure there are some hard core anti-hunters types & vegans that would feel this poor man got what he deserved and the bear didn’t……. BUT I’m not one of them and I haven’t seen any comments here that lean in that direction. It was a terribly sad and unfortunate situation that may or may not have happened because the bear had been drugged and “man” handled.

    I recall a Disney special years ago when the Craighead brothers were drugging and studying grizzles in Yellowstone. One big bear came out of the drug alittle early and not only charged the rig (they had piled into) but climbed on to the hood trying to get at them. It was scary watching it!

    • pointswest says:

      Yes…I would think being shot with a dart, tranquilized, and having humans poke and prod you for 20 or 30 minutes might disturb certain grizzlies. Grizzlies are not the sharpest tools in the shed and can be very emotional…especially when they feel their survival is threatened.

      No the vegans and anti-hunters didn’t party this time but they certainly have in the past. It disgusted me.

  22. Layton says:

    I wonder if there are bears that are apologists for being bears. There are sure a few on this blog that seem to always apologize for being human. 8)

  23. WM says:

    What I find really interesting is the amount of second-guessing non-experts make about a grizzly bear expert’s informed and measured decision on how to deal with this bear.

    This was probably not an easy decision for Chris Servheen to make, and I will guess he carefully weighed the pros and cons of a lethal solution for the bear before authorizing its destruction. This is one of those situations, where according to the article they were going to do a capture, but the bear moved to an area which made it difficult.

    My question is (regardless of this bear maybe having a tranq hangover), what would the court of public opinion say if he let the ESA protected bear live and it killed somebody else? That leaves him and the grizzly bear program open to even more criticism. How does one live with a bad decision that results in human death, if it was preventable had the decision-maker made a choice that could have prevented the subsequent act? We see this happen a fair amount with respect to the criminal justice system all the time.

    Sad as it is, it is just a damn bear!


    I know you are not trained as a wildlife professional, but put yourself in the postion of someone who is. You make the decision whether this bear lives or dies, after killing one human. You decide the bear lives. Two weeks from now this male bear mauls another human who dies.

    Will you accept the moral responsibilty for the death of this person, when had you made a different choice, it would not have happened?

    • Mike says:

      That’s a horrible excuse for killing something and reeks of laziness.

    • Mike says:

      ++Sad as it is, it is just a damn bear!

      If only that were true. There are only around 1,000 grizz in the lower 48. In terms of their value, one could argue a single grizzly bear in the lower 48 is more ecoglocially significant than one human.

    • Mike says:

      ++ know you are not trained as a wildlife professional, but put yourself in the position of someone who is. You make the decision whether this bear lives or dies, after killing one human. You decide the bear lives. Two weeks from now this male bear mauls another human who dies. ++

      My feeling is that they covered their own tails for their own mistake. This bear obviously killed the hiker because it had just been handled by humans and was still feeling the effects of heavy drugs. This bear, to anyone’s knowledge was *not a problem before being tranqued*. So then the bear decides to go hide in rough terrain after being tortured by humans, and the humans get too lazy to trap it so they shoot it from a helicopter(remember what I said about how guns devalue life across the west?)

      And for salt in the wound, we get no apology from the bear management team. We get no press release talking of an investigation or the possible causes. This is no different than shoot, shovel and shut up.

      There has not been one single mention of an evaluation of the effects of tranq guns on grizzly bears and human safety, yet these actions will continue without pause.

      This is insane behavior. I want a full fledged investigation into the response and I can tell you that many other people do too. There has to be a level of accountability when little men whip out their guns and play god, judge and jury.

      The very fact that the bear went into impossible terrain tells me it was moving away from humans and trying to hide. If the bear had approached subdivisions or other people I would have had it relocated. Because of the horrible human error caused by the management tea, this particular bear deserves the benefit of the doubt. Any other conclusion is woefully inadequate and unjust.

      Not only was the behavior insane, but it was also lazy and insulting.

      To top if all off, Chris S. says that “the bear may have had some unnatural form of agression,” lol. Trust me that joke is going around the circuit right now as in “yeah, being darted, roughed up and collared might have had something to do with that”.

    • Save bears says:

      The IGBC Study Team Leader did state in many articles that an exhaustive review and investigation is being conducted into this to find out what happened and if protocols need to be changed..

  24. jon says:

    wm, some actually care that this bear died, so no, it isn’t just a dam bear. It is a bear that died because of human error.

    • WM says:

      OK, jon, let me put the same question to Mike, above, to you – again knowing you are not trained as a wildlife professional. How would you make the call?

      And, by the way, I do care that the bear died because a human made a bad decision. I am just trying to put it in the context of my earlier paragraph regarding bad decisions made in our criminal justice system.

    • Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

      WM asked an important question that applies to wildlife managers and to the public we work for. What should wildlife managers do, given evolving public attitudes and values about public wildlife resources? In this case a single grizzly bear. Should IGBC research biologists not be conducting research that is designed to ensure the recovery of this GB population – because that type of human intervention offends some? Should have the responsible wildlife research biologist not have made the decision to kill this bear, knowing that the bear had demonstrated in the most clear behavior that it could threaten a human life again? What measures should responsible wildlife managers adopt to accomodate the desires and emotions of some humans, in the absence of any biological “scientific” need or justification? This discussion has been nuanced by a perception that the “personal” interests of this individual bear (or other indivudual bears, wolves, etc.) should play a role in determining the policies or management objectives for those species. Contemparary wildlife management is based on management objectives for wildlife POPULATIONS, for good reasons. Those populations are natural resources that have high value directly and intrisically to human society. That relationship will not change. It is inherent to our role as the top species in the ecosystem we inhabitat and is our challenge with such profound consequences for us as to constitute a curse.

    • jon says:

      I believe I answered all of your questions, have I not? I am asking you some now. Why wasn’t the whale at sea world destroyed wm? It took a human life. You know what they say about animals, once they kill one human, they will likely kill again, so why was this whale spared? What if the whale kills another trainer wm? Should it be given a death sentence?

    • Angela says:

      Because Tillikum makes the corporate owners of Marine World very very rich. He’s the most important stud in the artificial inseminating world of captive killer whales. Every new killer whale born in captivity creates a new surge of money as everyone goes to see it. Tillikum probably draws crowds now just because of his notoriety. The bear wasn’t making any corporation rich.

      But Jon, there’s another reason. He can’t kill people that don’t get into his pool.

    • jon says:

      Trainers work very closely with Tilly as people call him. Maybe the rules there with how trainers work with Tilly has most likely changed, but there is still a potential danger for the trainers that work with Tilly. My question to wm is that if Tilly does indeed kill another trainer in the future, should Tilly be killed? You know Tilly is a money maker. Sea world are putting money ahead of human life. You know what they say, once an animal kills a person, there is a good chance it will do it again if given the chance.

    • jon says:

      So, it’s ok if animals kill people if they make corporations rich like sea world., but not ok if animals defend themselves against those they see as a threat. This is a twisted world we live in Angela.

    • Angela says:

      A lifetime of imprisonment is Tilly’s punishment I guess. Captive killer whales are evidence enough of how twisted people can be.

  25. ProWolf in WY says:

    The guy went hiking where he shouldn’t have and ended up dead. So did the bear. If anything, this should be yet another reminder of being cautious in bear country.

  26. jon says:

    I would have kept the bear alive wm. The hiker made a very bad decision, but the bear did nothing wrong. The bear did what a wild unpredictable animal would do.

    • WM says:

      jon, Answer the question, with some reasoning behind it. The bear did what it did to the hiker – it is not about whether the hiker was in the wrong. That event is in the past. The question is will you -as the decision maker- take personal responsibility for the decision if the bear kills somebody in the future?

    • jon says:

      I gave you my reasoning as to why I would not kill the bear. The bear did what a wild unpredictable animal does, it attacks when threatened. Would I take responsibility? Yes, if I was in charge.

    • mikarooni says:

      jon, the bear actually didn’t do “what a wild unpredictable animal would do;” there is a much higher probability that a wild animal under normal circumstances would have run away. This bear did what any groggy, drugged up, traumatized creature that had just been “probed” by a alien-looking crew of half-baked researchers would do when it realized that it was being stalked by what looked like a second wave of the same kind of apparently crazed molesters.

    • WM says:

      OK, jon. You made the professional decision not to kill the bear. Now you have two dead hikers, one death preventable. You still have not “managed” the bear.

      Same question. What do you do with the bear now? Oh, and let me add one more part to the hypo – What do you tell the family of the second hiker killed?

    • jon says:

      wm, why did the bear attack the 2nd hiker? If a bear is defending itself against someone it sees as a threat? why should it be put down? You are basically saying we can’t allow bears to defend themselves if it results in a human death. I guess we can’t have bears running around defending themselves when they see a human as a threat. What if the 2nd hiker got attacked and killed because it had cubs with her and saw the person as a threat? I guess we can’t have bears going around protecting themselves.

    • jon says:

      wm, since I answered your questions, answer mine. If a couple of people go swimming in the ocean and all of them are killed by a great white. Should that great white be put down? Should that whale in Florida that killed that trainer at sea world be put down if it kills another trainer?? huh wm??

    • WM says:


      Unless I missed something, this bear was a male (boar) grizzly bear. Assume for the hypothetical, the second hiker death is caused by the bear defending its food, or didn’t for some reason like the hiker present (perhaps the bear was surprised – we often see this in attacks reported).

      What happens to this bear that has killed now two people?

    • WM says:


      Let’s stay focused and finish my hypo first, and not get sidetracked. After we are done, I will give you my answer about the shark and marine mammal.

    • jon says:

      wm, answer my question about the whale and shark. I will ask it again. The whale you heard about at sea world, it killed one trainer already. If it kills another trainer, should it be put down? If a group of friends go swimming in the ocean and the same great white kills them all, should that great white be hunted down and killed?

    • jon says:

      wm, I don’t like killing animals and never have. Although some would want the bear gunned down, I would put it in a sanctuary.

    • jon says:

      wm, tigers/lepards in India are eating people. Instead of gunning them down like we do to other here in the states, they put them in sanctuaries.

    • WM says:


      I am finding it really difficult to try to explore a focused topic with you. You are getting way off the topic. If you want to have a discussion stay on point until we get through it. I will come back to your questions eventually, but we need to get through the subject I first presented.

    • WM says:

      jon, You said:

      ++June 20, 2010 at 4:16 PM
      I believe I answered all of your questions, have I not? I am asking you some now. Why wasn’t the whale at sea world destroyed wm? It took a human life. You know what they say about animals, once they kill one human, they will likely kill again, so why was this whale spared? What if the whale kills another trainer wm? Should it be given a death sentence?++

      Actually jon, you did not answer my follow-up questions. That is the problem with trying to discuss a topic with you. You turn it into a shotgun blast that spreads the issues further with each second.

      I tried. Honest I tried. I am done with you on this topic

    • jon says:

      wm, you have not answered my question about the great white. It’s alright though, let’s get back to the subject at hand!

    • WM says:

      …actually, not quite done jon,

      In the hypo, you have a bear that has now killed two hikers. You have the press breathing down your neck with accusations of incompetence not only of you, but the program you run. You have a family (of the second dead hiker) who you have not answered about your decision. AND, you have a bear management program that is taking alot of bad press, which jeopardizes funding, future research, …. and by the way, jon, YOU HAVE JUST BEEN FIRED! A team is now on the way to dispatch the bear, if they can find it before it gets in trouble again.

    • jon says:

      wm, I told you what I would do with the bear. instead of giving it a death sentence when it didn’t do anything wrong except defend itself, I would try to find the bear a home in a sanctuary if that is possible. Will you answer my question about the shark? Should a shark be hunted down and killed if it killed a few people in the ocean?

    • jon says:

      wm, these type of instances have happened where grizzly moms had killed/attacked people protecting her cubs. I am sure the families of the victims killed by grizzly bears protecting their cubs understands that the bear’s life was spared because it was protecting the lives of her cubs. Instances like this have happened. What do you tell the family? I am very sorry about your loss, but we decided to not kill the bear because the bear was protecting its cubs. I am sure the family would understand.

    • jon says:

      wm, biologists will do whatever they are told if they want to keep their jobs which I am sure most of them do. If they think and feel something is not right, they will not say anything if it might put their jobs at risk. Look at sb, he spoke up for what he believed in and he got axed because of it.

    • Mike says:

      ++OK, jon. You made the professional decision not to kill the bear. Now you have two dead hikers, one death preventable. You still have not “managed” the bear.

      Same question. What do you do with the bear now? Oh, and let me add one more part to the hypo – What do you tell the family of the second hiker killed?

      WM –

      What happens if the trees in your yard fall on a kid? Wind could come along and blow them down any day now. They are heavy and would squash anything down. Didn’t you read the paper? Over in Idaho Falls a tree fell and killed a man last week. You need to manage your trees, WM. Get out there and cut them down now. Hurry!

      I’m sorry to inform you WM that you never cut your trees down and they killed two people. What will you tell their families?

    • jon says:

      haha @ Mike’s comment about the trees.

    • WM says:


      I didn’t see the tree article to which you refer.

      But, actually Mike, there are legal rules about how trees should be managed and what liability flows, if the person responsible for the trees knew or should have known they might come down, and it causes bodily injury (death), or property damage. There are other legal rules that aviod liability in the event of an unforseen and unusual wind event that takes down the trees. So, take care of your trees, but you don’t need to be a guarantor of the safety of your neighbor. Guilt and remorse about bad decisions is always a good thing. And, if you are legally at fault, your repentence is sometimes in the form of a lighter wallet.

      There are also rules about certain types of wildlife and those who control them. Of course, the government can often times plead sovereign immunity when it doesn’t want to accept responsibility for its negligence that causes harm. Surely it does not eliminate the personal guilt that a decision-maker feels for making the wrong decisions, if they have a conscience.

      Now, in the hypothetical above, jon let the bear live (I guess he later decided a sanctuary would be a good idea, after he had the benefit of cheating a bit by then knowing my other follow-up question), and the second hiker, an innocent one died. I tried to get him to stay on point for the remainder of the discussion, but he bailed and started talking about sharks. Geez.

    • Mike says:

      Jon – the comments were meant to expose the insane behavior of wildlife management. If you apply that logic to everything else that is more dangerous (such as falling trees), you truly see just how completely nonsensical it is. Trees get knocked down by wind. Wild animals can and do attack. We cannot prevent this. As humans we know the risks. Don’t hang out in a lodge pole pine forest in thin soil during 60 mph gusts, and when you walk in country with wild animals, have bear spray and don’t seek revenge against an animal that is being an animal. I can use the “what will you tell their parents” line of logic for an infinite number of safety scenarios concerning storms, roads, wildlife, etc. It’s a wild goose chase and strictly an emotional argument. And of course this is the reasoning used by the study team to shoot that bear like it was a rat from a helicopter in rough country (hmmm….was it heading away from humans?).

      The REAL reason, as always comes from fear of lawsuits and money taken away. That is the true motivation of most of man’s pathetic actions and likely what ordered the helicopter into rugged terrain to shoot a retreating bear that had just had a very bad week.

      Sad. Lazy. Embarrassing.

      “We had to kill it”. We hear that line a lot, but rarely do we see it followed by any hard science. People just like to shoot shit.

    • Mike says:

      ++ didn’t see the tree article to which you refer.

      But, actually Mike, there are legal rules about how trees should be managed and what liability flows, if the person responsible for the trees knew or should have known they might come down, and it causes bodily injury (death), or property damage. There are other legal rules that aviod liability in the event of an unforseen and unusual wind event that takes down the trees. So, take care of your trees, but you don’t need to be a guarantor of the safety of your neighbor. Guilt and remorse about bad decisions is always a good thing. And, if you are legally at fault, your repentence is sometimes in the form of a lighter wallet.

      You missed the point there, WM. The weak trees aren’t always the ones that come down. Many times the strong ones do too. There’s no way to stop it. It’s nature. We can’t go around cutting down all the trees just because we know one may fall someday, just like we can’t go shooting animals from helicopters because we think they might be dangerous in the future.

    • WM says:


      ++You missed the point there, WM. The weak trees aren’t always the ones that come down. Many times the strong ones do too. ++

      I see you are the expert commenting out of your skill zone once again. Ever have a class in silviculture and forest ecology? The trees that go down are the ones with the weak, rotten or disrupted root systems, rotten heartwood, bug infestation or weak top geometry. Sound trees with good root systems do come down, too, depending on topography and other factors. I am well aware of that. Ever hear of the Columbus Day Storm, in 1963, I think? And, yes, I did get the point of your comment. Clearly, you missed mine.

    • Save bears says:

      Columbus Day Storm occurred on October 12th, 1962, I don’t remember it well as I was still very young, but I do remember some big trees coming down!

    • Mike says:

      ++ see you are the expert commenting out of your skill zone once again. Ever have a class in silviculture and forest ecology?++

      Are you implying that storms do not bring down healthy trees?

    • WM says:


      ++Are you implying that storms do not bring down healthy trees?++

      Not at all. That was the point of the Columbus Day Storm of 1961 comment. There were hundreds of thousands, of healthy old growth trees that were downed from that freak event across forest lands in OR and WA. Rare storm events with the right amount of wind velocity and the right topography will take down healthy trees along with the weaker one – lots of them. Sometimes you can’t tell which will go, and whether they topple at the roots or the crown top snaps (conifers).

