Skip to comments.Grizzly attacks 7 teens in Talkeetna Mountains (Bear Spray Only, No Gun)
Posted on 07/25/2011 8:28:15 AM PDT by Virginia Ridgerunner
A grizzly bear sow with a cub attacked a group of teenagers on a month-long survival-skills course Saturday night in the Talkeetna Mountains, causing severe injuries to two of the hikers, according to Alaska State Troopers.
The group was on the 24th day of a 30-day backpacking trip, school spokesman Bruce Palmer said by phone from Wyoming. It was the group's first day unaccompanied by adult instructors, Palmer said.
"For the last bit of the course, we would have them travel as a student group without the instructors, utilizing the skills that they've learned over time," Palmer said.
The seven group members were in a line, calling out to make noise as they crossed the creek, Palmer said. The first hiker had apparently made it out of the water and was out of sight of the others when he began screaming, Palmer said.
The grizzly mauled the teen, attacked another group member, then returned to the first victim, Palmer said.
"It sounds like it was moving around within the group," Palmer said. The hikers carried three canisters of bear spray, but there was no initial indication that the hikers used the repellent, Palmer said.
(Excerpt) Read more at adn.com ...
“Armed” them with pepper spray?
They didn’t have the presence of mind to use the bear mace they did have, a gun wouldn’t have saved them either if they were too panicked to use it.
“The instructors sent these teenage boys out into the Alaska wilderness alone without any firearms with which to defend themselves against angry grizzlies.”
Prison time. At the very least.
It should be a law requiring you to carry a large caliber sidearm if you are in the wilderness. Pepper spray is for the dead bear's ass for seasoning while over an open spit.
That’s correct. Many post will follow though lamenting the lack of firearms when in fact one must be well trained, steely nerved and practiced to hit a 12” target on a 300lb bear coming at you at 44ft per second.
Parents fault. Should’ve asked these Birkenstock wearing, pansie assed instructors what they bringing along for self defense. No guns, no go.
I went on a NOLS course in Wyoming back in 1978. One night they had everyone camp out solo instead of being in a group. On the way out, the instructors told us that we were in the area where the Park Service relocated griz that were too ornery for Yellowstone.
No one slept that night.
Didn’t see a bear the entire time, though, although we saw bear scat. Not sure if any of three instructors had a gun, I never saw one the entire time, but the head instructor was the type to have a handgun in his pack and screw the tree-hugger stuff.
Alaska is another story entirely, though - a lot more bears with a lot less fear. And I question the wisdom of having no adult with the group - I was 17 on that trip, and the group was split in three for the four-day hike out, but there were people in their mid-twenties or older in each group. Beyond the lack of a firearm, I have to question the lack of adults in a wilderness group. Don’t know if it would have made a difference, but the fact that the spray wasn’t even used indicates raw teenage panic.
Those youngsters being of military age or near military age, it would have been a good idea to give them all firearms training in using the relatively short barreled S&W .50 cal revolver, and to have issued several of the weapons to the group with clear instructions that none of the weapons was to be discharged except in an emergency.
Sounds like the course was Pass/Fail.
BLASPHEMY! A gun is a magic shield, the mere possession of which can instantly stop all criminals and animals from proceeding with any attack. /s
Of course you are right. I wonder if it will sink in to the keyboard commandos though.
Everybody should get a game camera, boy do they fill ya in on what really is going on. I have a bushnell trophy cam and we were getting 200-300 picts a day. We had over 20 bear coming in, never realized there were so many bear so close to the house.
I have one buddy who has been mauled twice in his life and he hates bear with a passion, like they're rats. He shoots every bear he sees too, ha.
Bear are viewed as dangerous pests in rural Ak, people just shoot them and forget about it and there has never been any kind of shortage of bears around.
Every May-JUne, the grizz come down off the summit to pick off all the moose calves, you'll often catch them walking down the dirt road, looking to cause trouble. School's still going on then and boy you should see how quick bear are shot when they start looking kids over at the school bus stop in the mornings. That is pretty normal all over rural Alaska though. Bear learn pretty quick to stay away from humans. Probably fish in that creek. Kids were probably wondering why all the dead salmon were laying 10 yards from the creek on the game trail through the Alders. Oh My yu Easterners?
So I guess that was the final, huh?
What was the intended lesson to be learned by sending them with no instructor? This event shouldn’t have happened.
I beg to differ. Mace will just make an angry bear focus it's attention on YOU. The Mace is used to discourage a curious bear from approaching - it has never been claimed to fend off an angry bear attack.
