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Bears and Other Predators Invade U.S. Neighborhoods
Popular Mechanics ^ | July 2009 | Erin McCarthy

Posted on 06/18/2009 8:42:07 AM PDT by jazusamo

As once-threatened animal populations including black bears, mountain lions and alligators rebound and people move into former wildlands, predators are showing up precisely where they don't belong: in backyards. And the wildlife isn't as afraid of us as we might think. Welcome to the food chain.

It was the perfect ending to a perfect afternoon. Gary Mann and his girlfriend Helen were watching the sun go down after a satisfying day clearing brush in the backyard of Mann’s home in Sutter Creek, Calif. A pile of branches and twigs was burning merrily, throwing shadows into the growing darkness as the couple’s three dogs—a 50-pound Shar-Pei named Tigger and a pair of Rottweiler mixes, Takota and Tenaya—played at their feet.

Mann’s home is the kind of place nature lovers dream of. The house is set back from the road on a densely wooded, 10-acre parcel bordered by government land and private property; wild turkeys and deer—up to a dozen at a time—wander through daily. Beyond the backyard lawn, 80 feet from the house, ponderosa and oak grow thickly on the steep slopes of a hill.

That February night, Helen heard crackling and snapping of underbrush and saw something large moving along the edge of the trees. When Tigger went to investigate, with Takota close behind, Mann didn’t stop them, even though he knew mountain lions roamed the area. One had peered through his neighbor’s window, scaring the woman inside, and another neighbor had recently seen a big male lion in Mann’s driveway. “The lions come in pretty far,” Mann says. “Common sense would have said, don’t let the dogs go. But I’ve been living up here for eight years, and it’s rare that they attack dogs.”

Suddenly, the couple heard Tigger “screaming for her life,” Mann says. When he ran down to the edge of the woods, he could only see shadows and fleeting movement in the thick underbrush. Whatever was attacking the Shar-Pei growled at him. Takota rushed in, and then it was over—the animal released Tigger and took off. “We think Takota scared it,” Mann says. “It all happened in about 10 seconds.”

Tigger’s injuries were serious. The skin over her head had been split open to the bone, her left eye almost torn out. Deep claw marks ran down her back. Mann held the wounds closed as he and Helen rushed Tigger to the vet, who confirmed that the injuries had been caused by a mountain lion.

Tigger survived, but since the incident Mann has kept the dogs out of the woods. “I’m still here and the lion is still here,” he says. “My neighbors said it was up at their property two nights ago. To attack a dog near a house when two adults are out in the yard with a fire going—that’s when you have to start worrying. There are lots of kids just a couple of blocks from here.”

When Europeans settled the New World, they dealt with predators by showing them the business end of a gun. Wherever pioneers settled, populations of large predators—mountain lions, bears, wolves, alligators—plummeted or disappeared entirely. That search-and-destroy mission continued virtually unabated until the rise of the environmental movement in the 1960s and ’70s, when the national attitude began to evolve. People came to believe that what was left of wilderness and its inhabitants should be preserved for future generations.

This ideology has clearly worked: Since the passage of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 14 species of animals that were on the brink of extinction have recovered. Alligators were removed from the list in 1987; gray wolves in 2009. The grizzly bear, confined mostly to Yellowstone National Park in the lower 48 states, was delisted in 2007. As for once heavily hunted mountain lions, some 50,000 of the big cats now inhabit North America, with populations in the United States as far east as North Dakota. Experts predict that lions eventually will reinhabit the Adirondacks in New York, the Maine woods and the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

Few people anticipated that rebounding populations would create a new problem: an increase in animal attacks as predators returned to former ranges now occupied by humans. In August 2002, a black bear killed a 5-month-old girl in the Catskills, a hundred miles northwest of New York City; the baby had been sleeping in a carriage on the porch. In January 2004, a mountain lion killed a male bicyclist in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in Orange County, Calif., then attacked a 31-year-old woman a few hours later. Other bicyclists managed to save the victim, but not before she sustained serious injuries. In October 2007, an alligator snatched and killed an 83-year-old woman outside her daughter’s home in Savannah, Ga. The next day, her body was found in a pond, hands and a foot missing. And, in May 2008, a coyote bit a 2-year-old girl playing in a Chino Hills, Calif., park and attempted to drag her off.