      And, Mike, I can give you a personal experience from a couple of years back. I have some property with a slight north facing slope in a wind prone area, where strong winds occasionally come from the south. The seller had logged it and left what I thought to be at risk young trees with shallow root systems, up to 10 inches in diameter along the property boundary that could topple onto a fence of the adjacent owner to the north. I was trying to get him to give me an indemnity for any damage to the fence from these trees for five years, knowing he would not. But he just might reduce the purchase price to account for this possibility.

      No reduction in price, but three years after the sale to me there was a huge storm that knocked down about 100 stems, over six inches in diameter. It was a mess, and we are still cleaning it up. Yep, a few got the neighbor’s fence. I gave him the wood in exchange for the damage to his fence. We are both relatively happy, but I would rather have the trees up — until the next big storm. Now I have eliminated the liability.

      Not sure where you were going with your analogy regarding the bear and trees. But the lesson that stands out for me is that it is not necessarily what happened (disoriented bear unfortunately kills hiker). Rather, it is what the bear, after this event, might do in the future, and the consequences to an unsuspecting victim, as well as the criticism of the decision-makers (possibly liability of the government if sovern immunity is not an issues) had the bear lived. And, by the way, there seem to be a number of differences between this incident and the Jim Cole incident (Tranqued bear vs not; boar vs. sow w/cub; death of victim vs. severe, but walk away injury; behavior causing incident induced by someone other than victim vs. not. And I think a big one, is sow defending her cub vs. ? reason for the 5 year old boar. Taking out the sow also would likely mean destroying the cub. As we have seen before, that does not sit well with the public.

      And fortunately, for the Cole incident the sow has no residual bad behavior toward humans, and Cole, a perhaps too enthusiastic risk taking photographer, lives to write a money-making book about his, possibly preventable, bear attacks (three, I think, according to SB).

      It is about managing risk, including risk avoidance/prevention and mitigation. Just like the trees. But it is also true, as the bumper sticker says, “Sh.. Happens.”

  27. jon says:

    mika, it is perfectly natural for a bear to defend itself. Not all bears are the same, some will run away and others will stand their ground as it happened in this case. I think being drugged and tranquilized had a part in this bear attacking the hiker and killing him. We will never know for certain.

  28. Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    If you were the responsible party in this situation and if you had made the decision you describe – that decision would be based on your personal value system, rather that the responsibility that public wildlife managers have to the public we work for – not our personal preferences. This goes to the heart of at least one point WM is getting at: what does society expect of the public officials who are responsbile for managing those public resource? No responsible wildlife management policy or action will place the welfare of a single animal (or population for that matter) above the life or well being of a human. Certainly, the society we live in will not countenance such a decision. All wildlife management policy and decisions are and will continue to be based on the needs and desires of the society we live in.

    • jon says:

      Society expects for you to kill the animal even if the animal did nothing wrong.

    • jon says:

      Mark, does Idaho fish and game killed grizzly bears that attack people for protecting its cubs?

  29. Mark Gamblin (IDFG) says:

    jon – there is no right, wrong, malice, indifference (for the bear) that belongs to the decision of the fate of this bear or future bears or other animals that affect the interests of human society (individually or collectively). The issue/question is strictly what is the best interest of people? Management decision for this or other individual animals or wildlife populations are determined by what do PEOPLE want for the management of their wildilfe resources? There is no cosmic bill of rights for wildife.

    • jon says:

      I am aware how things are done and how things are. Humans will always come first even if they are at fault. That is the way it is. Human/animal conflict, the animal will always lose. It shouldn’t be this way, but it’s the way things are.

  30. jon says:

    wm, are you familiar with the case of Jim Cole?

    A mother grizzly bear ripped his face off and I believe the bear wasn’t killed.

    Most grizzly bear attacks are defensive,” he said-Jim Cole

    • Keith says:

      The bear that mauled Cole was not harmed as it was determined her actions were defensive in nature. I watched her and a two year old cub last spring at trout creek in hayden valley where she mauled cole. People were approaching her and she ran away. Talking with bear management after she left I was informed that she is staying out of trouble. Just because a bear injures someone does not mean they will do it again. Most attacks by brown bears are defensive in nature.

    • jon says:

      That is all I was saying is that defensive bears shouldn’t be put down, but sometimes, they are.

    • jon says:

      Keith, that is right and biologists know that just because a bear attacks and kills someone, does not automatically mean it will do it again.

    • pointswest says:

      I believe a bear that kills a human should be killed out of respect for the victim’s family. It would have little impact on the survival on the species since there are only one or two deaths a year. A family should not have to worry that the killer of their father or their sister is roaming free and happy. It is human nature to seek justice and closure. Why should a family have to suffer for the sake of one bear?

      …and yes, I believe a bear that kills a human has committed a crime of sorts that should be punished by death. I don’t care how stupid the human is or what the human did wrong.

      The only people that deserved to die for being stupid are the retards and rejects that Adolf Hitler killed in the 30’s to purify the German nation! They really, really derseved to die for being so impure! It sounds like this is what many in this group want…to purify the nation so only those attuned to absolute and to the eternal laws of nature have a right to live.

      So is that how you feel jon? This man deserved to die because he failed the environmental purity test? …or can you admit he was innocent and that the bear commited a crime against this man?

    • jon says:

      A bear killing a person to defend itself is considered a crime to you? lol The bear most likely killed the hiker to defend itself, so please explain, how is that a crime? Most bear attacks on people are DEFENSIVE, so how is that a crime to you? If a robber came into your house and threatened you and you defended yourself by killing him, would you consider it a crime that you defended yourself by shooting him to death? I never said he deserved to die. The hiker got himself killed, but this is far from being considered a crime. The hiker was indeed innocent, but it was his bad judgement that got himself killed and the bear as well. There is nothing criminal at all about thios situation. Human error got the man killed and the bear too. What if it was a grizzly bear with cubs, would that be a crime to if the grizzly killed a person it saw as a threat to her cubs? A bear killing a person to defend itself is not even remotely close to being a crime. If you really see things that way, I have no idea what to say to you.

    • jon says:

      That is foolish talking. The bear did not commit a crime against the man. The bear most likely was defending itself. Is defending yourself a crime to you? The man was indeed innocent, but his bad judgement is what cost him his life and the bears as well. How can you possibly think that the bear committed a crime because it killed a man for defensive reasons most likely? lol

    • pointswest says:

      The bear was not defending itself. The bear was never in danger from the hiker. The hiker had no intention of harming the bear whatsoever. In fact, the hiker was probably friendly towards bears. The bear had no real reason to fear or approach the hiker.

      I can bring up the same analogy as before with Eric-the-retard for killing your little sister because she called him a retard. Eric may have felt threatened by your little sister calling him names but that does not give him the right to kill her in self-defense. Further, if you kill the meter reader in your back yard because you thought he was a burglar, a self-defense argument is not going to get you very far in most courts.

      So even if you give the bear the same rights as humans, the bear has still committed a terrible crime by killing a completely innocent man. Because it is a bear, and not a human, it has no rights and it should be summarily killed out of respect for the victim’s family.

    • Keith says:

      Jon I agree with you. Pointswest does not seem to get the point and appears to be some kind of neo-nazi

    • jon says:

      Yeah, and the bear must have somehow known if the hiker was going to hurt it or not? You were not there and I wasn’t as well, but it was more likely than not a defensive attack. Most bear attacks are defensive attacks. Any bear biologist will tell you this. If someone came into your house and was a threat to you, I am sure you would not hesitate to defend yourself. The bear is not the same as a person and it did not commit a crime. It was defending itself. bears have a right to defend themselves. The bear killing the guy was not murder nor was it a crime. It simply defended itself most likely the guy lost his life and the bear did as well.

    • Mike says:

      ++I believe a bear that kills a human should be killed out of respect for the victim’s family. It would have little impact on the survival on the species since there are only one or two deaths a year. ++

      I believe that humans who do dumb things that get bears killed should also face justice. So where’s the investigation on this tranq disaster?

  31. Angela says:

    Thought experiment:
    People are regularly killed while climbing Mt. Hood (>130 total) and Mt. Rainier (~3/yr). Of course, the climbers are making the choice to put themselves at risk. Nobody suggests they make climbing illegal or put a handrail all the way up the mountain.

    Seems to me that people make the same choice when they go into areas where large carnivores live, but some of them assume there is no risk. When someone is attacked by an animal that is acting naturally (defending cubs, surprised, etc.), doesn’t killing the offending animal give the public the wrong impression; i.e., that this individual animal is a greater risk to humans than the other members of its species and that people are safer because this particular animal is removed? I’m not talking about bears that are habituated or go after a human as prey. You don’t flatten the mountain or make climbing it illegal because there is a small segment of people who wish to risk their lives climbing it. In the same sense, there are people who want wilderness to remain wild, without collared animals or attempts to make us safer by removing/controlling potentially dangerous wildlife. The reason some people go into wilderness or areas with intact ecosystems is precisely because large carnivores reside there.

    Think about this–more people are killed by dogs every year than bears, but we allow people to have dogs.

    Just a thought experiment. The ways in which humans are killed by animals are myriad. I expect each individual situation merits its own particular response.

    Quote from an article:
    In response to both the ecological and cultural deterioration, Leopold began to advocate preserving roadless or wilderness areas in the nation’s parks and forests and for protecting wolves. His 1933 opus, “Game Management,” which essentially founded the field, recommended that wildlife managers think carefully about predators before deciding to kill them, and to question their own motives …Leopold’s famous 1944 essay, “Thinking Like a Mountain,” concludes with a reflection on the nature of wildness: “Too much safety seems to yield only danger in the long run,” he wrote. “. . . Perhaps this is the hidden meaning in the howl of the wolf, long known among mountains, but seldom perceived among men.”

    • Save bears says:

      “Think about this–more people are killed by dogs every year than bears, but we allow people to have dogs.”

      Yes, people are allowed to own dogs, but almost universally, when a dog kills a human, the dog is destroyed…

    • Angela says:

      oh I know. But mountains aren’t flattened 🙂

    • Mike says:

      The dog is destroyed because it’s in the suburbs or city, not the 18 million acre Yellowstone ecosystem.

    • Save bears says:

      Actually dogs are destroyed in very rural areas as well, when they attack and kill humans, but it does not make the news as does a suburban death by dogs..

      The dog is not destroyed because it lives in a city or the suburbs, it is killed because it attacked and killed a human…

    • Mike says:

      It’s killed because it’s part of human society, trotting around little kids on city sidewalks or rural roads. You can’t really compare a domesticated animal living in 1/10 acre yards with a grizzly bear.

    • Save bears says:


      I didn’t make the comparison, Angela did..yous taking this into something that does not need to be..I also never compared it to a grizzly bear or any other please don’t start again..

    • Save bears says:

      And really she was not comparing, but simply stating about different ways humans get their own actions…

    • Angela says:

      the dog thing was a bad analogy, sorry, lol

  32. Virginia says:

    Animals are not unpredictable – people are unpredictable.

    • jon says:

      Very true and sb is right, dogs are put down. My question is what if a stranger enters a yard with someone’s dog in it and the dog attacks the stranger for whatever reason? In a case like that, should the dog be put down because of human error? There was a case a few weeks ago where chained up dogs killed a little girl in Alaska. The little girl wandered off and into the dogs yard and the dog killed her. Should the dogs have been killed because the parents of the little girl weren’t watching their little young daughter? The dogs were ultimately killed by one of the little girl’s relatives, but I think we have to take a step back and take a good hard look at ourselves and the problems that we create and won’t take responsibility for. Bears have every right to defend themselves whether it be against a wolf or another bear or even a human.

    • Ryan says:

      bullshit, I have been around a lot of wild critters including grizzly bears over the years. Animal behavior is not predicitble.

  33. mikepost says:

    There is a pervasive tone here that seems to say that if the animal did not have any bad intent then it is the human’s fault. I suspect that there are as many mal adjusted large predators as there are humans. The literature is full of the “weird bear” that acts atypical and seems so much more aggressive and unpredictable then the its local population.

    I agree that the public is being sold a bill of goods that bears will, most of the time, run away. It is way too simplistic and caters to the vacation (read that revenue producing) crowd and does not recognize the reality of large predators and the complexity of their behavior.

    • jon says:

      This has been my thinking for a while. I believe biologists are purposely misleading the public into thinking that wild carnivores and other wild animals are not a threat to them. Animal attacks on humans are very rare, but they do happen from time to time and no one can deny this. I am not faulting them for being that way. They are wild UNPREDICTABLE animals and they should remain that way and everyone should understand that about them. I don’t listen to these biologists when they tell you that wild animals are harmless and don’t pose a threat to you in any way. Anything with canines or that is very big with claws, you better believe they are very capable of killing you and they won’t hesitate to do so if you pose a threat to them. Biologists are just telling the public what they want to hear to make them feel safe when they go hiking or fishing or camping in the woods.

    • There is a lot we don’t know about the bear. We know almost nothing.

      How long before had the bear been “tranquilized?” Was the procedure uneventful or troubled? Where was the bear left exactly?

      This was likely not a normal (natural) bear versus man encounter.

  34. After reading Chris Servheen’s explanation for ordering the kill and Dave Smith’s article on the matter , I think this really was a “cover-your-butt” termination.

    • Save bears says:


      You have to remember, the author of those articles, really has no more information than rest of us do, I think it would be prudent to wait until the IGBC study team leader makes the review and investigation conclusions available…

    • jon says:

      Another article for you Ralph and sb.

      sb, just watch, I bet some are going to make a big deal now about how tranquilizing and trapping and drugging bears turns them into more dangerous and aggressive bears. I believe this could very well be true.

      In 1983, a grizzly bear that had been captured 20 times and drugged 12 times dragged Roger May out of his tent at a U.S. Forest Service campground near West Yellowstone, killed him,and partially consumed him. Even before the incident, there was speculation that after being trapped, drugged, and handled, bears became more aggressive and dangerous.

      In the 1980s, bears were drugged with Sernylan, known on the streets as “Angel Dust.” New drugs are reputedly safer, but old concerns about the effects of drugging bears have never gone away.

      If trapping and drugging bears isn’t dangerous, why post warnings? If trapping and drugging bears is dangerous, why not close the area?

      What was the purpose of the bear research that may have cost Evert his life?

      State and federal agencies tell hunters and hikers in grizzly country to carry bear spray. The agencies claim bear spray provides better protection than a firearm. Why did Wyoming Game and Fish Department wardens provide “armed security” for the Park County Sheriff’s Department search and rescue team that retrieved Evert’s body? Why didn’t the wardens use bear spray?

      More questions than answers

    • Save bears says:

      Already read it Jon,

      And again, I will point out the author really has no more information than any of the rest of us…

    • mikarooni says:

      Ralph, I think you’re correct that “this really was a ‘cover-your-butt’ termination” and I believe it just flat shouts for another termination, of another kind. When you add the two mountain goats killed in Glacier, the Macho B affair, and now the inadequate security cordon and cavalier behavior in this fiasco; the total adds up to a crying need for a full investigation and some reform of these out-of-control I’ll-do-anything-to-get-my-name-on-a-published-paper biostitutes.

    • Angela says:

      Maybe “cover-your-butt” to preserve funding for the bear research program.

      If you were someone that hunted in an area, and then you were told that all grizzlies and wolves in the area had been darted and drugged that summer, wouldn’t you have a heightened sense of risk going there again?

    • Save Bears,

      I was thinking more about the quote from Chris Servheen as far as the official justification goes (or went).

    • mikarooni,

      Well I do think too much intrusive research is done. That is one reason why the Wolf Recovery Foundation (I’m President) has spent most of its funds supporting scientific ways of doing non-intrusive (not handing the animal) research.

      I think Servheen owes us all the facts of what kind of study was going on, all the procedures, any problems, etc.. We don’t want this to happen again.

      And I want to say to those who have said here “what about the poor dead man,” that it is terrible he died. He sounds like he was a friend of the Yellowstone country. Condolences to his widow.

    • mikarooni says:

      I agree; I don’t really know that anybody needs to be terminated; and I share your sympathy for the gentleman who was killed and his family; but, I also don’t think that this situation should just be buttered over and forgotten. A full investigation needs to be completed and some action toward changing this trend toward research takings of rare species is absolutely necessary. It’s getting to the point where some of these “researchers” have specimen mortality track records that rival Japanese whalers.

    • Mike says:

      Absolutely Ralph. You can always smell the B.S. in those kinds of actions. Shame on them. All further tranq operations should be halted anda large investigation should commence to determine what went wrong.

    • Mike says:

      All good questions, jon, and all questons that need answers before further tranqing of bears and wild cats.

      That Rainbow Point campground case is especially disturbing.

  35. jon says:

    Here is another good article Ralph.

    Do grizzly researchers share responsibility for fatal bear attack

    • jon says:

      One commentator at wrote, “the bear was drugged by humans and abused and turned loose and the next human it sees it kills. The researchers are at fault here.”

    • mikarooni says:

      That comment kind of states the obvious. the truth is that this incident easily rivals the taking of old Macho B and some career heads need to roll here too.

    • jon says:

      I feel very sad when I think about Macho. They should have left him alone. The welfare of the animal should come before research. Some say that drugging him was the reason why he died. Did he infact have some sort of cancer? I believe he was 14 years old. I don’t think they performed an autopsy on him.

    • jon says:

      It was kidney failure supposedly.

    • Angela says:

      Quite conveniently for those involved, there was no proper necropsy performed on Macho B. They were just careful to skin him nicely so that they could stuff him.

