My 2nd Montana walkabout Pt 2 , whitetail’s revisited and a Grizzly encounter!!

LuketheDog

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After last Thursday’s hike and seeing all the elk down in the flat in those meadows below the mountain. I did some map looking and figured out a way to get up in there and wanted to hike in on the right side of those Meadows and hike through the timber today to get in there.

My general avenue of approach I choose
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I Get to my park point , gear up feeling good , weather is going to be great , I’m excited for the day and what discoveries I might have, and all the thoughts that you normally have before a nice hike in the country.

I Look at my ONX pick a travel route and off I go and make for what appears to be an old road on my satellite map.

I find it and it’s not much more than a trail now it’s so old. I start to descend slightly in elevation. The forest is somewhat open , it’s just beautiful. I stop as off to my left I hear a noise not loud but gentle brush/tree noise. It sounds high up like a squirrel or a bird in a tree messing around , back in Oregon it was common for squirrels to be up in pine trees and they break off pinecones out of the branches and then drop them to the ground and you’d hear them hitting the trees and that was the only thing I could associate it with in my memory of forest noises.

I continue to slightly walk downhill and the trail kind of goes in a horseshoe to the left as I come out into the open sunlight and a tiny small meadow, less than 100 yards long 40 to 50 yards wide give or take, with a small 12-14 inch wide little stream running the edge to my right. I stop and just look across the meadow for a deer or animals or anything just it’s beautiful take a moment and then continue on the trail step across the stream and slightly go uphill over a little knob and then directly to my left I hear some scratching and clawing sound my head pops left and I see a small animal going up the tree directly on the other side of the meadow from me less than 50 yards maybe 40 not sure.

It was moving somewhat quickly I thought os that a porcupine or possibly a raccoon ?? at first the tree branches were shading it a little bit it wasn’t that big and as I quickly reach for my binoculars to try to figure out what the animal is animal , it stops and the second it stoped moving , in an instant I realized it’s a bear cub !!!!! An instant adrenaline rush hit me , along with fear and are you freaking kidding me in disbelief is shooting through me , I was halfway to opening my Bino case and the second I realized it was a bear cub , my right hand dropped and I had my pistol out , my head on a swivel turning from side to side knowing that I was in real jeopardy having that bear cub just within 40 yards of me and I cannot see the mother and I don’t know how far away she is or in what direction.

Then I see her standing up on 2 feet in the shadows of the tree looking at me within feet of the tree the cub just went up and as she comes into clear focus, we look each other in the eyes she spun and dropped on all fours and disappeared straight away from me.

I instantly break hard right going diagonal and uphill into the timber the opposite way , the timber instantly is pretty open and I can see for about 100 yards in every direction, i’m constantly looking and listening I don’t see and hear anything but I’m steady moving away knowing that I need to get up Hill and then I have to hook right to get to my truck which was behind the Bears original position.

I’m on contour with my truck now and Im within 50 yards give or take of the tailgate and the last part of the woods right before my truck is a little Brushy and then all of a sudden I hear brush crashing off to my right and I’m like crap that freaking Bear never stopped and she was coming right towards my truck and I bumped her again I just kept going and looking back with my pistol pointed towards the noise but I’m thinking that she hooked and went back downhill there was some guys who are breaking down their camp just 70-80 yards down the road and I yelled to them grizzly with a cub somewhere behind your camp I just spooked her and they instantly started blowing an air horn . Got to my truck through the pack in my day of hiking in that area was over.

I chatted with the guys who were breaking down their camp and then drove out of there to find a place to park to collect my thoughts and catch my breath, And wouldn’t you know it where I parked a week ago last Thursday there was two whitetails practically standing in my park point.
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The deer were 66 yds from me , I turned off my truck and watched them walk down the road and into the brush. So I drove up around him and got on the other road system and decided it’s still early in the day and I wanna to least get some exercise in and so I parked. And that’s when I realized that I had a decent side ache on my right side just above the belt and slow my ribs that was sore and I had a lot of phlegm and mucus in my throat and if I took a deep breath I would cough , and I realize that I got out of those woods a whole lot faster than I realized and I drank a bottle of water and just rested for a while until then the pain went away then I ended up going for a small hike across the meadow in that creek bottom where the whitetails went

The meadow and creek bottom I played around in View attachment 225407 View attachment 225408 View attachment 225409

On the way home I called Hunttalk member JCS and told him about my bear 🐻 encounter, to which he replied, sounds like an exciting hike you probably need a beer ! And I did.
So I stopped at the quick store in town and as I was purchasing my beer I turned around and there on the counter they had coasters for sale , one just happen to be a grizzly so, I couldn’t resist purchasing it as a Souvenir of my 1st Montana GRIZZ encounter.
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On a sidenote to the story on my way out I encountered some local ranchers who live in the area and I had told them what had happened and he goes was the cub about yeah big and I said yeah it was that big and he goes yeah she’s a younger juvenile Bear that’s lived in the area going on two years, Apparently they’d seen her earlier this year not that long ago I just saw her a whole lot closer than I ever wanted to. The whole thing happened in an instant even though it felt a lot longer . from the moment I saw the animal going up the tree, realized it was a bear cub pulled out my pistol found the mother and when she dropped and turned was a matter of seconds and the whole thing was over and we were going different directions, But also knowing that in that instant before I seen her she could’ve just straight charged me and would’ve almost been on me before I even knew she was there and it could have went down a whole lot different, But I’m still going back next Thursday and try that hike again .

