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Hiker deters charging griz with bear spray
Daily Inter Lake ^ | October 13, 2011 | JIM MANN

Posted on 10/18/2011 4:38:56 PM PDT by SJackson

What a difference pepper spray can make. That’s the confirmed thinking of Dan Kotter after he recently deterred a charging grizzly bear in the Great Bear Wilderness while working on a bear population research project.

Kotter was hiking alone on the Devil Creek Trail about 5 miles in from the U.S. 2 trailhead on Oct. 8. He intended to hike in 15 miles, camp overnight and hike out the next day, but those plans were abruptly canceled.

“That morning it was fairly socked in, really foggy,” Kotter said Thursday.

He hiked up to a pass where he encountered at least two sets of bear tracks, one of which he could confirm as being left by a grizzly. So he began to proceed cautiously as he walked downhill on the other side of the pass.

“The visibility was really low. The cloud level was basically keeping me from seeing down trail, and there was a couple inches of snow,” Kotter said. “I started vocalizing a lot more, knowing there were bears in the area.”

In the middle of a “hey bear!” shout out, he heard some commotion in nearby brush.

“That’s when I thought there may have been a cub involved,” he said. “I already had my spray unvelcroed. ...

“A large bear came out of the brush, went up on its hind legs, clacked its jaws at me, came down on all fours and started a medium-paced gallop toward me.”

Kotter said he tried to remain calm and backed up slowly, but that’s when he slipped on some snowy brush and fell to the ground.

“I rolled to my left side and put my arm over my head and shot the spray toward the bear,” he recalled. “All I could do was clinch my teeth and hope I could deter the approach.”

At one point, he felt the bear’s paw step on his thigh. “And that’s what caused me to keep on spraying and spraying and waving my arm. I could hear it the whole time.”

Although Kotter was not looking directly at the bear, he is confident he hit it with the spray, because he was spraying in the direction the bear was approaching from and it quickly retreated back into the brush.

It all occurred in a blur, but it is unforgettable for Kotter.

“Whenever something that big is moving toward you, it’s really hard to think and respond. ... I was shaking really badly,” he said.

The incident put an end to the day’s hike, with Kotter quickly returning to the trailhead.

“I’m not sure how long it will take me to hike alone again,” he said. “It was a really good comfort to know that hiking with bear spray is a great deterrent. It makes me feel very safe that it did work.”

That hike, like many others Kotter has been on this year, wasn’t purely recreational. He is among about 30 people working under Kate Kendall, a U.S. Geological Survey scientist who is a leading grizzly bear population researcher.

The Devil Creek Trail is a route that Kotter has traveled before, collecting bear hair samples from rub trees that are repeatedly used by bears along the trail. Kendall is using rub tree hair samples from across the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem to monitor grizzly bear population trends.

Last year, genetic analysis of collected hair samples led to the identification of 335 individual bears. Kendall calculates that’s about one-third of the estimated grizzly bear population in the ecosystem, which encompasses Glacier National Park, the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex and surrounding bear habitat.

Kendall has been doing DNA-based population research for more than a decade.

“Obviously with the hundreds of people on these projects, some have had encounters with bears and some have had bluff charges,” said Kendall, who has been bluff charged by a grizzly herself. “But we haven’t had any injuries. This is definitely the closest call.”

Kendall said Kotter’s story is important because it demonstrates that even when a person is careful, a surprise encounter is still possible, and it is another example of pepper spray being an effective bear deterrent.

“I think it is really good to get this story out there so people can see the value of not only carrying bear spray with you, but carrying it on your hip where it’s accessible and can be used at a moment’s notice,” she said. “He didn’t have a lot of time.”


TOPICS: Local News
KEYWORDS: bear

1 posted on 10/18/2011 4:39:08 PM PDT by SJackson
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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 Outdoors/Rural/wildlife/hunting/hiking/backpacking/National Parks/animals list please FR mail me. And ping me is you see articles of interest.

In anticipation of the suggestions as to the proper deterrent, spray works, and is a good first line defence, and isn't everyone's first choice. And more lethal choices fail on occasion.

2 posted on 10/18/2011 4:45:47 PM PDT by SJackson (The irony is, the reason I was in this office is because I told a story to the American people, BHO)
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To: SJackson
tssssssssssss. take that, you big mean bear!
3 posted on 10/18/2011 4:47:07 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (...then they came for the guitars, and we kicked their sorry faggot asses into the dust)
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To: SJackson

I wonder if urban people enjoy this spray? Like cologne, ya know.


4 posted on 10/18/2011 4:49:01 PM PDT by gaijin
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To: SJackson

Silly hiker. He should have used the peace sign or coexist’ sticker on the bear..