  36. Nancy says:

    And lets not forget this recent “dope and probe” incident by officials which also resulted in the deaths of these two animals:

  37. pointswest says:

    Can you see jon that it does not give the bear moral authority to kill a totally innocent man?

    My older brother was very mean to me. He used to hit me in the stomach, bend my arm behind my back, flip me in the head with his finger all because he enjoyed inflicting pain upon me. Would it be ethical for me to go off and kill some other older brother who I felt was as mean as mine?

    • jon says:

      You don’t get it, the bear did not see the man as innocent. The bear for whatever reason most likely saw the man as a threat and that is why it attacked and killed the man. Do you understand that? This is not a crime. To even suggest it is crime what the bear did, defending itself is laughable.

    • Angela says:

      pointswest, I have never heard such ridiculous anthropomorphizing than you trying to ascribe human morals and ethics to a grizzly bear. Wild animals do not commit “crimes” because they have no understanding that it is wrong or right to kill a human. They are just responding to a situation based on instinct and learning. A grizzly attacks an animal that hurts it because, evolutionarily speaking, that behavior has survival value. The fact that it is a human does not change thousands of years of evolution.

    • jon says:

      You speak the truth Angela 100%!

  38. Angela says:

    If some teenager went out and messed with a grizzly by shooting them with a BB gun (or whatever), it seems only natural that the bear would associate other humans with a negative experience too. Same with a darted bear. They may not be the smartest of animals, but often it only takes one negative reinforcement or bad experience for a domestic or wild animal to radically change its behavior. Personally, I think researchers could find other ways to study wild grizzlies than putting radio collars on them. How can anyone assume that it has *no effect* on bear behavior towards humans? I’m not saying it necessarily has the effect of bears being more likely to attack or run from humans, but to assume it has *no effect* seems disingenuous and unscientific.

    • WM says:


      You may be partially correct. I recall some old film footage that gets shown once in awhile, of a bear the Craighead Brothers (early grizzly researchers in Yellowstone) were working on. It shows a large and aggressive bear attacking a red ford station wagon, running full bore and smacking it with its shoulder or head. I always wondered what the cause.

      If I recall correctly, I think it was Bob Jackson, who had more facts on the incident. If he is monitoring this exchange I wish he would offer comment. At the risk of being incorrect, and with full disclaimer that I am not sure of the facts, I think he said the bear had been tranquilized and woke up a bit groggy and very cranky, explaining the attack on the car.

      Anyone have facts to verify what I have just stated?


      My friends in AK, with alot of experience with grizzly up there, have repeatedly told me there is nothing more dangerous than a wounded or disoriented grizzly. Occasionally they don’t even need a reason, if you are in their space and they don’t want you there.

      Whether that holds true for our grizzly down here, I have no idea. What does seem to be evident is that the more grizzly and the more people who share space with them the more opportunities there are for things to go bad.

  39. WM says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how some who post here get whipped up into a frenzy without knowing enough information to make informed decisions about complex subjects which may require more investigation by people who know what they are doing.

    Bring in Paul Paquet. He is usually good for making a good story out of his own misinterpeted facts.

    This bear story has the prospect of being no different.

  40. pointswest says:

    …yes Angela, I know what anthropomorphizing means and I think it is the real problem behind all of this. But people anthropomorphize. People were doing it before I started back when they described the bear as “innocent.” The bear is not innocent or guilty. It is just a bear. It is also why humans do not give bears any legal rights. They’re just bears. So I will agree that the bear is NOT guilty of anything if others will agree that the bear is NOT innocent. And since it is just a bear, it should be killed out of respect the victim’s family because chances are the man’s poor family are also anthropomorphizing somewhat and it brings them terrible grief to think of it still living. Not all of us are as tough as you and jon.
    …and jon, again, if you kill the meter man because you think he is a burglar, it is not self-defense. It is stupidity on your part and you will probably be going to jail for manslaughter if you kill the meter man. In order for it to be self-defense, there has to be a real threat. You cannot argue the bear was defending himself. The bear was never under threat from the hiker. The bear may have thought it was under threat but it was not and so was not acting in self-defense. It was just acting like a stupid bear. Why do you anthropomorphize and refer to it as “innocent”? It is a stupid bear and should be killed out of respect for the innocent man’s family.

    • pointswest,

      It is true some folks here are anthromophizing the event. That clearly includes some who think the bear should not have been killed, and it includes you who think it should have been because “It is a stupid bear and should be killed out of respect for the innocent man’s family.”

      In addition, as WM wrote above, we don’t have very much information for people to be in a frenzy.

    • jon says:

      The bear did nothing wrong. It is a tragedy on both ends, but we must remember why this sad event happened in the first place. Human error caused this situation to happen. The bear did what bears do, defend.

  41. Cody Coyote says:

    I wish I could add the many things about this tragic Grizzly-Human fatality case that have not been reported yet, but for the moment they are off the record. Ruffin Prevost at the Billings Gazette/Cody bureau has done an outstanding job of wringing the tale from the agency types thus far in his reporting, but much has been withheld from him and everyone else. I have other sources.

    It was interesting to note that within the ranks of the official Grizzly research and management team ( IGBC, FWS ), there were some contradictory statements being released. The most accurate info came from the Park County Sheriff’s office. It should also be noted that Wyoming Game & Fish was barely involved at all . Their griz guy Mark Bruscino and his assistant Luke Elsbury were called in to be—get this—armed escort guards when investigators returned to the scene and set more traps for this bear. Orders were shoot to kill. ( the bear or probably any bear)

    The scuttlebutt going around is principal reason the suspect bear was hunted by helicopter and killed outright ( it was wearing a brand new radio collar , after all) instead of being caught again and relocated as a ” newbie” griz , came down to North Fork lodge owners screaming about loss of business from having a man-eating bear loose in the vicinity, and the bad publicity. These lodges depend on road traffic ” backfill” from Yellowstone of folks looking for accomodations just outside the Park. There is a guest ranch right across the highway from where this happened, but more importantly a nationally recognized Boy Scout Camp with a big lodge, smaller lodge building and lots of cabins and other facilities that gets heavy use in the summer. When the odd press statements went out from either Servheen , or Chuck Schwartz ( who was s-oo-o-o far out of the loop he might as well been obitting Saturn alongside the Cassini probe ) on Friday that the bear was not being hunted, when in fact it was, the tourist sector up there went ballistic. What Servheen and Schwartz were saying did not jibe at all for a long while . You’d think by now those boys would know how to get on the same page with their stories….

    Sidebar: By the way , I have never heard of a DNA test being done so quickly in the real world ,especally in wildlife research . They beat even CSI-Miami on the timed event. Which is odd from an agency or agencies well known for taking months to do even the most basic forensic work and autopsies. Can anyone add some insight to so-called ” Quick DNA” methodology here?

    What I can say is no man would likely have survived this attack. No one. It mst’ve all happened in microseconds. Since bear spray takes a full 7-10 seconds to actuate, and a Ruger .41 mag Blackhawk pistol a good-3 seconds to draw and fire, it would not have mattered which were employed . The victim and the bear almost certainly had an instantaneous head-on collision on the trail, startling one another at point blank range. Erwin was a very fast walker. He may have actually collided with this bear. Erwin never had a chance. never mind this bear probably had a nice trank hangover and wasn’t real thrilled to see another of these two legged creatures that had manhandled him a couple hours earlier.

    The bear likely went into instant adrenaline mode , and with one strong roundhouse he imploded the left side of Erwin’s skull and removed most of the left face. Another raking blow did a lot of damage to his upper back , and there were some bite marks on the arm. I’m guessing Erwin died almost instantly, mercifully , probably of a broken neck as much as anything. The strength and speed of an agitated grizzly is not to be understated.

    I’m not sure if there were any other forensic signs of further mauling by the bear. I’ve heard some conflicting stuff on that. The bear did move away real soon after the attack, and away from the cabins and Scout Camp and out of the civilized area. It was located two miles or so away about 40 hours later. This particular bear, even though it was a healthy adult male of good size and at least 5 years old, had never been ” researched” before. It was his first ( and next to last) day of school. He’d likely never been manhandled.

    The two fairly young USGS/IGBC researchers who had trapped the bear and tranked it Thursday and given him his indoctrination into the prestigious Greater Yellowstone Research Club, were already back in Bozeman 300 miles away in no time. They have some ‘ splaining to do, and that is really all I can say about that .

    The real work of bear research isn’t so much a science as it is an art . Some proven cowboying and /or wrangling skills a plus. Maybe they should recruit at least some of the field help from the circus, for several reason.

    My own opinion about all this is Thursday June 17 was no day for man or beast to be active or traversing any part of the Absaroka mountains. There were gale force winds blowing out of clear blue sky and the forest was a wrecking zone of falling trees and elemental forces gone amuck. There were a great many unwanted ” stimuli” and unusual forces at work, like sorcery . A very weird friggin’ day in Cody Country no matter where you were . Those researchers should’ve called it a day early on, but they had a job to do on the clock , I suppose. More ‘splaining due.

    It was some array of dark Perfect Storm of circumstances that led to all this unfortunateness. We’ll never really know. Both the witnesses are dead.

    • Cody Coyote!!

      One hell of an informative comment. Thank you!

    • Mike says:

      Cody thanks for the info.

    • Save bears says:

      Good information Cody, thanks for your information.

    • Elk275 says:

      Cody, it has taken almost 2 hours to read this thread and your’s is the best and maybe the only one worth reading. Thanks

    • pointswest says:

      I did a little google search on “rapid DNA testing.” There is certainly a lot written about it and it seems to be a developing technology. The researchers may have some rapid DNA testing equipment. There may be reason to doubt the claim that they tested the DNA but it was certainly possible.

    • Linda Hunter says:

      Cody you made this thread worth wading through. . thank you.
      Just an observation on the above back and forth posts:. . bears do not know they are stronger than humans and the kind of physical contact they enact with each other growing up and living around other bears is a severe, lethal mauling when they touch a human that way. A bear startled will react by pushing away or mowing over the source of concern . . the intent to kill is assigned to them by humans only in most cases. (the exception is a predatory black bear) I had a teenage brown bear who was playing around my small boat bump into the side of the boat with her head by accident when she was underwater. Her reaction was to pop up and push on the side of the boat to get away. Her claws left deep indentations in the aluminum hull and yet she was only goofing around. This mauling incident, including the weather, sounds like a perfect spontaneous disaster. I would bet that bear would not have killed again but I couldn’t bet the life of someone else on it. And even though I hate to see bears killed, our society would never allow that bear to live. WE want our wild places to be wild but we also want our managers to keep us alive and safe no matter what. WE are spoiled, ignorant people as a whole and we have the lawyers to help us stay that way.

  42. pointswest says:

    I’m not in any frenzy. I think it a sad and sobering development. I have really only restated the same argument from different angles. I like to defend humanity sometimes. People matter too.

    • pointswest,

      I didn’t mean that you in particular are in a frenzy. I mean 199 comments now. That’s seems like a frenzy to me.

  43. bob jackson says:

    I just got back from a four day business trip and had some fun of my own dodging tornadoes.

    Yes, bear- human …and biologist interactions have always been of interest to me….mostly because knowledge of those experiences is what kept me alive all those years in heavy bear country. Personally I have had my scalp move (hair stand on end, I suppose) 4 times. All were night time events….and all were within 15 feet before griz or I knew either was there. Since there is a 50-50 chance of a bear coming at, not away, at that distance in the back woods (as compared to a bear in camp) I would have to say I LUCKED OUT!!.

    Now for this incident. I read this thread a bit…and no, WM, I do not know more about the Craighead incident except they did a lot of fiming “events” to garner more public…and sponsorship support. Some events had “planning” of predicability. I’d say the griz – station wagon “horror” was one of those. The Craigheads were a lot better at what they did than to have this “event” happen the way it did.

    As for the logic of killing griz, Yellowstone use to kill griz in the late 60’s for breaking into cabins. The attitude by certain District Rangers was not, “they might do it again so we better terminate”, but rather it was revenge and get even attitudes. We stopped a district ranger in ’73 from doing just this to a couple starving bears that broke into “HIS” SE Arm Yellowstone Lake Cabin Creek Cabin.

    This attitude raised its ugly head several more times through the years but more than this reason, the main justification for killing a griz was a Walter Mitty ranger type who wanted to notch a bear to his resume. I had one District Ranger who somehow got permission from the Chief Ranger to eliminate a Griz in the Canyon area. I was not there but my friend was. This guy set up his sand bag rest on the hood of his patrol car, then proceeded to put a scoped bead on this bear from less than 75 yards ….. with a heavy barreled 30-06 competition target rifle …. one he had been practising with all winter…and thousands of govt rounds. Yup, did what he was capable of, shot the bear in the foot (I even “beat” him and his gun with my open sighted 45-70 at 100 yard NPS qualifications.). This guy had the worst reason for shooting a bear but clones of these types are all around in the govt.

    Why do I say all this? Because when status and egos are involved what happened on the ground East of YNP may not be the story we need to know.

    A few points. Supposedly it was a couple young trappers doing the dastardly deed. Thus responsibility and possible culpability probably goes much higher. Who gave these “young uns” the locations for trapping? A bit of “evidence” comes from the excuses of those higher up who gave the reasons in the press without knowing. A “thorough investigation” is one thing, but to right away say it was a windy day and that is probably what happened shows to me red flag alibis.

    Lots of times gale force winds can be blowing but down in the draws and under the trees it can be quite calm. the other stated reasons, Bears being bears and people being people …or something like that, just doesn’t cut it here, either.

    Trapping and drugging this close to uncontrolled people situations shouldn’t be done. Was it snaring or culvert traps being baited? Either way you have curious people coming around. In Yellowstone, at least, areas were CLOSED when culverts were placed anywhere near people. Outside the Park, especially in an area such as the N. Fork, it is impossible to control folks with private cabins and guest lodges. Our botanist did something every local yokal would do, see what was up.

    Why were they, these two young ens, given the green flag to trap where they did? To save money in the bear budget, thats why. I can’t say for sure if this is the case here but they probably drove with a trap instead of flying it in.

    Also I’d say this is a research or bear project with all strings pulled from higher up. The folks trapping were just the flunkies. This wasn’t problem bear trapping either. Therefore planning had more flexibility to it….and the ability to guard against what happened.

    Before we zero in on the federal project leaders totally one has to remember this happened on Wyo Fish and Game turf. Who gave instruction as to where to place these culverts. Probably the guys who are now nowhere to be seen. Did the feds capitulate to the local state boys in focusing trapping along high density human occupancy areas because these state boys had a vested interest in later locating and “controlling” problem bears?

    I don’t know for sure, but I will say there are a lot of things that happen behind the scenes that, if one looked into it, it is a story of egos, prejudices and laziness….no different than my District Ranger wanting to bag a griz before he retired.

    And one more thing, all the above applies to MSG’s Idaho administration patriarchal, at best, management decision justifications…right? You field level G&F employees, you have seen and know all what I am talking about, don’t you???

  44. bob jackson says:

    I wanted to add that of the bears that mauled, killed or ate during the years I was in Yellowstone…ones that “got away” without being terminated….none I know of were repeat maulers – killers.

    The case that probably most warranted killing was a bear that ate Swiss Miss in Pelican Valley. It was never located to terminate. Never heard from this probably 3 year old male again.

    I’d say most decisions to terminate has more to do with a supervisor who gets a rush out of making that decision (example General Alexander Haig of Viet Nam era who after Reagan was shot went to the podium and said,”I am in charge now”.) or pressure from a very scared public.

    In this N. Fork case I’d say it was the N.Fork cabin owners, dude ranchers….and the Wyoming G&F agents who are always looking for supportive justification of what they already want to do…kill all problem bears.

  45. WM says:

    More on the Craighead brothers bear and the station wagon – Nov. 11, 2007 Washington Post.

    “IT IS THE MID-1960S — A WARM, SUNNY DAY AT YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, where a 500-pound male grizzly bear known as No. 36 is slumped in a drug-induced haze. Even flattened by tranquilizers, the big bear dwarfs the four researchers in Western-style clothing who are racing the clock to pull every piece of data they can from him — weighing him, taking blood samples, checking his teeth. He grows larger still when he awakens suddenly with a shattering roar. Groaning, groggy and gladiatorial, the bear rises and charges blindly at the members of the group, who scramble into their red Ford station wagon.”

    Here is the full article along with a bit about the Craigheads and their early work. Showmanship, as Bob Jackson points out, always sells, especially in a National Geographic mag (or these days a video).

  46. Petticoat Rebellion says:

    The world of large mammal biology is a highly competive, testosterone-infused jungle! Some wildlife researchers are so zealous they will try to go to any lengths to get their data at any cost…regardless of negative consequences for animals. And god-damn anybody that gets in their way. There are some egos in this field that know no boundaries!

    Here is another recent example of wildlife in a national park paying the price as wildlife science marches forward:

    Can you all imagine what may occur to bison and elk if a remote vaccination program is implemented in YNP? Hope this makes park officials think twice about permitting any more invasive wildlife studies or management programs. Remember, history repeats itself because we didn’t learn the first time…Gulf oil spill is a good example of that principle.

  47. bob jackson says:

    WM, I commend you on looking up and sharing the Craighead Geo article… and in such an expedient manner.

    • WM says:

      Thanks Bob, it was a lucky find.

      Given the topic of this dead research bear, everybody on this thread should take the time to read this Washington Post article on the Craigheads (with Nat. Geo. references, where their work often appeared).

      It is incredibly entertaining, and toward the end has alot about the historical context of grizzly research and bear accomodation in Yellowstone, while the Craigheads did their work.