Though the trend is worrisome, the absolute number of attacks remains small. Fatal black bear attacks on humans have doubled since the late 1970s, increasing from one to just two incidents per year. (About six people are injured each year.) Between 1890 and 2008, there were 110 mountain lion attacks in North America; half of the 20 fatalities resulting from these attacks occurred in the past two decades. Despite an alligator population too large to count, the U.S. had just 391 attacks and 18 fatalities between 1948 and 2005. Coyotes have caused only one known fatality in the U.S.

Still, the relationship between animals and humans is proving to be more complex than simply kill ’em all or love ’em all—even though some of the old, romantic ideas about living at one with nature linger. “If you ask people why they moved where they did, you discover that they moved to be immersed in nature and wildlife,” says Marc Bekoff, professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado–Boulder. “The fastest way to decrease the experience is to start killing the animals.”

Whether homeowners welcome large animals into their neighborhoods or see them as life-threatening intruders, most people recognize that we’ve entered a new era: Predators and humans today often share the same terrain, and their daily routines intersect in ways that challenge conventional ideas about man and nature.

Article continues at link


TOPICS: Outdoors; Pets/Animals
KEYWORDS: alligators; bears; mountainlions; predators
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In 2008, Anne Hjelle returned to the trail where she was attacked
by a mountain lion four years before. The 122-pound cougar bit
Hjelle 40 times; 200 stitches and six surgeries were required to
repair the damage to her face.

1 posted on 06/18/2009 8:42:07 AM PDT by jazusamo
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To: jazusamo

May I suggest the Bennelli 12 gauge autoloader. Put any bear, cougar, or T-Rex in your yard out of your misery.


2 posted on 06/18/2009 8:44:17 AM PDT by domenad (In all things, in all ways, at all times, let honor guide me.)
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To: george76; GladesGuru; girlangler; Flycatcher

Losing fear of humans Ping!


3 posted on 06/18/2009 8:44:52 AM PDT by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

Never send a Shar-Pei to a Rottie investigation.


4 posted on 06/18/2009 8:46:31 AM PDT by PeteB570 (NRA - Life member and Black Rifle owner)
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To: domenad

Yes, predators coming into residential areas should be eliminated to reinstill the fear of man in others.


5 posted on 06/18/2009 8:46:42 AM PDT by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

BS - it is urban sprawl due to illegal immigration. The OLD Sierra Club was a real enviro group where they wanted to keep the population from exploding. The current Sierra Club is run by the DNC, La Raza etc and they are very pro illegal alien.

Uncontrollled population growth will make america more like a third world country and ungovernable. It is already happening witness the Islamist.


6 posted on 06/18/2009 8:48:20 AM PDT by Frantzie (Boycott ABC News and their parent company The Walt Disney Company)
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To: jazusamo

We’re the only species in the history of evolution to voluntarily move ourselves down to the middle of the food chain.


7 posted on 06/18/2009 8:49:26 AM PDT by dead
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To: domenad

Mossberg Special Purpose 500 .12 gauge works nicely..


8 posted on 06/18/2009 8:49:52 AM PDT by NMEwithin
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To: jazusamo

Perhaps it should be re-written as;
...backyards are showing up precisely where they don’t belong: in wildlands.

If these people love the woods and wildlife so much, why don’t they live in places where there already is housing, and contribute the money difference to preserving the wildlife? They can then visit on their time-off.


9 posted on 06/18/2009 8:51:29 AM PDT by stuartcr (Everything happens as God wants it to...otherwise, things would be different.)
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To: stuartcr

Agree


10 posted on 06/18/2009 8:52:35 AM PDT by Retired Greyhound
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To: stuartcr

This is also happening in neighborhoods that have been established for fifty years and more due to the increase in predator numbers.


