Caribou Gear

Questions about Grizzly behavior.

MaxPower

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Jan 26, 2013
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I went to the classroom portion of hunter education tonight with my son, and heard the instructor tell us all two things about grizzly behavior I'd never heard. Quite honestly I have a hard time believing them.

1. He was talking about bear safety/survival, and while talking about bear attacks he mentioned that grizzlies don't live off meat but off maggots. To his credit he was talking about playing dead/interlocking fingers behind your neck etc (all true), and said the grizzly wants to get to your belly/vitals and tear them up. Apparently then it can bury you and come back in three days to feast on your maggot-filled corpse. I know grizzly bears cache their food (like Tim Treadwell), but I was under the impression that it's done to preserve what they can't immediately eat - ie, eat until full then cache what's left for later. While I don't doubt that grizzlies eat maggots, I have a hard time believing they intentionally bury any kill just to wait for maggots to infest it before eating.

2. He said grizzly bears can climb trees, but can't get past branches because of how their feet are structured. He said to look for a video on YT of a grizzly chasing a black bear up a tree to a height of over 70 feet then not being able to go any higher because the branches start and act as a barrier. I know grizzly and black bear claws differ and that the latter are incredible climbers, but I can't find a video of what he's referring to. Frankly I think he's thinking of this video and mistaking the blonde sow black bear for a grizzly.


Interestingly, while searching I found this clip of a grizzly climbing (past branches) to a really impressive height.


Thoughts?
 

PablitoPescador

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I’ve always had the belief that conflicts between grizzlies and people happen when a bear fears cornered, threatened or that its cubs are in danger and it is simply acting in self-defense. As far as I’m concerned they don’t see us as a food source but maybe they let Mother Nature turn us into a food source instead?? Curious to hear where he got his his human maggot cache story 😂
 

OntarioHunter

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He's full of shit on all counts, especially the maggot business. I don't know who is in charge of hunter safety there but you need to contact them. A bullshitter is NOT someone who should be teaching gun safety. No telling what goes on in that class on a regular basis if you observed a truckload of crap like that during one visit.

Pablito: Grizzly, and surprisingly more often black bears, do kill people to eat them. If you observe a bear stalking you, get ready to do battle and fight for your life. Rolling over and playing dead will just make lunch easier for him. The exception might be sub-adult grizzlies. They have just been kicked out by mom and are often simply trying to figure things out. I have confronted several that were hanging about too close and run them off. In Alaska I was stalked by a large chocolate grizz. Got back to the boat just in time as he charged on the beach. It was at the end of first sockeye run and he was in very bad shape. Not an old bear but an adult and too thin. Parasites were probably eating him up. I was alone and about fifteen miles from camp. It was in the national park before guns were allowed (as a ranger I couldn't carry one now anyway). I had bear spray but fortunately got away without having to deploy it. Really pissed me off to drive all the way up there to fish the creek and then get run off in less than forty minutes.
 
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Gerald Martin

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My suggestion is to attend the next session of that class while wearing hip waders....

It is true that grizzlies don’t generally climb trees. However, if tree climbing is being advocated as a good strategy for escaping a bear attack.... someone is a lot faster climber than me. If a bear is charging no one is getting up a tree before it gets them.
I know Ed Wiseman got up a tree, but the bear did too.
 

Hunting Wife

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Griz, and any bear for that matter, will eat anything edible. They will certainly eat maggots and any other grubs they encounter but the purpose of caching is not because of maggots. It’s to further exploit whatever that food resource is. They will not pass up eating the carcass to wait for maggots to appear. That seems like a rather ridiculous idea.

Also there are many, many observations of griz climbing trees. I don’t think they are as comfortable climbing as black bears, but they can and will if they want up there bad enough.
 

kwyeewyk

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Agree, BS on the maggots, they probably like them just fine, but they will gorge themselves before burying what they can't stuff down their gullet on the first feeding. Snagging bear hair for research we would try to minimize the reward from the bait, we were experimenting with pouring the bait on a rotten stump thinking it would be like a sponge and soak it up so they couldn't eat the bait--came back and a black bear had eaten the entire rotten stump, and there were scat piles of rotten wood all around. Like Hunting Wife said, they'll eat anything they can swallow.
 

JMG

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Too bad this guy is telling young impressionable youth these things about bears. They might repeat this mis-information and get others to think this is what bears do or don’t do.
 