      It seems things are not so different today. Bear research is complicated, and so is their interaction with humans.

  48. Robert Hoskins says:

    Update from the Cody Enterprise on this tragedy:

    As Cody Coyote mentioned above, there is still some question as to what happened here, especially regarding the activities of the USGS capture team. To my mind, why were they capturing bears in relative proximity to occupied residences is a big question. Another quesion is, why were they capturing bears at all? Does every bear in the GYE have to be on the list?

    The larger problem is to what degree must we manhandle grizzly bears to gain the information that managers say they need; are there better, less intrusive ways to get that information? Further, to what degree is this high-tech intensive management approach actually hurting grizzly bear management and conservation rather than helping it?

    Putting collars on bears may provide valid scientific information, but it also makes it easier to control bears (the bear that allegedly killed Frank Evert has already been killed) and prevent them from occupying biologically suitable habitat, in some cases suitable habitat that hasn’t been occupied in decades (e.g., the Missouri Breaks). Here in my part of the GYE, the agencies do everything possible to keep bears behind the “fence” of the Primary Conservation area (PCA). The PCA is the geographical and management equivalent of Wyoming’s “predatory animal” boundarry for wolves or Montana’s no go line for wild bison.

    I know of other scientists who have developed innovative, minimally intrusive techniques to collect scientific information on wildlife, including bears, but the agencies reject these approaches. They are locked into the high-tech intensive management mode and are intellectually incapable of testing and adopting new approaches. Their response to critique of their methods is arrogant hubris. I also think for a lot of these biologists, manhandling bears is a power trip.


    • Ralph Maughan says:


      As I wrote earlier today, recovery zones, etc. can be viewed as prisons form nature.

    • bob jackson says:

      In reading the Cody article RH attached….and the mention of the bear trappers riding horses, I’d have to say those trappers were using snares … the worst kind of trapping for bears …. and humans.

      The Park did not allow any snaring of bears within its confines. So many risky outcomes possible. For one, the public can stumble onto and trip them. What Erwin did, short cut the trail…and its signs any tourist can do the same. Two, the public and trappers are at much higher risk if coming onto a snared bear. The cable or anchor can break and then the bear comes at you. If the trappers are darting from a gun instead of a pole (they do both…unbelievable to think they are going up to a moving bear with only a stick to poke it) it means one of the team has to distract the bear so the shooter can get a non long term injuring rump shot in. But even then some bears are lunging enough the dart hits bone or even the face.

      Third, the dosage has to be higher for snared bears than for culvert trapped bears because there is so much more adrenaline flowing in bears trying to rid themselves of painful nooses. This means there is a lot more chance of overdosing those snared bears.

      Fourth, snaring means longer times between checking the trap line. Once for every 24 hours is the norm for snared as compared to twice per day for culvert traps. So much more damage to a bears legs and a lot more time for that bear to fear those who come back to check their traps. Thus more defensive charging…and injuries to those bears.

      Fifth, a young bear in a snare means a lot higher chance of its death at the hands of a larger boar when it comes onto it.

      Sixth, one doesn’t know what one is going to get in a snare. If it is a cub and mamma is hanging around charges on unsupecting hikers in the area or to the trappers themselves happens.

      Seventh, A snared bear is a lot more likely to become enraged after it is let loose than a culvert trapped bear. And EVERY snared bear HAS to be drugged to get that snare off. Wrong bear in a culvert trap and remote door opening means drugging is not a must.

      There is more… maybe I should do a David Lettermen 10 reasons why…. but what is the use. There never should have been snares this close to “civilization”.

      And the trapper mentioned is not the “young” ens we were led to believe…in other words left to be the scapegoats. He has been trapping for most of ten years. His boss is Harrelson who snared for a lot of years outside the Park. They all knew what the risks were to them, the public and the bears….and lucked out with regularity.

      The risks are high enough even some of the areas state independent contract trappers will not use snares. Why was it being done in the North fork?

      The article said the area was closed AFTER the attack. It should have been closed during all trapping. What the hell is a Dangerous Bear warning sign anyway other than a sure liability confession by the biologists they were making for a dangerous situation. The other sides lawyers will have a hay day on this. Of course, I guarentee any biologist or designated “caretaker” to stay with the poor grieving widow has been encouraged to do so by so called by govt. damage control operatives BEFORE they ever set foot in that house.

      They did it with Barry Gilbert and they are doing it with this woman, I’d say. Control the subject now, stroke her hair and wipe her tears and chances for tort and multimillion dollar settlements are minimized substantially.

      Sorry Evan, but what I all said above is the side of govt service you will be exposed to sometime in your future…if you go on to places like MSG’s Idaho administrative spin system. Like in the movie Pulp fiction, where the icy cool damage control man, Wolf, coordinated body parts clean up and elimination of any evidence, look for those govt. boys coming in and taking care of the scene at this bear site. Rest assured, the govt. lawyers out of Billings have alreay been contacted and they have already briefed the principles of what to or not to say.

      And as for the “young in trappers” on the ground, they better be retaining their own lawyer. Their bosses at the local USGS are honorable and will support them, at least Chuck will, but the boys above them are the folks who will have final persuasion.

      Yes, I countered every move by slimmy administrators in Yellowstone, but the guys doing the trapping are too far removed from the perverse politics of administrators watching their own yellow streaked backs to have built up the emotional strength to deal with this.

  49. wwy says:

    Item #7 is the only correct statement regarding culvert traps vs snares out of your list. All the others are either false or incosequential. I.E. What is the risk of someone possibly sticking there foot in an obvious bear snare? They have to bend over and take it off? Obviously you want to slime the government and that is what you are going to do so cary on I guess. But your insight into snaring is completely flawed, much like the rest of the readers insight on trapping in general.

    Cody Coyote,
    I don’t know who your buddies are feeding you information but many of your “facts” are NOT CORRECT AT ALL. Other than the few facts that have been made publicly available you are providing quite a bit of false information and conjecture. Don’t know if this is you just trying to add fuel to the fire or you really have received false infomation. Your comments on the conditions of the victim are both incorrect and callous. Have some respect for the family all of you.

  50. bob jackson says:


    Are you the appointed “damage control” representative? The points I noted are long time known conditions used for comparison of bear trapping methods. None of these points are original to me. Impact of snares use, of course is. I have seen enough blood on the ground and in the trees. broken teeth and claws… and ripped up turf from these snare sites to know they should be banned. Pain is huge. Someone needs to get hold of the Humane Society.The reason snares are still used at all is bcause of budget constraints. Not worth it when one considers the down side.

    P.S. I think your defense back fired WWY. Anyone reading this blog can reason all points out. So there!!!

  51. WM says:

    Interesting website for ethical live trapping of grizzly and black bears, out of Whistler BC. Discussion of pros and cons of trapping techniques, with photos.

    • jon says:

      “There is no evidence that [trapping and drugging a bear] can turn it into a more aggressive individual – [it] makes neither grizzlies or black bears more dangerous to people…” Steve Herrero in Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance (pg 241)

      There’s also no evidence that trapping and drugging a bear can’t turn a bear into a more aggressive bear to people.

    • Save bears says:

      Boy Jon,

      If your going to go up with the world’s foremost authorities on Bears, you got some big ones!


      I think with the thousands of bears that have been trapped, drugged and turned loose over the years, if it was going to promote aggressive behavior, it would have been noted by now!

    • jon says:

      “We don’t have a policy that bears that kill people are immediately killed. We try to make a judgment as to the behavior of the bear, whether the bear was exhibiting natural aggression, such as self-defense, a female with cubs that’s approached (too closely) by a photographer,” said Dr. Servheen. “(If) we thought it was a natural mortality, or a natural aggression, we leave those bears alone.

      but sb, why didn’t your buddy Chris leave the bear alone then? Anyone can see this was most likely a defensive attack, yet, the bear was killed. Care to explain sb?

    • Save bears says:


      Chris had nothing to do with this study, it was under the authority of the IGBC study team that is headed by a completely different agency than what Chris works for..

      Other that what has been published, I really don’t know why the bear was destroyed…but it seems that the cabin and camp owners in the area, may have had something to do with this bear being destroyed..

      By the way, Chris is not my “Buddy” I do know him though, but we don’t hang out and take pictures or have beers and such, we just happen to know each other through work..

    • jon says:

      sb, I thought Chris was the one that decided to play it safe and put the bear down? Was Chris infact the one who gave the order to find the bear and kill it? I understand situations like this, biologists like Chris will face criticism and controversy from both sides as to why this bear attack happened.

    • Mike says:

      ++ think with the thousands of bears that have been trapped, drugged and turned loose over the years, if it was going to promote aggressive behavior, it would have been noted by now!++

      Save Bears –

      We don’t know if it causes agressions because not all bear tranquing sessions involved a hiker walking through the recovery area. In gfact I would guess very few. It is highly possible that all the handling and drugging does cause agression, and that it only takea well placed target to trigger such a response.

      Your own desire to appear correct and “woodsy” in every matter overrides your logic sometimes.

    • Save bears says:

      You think as you wish Mike…but I will not get into it with you again, Ralph has requested we don’t, and I intend to honor his request.

    • Mike says:

      ++There’s also no evidence that trapping and drugging a bear can’t turn a bear into a more aggressive bear to people.++

      That’s right, Jon. Given the Craighead footage of the “waking grizzly charging a car” and now this dead hiker, I’m actualy leaning towards the “it does” crowd. It’s very possible that the reason other tranqued bears did not respond this way is because there were no suitable targets in the recovery zone.

      We cannot say that tranquing /handling does not cause agression because we have not placed and monitored such targets. Anyone who says there is no proof is full of it because there’s never been a study.

    • jon says:

    • SAP says:

      Mike –
      You reference ‘the Craighead footage of the “waking grizzly charging a car” ‘.

      The footage of the Craigheads fleeing from a recovering bear is instructive, and many bear handlers have learned from that and other incidents. But that took place over 40 years ago, and involved a totally different drug, Sucostrin (generic = Succinylcholine).

      Here’s the skinny on Sucrostrin WHICH IS NO LONGER USED TO IMMOBILIZE BEARS:

      “Sucostrin is not a tranquilizer, but a muscle blocking agent — it essentially paralyzes the animal. The paralyzed animals are fully awake, aware, and can feel pain, and are subject to stress.”

      In that famous Craighead episode, they were still unsure of safe dosages for bears. So, the bear may have been under-dosed. Also, the team wasted time with things like making a plaster cast of the bear’s foot. Note that in the film, about the last thing they accomplished was yanking a tooth out, presumably for aging. That was likely enough pain = adrenaline to help the bear shake of the sucostrin and come for them.

      Drugs, handling protocols, and the whole process are far, far better today. That 40 year old footage is hardly relevant today.

      I would prefer that bears not be handled, but some handling must occur. We can be grateful that things have improved since the 1960s.

  52. jon says:

    sb, I am not going up against anyone, you just have to have an open mind. You just can’t take what these experts tell you as a fact and never question anything they say. They say bears don’t harm humans, we know that to be a lie. Occassionally, a bear will attack a person. They say there is no evidence that trapping or drugging a bear will make it a more aggressive bear. I say there is a decent chance that drugging and trapping a bear might indeed make it a more aggressive bear to people. These are real and possible possibilities sb.

    • Save bears says:


      I worked in the field, experts don’t say, that bears don’t harm people, they say it is rare for bears to harm people and most of the time, they won’t…I know a lot of biologists and I have never heard one say that they don’t harm people.

      Virtually every book published on the subject, including ones that have been published by real bear experts say, don’t approach, don’t sneak up on the bears, don’t leave dirty camps, etc. because we know there are many factors that can and will insight a bear attack…

      Now where is the information to back up your claim that drugging will make a bear more aggressive to humans? I would love to read a study on it, that is peer reviewed and accepted..

    • jon says:

      sb, that is false. The vibe I get from experts is that they sometimes mislead the public into thinking that bears will never attack people and that they will run away when they see a person. I can understand on their part that they want the public to feel like they are safe, but I think it would be wiser to just come out and tell people the truth, some people do not realize that there is danger lurking when you venture into the wild to go camping or hiking or whatever. I know for certain they do that with wolves. The reason I say this is because some would believe that there is no danger what so ever going into the wild and being aware of potential danger just might keep you alert and alive.

    • Save bears says:

      Well Jon,

      I have worked with and around these people and you saying this, means you have very little knowledge on what the bear people are telling the public.

      Please cite one source that says bears will not attack people, although rare, everybody I know teaches people that bears can and do attack…you lack of knowledge is showing on this subject, and you bashing the experts is getting old..

      Again, please cite one biologist that is putting out the word that bears won’t attack people, I dare you!

    • jon says:

      I have no info to back up that claim sb. My own personal opinion is that it is very possible that trapping and drugging a bear might potentially make it more aggressive to humans. I mean after this recent attack, I am sure it has crossed some people’s minds. It is only speculation on my part. I like to keep an open mind sb. We will never truly know why the bear killed the hiker as we weren’t there, but I believe it was an defensive attack.

    • Save bears says:

      By the way, Jon,

      Have you ever actually talked to one of the biologists that do this work in bear country? Now if your reading Lynn Rogers and some of those people, they are nuts, the advocate getting close to bears, but the guys and gals I know, don’t teach and don’t say bears won’t attack…

      If they said bears don’t attack, then why do the majority of authors always say, don’t approach bears? You have really got screwed up somewhere Jon, because what you are saying is not the truth..

    • Save bears says:


      I can accept it is YOUR opinion, and you are welcome to it, but unless you have something to back up your claims, then bashing the people that work in the field, does nothing to validate your opinion.

      Jon, I don’t mean any disrespect, but your sounding more and more like an armchair expert, that has no experience in the field..and it really is not a good position to be in…

    • Save bears says:

      And I will add, although I disagree with Bob Jackson on many points, I have far more respect for his opinions, because I know for a fact, he has interacted with these people and spent over 30 years in the field observing what goes on…but you, all I see is your links to articles in the newspapers as well as your mis-informed opinions, it really does not lead to much faith in what your saying Jon…

    • jon says:

      Many people when they learn of our close work with grizzlies think that either we’re insanely brave or just insane. The answer is neither and the truth is that thousands of tourists observe grizzly bears up close every summer in Alaska. All kinds of inexperienced people, from small children to senior citizens, safely get close to grizzly bears in Katmai National Park

      I thought the experts tell us that grizzlies are supposed to run away when they see a human sb?

    • Elk275 says:


      ++The answer is neither and the truth is that thousands of tourists observe grizzly bears up close every summer in Alaska. All kinds of inexperienced people, from small children to senior citizens, safely get close to grizzly bears in Katmai National Park++

      A salmon fed costal brown bear is a different animal than an interior arctic grizzly. I have never had any touble with costal brown bears and I have spend many days with them on th Alaskan pennisula. Having hunted the interior of Alaska I would never trust a interior grizzly — then I would never trust any bear nor would I allow myself to get close to one either.

    • Ryan says:

      I have been to Katmai, there are rangers everywhere there to protect the bears and the tourists.. Even then people still get there asses chewed up occasionally in Katmai.

    • Ryan says:


      Many people when they learn of our close work with grizzlies think that either we’re insanely brave or just insane. The answer is neither and the truth is that thousands of tourists observe grizzly bears up close every summer in Alaska. All kinds of inexperienced people, from small children to senior citizens, safely get close to grizzly bears in Katmai National Park

      I thought the experts tell us that grizzlies are supposed to run away when they see a human sb?”


      Seriously, an engineering major and a spanish major. Sure sound like trained bear professionals to me. Just because they can make a website, doesn’t make them professionals.

    • pointswest says:

      JB…I define “evil” as the following: Evil is something that only a human might do that jon or anyone of his millions of animal friends does not like.

      Seriously, I think it is not something even the greatest theologian or philosopher can define in a paragraph. Not even a mystic like jon could define it in a paragraph if at all. I do not believe it is simply a human construct. Such a notion leaves you open to relativism where, in the end, there is no good and there is no evil and life is meaningless.

      You might define evil as an uncontrollable outward hostility and characterized by inner turmoil but this is a description more than an explanation. I do believe animals can be evil and so do most other people. You hear terms such as, “that evil cat” or, “that evil horse” all the time. I also have many experiences with animals where the animal is simply mean and hostile to everyone and everything. If you do not call this evil, I do not know what you call it. There is little doubt in my mind that some wild animals are mean and hostile, but since no one may be familiar with a specific wild animal’s behavior, we never know if they are evil or not. Jane Goodall seemed to think some chimps were evil…but it took her years of study before she arrived at the conclusion. There is a lot of mystery in science as to the causes of antisocial personality disorder in humans. Some sociopaths seem to come from perfectly normal environments. I watched a documentary about a man who used to hang little boys upside down in his closet for weeks and repeatedly tortured and raped them before they finally died. I think he killed four or five before he himself was finally killed by the state. Even psychiatrists who treated him could not explain why he was so evil. He did not know himself and asked the judge to sentence him to death because, he said, he knew that he would torture and kill again.

      I believe that there is evil and that it is not a human construct.

  53. jon says:

    Nope, I don’t advocate getting close to bears, but if you want to, do it at your own risk and don’t blame the bear if it attacks you. I am not an expert nor do I claim to be, but I will give my opinion because it is a free country. sb, you cannot tell me that some biologists don’t give misleading and incorrect info to the public when it comes to predators and you cannot tell me there has never been an expert that told the public that bears don’t attack and kill people when there are infact cases where bears have attacked and killed people. This is without a doubt a fact. Some of these biologists are purposely misleading the public into thinking there is no danger what so ever in bear country. Common sense says differently.