5 posted on 10/18/2011 4:49:55 PM PDT by max americana
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To: SJackson

I belive the biggest advantage he had was he was ready. He had his spray out.

Spray worked this time good for him.


6 posted on 10/18/2011 4:56:05 PM PDT by riverrunner
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To: SJackson

Hey, I’d like to be on your ping list for the outdoors.

I love getting into the outdoors, usually alone.

Been a long time since a beer ran through my camp. A friend got up early one morning and walked off behind a large clump of bushes to do his business.

This was very quickly followed by a large shout “Arrrrrgggggaaaaa” as we all looked over that direction a black bear came around the other side of the brush, straight through camp never looking back and headed for the hills.

About this time my friend came around the other side holding into his pants shouting “BEAR BEAR BEAR” and pointing behind him at the brush.

The camp was rolling on the ground we were laughing so hard.


7 posted on 10/18/2011 4:56:48 PM PDT by PeteB570 ( Islam is the sea in which the Terrorist Shark swims. The deeper the sea the larger the shark.)
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To: SJackson

“spray works, and is a good first line defence, and isn’t everyone’s first choice. And more lethal choices fail on occasion. “

Spray? Okay. But I wouldn’t be without my Ruger Redhawk 44 Mag!


8 posted on 10/18/2011 5:00:10 PM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: riverrunner
As long as you draw your "anti-sea bear circle", you'll be fine


9 posted on 10/18/2011 5:00:59 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: SJackson
I solo hike that area in the summertime, and oh, yeah, I carry a bear bomb on the belt and another one in the pack. Closest contact I ever had was about 50 yards and he wasn't bothering me but I was still wetting my britches. Beautiful coat on the beastie, though. I don't overnight anymore and I do carry a firearm but an actual attack generally happens too fast and close to get off much of a shot even if you're reasonably skilled. Still awful nice to have, though.

The encounter I'm talking about was the first in that particular area for five years but they're happening with greater frequency now that the population appears to be recovering. Don't be scared, be prepared, and stay smart.

10 posted on 10/18/2011 5:01:24 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: PeteB570
"Been a long time since a beer ran through my camp."

Is your camp in a dry county?

11 posted on 10/18/2011 5:05:34 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: the invisib1e hand

Make sure you’re aiming in the right direction, otherwise the bear will simply appreciate you preparing yourself with 11 secert herbs and spicesm


12 posted on 10/18/2011 5:11:42 PM PDT by Jonty30
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To: SJackson

Glad he was not hurt...

Welcome back Mr. Kotter....


13 posted on 10/18/2011 5:16:28 PM PDT by isthisnickcool (Sharia? No thanks.)
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To: SJackson

I could point to stories of people jumping from airplanes with failed parachutes and living, or being shot in the head and living, but that doesn’t give rise to the idea that those things should ever be tried or that we cannot say, “Jump from an airplane without a parachute and you will die” or “Shoot yourself in the head and you will die”.

If a bear to attacks and your only hope is that pepper spray saves you, well, while that bear is eating your head you will wish you hadn’t been so afraid to carry a large bear sized firearm.


14 posted on 10/18/2011 5:16:40 PM PDT by CodeToad (Islam needs to be banned in the US and treated as a criminal enterprise.)
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To: SJackson

God smiled on this fellow, plain and simple.

Now, I have nothing against pepper spray. Either way, it’s a win - win situation.

Heads, the spray repels the beast and you live another day.

Tails, it pi$$es him off even more and he kills you so much quicker and mercifully.


15 posted on 10/18/2011 5:17:21 PM PDT by labette ( Humble student of Thinkology)
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To: SJackson

I love Glacier Park, and never hike without bear spray. Thankfully I’ve not had to use it!


16 posted on 10/18/2011 5:21:08 PM PDT by sissyjane (Did you plug the hole yet Daddy????)
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To: riverrunner
I belive the biggest advantage he had was he was ready.

You are correct, though he could have asked the griz to wait while he took off his pack.

17 posted on 10/18/2011 5:24:01 PM PDT by SJackson (The irony is, the reason I was in this office is because I told a story to the American people, BHO)
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To: SJackson
"Kotter was hiking alone on the Devil Creek Trail" .........

And that's where the legend began.

18 posted on 10/18/2011 5:25:17 PM PDT by blackdog (The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop)
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra

Can’t disagree. Maybe that’s why we have two hands.