11 posted on 06/18/2009 8:54:26 AM PDT by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: Iowa Granny; Ladysmith; Diana in Wisconsin; JLO; sergeantdave; damncat; phantomworker; joesnuffy; ..
If you'd like to be on or off this Upper Midwest/outdoors/rural list please FR mail me. And ping me is you see articles of interest.

Nasty Europeans. Predators need to eat too. When Europeans settled the New World, they dealt with predators by showing them the business end of a gun.

12 posted on 06/18/2009 8:58:31 AM PDT by SJackson (G-d da*n America, Jeremiah Wright---Don't tell me words don't matter!, Barack Hussein Obama)
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To: stuartcr

Precisely.

Well said.

You move into the woods, expect to see wood dwelling critters there.


13 posted on 06/18/2009 9:01:52 AM PDT by Skooz (Gabba Gabba we accept you we accept you one of us Gabba Gabba we accept you we accept you one of us)
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To: jazusamo
Few people anticipated that rebounding populations would create a new problem: an increase in animal attacks as predators returned to former ranges now occupied by humans.

Few people?!! Now that's rich. Anyone with any sort of experience in the wilderness could have predicted this. But of course our federal legislators -- almost to a man -- have never really spent time in the wilderness. Their policies are soft-headed romance, and not practical in any way.

Still, the relationship between animals and humans is proving to be more complex than simply kill ’em all or love ’em all—even though some of the old, romantic ideas about living at one with nature linger.

Bingo! To disabuse our liberal Mandarins of the notion of a romanticized "Nature," I suggest they actually spend one full week -- alone! -- in "Nature."

And then film it secretly. Now that would be a reality show I'd pay to watch!

Great post, Jaz!

14 posted on 06/18/2009 9:02:08 AM PDT by Flycatcher (God speaks to us, through the supernal lightness of birds, in a special type of poetry.)
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To: jazusamo

Here in NH in the boonies I have two defenses.
1. I own dogs to warn me of anything, and to be used as fodder which gives me time to react. (Its what dogs are REALLY for)

2. I pack a .44 magnum outside with a 30-06 rifle near by.

Anyone who thinks its bad when I drop a bear is either an idiot, or hasn’t tried my bear sausage yet!


15 posted on 06/18/2009 9:05:24 AM PDT by Havok (MOLON LABE!!!! ( www.survivalblog.com ))
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To: Carry_Okie

Ping!...this should ring a bell.


16 posted on 06/18/2009 9:05:59 AM PDT by hiredhand (Understand the CRA and why we're facing economic collapse - see my about page.)
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To: NMEwithin

...staggered with 4B+ and slugs!


17 posted on 06/18/2009 9:07:05 AM PDT by hiredhand (Understand the CRA and why we're facing economic collapse - see my about page.)
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To: jazusamo

Not sure about Kalifornia, but here in Washington State the problem of human/predator encounters increasing has another contributing factor to consider. This state’s voters in their “wisdom” a few years back outlawed through initiative the baiting of bears for hunting, and using dogs to hunt bears and cougar. A few generations of critters unafraid of the canine species makes them bolder. Add that the sprawl and you will get more encounters. I don’t necessarily hear people whining about the enconters and wanting to elimiate all the predators. We just want to get the balance back to where it should be. That is with us on the top of the food chain, rather than another poster stated, in the middle.


18 posted on 06/18/2009 9:09:02 AM PDT by rickomatic
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To: Flycatcher

Well said, Fly.

When legislatures or the people by referendum protect predators and even reintroduce them into areas due to the emotions of animal rights and anti hunting nuts those additional predators have to exist somewhere. They are now showing up in established residential areas.


19 posted on 06/18/2009 9:10:10 AM PDT by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

This is why we need more hunters. With all the idiots wanting to save all the little fury creaters, the population of wild animals are growing. Its not that humans are invading their habitat, its the regulations that have limited the time and place where hunting can take place. When there are more and more serious encounters with wild animals maybe some moron will have the light bulb go on and extend the hunting season and the types of animals. Can you dinner!