    • Save bears says:

      Boy Jon,

      You are at the extreme, you can’t tell me the biologists that are saying bears won’t attack.

      Pad them armchairs Jon, cause you seem to be wearing them out..

  54. jon says:

    Yes, I am bashing the experts because they may have been the reason why that hiker was killed.

    • Save bears says:

      This hiker was killed, because he ignored both posted and verbal warnings, even his friends are saying he was aware of what was going on, and the extreme danger involved!

  55. jon says:

    sb, most of us are not bear biologists, so all we have are our opinions.

    • Save bears says:


      I can tell you no kind of biologist, you are simply basing all of your opinions on what you read in the news, you have no experience

    • jon says:

      I was not being serious when I said that, but I have been looking around to see what people are saying this story. Some are infact blaming the biologists. Read this when you get the chance.

    • jon says:

      sb, all of the things I have stated about bears are truthful.

    • Save bears says:


      I am sorry, I don’t believe your being truthful, I believe you are jumping to conclusions based on your opinion, because I know you have very little practical experience in this type of issue..

  56. WM says:


    ++Yes, I am bashing the experts because they may have been the reason why that hiker was killed.++

    The reason the hiker was killed, according to published reports, including those of his friend, was that he ignored the posted warning signs, which he even talked about with that very friend and bear encounter book author.

    The way you throw the term “expert” around is ….well…. irresponsible and disgusting.

    Your latest “expert” source in the “grizzly bay” website above is an advocate site posted by a couple who are not trained biologists and they advocate bear sight seeing in two places in AK, which seemingly contrary to their representation on their site, fails to disclose these locations are actually highly controlled environments, with long histories of interaction with humans in non-threatening conditions.

    You owe those who follow this blog a little more responsibility in your comments.

    Maybe instead of “jon” you should change your monker to “never been there-never done that-but have an opinion anyway”

    • jon says:

      I posted that site to show others that people in some places of the world are purposely getting real close to bears to take pics of them thinking that they are harmless and that they will never ever attack them. This is a recipe for disaster if you ask me. People are going to do what they want.

    • WM says:

      The weight of years of operation, government sanctioned viewing sites in 2 national park locations, with highly controlled environments, suggest that the probability of a disaster there is low.

      That being said, there remains some risk that things can go wrong, and if I recall correctly, at least at McNeil River, there is a ranger with a shotgun pretty close by at all times (at least that is the way it used to be). Don’t know the situation at Katmai – Brooks or the private tour operator, but would suggest they are prepared to react if something not so good starts to happen.

    • JB says:


      There is also a private site–a homestead adjacent to Lake Clark National Park–that runs similar tours. Guests are accompanied at all times by an armed escort (12-gauge; first shell is a cracker, then it gets serious). We counted 15 bears at one point, though you don’t get nearly as close as at McNeil and Katmai.

      Jon: Questioning the experts is very well and good, and quite appropriate. But you might *try* placing yourself in their shoes before laying on the criticism. After all, a human being (someone’s son/father/uncle/cousin/friend) was killed.

    • Save bears says:

      That is exactly right, people are going to do exactly what they want to, despite what anyone tells them!

      I have had people in Yellowstone, tell me to go to hell, when I pointed out that Hot Springs are HOT, and guess what, they got burned..!

    • jon says:

      There is no doubt in my mind that bear biologists have tough jobs. I am certain if the bear didn’t get put down, they would be facing criticism why didn’t you kill this human killing bear for? Situations like this, they will be criticized from one side or another. Some feel that he made a bad decision putting the bear down. Ultimately, he did what he thought was the right decision.

  57. bob jackson says:

    Such sympathy, Mr. WWY. in your admonishment of Cody. Yes, to use the leverage of being compassionate for the families sake makes you the worst hypocrite of all.

    Man, she already knows. Oh, maybe your concern is for the family hundreds of miles away? Ya thats it.

    Sounds to me we have something going on here similar to the public relations persuasion program the military and political brass had with the Tillman Afganistan death.

    What to tell family was hashed out years ago with bear maulings and killings. I think the paternalistic, Father Knows Best attitude went out with the fabicrated Swiss Miss bear killing of the ’80’s. I was in the subdistrict when my supervisor called her parents and then told them it was a swift death. It wasn’t. She was very much fighting that bear while he was eating out her stomach. My supervisor had been instructed how to say it.

    He shouldn’t have even been the one to do so but higher ups always get the underlings to call …in case their words come back to haunt them in later court cases. The poor naive underling just thinks he is very important. Why else would admin want him to give the bad tidings unless they thought highly of him? Gag me.

    The relatives always find out the truth…and then distrust govt even more so.

    The attempt I see in this N. Fork case is a real concerted effort by the govt. in containing a story before it gains momentum. The sympathy WWY is trying to use to discredit is exactly what they are doing behind the scenes to influence family members with “their caring”.

    I also guarantee everything that widow says to “sympathizers” is being written down by those moles. If the govt can get an unsuspecting condolance person to do the dirty work without that person even knowing, so much the better. Then it is the govt. continually calling this confidant and asking them, in the name of shared sympathy, everything this widow says.

    In Yellowstone EVERY permanent ranger is given classes on how to extract info by appearing sympathetic. Do you think it ends there?

    Of course in the press the blame is hinted at for the one killed. Instead of reading the snare was 1 mile from cabins you read how the killing took place two miles in on rugged wilderness. One statement covers from road to site via trail and the “one mile” is cross country. Does anyone think this man cross country hiked at this late hour up and down rugged wilderness. No, but the spin masters want us to believe the incident happened where snares and trapping are appropriate. It didn’t.

  58. JB says:

    I really don’t want to get involved in any tit-for-tat about trapping, but there is some recent research on the effects of trapping (though) not snares in ursids:

    Marc Cattet, John Boulanger, Gordon Stenhouse, Roger A. Powell, Melissa J. Reynolds-Hogland (2008) An Evaluation of Long-term Capture Effects in Ursids: Implications for Wildlife Welfare and Research. Journal of Mammalogy: Vol. 89, No. 4, pp. 973-990.


    The need to capture wild animals for conservation, research, and management is well justified, but long-term effects of capture and handling remain unclear. We analyzed standard types of data collected from 127 grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) captured 239 times in western Alberta, Canada, 1999–2005, and 213 American black bears (U. americanus) captured 363 times in southwestern North Carolina, 1981–2002, to determine if we could detect long-term effects of capture and handling, that is, effects persisting ≥1 month. We measured blood serum levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), creatine kinase (CK), and myoglobin to assess muscle injury in association with different methods of capture. Serum concentrations of AST and CK were above normal in a higher proportion of captures by leghold snare (64% of 119 grizzly bear captures and 66% of 165 black bear captures) than capture by helicopter darting (18% of 87 grizzly bear captures) or by barrel trap (14% of 7 grizzly bear captures and 29% of 7 black bear captures). Extreme AST values (>5 times upper reference limit) in 7 (6%) grizzly bears and 29 (18%) black bears captured by leghold snare were consistent with the occurrence of exertional (capture) myopathy. We calculated daily movement rates for 91 radiocollared grizzly bears and 128 radiocollared black bears to determine if our activities affected their mobility during a 100-day period after capture. In both species, movement rates decreased below mean normal rate immediately after capture (grizzly bears: = 57% of normal, 95% confidence interval = 45–74%; black bears: 77%, 64–88%) and then returned to normal in 3–6 weeks (grizzly bears: 28 days, 20–37 days; black bears: 36 days, 19–53 days). We examined the effect of repeated captures on age-related changes in body condition of 127 grizzly bears and 207 black bears and found in both species that age-specific body condition of bears captured ≥2 times (42 grizzly bears and 98 black bears) tended to be poorer than that of bears captured once only (85 grizzly bears and 109 black bears), with the magnitude of effect directly proportional to number of times captured and the effect more evident with age. Importantly, the condition of bears did not affect their probability of capture or recapture. These findings challenge persons engaged in wildlife capture to examine their capture procedures and research results carefully. Significant capture-related effects may go undetected, providing a false sense of the welfare of released animals. Further, failure to recognize and account for long-term effects of capture and handling on research results can potentially lead to erroneous interpretations.

  59. MJ Graham says:

    Oh, my goodness! It never fails to surprise me at the reactions to a wild animal attacking or killing a human. Here in Western New York, it makes news just when a Black Bear is sighted. One was even killed last year by a local police department simply because it was sighted – it had done nothing, not even rousting through garbage. Yes, people need to be educated and should be careful around ALL wildlife. But the extreme measures taken in most of these cases only leads to unwarranted fears and future over-the-top responses. When I encounter unwarranted fear from someone (based on assumptions), I usually turn the question around and ask, “How often do you hear about a human being attacked by a wild animal?” Of course, the response is rarely, last year, ten years ago, etc. Then I ask, “When was the last time you heard of a human being attacked by another human?” Generally the responder goes quiet to which I say, “If you don’t panic about being around people, then don’t panic about the potential for being around wildlife. Go informed, defended, and don’t go in the wilderness alone. And, always obey posted signs.” Research is necessary, but perhaps the researchers in this particular incident tagged a bear a little too close to human populations. But let’s not turn this into an all-out war against large predators and the research that surrounds them. There are enough folks who hate these critters as it is. Let’s try to learn from this and do better the next time around.

  60. pointswest says:

    I killed a June Bug that got into my house the other night. I could have taken it to the door and released it into the wild but since I already had it in a tissue and between my fingers, I squished it and flushed it rather than go to the trouble or walking to the door.

    Was this wrong?

    • WM says:

      Similarly my wife has been trying to kill off some very tiny black ants that have found their way into our house by the hundreds (thousands), and a norway rat that is making its home in a tree by our tool shed, but will no doubt be looking for a warmer nest this winter (say by eating its way into our roof at a corner, as did its relative last winter, causing us to have to spend alot of money in repairs)?

      Are we wrong to pursue control of these creatures, as a bear that might cause future problems?

    • pointswest says:

      Maybe…there was a large housing development stopped here in So Cal since the site was a nesting ground for an endangered burrowing bee. Here in So Cal, where the marine layer and mountain ranges create several micro-climates, there are several species of instects that live in only a single location. These burrowing bees only lived in one valley and the area is now preserved for there protection.

      For all I knew, the June Bug that I killed was a very rare creature. I’m sure many unique insects have already been forced into extiction here n So Cal becasue they only lived in one spot and urban development has destroyed there very unique habitat.

      So why do we care so much about Yellowstone grizzlies when brown bears are found all over western and northern Canada, in Alaska, in central and northern Asia, and northeastern Europe?

      In the case of wolves, we were perfectly happy to simply transplant wolves back into Yellowstone from Alberta, Canada.

      Maybe we should just make Yellowstone one big geothermal power plant!

    • Pointswest,

      I appreciate that I live in a special place where wild country and big wild animals still exist.

      You sound like you might be happier in an industrial area.

    • pointswest says:

      No way. I love the Yellowstone area. The geotheram plant comment was sarcastic. I put a little “grin” with > < characters but they did not print.

      The bigger question that should be asked sometimes is why to we care?

    • jon says:

      pointswest, Why do we care? maybe because animals have a right to live and their lives are important as well?

    • pointswest says:

      Who gave animals any rights?

    • jon says:

      I did.

    • Save bears says:

      Jon, what if somebody doesn’t, does that negate your I did?

    • jon says:

      No, it doesn’t sb. Pointswest asked a ridiculous question, why do we care about yellowstone grizzlies. Is it so hard to understand that some people don’t like seeing bears killed?

    • Save bears says:


      Although I am not one of them, I also know, some people don’t care if grizzlies are killed, your opinion is no more important than their opinion..sorry, that is the way it works..until such time as a court of law rules on it, you are no more important in your thoughts than I am in my thoughts…

    • Save bears says:

      An really if we look at the legal issues involved, animals don’t really have any rights…the only rights they have are the ones that we as humans assign them, some believe in those rights and some don’t

      Anyway, I guess, I am not suppose to interact with you to much anymore, so if you want to discuss further, just drop me a note, you have the email..

    • pointswest says:

      Hey…that is exactly the point that I was driving at. Only we can ensure grizzlies survive. They do not have any innate rights nor eternal meaning. Why, specifically grizzlies? Why do we not care more about burrowing bees? Because grizzlies are more like us…than are bees. They are mamals that depend on their mother. They are warm blooded. They suffer to survive. So the only real reason we care about gizzlies is because we have compassion for them. So it is compassion, before everything else, that should be preservered and placed before the alter and this compassion should start with our fellow human beings.

      If you lose this, you will lose it all.

    • Angela says:

      pointswest, wow.
      “They do not have any innate rights nor eternal meaning.”
      Are you saying that humans have innate rights and eternal meaning? I disagree. Does this have something to do with religion?

      “Why do we not care more about burrowing bees?”
      Some people do. I meet lots of entomologists more interested in bees than grizzlies. And I work with geologists who hardly even notice mammals at all. Yours is a subjective opinion. To a Buddhist, they are both sentient beings deserving of equal compassion. You are simply stating something that is a product of your personal upbringing and culture. Not everyone shares your beliefs, and there is no reason they should.

      “They suffer to survive.”
      Are you saying only mammals are developed enough to suffer? Science does not back you up. The evidence is piling up that fish suffer as well and that their brains are not that dissimilar from those of mammals.

      “So the only real reason we care about grizzlies is because we have compassion for them. So it is compassion, before everything else, that should be preserved and placed before the altar and this compassion should start with our fellow human beings. If you lose this, you will lose it all.”
      This is your opinion. You believe that people have more compassion for animals that are more like themselves, but I don’t believe you can assume that at all. Humans are a species of ape. Some of us, especially those of us who do not believe in the existence of “God,” do not believe that humans are any more special, more valuable, or necessarily better than any other animal. We are discovering that other species–bonobos, chimps, elephants, and dolphins/killer whales in particular–have cognitive abilities similar to our own. They have cultures; they pass on knowledge from generation to generation. They are conscious, self-aware, have emotions and complicated social relationships. Because all of these have adaptive value. We are also the only animal that has overpopulated the planet to the point that we are threatening our own life support systems and causing mass extinction of other life forms. If you want to care about humans and draw some imaginary line where you *might* begin to care about other life forms, that’s up to you. But there is no reason other people should do the same. I believe that there should be limits on how we treat animals. I do not believe an animal’s worth or treatment should be measured solely in terms of how it serves human purposes. Our laws have continually changed to be more and more humane. We even finally allowed that black people have the right to freedom from slavery, and that women are just as smart and capable as men and deserve equal rights and treatment under the law. Other countries do have laws more progressive than ours in terms of animal treatment and environmental regulations.

      People like you whine about those of us who “care more about animals than humans.” That’s our business, not yours. In terms of where I care to spend my energy, I care about animals, biodiversity, and the health of our planet. It is not right or wrong; it is my nature, as well as my career. There are plenty of people like you to make sure humans are taken care of. I would rather work for change on other fronts and thankfully I am free to do so and not forced to care about something I don’t believe in.

      Perhaps you may want to read up on the state of the science in terms of the cognitive abilities of non-humans, like this study: And learn what some people mean by “animal rights” (this was just the first page that came up, but it is suitable). People that care about animals do not all share the same beliefs either. But the reason some people care about wolves in particular is that they are social animals that are highly intelligent; the character of their suffering may be somewhat like our own. I think it is important to take that into account in terms of how we “manage” them, not only for their sakes, but for the sake of our own humanity.

    • JB says:

      Okay, I’ll preface what follows by acknowledging that it is my OPINION…

      No animal–humans included–have “innate” or “god-given” rights. Rights are granted by societies, and, if we are truthful about the matter, societies have a pretty lousy track record at ensuring that all people have equal access to them. [If there is a god that grants rights, s/he seems to be asleep at the wheel, so far as enforcement is concerned].

      I generally agree with Pointswest here. Animals and other life forms have value because humans assign value to them. [How many people would complain if we were to eradicate mosquitoes? How many complained when we nearly eradicated small pox?] In fact, value can’t exist in the absence of human beings because “value” is a human construct.

      I recognize that some religious traditions (e.g. Jainism) recognize a type of value that they believe is “inherent” to animals. However, the important point is that this value is still assigned–and rights/privileges are extended–by human beings.

      Even when we discuss the protection of biodiversity, we couch our justification for protection in utilitarian terms (e.g. protecting biodiversity helps ensure ecosystem processes upon which people rely, a species that is ostensibly useless today may hold the key to a cure for cancer tomorrow).
      Personally, I find these and other utilitarian justifications for the preservation of biodiversity compelling, and believe them to be sufficient for the protection of endangered species and ecosystems without the insistence that there is some property of value that is “intrinsic”.

      As to the debate about animal rights, I think this has always been about sentience. We tend to feel empathy for animals that respond to pain and other negative stimuli in a way that mirrors our own response. This empathy creates dissonance; we like eating meat, but don’t like watching animals suffer. This is why few people–PETA members included–think twice about squashing a june bug or whacking a mosquito.