Hanging in the garage and enjoying a beer with MONTANA MOUNTAIN MAN and Hunttalk member JCS , talking bears and other outdoor experiences, I can laugh about it now .
View attachment 225412

Pics of the bears or it didn't happen, video is even better. ;)

Had my first Moose Drool the day I saw my first griz, June 2003 in Yellowstone. It's good beer.
 

MT Rookie aka OR Chris

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Congrats on finding the bachelor group!

Make sure you pour some in a glass and enjoy the ironic feeling of a beer that looks like that tasting like that.

Now for a more mature beast to notch a tag on, if you have a bottle shop close by you may be able to find some of that beer in bottles after having been aged in barrels. And if you can't find it I happen to have a case of them from 2 years ago aging in my basement.

Sounds like we need to get together for a beer in your man cave !
 

MT Rookie aka OR Chris

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Yknow, funny how different ppl process different situations. Knowing what you now know, Im confident your woodsmanship has graduated to another level. You situation certainly could have taken a totally different turn, yet it didnt....we all wonder what saves our asses when those situations occur....Im sitting here shaking my head hoping I too have your luck AND composure should Ursus arctos horribilis makes an unexpected appearance in my western wanderings.

After reading this now that i’m 4 days past the event, yesterday I started asking what did I learn from this. And 2 things are clear to me going forward.

1. I’m not making enough noise when I hike . To alert bears to my walking in their turf , and allow them time to avoid me , back in Oregon we didn’t have bears so we generally walked quiet all the time so we can see animals or listen for elk close by they make a lot noise. On this hike I wasn’t going stealth mode like I was hunting and I knew I was going into Bear country but will be developing a new style going forward.

2. When in bear country and you hear a noise close by of an animal doing something even though it didn’t sound bear like , i thought it was some other than a bear , IF YOU CANT SEE IT AND IDENTIFY WHAT IT IS , ASSUME IT POSSIBLY IS A PREDATOR AND MAKE NOISE, had I done that I’m sure she would have cleared out before I got down the hill and around the bend into the meadow.

These are the 2 things that stand out the most in my mind. That could help lessen the percentages of a bear encounter.
 

KB_

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Bozemen, Montana
My one an only close encounter ended with me shaking like a willow in a tornado.

On my way out of the Absorkee Wilderness this effin thing stands up on its hind legs, Bluff charged and peeled off another direction about 20 yards away from me. I didnt even have a chance lol.

I went home and took a couple shoots of titos, Gotta watch those calories ya know.
 

MT Rookie aka OR Chris

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My one an only close encounter ended with me shaking like a willow in a tornado.

On my way out of the Absorkee Wilderness this effin thing stands up on its hind legs, Bluff charged and peeled off another direction about 20 yards away from me. I didnt even have a chance lol.

I went home and took a couple shoots of titos, Gotta watch those calories ya know.

I was 169/170 before that hike I went maybe 300yds , Then afterwords when I went lower and kind a messed around down by the creek checking out where those whitetails went into I didn’t even hike mile and the next morning I weighed 166 pounds funny what stress will do to the body. I’m 168 today

Your experience sounds worse than mine !
 

KB_

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I was 169/170 before that hike I went maybe 300yds , Then afterwords when I went lower and kind a messed around down by the creek checking out where those whitetails went into I didn’t even hike mile and the next morning I weighed 166 pounds funny what stress will do to the body. I’m 168 today

Your experience sounds worse than mine !

Idk dude if I ran into a sow with a cub, I'm really questioning my life choices.
 

MT Rookie aka OR Chris

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Idk dude if I ran into a sow with a cub, I'm really questioning my life choices.

How so ? Wild animals are everywhere, there was a cougar walking around in peoples back yards in downtown Billings 2 weeks ago , does that mean all those people made a bad life choice living in the biggest city in Montana?

I’ll take my chances in the woods any day over meth head tweakers and criminals in the city , people are way more dangerous and unpredictable IMO

Not to mention Wolves , black bears , cougars, rattle snakes and the weather in Montana can kill you , just where is it safe ? All life is risk .

And I’ll add one more thing , I don’t know what the static’s are but I’m willing to bet more people die hiking a year in non bear inhabited area’s in freak accidents like tripping over a root and cracking there dome on a rock than grizzly kill hikers and or hunters .
 
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KB_

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How so ? Wild animals are everywhere, there was a cougar walking around in peoples back yards in downtown Billings 2 weeks ago , does that mean all those people made a bad life choice living in the biggest city in Montana?

I’ll take my chances in the woods any day over meth head tweakers and criminals in the city , people are way more dangerous and unpredictable IMO

Not to mention Wolves , black bears , cougars, rattle snakes and the weather in Montana can kill you , just where is it safe ? All life is risk .

And I’ll add one more thing , I don’t know what the static’s are but I’m willing to bet more people die hiking a year in non bear inhabited area’s in freak accidents like tripping over a root and cracking there dome on a rock than grizzly kill hikers and or hunters .
No what I meant is, I think your situation might have been scarier. I suppose I should of been more clear.
 

Stocker

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I always think I’d be just fine during a close encounter with a Grizzly…….. then things like this morning happen. I took off for my morning run in the pitch black at 3:30 and about a half mile in a WT doe blew about 20 yards from me. Almost had a heart attack and this is an animal with 0 confirmed human attacks that result in a fatality (other than cars)
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MT Rookie aka OR Chris

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I’ve been freaked out a few times hiking in somewhere with a headlamp on in the dark and there’s a doe on the side of the Logging Road that blows you’re not the only one , And then it takes a second to figure it out
 
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