20 posted on 06/18/2009 9:11:59 AM PDT by rstark56
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To: rickomatic
I don’t necessarily hear people whining about the enconters and wanting to elimiate all the predators. We just want to get the balance back to where it should be.

Exactly! It's not about killing all predators indiscriminately, it's about managing their numbers.

Californians passed a referendum in the early '90's protecting cougars so now their numbers have increased to the point they're becoming a problem.

Oregon passed the same law outlawing the use of hounds and baiting bears in (I believe) 1994 that we have here in Washington.

21 posted on 06/18/2009 9:16:45 AM PDT by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

We have tons of bear around the house, both blk & grizz; rural alaska. Common practice is to shoot any bear around the house, and they learn quick. We have so many bear, there are no limits or seasons in our GMU; open all year.

Twice in my life, Ihave had yearling blk bear come in on me like a cat on a rabbit, front quarters down, ears goin like crazy back and forth. Was able to wave/yell the one off, shot the second one. Never forgot those experiences either. Anybody who says blk bear won’t eat people, don’t know of waht they speak.

My boy shot a bear from bait station we set up behind house last month, with his bow, got a thrill.


22 posted on 06/18/2009 9:20:51 AM PDT by Eska
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To: rstark56
I agree with your post. It succinctly expresses the "pioneer spirit" that is our American heritage.

Sadly, though, the pioneer spirit is rapidly going the way of the ivory-billed woodpecker. Our nation is producing fewer and fewer "rugged individualists" and more and more entitlement dependents. They now outvote on almost every issue regarding the environment -- be it hunting, fishing, culling, or basic wildlife management.

When America loses its pioneering heritage, we lose America.

23 posted on 06/18/2009 9:25:32 AM PDT by Flycatcher (God speaks to us, through the supernal lightness of birds, in a special type of poetry.)
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To: jazusamo
If you'd give 'em a picnic basket and a human spine trophy, they'd leave you alone...


24 posted on 06/18/2009 9:26:09 AM PDT by Costumed Vigilante
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To: Eska

Thanks, Eska, good post.

It seems there’s more and more people here in the lower 48 that want to live in harmony with bears, cougars, etc. because they’re just cute or beautiful furry animals.

They want animals to enjoy the habitat they had 200 years ago. Of course we have about 300 million people here now so that’s just not realistic.


25 posted on 06/18/2009 9:27:41 AM PDT by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

“This is also happening in neighborhoods that have been established for fifty years and more due to the increase in predator numbers.”

This is exactly what is happening here in NH and other places back East. NH was once 80 % cleared for farming. Now it is 80% forest land. The reintroduction of species such as turkeys and moose coupled with the lack of people that now hunt has allowed populations to explode. Along with them come the predators that also adapt to hunting in residential areas.
There are also areas like Long Island, NY that have no predators and are densely populated so that you can not hunt with a gun. They have herds of whitetale deer that number 30-40+. They live on suburban bushes and shrubs. These towns have to hire archery hunters to come in and cull the herd.


26 posted on 06/18/2009 9:31:08 AM PDT by woodbutcher1963
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To: jazusamo
And the wildlife isn't as afraid of us as we might think.

Shoot them and eat them. Re-establish the food chain. In the long run it's healthy for both populations.

I'm perfectly serious, although I'd balk at coyote omelets. It doesn't have to be a search-and-destroy sweep depopulating the forest for miles around - it never was in the first place despite some of the silliest anti-gun propaganda imaginable. Establish boundaries and enforce them. If you don't, don't blame the critters who never learned any better than kiddies and puppies for lunch. It truly isn't their fault.

27 posted on 06/18/2009 9:34:44 AM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Flycatcher

I know you are trying to be politically corect but lets call it what it is. Men are becoming wimps and passing on these traits to their young. When guys are going to get manicures and pedicures we got problems. When men cannot be strong and protect their families we are doomed. When a guy can’t figure out how to change the oil in the car or even where to check it, we are doomed.


28 posted on 06/18/2009 9:35:44 AM PDT by rstark56
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To: woodbutcher1963

They are compound bows, thats another hunting method that are good for up to 50 yards. Just call me I’ll hunt for free, they won’t even have to pay me.