    • pointswest says:

      Angela, you certainly read a lot of things into my few sentences that are not there…
      ++“This is your opinion. You believe that people have more compassion for animals that are more like themselves, but I don’t believe you can assume that at all. Humans are a species of ape. Some of us, especially those of us who do not believe in the existence of “God,” do not believe that humans are any more special, more valuable, or necessarily better than any other animal.”++

      I also like some animals more than people. There are some people on this planet I would like to see dead. This guy here in LA who raped and tortured an 8-year-old boy recently comes to mind. What I tried to say or should have explicitly said was that people tend to be either compassionate or not. Not all people are compassionate. Science even has names for people who lack compassion. They were called psychopaths or sociopaths but these terms have been dropped in favor of the more politically correct, “antisocial” or as one who suffers from “antisocial personality disorder.”

      What I believe is that it is a mistake to cast compassion aside and put up some utopian green planetary ideal as rationale for preserving wildlife. That is, don’t try and coldly preserve wildlife by being harsh and cruel with human beings (or any other undesirable species). I believe we human beings preserve wildlife because we are, in general, compassionate creatures. The general tendency to have more compassion for human like creatures is sort of built into the definition of compassion. I believe compassion is innate and I believe it is innate in other “higher” mammals as well. A mother grizzly certainly has compassion for her cubs. Grizzlies will kill and cannibalize one another but so will human beings when faced with starvation.

      People who represent themselves as ecologists or as preservationists who express a total lack of compassion for humans or any other species, I believe, are bad press and are bad for the movement as a whole. They make ecologists and preservationist look like a collection of antisocial misfits and make ecology look like a rationalization for their antisocial behavior. The truth is that this is the case in certain instances. The movement has gone mainstream, however, and I would like to see the antisocial misfits weeded out so as not to give the opposition ammunition to demoralize the movement.

      This last paragraph is entirely opinion.

    • pointswest says:

      Angela writes: ++”People like you whine about those of us who “care more about animals than humans.” That’s our business, not yours. In terms of where I care to spend my energy, I care about animals, biodiversity, and the health of our planet. It is not right or wrong; it is my nature, as well as my career. There are plenty of people like you to make sure humans are taken care of. I would rather work for change on other fronts and thankfully I am free to do so and not forced to care about something I don’t believe in.”++

      Statements like this indicate an overreaction or a response to things in your past. You are completely wrong about my attitude and are reading things into what I write.

      Jane Goodall had critics who said she cared more about chimps than humans. Her response was that there were humans she liked and humans she disliked and that there were chimps she liked and chimps she disliked. She said there were chimps she liked much more than some humans and that there were mean and aggressive chimps that she disliked more than most humans. This, I believe, is the response of a healthy and compassionate woman. This response silenced Jane’s critics.

      Animals have personalities just like humans. We can see it in our pets. Some dogs or cats are mean, nasty, aggressive, violent, and dangerous to any who might be around them. Other dogs or cats are friendly, sweet, loving, gentle, and are a pleasure to be around. I’m sure the same is true of most mammals or, at least, the higher mammals. Some are nice creatures while other are simply nasty and evil. Bad things might happen to a grizzly cub to make it grow up and be mean. How can anyone make a blanket statement that they like all animals? I certainly don’t.

      The Pitbull that killed the woman at the front door of her own apartment in San Francisco a few years ago…I don’t like. The Doberman that chewed up the little neighborhood girl when I lived in Albuquerque…I don’t like. I, in general like dogs however. I in general like animals. But there are some I do not like as there are some people I do not like.

      For your information, I am very pro-wolf and pro-grizzly. In fact, I believe we should set aside more land as part of Yellowstone Park and make another large national park out of the wilderness areas in Central Idaho. I believe the more serious issue is NOT the life of one or two grizzlies or a few wolves but the long term preservation of their habitat. This does not mean I like all wolves and all grizzlies, however. Some are going to be mean and nasty and evil and I would probably like to see them put down. In general, if one kills a human, it should probably be put down with, perhaps, a few exceptions…IMHO.

    • jon says:

      pw, wolves and bears are not capable of being evil. That only applies to humans. Bears should not be put down just because they attack a person. You have to look at why they did it in the first place and most bear attacks are defensive attacks. There are actually quite a good deal of people who prefer the company of their dogs to other people. Is there something wrong with this? No, some people just prefer animals over members of their own species. There is no rule book that says we have to like our own species better than different species. Us humans are an ignorant species.

    • pointswest says:

      Jon writes: ++ wolves and bears are not capable of being evil. That only applies to humans. ++

      Can you prove this? …even make a good argument? Was the Pitbul that killed the woman at her own doorstep evil? …or only the human owners of the of the Pitbul who were sent to jail for this? What if new owners took the Pitbull? Wouldn’t the Pitbull be just as evil with good owners? You assert that only humans can be evil and all other species are pure and natural? Why would that be so? Are you saying that even a chimpanzee that shares 98% of our DNA is incapable of being evil? What is evil jon? What are your qualification to tell us was is and what is not evil?

      What about those flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz? (this sentenced intended to be funny)

      Jon writes: ++”You have to look at why they did it in the first place and most bear attacks are defensive attacks.”++

      What are we going to do…have bear trials in a court of law. Are you going to be the bear lawyer? I think it should be up to wildlife managers and the family or friends of the victim. If any want the beard dead, it should be so…unless maybe their numbers drop dangerously low.

      Jon writes: ++”There is no rule book that says we have to like our own species better than different species. Us humans are an ignorant species.”++

      I agree. It is a free country. But I do not want to see the government enforcing some ideology at the expense of compassion and human dignity. I think it will be compassionate people who really save the bears and wolves and not the antisocial misfits who hate human kind.

    • Angela says:

      I appreciate the answers from both of you. pointswest, it’s obvious I misread the “tone” of your post. We probably agree more than disagree on a lot of these issues, but the concept of animal “rights” and the whole question of what animals mean in relation to humans is a complex one. An entire discipline is growing around the question of the role and meaning of animals in human life and I find it really interesting. In practical terms, I don’t care so much about animal “rights” as their welfare and making progress towards ending the most egregious of animal cruelty practices. In my professional life I am concerned about overall ecosystem function and health and biodiversity. In terms of the “value” we humans derive from wild places and wild animals, I think we often forget that “beauty” is one of them. To me, the world is diminished the more natural habitat is modified and destroyed and animal species disappear. Perhaps that is what I mean by “intrinsic” value–that a wild animal or undisturbed place is of value simply by existing because it causes humans pleasure, peace, happiness, excitement, etc. I think a lot of us here appreciate nature for the way it makes us feel. But yep, it tastes good too.

      I like the Jane Goodall response. I feel the same–I don’t hate humans and I don’t think every individual animal is necessarily good or must be preserved. I do hate the fact that there are so many humans and that it is resulting in what I see is unnecessary pressures on the environment and animals. Unnecessary because we can choose to limit our reproduction to reasonable rates and thereby perhaps improve quality of life for all.

      I agree that there is a certain mentality that tarnishes the more “mainstream” movement, but I’m not sure what can be done about extremists on either side. They tend to react more with their gut and heart rather than their head, and that’s just how some people are. I like to think about issues and their consequences in a multidisciplinary way, using both evolutionary understanding paired with compassion but also a sense of real-world practicality. I think the compassion part is often lacking in the world of animal “management” and that is too bad.

      Again, appreciate your thoughtful responses to a difficult subject. I think understanding our own and others’ points of view is important.

    • jon says:

      Animals are not capable of committing evil acts, only humans are pw. Please, try to accept and understand that. A bear that kills a human is not an evil bear committing an evil act, it’s just a bear defending itself.

    • pointswest says:

      You just side step questions and restate one of your jon-isms. “It is true becasue I said so. Why can’t you accept this?”

      You are very boring jon.

    • pointswest says:

      Jon…I would like to read a letter you might write the parents and family of the woman who was killed by the Pitbull in San Franciso and tell them that Pitbulls are incapable of evil acts and the dog’s killing of this woman was simply in the nature of the dog and the dog should live. You can even hit them with a few jon-isms.

      One final question. If animals are incapable of evil acts, then why were the owners of the Pitbull succesfully prosecuted and sent to jail? Are you stating that they were sent to jail for no reason…that theer dog, incapable of evil as he is, did nothing wrong by killing the woman at her own doorstep and the the prosecuter framed the dog owners with the crime?

      I don’t get your logic.

    • JB says:

      I’m curious, Pointswest, how do you define evil? Is a dog that attacks (but doesn’t kill) a child evil? What about a dog that bites a child defensively? Where do you draw the line?

      I happen to agree with Jon. Evil is a human construct; the term has a distinct moral component that varies depending upon culture. Non-human animals are not evil or good, they simply are; evil and good are terms we use to evaluate the conduct of others.

    • jon says:

      pw, that is funny. You don’t get my logic when you are the one saying that the bear commits an evil act when it kills a person in a defensive manner? Animals are not capable of evil. Most animals kill either for food or in a defensive manner. You may want to question your own logic pw. Afterall, you are the one saying that bears commit evil acts when they kill people.

    • pointswest says:

      You did it again jon. You side stepped all the questions I asked and repeated one of your jon-isms. What is the point of carrying on a discussion with you?

      And I did not say, “that the bear commits an evil act when it kills a person in a defensive manner.” I never said that. Only you said that and now you are saying it in a rather deceitful manner where you imply that I said something like that. I never did and never will. I keep asking about the Pitbull that you keep steering clear of with your jon-isms.

    • jon says:

      pw, you said, This does not mean I like all wolves and all grizzlies, however. Some are going to be mean and nasty and evil and I would probably like to see them put down. In general, if one kills a human, it should probably be put down with, perhaps, a few exceptions…IMHO.

      AGAIN, animals are not capable of evil acts. When an animal kills a person, it is usually for an understandable reason. You are applying human terms to animals. Animals are not evil nor do they commit evil acts. That is something we know our species does. It doesn’t apply to animals pw. You need to understand that.

    • jon says:

      pw, that is how the laws are. Still, the fact still remains, animals are not capable of evil. When a bear or pitbull kills someone, it isn’t an evil act on their end. They are doing what naturally comes to them. You need to stop applying human terms to animals.

    • pointswest says:

      jon…your condesending tone adds nothing to the respectability of your comments. It only makes you sound childish to me. You evade questions and you twist things others say to try and support your many jon-isms and other thoughtless assertions.

  61. pointswest says:

    Another grizzly was killed this last weekend in Yellowstone.

    Let’s see how much uproar there is over this one.

    • Save bears says:

      I also heard this morning another grizz cub was hit by a car north of St. Regis, Montana on the Reservation.

    • cc says:

      A more thorough account of the incident from a NPS press release:

    • The little Yellowstone griz was a good as dead before the capture attempt. . . way too small, wounded, and sick.

    • Mike says:

      Unfortunately Ralph it died terrified rather than just sick. It also had enough energy to try and flee the trap, which of course came down on its neck.

      I really can’t read these stories anymore. I get too upset at the incompetence. Hopefully all future bear cub captures no longer use heavy steel doors. Why they didn’t think of this years ago I have no idea.

    • cc says:

      “it died terrified rather than just sick”

      The cub was already terrified, it was slowly dying after being orphaned and likely attacked by a larger bear. If it had been caught cleanly it would have been euthanized. If they had left it alone entirely it would have died a slow, miserable death. There were no good outcomes for this cub.

    • Mike says:

      ++The cub was already terrified, it was slowly dying after being orphaned and likely attacked by a larger bear. If it had been caught cleanly it would have been euthanized. If they had left it alone entirely it would have died a slow, miserable death. There were no good outcomes for this cub.++

      How does this absolve Yellowstone managers from building better bear cub cages?

      Also, to refute your point, would you rather be killed in your own home/forest or in some bizarre, claustrophobic tube while alien things stare at you?

    • cc says:

      I’m not absolving anyone of their mistake, I’m just stating the real world situation that you seem to be overlooking. You keep saying everyone needs to leave wildlife alone, but this was a case where they couldn’t do that. If you can’t grasp how problematic leaving this cub alone in that condition in that location would be then you should promptly dismount from your high horse. Their intent was to rehab it and/or move it to a spot away from a populated area to give it a better shot. Everyone is sorry the cub died but most can view it in the context of regretting how it died while realizing it was dying beforehand and that steps have been taken to prevent a similar incident. And in the grand scheme of species conservation, not in an animal rights context, accidentally killing a bear that would have died anyways is bad but not the crime of the century you seem so keen to make it.

    • Mike says:

      CC – I think its bad how it was killed. I understand that Yellowstone officials were trying to help the bear, but it was done in an idiotic fashion. Awareness needs to be raised so this does not happen again.

    • Angela says:

      The second article says they will try to design a better trap for juvenile and yearling bears. It sounds as if it died quickly–not the worst death that could happen. Sometimes people are trying to do what they think best and shit just happens. I bet they felt pretty badly too. It’s probably just as well it died before even being transported anywhere.

    • Save bears says:

      Well if I had a choice, I would take a quick death by a broken neck, that agonizing under a tree somewhere, malnourished, blind in one eye and unable to take care of myself.

      I am glad they are going to work on designing better traps, that may help prevent this in the future.

    • Mike says:

      ++Well if I had a choice, I would take a quick death by a broken neck, that agonizing under a tree somewhere, malnourished, blind in one eye and unable to take care of myself.++

      Wrong context. You would have to be sick and weak in a claustrophobic, alien tube with creatures you fear immensely poking at you. That how the grizzly cub died while trying to flee the unspeakable horror.

      Plenty of animals survive with one eye and weight loss. Nature is mor resilient than we allow. Certainly the bear had a better chance in the wild than it did with the iron trap door on the back of its neck.

    • Mike says:

      ++The second article says they will try to design a better trap for juvenile and yearling bears. It sounds as if it died quickly–not the worst death that could happen. Sometimes people are trying to do what they think best and shit just happens. I bet they felt pretty badly too. It’s probably just as well it died before even being transported anywhere.++

      Imagine if they had this outlook at hospitals. Our treatment of other life forms should be no different.

  62. Elk275 says:

    More information comes out everyday

    Evert’s wife is on the research team that had caught the bear. Another forum states that he had pepper spray.

  63. bob jackson says:

    Actually Yellowstone is way ahead of the game when compared to state wildlife capture. That, of course is not saying much when one looks at Yellowstones cruel bison handling facility. Plus there have been a lot of unneccesary capture deaths of all species in Yellowstone. A notable one is helicopter netting of bison in hot summer months. 6 died in less than a month from overheating.

    If we are talking humans this would have been termed manslaughter.

    The difference in Yellowstone and the states is there is a lot of reporting and watchful eyes of employees and the public. In the state wildlife divisions most all these “mishaps” are not seen, thus covered up.

    In an earlier post wwy (probably an inside plant) said I was just trying to slur the govt. Far from it I care for the wildlife most of all and want them treated with respect. Snares on Griz bears doesn’t allow this. If folks could just see the carnage and maham happening at griz snare sites you would see what I mean.

    I always give solutions to mistreatment, not just slam the folks doing it. Most problems I note were happening well before I write it up. …and worse yet the perpetrators know it also. The biologists and administrators just get numb to what they are doing tothese animals. I don’t.

    The impact I have is I have the background, experience and the notariety to be heard. Others need to keep on saying it, however. Numbers games are very important in changing abusive wildlife activities.

    Thus you had a bear being trapped in a high public use area….and it dies because of problems long known. Therefore you now have change. Good.

    The story of culverts and bear trapping has a long history. Most all “improvements” were created for the handlers safety, not the animal, however. originally there was a platform on the top and back of the culvert for the guy who lifted the trap door to stand on. This was replaced in the early 60’s because too many bears tumbled out of this culvert only to come back at the guy up there. Class A shoes have had bloody claws leave blood on these shoes.

    Then they went to a chank where the guy stood in the back of the pickup and opened the slider gate one crank at a time. Only problem was the bear would see the opening and yank it up the rest of the way pronto. Thus the procedure was the driver had to be going 15 mph for blacks and 35 mph for griz before he gave the go ahead to crank it open. But dusty, pot holed service roads meant too many times the buck ranger in the bed couldn’t hear well and thus started opening the gate before the speed was reached. This way of releasing griz ended with a close call.

    The seasoned guy behind the wheel looked in the rear view mirror only to see the door coming up. A look at the speedometer said 15-20. So he floors the chevy 6 step side but it was not soon enough. Up comes the door and the bear tumbles and then chargess back dust flying all over. …grabs ahold of the back of the trap and procedes to get on the fenders then top of the culvert it was, all for legs straddling….and facing, with mouth open a very scared kid in the back of that truck.

    My friend driving then thinks, oh no, but still not too concerned because some whipps back and forth and all those pot holes on this Pelican Ck service road would mean that bear slips off. All this going on with the pedal to the metal, of course.

    Didn’t work and next thing in the rear view mirror my friend sees is a griz with two legs below the fender and two in the bed. By this time the kid is yelling to stop the truck so he can get in. No way. he yells to the kid to hang on. Going about 55 mph going boppity bomp down this road he sees a large pot hole. No choice to make, no kid in the rear view just legs going back and forth in the windshield like a washer blade going back and forth. What can be done differnetly…. hits that bump hard and sees bear fur flying to the side…then looks ahead a doesn’t see green pants…then he does. The kid had ahold of the little cherry on top, good enough to hang on. They then drove down the road about a half mile and then “rested” for a breather for a hour or so.

    Yes, the story is all true. So “correcting” the situation means by the time I come along in ’69 the park has a battery cable going to a box with two batteries and a fast acting gear assembly on the culvert. Push the button from the drivers seat and up the trap door comes…fast.

    In ’72 and 73 I helped with 23 bears, going down that road doing the same thing as before, dust a flying and bears arolling on the dirt.

