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Seriously...bears!

Detroit, Michigan
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2,233 posts
11 reviews
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Seriously...bears!

So, I figured there would be bears, but as novice outdoorsy travellers, I am beginning to worry a little. Wanted to do some light hikes and take in the flora and fauna, but for end of July, what would bear activity be like and where?

buffalo
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1. Re: Seriously...bears!

I hike all over the Park and many times solo and early in the morning (which is the worst possible scenario)....I have seen grizzlies within 30-50 yards of me twice, both times solo....they didn't charge, it is not their natural inclination....I had my bear spray ready in case they did....

Remember, I am talking about worst possible situation....many never see a bear in the Park....if you are hiking with a few people and making noise the chances of having a close encounter with a bear are very low....

Only 9 people have been killed by bears in the Park in over 100 years of operation with over 70 million visitors/hikers...in other words, you are more likely to be killed by driving 50 miles at night or being struck by lightning than being killed by a bear at Glacier....

Never the less, a $45 insurance policy is something well worth considering...

Edited: 06 July 2011, 02:37
Detroit, Michigan
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2,233 posts
11 reviews
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2. Re: Seriously...bears!

Well, although it makes perfect sense and it is not out of the ordinary, I guess I had never given that any thought.

Montana
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23 posts
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3. Re: Seriously...bears!

Toddnick sums it up very well. Chances of a bear encounter (especially a bad bear encounter) are slim, but be prepared and take bear spray. Remember, bear spray is not the same as mugger type sprays. Get the real thing. Also, make sure you know how to use it quickly and correctly.

It is also a good thing to have in case you have an encounter with other sometimes aggressive wildlife such as cougar and moose.

Woodbury, Minnesota
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420 posts
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4. Re: Seriously...bears!

I believe bears are less likely to approach larger groups of people, so you could also take Ranger-led hikes, which tend to draw fairly large groups. Read up on the GNP newspaper about bears so that you are familiar with the signs, what to do, talk or make noises to alert the bears you're in their neighborhood, etc. Also try to avoid using fragrant deodorant, perfumes, cologne, soaps and lotions as the scents could attract bears. Try to keep the huckleberry juice off yourself!!!

Mahtomedi, Minnesota
Destination Expert
for Glacier National Park
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5. Re: Seriously...bears!

a good inexpensive book about what to do in case of a bear encounter is Hiking With Grizzlies, Lesson Learned by Tim Rubbert. I saw him on a local travel show and bought his book. It's an easy read about a guy who gave up a corporate law career to hike and observe grizzlies and what he learned about how to a void bears and what to do if you do have an encounter. Whatever you do do not run or you will end up like the guy in Yellowstone last week.

Edited: 11 July 2011, 02:42
Lansing, MI
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89 posts
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6. Re: Seriously...bears!

Was just in the park and the bear spray really gives you peace of mind. Saw two black bears while driving but none hiking although, at the Josephine Lake landing, we heard the first-hand account of a family that ran into three bears (just 15 minutes earlier) on the Grinnell Glacier trail just above Josephine Lake. They ran and the bears trotted at them but then left them alone. Got a good demonstration at the St. Mary's Visitors Center from a ranger on how to use the bear spray. He even had a can of it with inert spray and let us try using it.

Mahtomedi, Minnesota
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for Glacier National Park
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7. Re: Seriously...bears!

Again, running from a bear is a BIG NO NO. I would consider the family that ran into the 3 bears on Grinnell Glacier trail extremely lucky. Bears (and dogs) intuitively chase anything running from them. One or more of them could have ended up like the man who was killed in Yellowstone. As far as I can tell from his wifes account, they ran....and they did not have bear spray. I talk to alot of people who think bear spray is a waste of money. But if you have enough money to vacation in bear country, there is no excuse. That man could very well be alive today if he had it. Usually, Ranger stations have a supply of spray left by travelers who fly (you can't bring it on a plane due to it's toxicity) that you can borrow. And keep it handy-in a holster attatched to to your belt or front strap on your pack. It will do you no good in your pack.

Lansing, MI
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89 posts
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8. Re: Seriously...bears!

I believe the Grinnell Glacier family I talked to spotted the bears around a corner and fled, thinking the bears hadn't seen them but apparently they had. We ended up giving our spray to another family we met on the last day...though they graciously gave us a few bucks for it.

Mahtomedi, Minnesota
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for Glacier National Park
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9. Re: Seriously...bears!

We also need to keep in mind that bears can smell you a long time before they see you or you see them.

Colorado
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176 posts
88 reviews
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10. Re: Seriously...bears!

If the rangers don't have spray to borrow, where would you purchase it? We fly into Kalispell and rent a car. Thanks.