29 posted on 06/18/2009 9:39:39 AM PDT by rstark56
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To: Billthedrill

You’re exactly right.

I believe one of the big problems are some employees of state fish and game departments. Animal rights type people have gone to work for them and some have been there long enough to start influencing policies.

Two of the worst states are Colorado and California in the west, I don’t know about the eastern half of the country.


30 posted on 06/18/2009 9:40:50 AM PDT by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

Yes, but all the people moving out to be ‘one’ with nature, are increasing faster than the critters can move...besides, the critters don’t have anywhere to move to usually. They’re still going to reproduce and need food and space.


31 posted on 06/18/2009 9:41:21 AM PDT by stuartcr (Everything happens as God wants it to...otherwise, things would be different.)
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To: jazusamo
Anything on my property that eats things I want to eat, or is a threat to anything I like, is on the endangered species list.

It's just a matter of time before I cure it's problem!

32 posted on 06/18/2009 9:42:24 AM PDT by Beagle8U (Free Republic -- One stop shopping ....... It's the Conservative Super WalMart for news .)
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To: rstark56
Amen!

But I never try to be politically correct. That's why I'm a FReeper.

33 posted on 06/18/2009 9:46:30 AM PDT by Flycatcher (God speaks to us, through the supernal lightness of birds, in a special type of poetry.)
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To: Frantzie
BS - it is urban sprawl due to illegal immigration. The OLD Sierra Club was a real enviro group where they wanted to keep the population from exploding. The current Sierra Club is run by the DNC, La Raza etc and they are very pro illegal alien.

I've been doing native habitat restoration for twenty years. If you understood how much hands-on work it takes to produce the kind of environment we took from the Indians you would have more appreciation for what people can do to make the wild more beautiful and productive. Lots of people in nature is NECESSARY for it to be productive. "Nature" as you know it, is a creation of a 19-20th Century industrial society completely alienated from the land. It is a myth designed to force people into habitations controllable by an elite, a terribly destructive philosophy for both people and the land.

34 posted on 06/18/2009 9:48:18 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (Grovelnator Schwarzenkaiser, fashionable fascism one charade at a time.)
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To: jazusamo

I live on land in Montana that is bordered on three sides by primitive national forest. I believe we have just about every form of critter there that is capable of consuming all or part of a naked ape. Cougar, Grizzly, Black Bear, Coyotes, Gray Wolves, Bobcat, Lynx, etc.

I would not have it any other way, but I live with the knowledge that the critters are there and I could be a meal if, (although at my age I may be to stringy for them) I am not prepared. They are called predators for a reason.

The Blue State Sheeple should accept they fact they belong at the bottom of the carnivore food chain. They should go willingly to the slaughter.

Gunner


35 posted on 06/18/2009 9:52:37 AM PDT by weps4ret (Where is John Galt?)
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To: jazusamo
They want animals to enjoy the habitat they had 200 years ago. Of course we have about 300 million people here now so that’s just not realistic.

Don't be a naysayer. It's perfectly realistic.

We just have to slice the 300 million thinly for our new Bear & panther overlords.

36 posted on 06/18/2009 9:53:29 AM PDT by Androcles (All your typos are belong to us)
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To: Eska
My father told me a story about a rancher back home (Montana) who shot a Grizzly that was on his land and was nosing around his horse corral apparently looking for a meal. The rancher shot the bear and buried the carcass.

He thought nothing more about it till F&G showed up asking questions. They tracked the bear to his place with the signal from the bears radio collar. They dug the bear up and used it as evidence to prosecute the rancher for illegally shooting the bear.

The rancher ended up in court spending mucho bucks defending himself almost as if he had shot a human rather than a predatory animal that was threatening livestock. In retrospect he should have cut the collar off, nailed it to a 2x4 and thrown it in the river then SSS.

37 posted on 06/18/2009 9:54:05 AM PDT by Polynikes (Viene una tormenta)
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To: domenad
May I suggest the Bennelli 12 gauge autoloader.