    Of course, it did no good. Bears were back in the camp ground within days. So then it was boat transports across the lake…where griz would come to and rangers were speeding to islands to roll them overboard in shallow waters…all the while in the same panic that buck ranger experienced in the bed of that step side.

    Then it was more emphasis on cargo nets but winds could whip these cables around sometimes and bears were dropped sometimes well before they should have been.

    Today it is back to culverts on wheel and the same system I had in “72 is still in place. Rangers are safe but bears still have broken teeth and ripped out claws…the same as before. Yes, light is subdued and the Lake nurses don’t get snuck into the maintance shed to see bears in the middle of the night, …..but still, in most bear trapping business today it is the excitement game. Thus, bears still die, like the young en at Old Faithful.

    And how does this relate to state biology being even more backwards. I say look at the northern Montana pictures of the ’80’s or ’90’s where the game warden is manually pulling up the trap door. Then bear and warden fall in a pile on the ground. Of course. the guy has his 357 mag and kills that bear…and all is well. (WM, if you have access to those pictures how about putting them up so all can see).

    look a bit closer and you will see the camera strap around his neck and other vehicles…all fiming and picture taking. Good footage and one dead bear.

    Now we have a dead bear E of the Park and they were using snares, something a lot worse than culvert traps. The stories behind the scenes with this method of trapping??? coverup after cover up I’d say. I know what happened with the same folks trapping in Thorofare (bear off with snare around its foot cutting off circulation…some snares now don’t let it go all the way but too many malfunctions or sticks getting into the cinch). I doubt it was an isolated incident. hopefull y trapping changes with this incident east of the park for the bear as well as for protection of citizens.

    • Save bears says:

      Not that it is a funny situation, some how with the way you describe it Bob, the picture flashes through my mind in the style of the comedy writer Patrick F McManus.

      Patrick was a contributor to many of the hunting and outdoors magazines in the 70’s and 80’s and would really be able to take this story to a whole new level.

      Anyone who has not experienced the writing style of Patrick, I highly recommend his very funny books!

    • Mike says:

      Bob – Thanks for the tidbits. I always find them interesting. I also found this comment to carry the most weight in your post:

      “The story of culverts and bear trapping has a long history. Most all “improvements” were created for the handlers safety, not the animal”

  64. jon says:

    As very sad as it is that this bear was put down, I believe they did the right thing. The bear was underweight and most likely suffering.

  65. Nancy says:

    “If we are talking humans this would have been termed manslaughter”

    That’s the comment that stood out most in my mind regarding Bob’s post.

    • Save bears says:

      I really hate to say it, but this is starting to sound like suicide by bear! There has been so many reports of people telling him not to go into this area, including his very good friend and he still ignored it…!

      Of course I knew Tim Treadwell and my last conversation I had with him in Jackson Hole, many of us told him he was going to get killed and he laughed it off, then went out the next year, broke his own protocols that he had practiced for over 12 years and ended up dead..

      I am just wondering what was going through this guys mind? He had completed his life’s work, his friends were telling him, stay out of that area, he was a well seasoned outdoors person and despite his common sense he still did it..and the most disturbing part of this, we will never know!…

      There is nothing good about this…

  66. Angela says:

    It’s interesting that he just finished what must have been his life’s work. And the book isn’t even published yet?

  67. bob jackson says:


    The guy was curious, thats all. And the more people having access to curiosities such as this the better the chances folks will act on that curiosity. Thus, there SHOULD NOT be snaring so close to civilization. Yes, the guy did wrong but still the responsibility lies with those doing the trapping to minimize these curiosity seekers….And this means more than signs.

    In Thorofare country any bear snaring meant word travelled fast via horse back. Then it was one horse party after another peeking into the edges of meadows to see if there was a bear in the cubby. Horses meant a better chance of safety for the riders, but still these activities by others were always known by those trappers. They know people are curious and they know it happens way too much.

    And there was even collaberation. If you were a priviledged one you might even get to ride along to “check traps”. Oh boy, oh boy. And if you gave $25,000 to the Park Foundation you got more access yet to all those biological studies than anyone else.

    My best friend was the number one trapper for the interagency griz team. He was good. He and I went back to my second year and his first working in Yellowstone…for the Bureau of Sport fisheries (1970). We climbed the Tetons and we would hunt elk together for months at a time. Of course we shared lots of stories through the years. His were griz trapping stories and mine were poacher stories. But sometimes we both had the bear stories to tell each other. It is how we learned from one another and how we prepared our minds in case things “went wrong” out there in the woods.

    As I said he was good. He was good because he didn’t seek out glory. Thus he didn’t want visitors seeing the 44 carbine he always carried with him … in case things went bad at the snares. He carried it along his leg if he was hiking, and walked off the trail if hikers were spotted. This compared to those trappers who swaggered…those who wanted the public to be adulators to them. Those who rode their horses a pounding through everything…and yanked the reins a bunch to “hold” their horse while “showing” hikers what they were made of.

    I can say if they were a swaggerer, and dressed the part I could guarentee these dudes would become insensitive to the animal they were trapping. Plus the public became “scum bags” no different than too many rangers thought of the general visiting public were the same scum bag.

    Do you think this attitude is beneficial for keeping public away from traps or allowing these trappers logic in setting snares far, far away from the public?

    My friend carried a carbine to every trapping site. Why would he do that? If you listen to Mr. WWY in his earlier thread he said my concerns were either false or inconsequential. Ya, and my best friend carried that weight for nothing. Sure. If this dude, wwy, believes that all this concern is of no validity I’d say he either is a swaggerer, sucking at the teat with swaggerers or doesn’t have a clue. If he is associated with the griz trapping and actually does it (which I doubt) then becoming a winner of the Darwin award for him is not far off.

    My friend is now in the happy hunting grounds but “they” needed a lot more of him.

    I have no doubt if he was alive today he would say if there was no choice, if there was no way to keep trapping away from the public then every trap location needed to be manned day and night. Either let the curiosity searchers know there is someone there that says no to going up that trail or don’t set that trap.

    • Save bears says:


      There has been no indication that they were snaring, also, there was more than signed warnings placed, this guy was verbally warned by the team members and one of his friends told him NOT to go into the area, after he called him to see what was going on…now it is again being reported that his wife was part of the study team and told him not to go into the area, he talked with his daughter and she told him not to go into the area..if your going to be so curious, that you ignore all warnings, and it seems in this case, there were many warnings, then I don’t know what to say…

    • JB says:

      “Yes, the guy did wrong but still the responsibility lies with those doing the trapping to minimize these curiosity seekers….And this means more than signs.”

      While I agree that managers and researchers should do everything they can to minimize the possibility of such conflicts, I have to wonder when, exactly, we require people to take responsibility for their own actions? This individual knew enough to know better, and yet still decided to take the risk. I am deeply sorry for the loss of life (especially for his family), but our pity should not absolve him from responsibility in the matter.

    • jon says:

      I believe Chris Servheen said you can’t protect people from themselves. We don’t hold those accountable enough. Just like when people purposely leave food behind and bears get at it and they are put down for people’s irresponsibility and lack of common sense. Idiots like this are not held accountable for their own actions. It sends a bad message.

  68. bob jackson says:


    If trappers are using horses it usually means snares are being used. Not always but most all the time. Once in awhile culverts will be flown in and then the trappers check with horses. But normally a culvert on the ground sans helicopter means it was brought in via road…. thus checking the trap line with vehicles.

    As for warnings I’m sure the guy got lots…the same as all the rest of the curious folks out there who do the same dumb thing. That is why it is the overall responsibility of the govt. to minimalize chances of this happening…thus not placitrapping near people. Bear collaring for research is a lot different than trapping for problem bears. With research, population estimates and travel patterns it means there is more options to minimalize dumb people.

    They didn’t do it here.

    As for all those people supposedly saying the guy was warned remember what happened in the Barry Gilbert situation. All his fault they said…Even Barry said it at first. But soon one gets to more of the story. The study was set up for risky encounters. Thus responsibility and blame shifted. Barry should have sued the govt.’s ass off. Blame will in change in this one also.

    as for the griz team shutting up…not even saying if they were snaring or culvert trapping…one has to know the reason they are doing so is to allow it all to go on …and then they can come out and spend a lot of time highlighting and discrediting those assumptions and arguments that were wrong.

    As long as they can discredit half of the outcries they can shut down most all the outcry, whether legit or not. Folks will be afraid to say anything negative. What the govt is doing is being coached by strategists. The only problem is the bear folks lose their gut feelings. Plus if it “works” this time they will depend on it in the future. Then it isn’t long before they lose respect for the public….because they used them. In the end the users will be the losers…losers to themselves.

  69. WM says:

    Bob Jackson,

    You have made a couple of references to Barry Gilbert, long time bear researcher at Utah State. He was severely attacked by a a grizzly some years back, in Yellowstone, I think, in an apparently unprovoked situation. What is the context of your comments about him, was it this particular situation, another, or just in general?

  70. JB says:


    There was a long discussion about the particulars of Barry’s accident on this blog about a year ago. I can’t recall what provoked the discussion, but I do remember that there was enough misinformation being tossed around as “facts” that Barry felt compelled to post on the matter (and his tone suggested he wasn’t particularly happy about it). I looked for the thread, but can’t seem to find it.

    • WM says:


      Accurate “facts” are always a good thing. Especially, since most of us formulate and express our opinions based, in part, on what we perceive as “facts.”

      Maybe Ralph can point us in the direction of this previous dialog and Gilbert’s year old post, if it is relevant to the current discussion.

      And, hopefully, Bob will flesh things out in his comment as well.

    • JB says:

      Oops, it’s Barrie not Barry. My apologies!

    • WM,

      I can’t find it either, but a web search of Barrie Gilbert brings up a lot other sources.

    • SAP says:

      The big discussion about Barrie Gilbert started in November 2008 at the above link.

    • WM says:


      Thanks I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but skimming through quickly, it seems to be very nearly like the discussion we are now having, even some of the same characters weighing in. I am anxious to see if their views have changed any over the last 1.5 years. I see the spray v. gun was redundant even back then. We do replow the same furrows, that is for sure, but perhaps with new eyes to see what gets churned over. There is value in that.

    • JB says:


      Thanks for finding the link.

  71. bob jackson says:


    Everyone in this world has certain “facts” they want to remember and be remembered for. Barry’s was and is no different….and out of respect for good biologists I will leave it at that.

    Barry was, from what I know, a very good bear researcher. He was studying bears as part of a university study (park endorsed) in the NW corner of the Park in the 70’s the same place I was back country rangering there.

    At the time the Park was initiating all these Darwin Award type bear studies. The overriding thought was Yellowstone was getting too much back country usage and this usage was adversely affecting the bears. Thus, by studying effect back country use can be managed better (it is why there are certain areas today in Yellowstone closed to humans).

    The safest study was by a guy on a look out, spotting scope in hand, documenting where bears went and disappeared when people came into the Pelican Valley meadows. It wasn’t rocket science and the results were predictable…bears moved out when hikers moved in. But it had to be shown and the guy parlayed this into getting the bear biologist job in Yellowstone.

    So what do YNP biologist administrators do next? They say, hey, lets put people on the ground and we will have them follow radio collared griz around…and we will do all kinds of things…including to see how many times we can flush them up before they leave the area permanently. Of course they couldn’t use lay evidence on this… the history of people who hunt griz and spook them lots over and over in tracking them. Administrators should have looked a bit more, however…to look to the past to see what these tracked bears did once in awhile …. like circle back and nail these hunters.

    So you had these young guns (I knew a couple of these guys) out in the woods with radio telemetry …and the bears couldn’t get away no matter where they tried to hide. End result was these bears got real cagey and stalked these researchers at night. The signal would go off of bear close and these guys would rush up trees in their underwear and spend the rest of the night looking down at the bear circling the base of their tree.

    One would think the light bulb would go off for the desk jockeys, and these kind of studies would be terminated, but no, mental shades were pulled, the room and brain stayed dark. Besides the coffee pot was always calling. To compound this other associated ongoing studies, like Barry’s, dealt with having to stay in close proximity to bears…like on visually open Big Horn Pass…where next drainage over the young guns had these multi year studies going on that conditioned bears to harassment.

    Soooo these bears don’t know which study is which but they do know when they are being followed and then they circle and nail people…Barry in this case. At least this was all the inside talk going on after this accident (bear was never found by the way). One couldn’t prove it was the same bear (s) but there is enough logic and evidence to say all these studies should have been terminated long before they were. Culpability was there for any personal injury jury to say the park desk setters should of had, for punishment, made to do the same studies they made their flunkies do.

    But these administrators knew their culpability just like they know it with the N. Fork death and they made sure Barry was comforted and hand held through all those surgeries. No law suit of course and administrators didn’t get transferred to the lowly Dept of Agriculture.

    So I use what I know what stategies the govt uses to predict what they are doing now in this present bear mortality case. Ta Da

    One of those young ens having to climb the trees is now dead by the way…killed by a bear in Alaska.

    • WM says:

      Bob Jackson,

      Good discussion of the issue on this forum back in Nov. 2008, including details of several griz studies and bear attacks on those original researchers. Indeed, the “facts” as recollected by several commenters are varied in regard to several bear incidents. I gather your second hand portrayal of what happened was enough for SAP, a couple of researchers and Barrie Gilbert himself to put things straight as to the “facts.”

      This was also followed up with a plea for an apology from you, as your version of the “facts” was a little different (maybe more than just a little) from those accounts by those who were actually there and involved in them. You did apologize, sort of, on that forum for your version of the “facts” and certain disparaging statements about one or more individuals about 6 months after the string went dead. Do I have that about right, Bob?

    • bob jackson says:

      You must not be a very happy man. Your attempt at finding “facts” is prejudiced by your need to read into something not there.

      My facts were always the same. My apology was to a man, whom I consider a good biologist, for sharing what he was still very sensitive about. SAP and others have no knowledge of what went on at the time of this mauling. What they have is “loyalty” to BG. Therefore the clamor to defend.

      Your prejudice is no different to getting to the “facts”. You want to believe others, whom you do not ask any proof of credibility.

      I, for once, considered baiting you on your response to me. It would have been so easy. But out of respect for a biologist who has been through a lot, I feel it is better to let this drop. You want to go at it some other time…when it is just you and me with words …and I will welcome the “game”.

      I have a lot of experience countering unhappy people and their actions I must say. The whole park was full of bitter, frustrated or passive aggressive employees. At every turn they tried to bring anyone who wasn’t, into the “fold”. Not that it was fun countering but I must say “they” never did get to me.

      P.S. You want to go on the proof of social order herds? You asked me for some, I waited awhile (could say baited), you repeated the request several times, I gave you some and offered more. No response. Did you really want to know or did you just think you “had me” before I finally gave it?

      Judging from your above vulture reply on the Gilbert situation I’d have to believe the latter. Show me through time it is different and I will bless you with a drop of sacred water on your kneeliing body and bowed head.

    • WM says:

      Now Bob,

      I had no desire to bait you. In fact I had no knowledge of Dr. Gilbert’s attack. Your cryptic references earlier in this thread are what piqued my interest. A couple of folks were kind enough to reference the earlier discussion from 11/08. I read it for the first time last night.

      If you read my post to you carefully, I don’t take sides so much as call out the fact that there are two versions which do not reconcile. I am no stranger to different versions of facts and what might motivate someone to tell their own version. I was not baiting you – honest.

      As for your herd theories, I am still an unwritten page and willing to learn. I need more than a few quotes from Col. Dodge for historical context and your own observations to prove up the theory. The more folks who tell the story consistently and in contemporary times, the sooner I will come into the fold.

      And, yeh, I am a pretty happy guy most of the time. I will be happier when I get a couple of backpack trips under my belt in a couple of weeks.

    • WM says:


      First paragraph – …no knowedge of the DISPUTED DETAILS of ….

      And I should say I am an even happier this morning, having just fired up my new MSR Reactor backpack stove for the first time, which means I can retire my thirty year old XGK expedition stove that I have used, mostly without problems for 30 years. We will give new technology a try, but I have reservations about cold weather and high altitiude use above 10,000 feet.

    • Barrie Gilbert says:

      On June 25 Bob Jackson said “then they (grizzly bears) circle and nail people…Barry in this case.”
      First I’d like to put to bed some inaccuracies (again) in this revisiting of a grizzly attack on me in Yellowstone back in June 1977. I especially bristled at Bob Jackson’s grouping me with the IGB Study Team that walked in on collared grizzlies by biologists that included the late Bart Schleyer. I think Bob referred to this as the Darwin Award group – a cute way of referring to what stupid behavior that terminally ends your Darwinian fitness. But he was right abut one thing: that Schleyer was kept up a tree after walking in on a grizzly late at night and it kept him up a tree for about 2 hours. This was bear #15 that had been captured many times and was known to be aggressive toward people. I had first-hand knowledge because I read Bart Schleyer’s MS thesis on the reaction of GBs to intrusion. My review was in the course of providing expert testimony in a lawsuit by the mother of a Wisconsin boat-builder who was killed by #15 in a Forest Service campground near West Yellowstone. Her lawsuit succeeded. But my point here is that I had nothing to do with the bear reaction work or #15. I was not even aware that it was ongoing. I had an observational study under way, not unlike the one that Yellowstone’s current bear management specialist started on Pelican Cone. Except the 9,000 ft. spur ridge that I chose had a sleeping grizzly on it. I DID NOT have a research plan that involved walking in on bears. Nor could I have as I did not have a receiver for tracking bears. But the bear that ran me down, tore off my scalp, face and ears requiring some 990 sutures sewn over 11 hours may have been a multi-captured bear as it was pretty damned angry. But who knows?