OntarioHunter

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Want to see balls of steel? I was crapping my pants and I was watching on a phone!
That's the sub adult behaviour I told you about above. There was nothing to be really afraid of. The poor bugger just lost mom and was lonely. Trying to figure out where his/her place is in the world. The guide did exactly what I did when I had to handle visitors and young bears in these situations. We had eighty grizzlies/browns at Brooks Camp that year, so yes the situation came up more than once. I guess my balls were diamond hard ... I didn't have a big shiny revolver to wave around when chasing these nuisances away. The guide is obviously putting on a show and he knows it ... visitors and Youtube viewers do not. However, I do applaud his choice of handgun. No automatic for me in bear country. Too much mechanical means too many opportunities to fail when needed. Double action big bore is pretty much failproof. I guarantee you if that bear had been a full grown specimen truly acting belligerent at that range the show would not have taken place. That guy would have insisted everyone stay tight in the group, and enforced that order literally on pain of death (I would not hesitate to be menacing to visitors = have gun in hand). Very, very important. The visitors need to be focused on me not the bear. Best to be at least as afraid of me as the bear. Adult griz will bluff charge a group but there is, last I knew anyway, no record of one following through with an attack on a group. Therefore DO NOT panic and scatter!!! Second, he would have the visitors backing away, facing the bear but not looking at it. And third, there would be no shouting/lunging confrontation with an adult bear. That was the showmanship in this performance.

In this instance the guide knew the bear was not menacing because of its size and because of its behaviour. No head wagging or jaw snapping. As often as not that behaviour precludes a charge ... which more often than not is a bluff charge. And with groups it's always going to be a bluff charge.

Edit: I should explain that there really would be no point in employing adult bear protocol with this youngster. It would just keep following the group and unnerving the visitors more. More likely to lose control of them. The guide did the right thing to stand his ground and push it off.

Edit the edit: What the guide did wrong was not explaining why he was doing what he was doing with this subadult and failing to warn visitors against amateur bear assessment. Follow adult bear protocol first - i.e. back off facing bear. Just don't expect it to work with youngsters. It probably won't. Then Plan B - stand your ground. I am presuming the group needed to get to the beach, presumably where the plane was, so retreat was not an option. Or not the best one. I would hope all this was explained to the visitors and simply not included in video clip.
 
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Panda Bear

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Apr 23, 2019
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With all due respect, someone needs to educate the instructor, before he gets people killed. And I am serious. He is giving people incorrect information that could get them killed or injured. You need to print out this thread and give it to whoever he works for, so that it isn't just your word against his. I get very verbal and agitated when misleading information is given to visitors regarding brown, black or white bear's.

I am at this point simply echoing what others have already told you, but in case you take my advise and print out this thread. I live with all three 24/7 and he is wrong. Grizzles can and will climb a tree. They also will kill you and eat you whether you are on your back or stomach. I can only echo what Hunting Wife has said about waiting to eat the meat until maggots have infested the body. "Ridiculous"

One last point. If you lay face down do you think the bear is strong enough to turn you over if he wants to ?
 

Salmonchaser

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Nov 12, 2019
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He's full of shit on all counts, especially the maggot business. I don't know who is in charge of hunter safety there but you need to contact them. A bullshitter is NOT someone who should be teaching gun safety. No telling what goes on in that class on a regular basis if you observed a truckload of crap like that during one visit.

Pablito: Grizzly, and surprisingly more often black bears, do kill people to eat them. If you observe a bear stalking you, get ready to do battle and fight for your life. Rolling over and playing dead will just make lunch easier for him. The exception might be sub-adult grizzlies. They have just been kicked out by mom and are often simply trying to figure things out. I have confronted several that were hanging about too close and run them off. In Alaska I was stalked by a large chocolate grizz. Got back to the boat just in time as he charged on the beach. It was at the end of first sockeye run and he was in very bad shape. Not an old bear but an adult and too thin. Parasites were probably eating him up. I was alone and about fifteen miles from camp. It was in the national park before guns were allowed (as a ranger I couldn't carry one now anyway). I had bear spray but fortunately got away without having to deploy it. Really pissed me off to drive all the way up there to fish the creek and then get run off in less than forty minutes.
Was it Margo creek? Home of misfit bears!
 
Yeti

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