Mine's an Ithaca 10 gauge autoloader.

38 posted on 06/18/2009 9:55:31 AM PDT by Retired COB (Still mad about Campaign Finance Reform)
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To: Beagle8U
Anything on my property that eats things I want to eat, or is a threat to anything I like, is on the endangered species list.

I agree with every thing you said.

My problem is that that definition is so broad it includes my wife!

39 posted on 06/18/2009 10:00:30 AM PDT by Androcles (All your typos are belong to us)
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To: Eska
"...We have tons of bear around the house,... My boy shot a bear from bait station we set up behind house..."

Hmmmm... perhaps there's a correlation???? I'm just sayin'.

40 posted on 06/18/2009 10:00:52 AM PDT by conservativeharleyguy (Democrats: Over 60 million fooled daily!)
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To: weps4ret

Agreed...We lived in a very rural part of OR for 15 years and though it wouldn’t compare to your surroundings the predators in the area had a fear of man because they realized they could get shot at, that makes a huge difference.

Though it’s possible that a predator could confront you they have a tendency to avoid man.


41 posted on 06/18/2009 10:02:35 AM PDT by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: NMEwithin

Funny you mention that, that’s the model I’m going to buy. Why? Because I can afford it, while the $1900 Bennelli is a little out of my reach right now.


42 posted on 06/18/2009 10:02:57 AM PDT by domenad (In all things, in all ways, at all times, let honor guide me.)
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To: Androcles

Who knows, I might like your wife?


43 posted on 06/18/2009 10:02:57 AM PDT by Beagle8U (Free Republic -- One stop shopping ....... It's the Conservative Super WalMart for news .)
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To: Androcles
My problem is that that definition is so broad it includes my wife!

LOL! Hope your wife is not a FReeper. :)

44 posted on 06/18/2009 10:06:48 AM PDT by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

Yeah in Montana they have the 3S Rule.

Shoot, Shovel and Shut up.

Although you gotta find radio tags on the Grizzly and put it on a squirrel real fast.

Gunner


45 posted on 06/18/2009 10:07:03 AM PDT by weps4ret (Where is John Galt?)
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To: jazusamo
They want animals to enjoy the habitat they had 200 years ago.

Then we need to hunt and kill an awful lot of wildlife because the Indians had hunted the continent until it was nearly bereft of game. They had extirpated two thirds of megafauna species to the point that Lewis and Clark went 18 days without seeing a single animal.

Indians were NOT conservationists.

46 posted on 06/18/2009 10:09:31 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (Grovelnator Schwarzenkaiser, fashionable fascism one charade at a time.)
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To: Polynikes
“In retrospect he should have cut the collar off, nailed it to a 2x4 and thrown it in the river then SSS.”

No, he should have gunshot it with any fast varmint bullet. It will run for miles and die far from where it was shot.

Rather hard to to determine what rifle an exploding bullet came from in any case.

47 posted on 06/18/2009 10:12:24 AM PDT by Beagle8U (Free Republic -- One stop shopping ....... It's the Conservative Super WalMart for news .)
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To: jazusamo
Common sense would seem to indicate that predators need to be hunted enough to recreate fear of man.
48 posted on 06/18/2009 10:16:22 AM PDT by Let's Roll (Stop paying ACORN to destroy America! Cut off their government funding!)
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To: jazusamo

The illogic of the idea that we are inviting attacks by going into areas where the wild animals are is that humans from earliest times have gone into areas where the wild animals were and still are. Tell me a place on the globe where humans exist where there weren’t or aren’t any wild animals. The premise of these people is that we are inviting attacks from the creatures by inhabiting or venturing into previously totally wild areas. Actually these people want humans all balled up into huge megalopolises where venturing into the “wild” will be strictly controlled.


49 posted on 06/18/2009 10:20:02 AM PDT by driftless2 (four)
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To: Retired Greyhound
"agree"

Disagree. Strongly.

50 posted on 06/18/2009 10:21:23 AM PDT by driftless2 (four)
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