      Later I wrote a report under contract on the potential effects of capture on grizzlies. The current USFWS GB coordinator at first rejected the finished report, and then didn’t pay the contract amount and then all 10 copies that I submitted mysteriously disappeared. I found that out when I got a hush, hush tel. call from a guy in Washington with the GAO. He went looking for what the taxpayers’ $5K has produced: no copies were to be found anywhere. I sent him one. My study came to conclusions similar to Cadet et al.’s recent peer-reviewed paper that the evidence suggests a number of probable impacts from capture on bears. In fact he asked me to review his draft ms. before he submitted it. All this meant to me that the feds did not want their capturing to even hint at an effect. Complicates life, y’know? But if capturing makes bears angry, hate people, however you want to say it we need to know. With the current poor body condition of Yellowstone grizzlies and constant fall hunger a combination of changed behavior toward people and ravenous hunger may increase risks to people. A recent paper by the Interagency Research team documented 362 grizzlies captured between 1983-2003. Maybe it’s time to consider ending capture and collaring grizzly bears and turn toward improving their foods and security. With cutthroat trout and pine seeds almost gone there is trouble ahead.
      The news of a record high in grizzly bear mortality in the GYE seems to relate to bear attacks on humans. I have also been reading Ralph’s always useful and interesting comments and threads about how capture/transport of bears may influence bear behavior. Two nasty attacks have got a lot of media attention. Since bear-human conflicts and griz behavior is an area that I’ve specialized in, I thought I’d chime in, hopefully not rehashing old themes.
      Finally I apologize to all those who have had too much, already, of the Bob & Barrie Show.

  72. Nancy says:

    One name comes to mind in this debate about animals being evil – Cujo.

    How many of us sat on the edge of our seats watching that movie?

  73. pointswest says:

    I posted in the wrong spot so I am posting again:

    JB…I define “evil” as the following: Evil is something that only a human might do that jon or anyone of his millions of animal friends does not like.

    Seriously, I think it is not something even the greatest theologian or philosopher can define in a paragraph. Not even a mystic like jon could define it in a paragraph if at all. I do not believe it is simply a human construct. Such a notion leaves you open to relativism where, in the end, there is no good and there is no evil and life is meaningless.

    You might define evil as an uncontrollable outward hostility and characterized by inner turmoil but this is a description more than an explanation. I do believe animals can be evil and so do most other people. You hear terms such as, “that evil cat” or, “that evil horse” all the time. I also have many experiences with animals where the animal is simply mean and hostile to everyone and everything. If you do not call this evil, I do not know what you call it. There is little doubt in my mind that some wild animals are mean and hostile, but since no one may be familiar with a specific wild animal’s behavior, we never know if they are evil or not. Jane Goodall seemed to think some chimps were evil…but it took her years of study before she arrived at the conclusion. There is a lot of mystery in science as to the causes of antisocial personality disorder in humans. Some sociopaths seem to come from perfectly normal environments. I watched a documentary about a man who used to hang little boys upside down in his closet for weeks and repeatedly tortured and raped them before they finally died. I think he killed four or five before he himself was finally killed by the state. Even psychiatrists who treated him could not explain why he was so evil. He did not know himself and asked the judge to sentence him to death because, he said, he knew that he would torture and kill again.

    I believe that there is evil and that it is not a human construct.

    • JB says:


      Thanks for the reasoned response. You said, “…leaves you open to relativism where, in the end, there is no good and there is no evil and life is meaningless.”

      I don’t accept that a meaningless life necessarily follows from a lack of good evil (or from relativism, for that matter). In fact, I think that the terms “good” and “evil” are used to dichotomize entities (or their behavior) in such a way as to oversimplify them. I find that I derive much more “meaning” from trying to understand the subtleties–the “gray area”, if you will, in between good and evil. Moreover, as a proof against your general hypothesis, I believe in moral relativism yet manage to derive a great deal of meaning from life. 🙂

      I also found this statement odd: “I also have many experiences with animals where the animal is simply mean and hostile to everyone and everything. If you do not call this evil, I do not know what you call it.”

      Actually, I find the terms “mean” and “hostile” much more useful than the term “evil”, which, to me, connotes the supernatural. You might also use “cantankerous”, which, incidentally, could be used to describe a few of the regular posters here from time to time.

      Your example of a mean/hostile/cantankerous/cranky animals as evil, reminded me of my own experience with a very cranky dog that belonged to a friend of mine. This dog did not seem to like people, and especially disliked being touched, and often growled and barked at anyone that felt they could take that liberty. She could easily have been described as “mean” and/or “hostile”, though personally I would think using the term evil would’ve been a bit of hyperbole. Turns out, this dog had spinal stenosis–a narrowing of the spine that causes severe back pain and, in severe cases, paralysis. After learning of this condition, the owner, drove to Canada and spent $5K on a surgery to alleviate the dog’s pain. And the dog? Well, she has since become one of the nicest animals I’ve ever known.

      I bring up this example because I believe there often reasons why people and animals act in ways that are perceived by others as “evil”. In this case, knowing the source of the behavior drastically changed my interpretation of it. Rather than oversimplifying the actions of the animal and labeling them as “evil”, one can gain a better, deeper understanding of reality by probing a bit.

      – – – –

      To be honest, moral absolutism makes me very uneasy. We (human beings) have a long history of using such absolutism to justify actions that might otherwise be considered morally abhorrent and absolve ourselves from the responsibility thinking.

    • JB says:

      Sorry, should have said, “…from the responsibility OF thinking.”

  74. Nancy says:

    It wasn’t exactly a killing spree Jon. He never left his owner’s property but he did develop (as a result of the rabies) a need to be more than just your average “junkyard” dog.

  75. Nancy says:

    A definition of evil in Webster’s Dictionary: anything that causes harm, pain, etc. That pretty much would cover every living thing on the planet at some point IF they were not capable of understanding the definition of harm, pain.

    • jon says:

      I’d like to ask you all if you believe animals are capable of evil? I think not. I think evil/good is a human construct that some like to project onto animals. Nature is cold, unforgiving and sobering, but evil? No.

    • pointswest says:

      Exercise causes pain to joints and can harm muscle tissue, but I do not think exercise is evil. For something to be evil, I think hostility and intent need to be present.

  76. jon says:

    Animals are not capable of determining good or evil. They follow their instincts, the vast majority of which are those of survival. Animals are also lack a certain self-awareness, does a cat know it’s a cat? An animal will sometimes attack when it has been mis-treated, or cornered, or has a disease (rabies) or is protecting it’s young, but it is not evil. Only man has the capacity to do good and evil.

    • pointswest says:

      You could say the very same about humans.

      I also think you are wrong about hostility from animals always being instinctual or a result of being mistreated, or desease, or protecting their young. Some animals are mean and enjoy terrorizing, bullying, biting, intimidating, injuring and even killing anything they can.

      I don’t know what planet you have been living on but certainly not this one.

      Why did the Pitbull kill the woman at her doorstep in San Fancisco? This is the third time I have asked you this question jon.

    • jon says:

      Some animals are mean and enjoy terrorizing, bullying, biting, intimidating, injuring and even killing anything they can.

      And you have no evidence what so ever to back this claim up. All you are doing is assuming. I don’t know why the pitbull attacked. I wasn’t there. But I am sure it killed the lady because it was evil right pw?

    • jon says:

      What defines the human animal, other than appearance and genetic make-up. Is it the ability to differentiate and articulate right and wrong, good and evil.

      Can pitbulls do this pw? God dam those evil animals!

    • jon says:

      I will end it here as going on and on with you is a waste of time. I am not going to continue to argue with some kid who thinks animals are evil and that they commit evil acts. Most animal attacks on people can be easily explained. It has nothing what so ever to do with the animal being evil. Animals are not evil nor do they commit evil acts. Animals kill to survive plain and simple.

  77. Nancy says:

    Jon, the definition of evil (in Websters) is a human definition. Like humans, I think many things can go wrong in an animal’s life to earn them the label of evil but its usually placed there because of that human definition.

    I have a 7 year old, couch potato of a dog, she loves people but goes on the fight with other dogs (male or female) she was a stray early in her life and then a pound dog for awhile. I can only imagine, but will never know, why she is so aggressive.

    • jon says:

      That can be easily explained Nancy. Dogs are territorial. My dog barks at any dog that walks by. When other dogs run into him outside, it is usually the other dog that is aggressive while mine remains calm. I really don’t think there is any logic at all for someone to claim that animals are evil and that they commit evil acts. Dogs are aggressive for their own reasons. Animals kill to survive. We humans kill for all of the wrong reasons. If there is any species that is evil, it is definitely us. Killing to survive which is what most animals do makes them incapable of doing evil in my book.

    • Who gets to judge (logically speaking) whether an animals is evil? Humans? Or does the judgment depend on what animals of the same species think? For example, is an evil chimp one that other chimps think is evil (I know they don’t have the word, but they might have the feeling that another chimp is evil).

    • pointswest says:

      With talk like that, philosophers will accuse you of being a reletivist. Reletivism is regarded as the gutter philosphy because once you argue that evil is only reletive to the to the individual (or individual species in this case), it is pretty easy to argue that there is no good and evil in the world…that evil is only a construct by the beholder.

      So to a sociopath that slowly boils kittens for the funny sound they make, it may be PETA that is evil. Most philosophers believe that once it is shown that your arguments are reletivist, you have lost the debate.

  78. pointswest says:

    jon…what is it that is so magical about we humans that only we are capable of evil. Don’t say it is because we have powers of reason because it has been scientifically proven that other species also reason. Chimpanzees, for example, have minds very similar to a four or five year old human.

    What is your explanation jon. The audience is listening.

  79. WM says:

    Not to spread misinformation, but I just saw a story on the mauling which includes information from the widow of Erwin Evert.,park-ridge-man-killed-by-grizzly-bear-062410.article

    There are conflicting views whether he knew there was trapping or a general warning of dangerous bears nearby. Read the article for yourself. Mrs. Evert had talked with the bear researchers when her husband failed to return home at a pre-appointed time for dinner. The word “road” is used in the article and the time referenced is very short. Here are the words that keyed me in.

    ++About that time, Yolanda Evert said saw two men on horseback that she knew were somehow connected to the bear research.

    She asked them if they’d seen her husband and that he was missing.

    The men on horseback said very little, but one of them, “turned that horse around and whipped up that road like a flash.”

    About 15 minutes later, the horseman who’d galloped away, returned.

    “He came down, and I said, ‘Did you you find him? Did you find him?'” Yolanda Evert recalled. “He said, ‘I found him. He’s gone.” And then he put his head down and got off his horse. I almost fell apart.” ++

    Maybe fifteen minutes total for a round trip and to investigate what was found at the terminal point. That would not allow for much distance, even done on a galloping horse.

  80. bob jackson says:

    Thank you WM,

    In the article Chuck says “closed” signs are standard procedures. Not so. Warning signs are put out on many public areas. The reason for “warning” instead of “closed’….the public and local public officials do not like any kind of road or trail CLOSED. To put out “closed” means there probably wouldn’t be trapping allowed because of public backlash. Thus the compromise with warning signs….. signs stating very harsh warnings…such as dangerous bear…. and yellow flagging.

    Then of course there is real backcountry trapping (as compared to trapping close to civilization) …where no signs are put out…on purpose…so curiosity seekers won’t disturb the snares and area while the researchers are gone. I never saw a bear cubby with any warning signs…and the one near my cabin in Thorofare (Bridger – Teton wilderness) was within a quarter mile of the main thorofare trail… just a meadow length’s away from that trail.

    I found it by tracking the trappers. They wouldn’t tell me, the Thorofare Ranger who needed to know because I needed that info in case anyone was going in that area. But every glassing guide and outfitter had seen it from higher up.
    Whoopty Do.

    So what is the answer? The trappers should have been staying….and HAVE to start staying in close proximity to those snares…camping out instead of staying in the cabins miles away. And no once a day checking snares. Even if for humane reasons twice a day should have been done. Even when my brothers and I ran fur bearing trap lines in high school we checked twice a day if there were any hard ground leg hold traps. To think that snares on bears should be allowed for up to 24 hours is dark ages biology.

    And as for bear warnings as compared to trail closures, the bear biologist administrators need to have some more meetings with local leaders. Bear administrators never should have capitulated to the compromise of trapping if only warnings were allowed. The bear boys know the risks, the locals don’t. If there isn’t time to educate local administrators deciding if “closed” or “warnings” are appropriate then there shouldn’t be trapping. The adverse PR that came out of this tragedy will set back legitimate research by years.

    • SEAK Mossback says:

      As far as frequency of checking and leaving bears too long, they seem to have that figured out here with attached transmitters that go off when the snare trips. Some wildlife guys stayed at our headwaters camp and would turn on their receiver before coffee to find out how many bears they had and where. The main problem seemed to be if they had three or more it would take a fair amount of the day just to process them all.

    • Elk275 says:

      ++The main problem seemed to be if they had three or more it would take a fair amount of the day just to process them all.++

      It sounds like the county jail dealing with the local miscreants.

    • SEAK Mossback says:

      Well, a few of them are definitely miscreants, but I’ll be glad when they’re all back to normal without their little St. Bernard rescue packets under their chins. The collars have apparently dropped off as planned (time release) from most of the 45 or so they collared in the valley, but the releases on about 6 have malfunctioned so they’re going to have to track those down.

    • bob jackson says:


      And besides transmitters some trappers have video cameras that activate. Thus if they are only going for females…and thus need to know if cubs are in the area..or a cub is in the culvert…they have this info BEFORE entering the area.

      Of greater concern when it comes to the public…which is important in discussing a fatality such as this one …is the needed continual presence of humans (trappers and researchers) in the area to take care of the wandering and curious public.

      The bear trappers in my area some years ago killed a mule and had it flown in to my remote area. Then they immediately set up the snares for bear. No luck. All the outfitters who saw the slinging…and knew what it was for by deductive reasoning….waited till the unsuccessful trappers left a week later ….and then took summer dudes to this location to see lots of bear happenings. Then when the trappers came back next shift the bait was all gone. And again they were unsuccessful in trapping. Lot of sign but no bear.

      The trappers logic had been to put the carcass well away from people. But the high alpine area also was not a bear thorofare…thus no bears came by till the odors were ripe enough. The outfitters, on the other hand, knew from past bear hunting any bait shot for bear in those kind of locations needed time.

      Thus one had a situation where the trappers thought they were secretive and remote when they weren’t (everyone knew in the whole Bridger Lake area and there were hundreds of horse riders going to bear mecca that week of biologist absence…. and the trappers were too professional to ask former bear hunters how to best use carcasses.

      All this translated into a bad mix for the bears and the public. Some of the stories going around the camp fire told of close calls with those bears. Bears day bedding in brush after they got their fill…and being suprised by horse parties close up…and then horses running all over the mountains. All this a real thrill for campfires but all very dangerous for all the species involved.

      I repeat all this because Mr. Everts fatality was probably no different in reason for happening than any number of curious public doing what they did on Two Ocean Plateau.

    • SEAK Mossback says:

      It’s not an occupation I would want. The main get-it-done guy for a wide variety of species who did some work out of our camp has done close to 900 bear captures since the mid-1970s, all in Southeast. He said two of the bears they collared practically a stone’s throw from our camp on one trip were the largest and third largest he’s ever handled, based on external measurements. He figured the largest weighed about 1,200 lbs., which occurs on Kodiak and the Peninsula in the fall but seemed preposterous in Southeast . . . . . but they were very big boys, probably packing at least an extra 150-200 lbs. in early November.

      Anyway, he can control a lot of variables pretty well but it just seems like there are an awful lot of ways things can go wrong – particularly with sows and cubs. My assistant went along with them on one check when they could hear a cub that somehow got caught even with a lock (they had no remote video like you describe to check the scene). He was following in the rear as they crept single file very nervously from downwind from the most open direction, peering across the river, when for some reason he looked directly behind and noticed the alders waving back and forth in a rapidly advancing fashion. The sow (already with a collar with the other cub in tow) came raging up and he (already feeling remorse for shooting) held off until she was 15 feet away (normally they’re in shooting territory crossing 25) when she suddenly wheeled around and departed. The other guys said they couldn’t believe he didn’t shoot but he maintained just barely enough optimism about remaining intact (knowing there were two armed guys behind him) to concede a few extra feet. They managed to get the cub out without a further visit and it was spotted later with the sow, but it was very close to 3 dead bears.

  81. STG says:

    There are a number of issues being raised in this discussion; all worthy of thought:
    -Individual responsibility while hiking in Grizzly habitat: carry bear spray, make noise and be willing to assume risk even if that means the risk of death. No one can predict animal behavior in all situations. There may be patterns, but animals also vary as individuals. Don’t be complacent when in the woods!

    -FWS responsibilty: Follow a strict protocol for animal and public safety. Close areas of bear activity. People can hike and play somewhere else. Be prompt in notifiying the public.

    *The man who lost his life and the FWS dropped the ball. Major mistakes, poor decisions and erroneous asumptions were made about the safety of the area and the behavior of the bear with tragic consequences.

    -Ethical and philosphical issues about the welfare of animals and their relationship to humans: Do animals have a right to exist in their environments with minimal human intervention? Are they unique creatures or are they just “experimental populations” to be collared, managed, drugged, and studied? Can humans manage wildlife effectively, or is nature really in charge?


June 2010


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey