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Grizzlies attracted to hunters, study says

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Mar 4, 2001
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Grizzlies attracted to hunters, study says


BOZEMAN, Mont. — A new study suggests hunters attract grizzlies,but mountain lions and elk tend to leave areas that attract hunters.
Wolves did not seem to change their habits.

A group of carnivore researchers monitored radio-collared grizzlies, wolves and cougars in the Yellowstone National Park´s northern range and in the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness Area, just north of Yellowstone, to determine how the predators react to the presence of hunters.

“Grizzly bears shifted north of the boundary once hunting began,” the researchers determined from looking at a small sampling of bears.

Cougars, however, tended to leave the wilderness and head for the park once large numbers of hunters arrived, possibly following elk herds that also headed south.

“Our findings for grizzly bears were not unexpected,” the study´s authors wrote.

The scientists included representatives of the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Montana State University and the private research groups Wildlife Conservation Society and Beringia South.

The 10 scientists cited previous studies showing hunters leave behind as much as 500 tons of guts, bones and discarded meat every year in the greater Yellowstone area.

That much food is a big motivator for grizzly bears, especially because hunting season coincides with the hyperphagia, a sort of feeding frenzy that grizzly bears enter before they take to their dens to hibernate.

Hunting-related grizzly bear deaths increased in the Yellowstone area during the 1990s, and nearly half the increase came during early season hunts in September, the researchers said.

The situation, he added, “may be exacerbated by an increasing and expanding grizzly bear population.”

There are as many as 70 hunting camps in the area when the season opens, and they act as magnets for grizzlies.

Their movements to hunting zones “were correlated with the opening of hunting season,” the study says.

More than half of all grizzly deaths and human injuries occur during big-game hunting seasons, based on statistics compiled by the state fish and game agency, state bear specialist Kevin Frey said.
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>hunters leave behind as much as 500 tons of guts, bones and discarded meat <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Wow! What does the average carcass probably weigh from an elk?
When I hunted in Island Park last year for elk, I packed my 45 Colt just for "insurance" purposes if you know what I mean. There were times when walking through some dark timber we'd find huge rocks and big stumps tore apart by scavenging
bears. Made the hair on my neck stand up - very eerie!! Although I never saw any grizz or black bears there, we knew that they were around.
I thought that bears hybernate in the winter? Or is that just up north more where is gets really cold?
That is interesting that hunter's leave behind that much from an elk. I didn't think that it was that much at all. I thought that mayeb it was somewhere around 250 pounds per elk.
Quick Draw
If you read the Montana hunting regs it tells you that the grizzlies have trained themselves to follow gunshots as it leads them to gut piles and carcases
Pay attention in grizz country and grow some eyes in the back of your head

Happy trails

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