19 posted on 10/18/2011 5:26:37 PM PDT by SJackson (The irony is, the reason I was in this office is because I told a story to the American people, BHO)
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To: SJackson
It may have been the stench of feces that deterred the bear.I haven't encountered any grizzlies in my yard so I'll try to stay out of theirs if possible.
20 posted on 10/18/2011 5:34:30 PM PDT by WePledge (Ich werde fur immer ein Hollenhund werden. Semper Fidelis)
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To: SJackson
Spray is far better than nothing, but it's awfully short-ranged. I'd prefer a .454, myself.
21 posted on 10/18/2011 5:41:25 PM PDT by Guy Gardner
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To: PeteB570

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EdaxvLaxNE


22 posted on 10/18/2011 5:45:26 PM PDT by magslinger (To properly protect your family you need a Bible, a twelve gauge and a pig.)
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To: SJackson

Wonder what brand/type of pepper spray he was carrying? So many out there...


23 posted on 10/18/2011 6:12:01 PM PDT by donozark (Sam Walton:"It was paper when we started, and it's paper afterwards.")
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To: SJackson

Alaska Grizzly Bear Notice
In light of the rising frequency of human/grizzly bear conflicts,the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is advising tourists, hikers and fishermen to take extra precautions and keep alert for bears while traveling this summer.
We advise people to wear noisy little bells on their clothing so as not to startle bears that are not expecting them. We also advise people to carry pepper spray with them in case of an encounter with a grizzly.
It is also a good idea to watch out for fresh signs of bear activity. Outdoorsmen should recognize the difference between black bear scat and dung of grizzly. Black bear droppings will contain numerous berries and squirrel fur, while the droppings of the grizzly will contain small bells and smell of pepper spray.


24 posted on 10/18/2011 6:27:08 PM PDT by Segovia
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To: SJackson

I don’t believe him. Does he have an pictures from his camera or phone. Probably one of the eco-nuts promoting the bear spray. Possibly the bear spray combined with a 45 might be believable.


25 posted on 10/18/2011 6:30:29 PM PDT by RetiredTexasVet (There's a pill for just about everything ... except stupid!)
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To: SJackson
“I’m not sure how long it will take me to hike alone again,” he said. “It was a really good comfort to know that hiking with bear spray is a great deterrent. It makes me feel very safe that it did work.”

I used to hike alone. Not any longer, after an enter with mountain lions. Now I carry either a 45-70 rifle or a 12 gauge with bear slugs when in the wilderness.

26 posted on 10/18/2011 6:32:51 PM PDT by Inyo-Mono (My greatest fear is that when I'm gone my wife will sell my guns for what I told her I paid for them)
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To: SJackson
I already had my spray unvelcroed. ...

"unvelcroed"? sorry...that just sounds gay.

He is among about 30 people working under Kate Kendall, a U.S. Geological Survey scientist who is a leading grizzly bear population researcher.

"ummmm....that's ONE; you guys count the rest"

27 posted on 10/18/2011 6:42:02 PM PDT by ZinGirl
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To: SJackson

Next year’s hike will be dubbed “Welcome back, Kotter”.


28 posted on 10/18/2011 7:08:15 PM PDT by meyer (We will not sit down and shut up.)
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To: Joe 6-pack

LOL In a dry county in Arkansas, my son had to take a 50 mile round trip to get his beer....he left the bear alone..


29 posted on 10/18/2011 11:09:42 PM PDT by goat granny
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To: ZinGirl
Belly laugh at that one...

ummmm....that's ONE; you guys count the rest"

30 posted on 10/18/2011 11:11:28 PM PDT by goat granny
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To: donozark

Having tried to get the wife, who is often out alone in her work, to carry a handgun in a belt holster, I gave up a few years ago and switched her to a 13oz 30foot range bear spray. It may not put an attacker in the morgue, but if the US Forest Service says it will deter most 800 pound bears, I think it will do. Try UDAP. About $40.

Make sure you have enough liability insurance to cover the bystanders. Homeowners will cover it but not a high enough limit if she let’s it go in a crowd. Get a liability umbrella.


31 posted on 10/18/2011 11:21:52 PM PDT by anton
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To: SJackson
You should never hike alone in bear country. Take a friend like this.


32 posted on 10/19/2011 1:00:32 AM PDT by Freedom_Is_Not_Free (We be fooked.)
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To: magslinger

Great pictures.


33 posted on 10/19/2011 6:27:17 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Only two of the half dozen or so species are found in MI, but what the heck, eh?


34 posted on 10/19/2011 8:43:52 AM PDT by magslinger (To properly protect your family you need a Bible, a twelve gauge and a pig.)
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To: anton
Had COUNTER ASSAULT but after 2 years it began leaking. Most unpleasant! Switched to FOX. Many LEOs carry it.

Had UDAP in the old yellow plastic device. It leaked as well, after a year or two. I see now they've changed their containers.

35 posted on 10/20/2011 1:59:01 PM PDT by donozark (Sam Walton:"It was paper when we started, and it's paper afterwards.")
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