A 9mm with a clip full of hollow-points may not stop the bear from killing - but we will both know that eventually the bear will die from the wounds inflicted upon it. A 9mm is much better than a can of spray; and any fool knows this.
Bear Spray for Grizzly Bears? Ideology trumping survival I see...........”
Learning to skin Grizz...
Saturday's bear attack is only the second in the school's history, and the only mauling involving a grizzly, Palmer said. In 2003, a black bear wandered into a camp in Utah and bit a student, he said.
Given there have probably been thousands of NOLS courses in the American west, with course lengths lasting from 14 to 90 days, I think their record with bear attacks is probably below average for the number of days spent in the wilderness. Most bear problems come from people not being careful with food, something NOLS training works to prevent. But sometimes bad stuff just happens - such as walking between a sow and her cubs. I am not sure how 50 cal handguns would have made a difference here, as it seems the teens panicked all around. Not that I blame them, I blame NOLS for not having at least one adult with them.
Thats just the bear CUB.
Adult females range from about 300/350 - 750/800, and adult males can approach 1000lbs.
Pissed off momma grizzlies are the most dangerous animal in North America after humans.
Here we go with another Grizzly Bear discussion.
Going to Alaska in 6 days...
I am so looking forward to the trip.
Bears just doing what bears do, protecting their house.
The lesson is about...."Picking your crossing"...These are kids...not SEALS.
In reality Canada prohibits handguns from entering the country and they ban pepper spray, at least in Ontario. I cruised my sailboat in Canadian waters in the northern reaches of Lake Huron (the North Channel). There had been reports one year of bear attacks, so when I checked in with Customs and Immigration I asked about protection from bears. When I asked about pepper spray, they said it was illegal but suggested “bear spray.”
I asked what was in it, the answer was pepper. Go figure.
it has never been claimed to fend off an angry bear attack.
The kids couldn’t bring a can of bear spray into play and you think they would have done better with a handgun?
FR is a great place to go to get misinformed about bears.
Stay out of bear country.
Stay out of bear country.
NOLS typically has the students trek out at the end of the course on their own. Back when I took the course, not only did we have to backpack through 50 miles of rough terrain in four days, we also had to do it without food. Ungh.
The idea is to make you apply what you have learned. I believe NOLS has since stopped the policy of not having food the last four days. But I can't agree with their policy of having teenagers in a group in the wilderness without at least one adult with them. They should have had a mixed group by age - I was one of four students under 18 in my group of 14, and there were some college-age students, but there were also adults in their twenties and early thirties so there was never a teen-only group.
The size depends on where you are and the time of year. I went with the lower end of the range.
But yes even tougher to do when it’s a 800lb grizzly!
Those idiots sent kids out in griz country unarmed????????????
My wife and I never hike in CT without “bear spray” which at a minimum is a .357 mag. and the worst we have to worry about is black bear.
Gotta' love the government. Probably the same thing... the factory just uses a different lable to make it acceptable in another country.
Did they have any cowbell?
Still a great course.
I was 38 at the time, and the oldest on the trip. Excluding me and instructors, the average age was 23.
“While protected, anyone outside of settlements is required to carry a rifle to kill polar bears in self defense, as a last resort, should they attack.”
THIS in a Norweigan controlled island heavily populated with polar bears. While polar bears are more carnivorous than grizzlies, the potential danger element from grizziles is as substantial as that from polar bears.
ANYONE traveling in grizzly country should be allowed, if not REQUIRED, to be armed, and have sufficient familiarity with that weapon to employ it effectively.
Its PAST time to take America back from the eco-lunatics who think livestock killing wolves and coyotes, human threatening cougars and black bears, and collision-causing, tick-infested, crop munching deer, are desirable and cute residents in populated areas.
I kinda agree with you but what would the adult have done?
The kids should have been walking in a tight line and waited in a group on the other side of the creek before moving on.
Instead the lead kid went out of sight so the bear saw 1 or 2 people instead of a group of 7 which may have made it think twice about charging.
Other than that I don’t see how an adult would have helped.
UDAP Bear Spray is the most efficient way to dispense large amounts of OC on to a subject in the shortest period of time. The pepper foggers enhanced range, broad spray pattern and inhalable particle size make it the most effective aerosol tool available to stop a bear attack. Simply by virtue of its ability to disperse large amounts of OC into the area in a very short time.
It is a deterrent. A lock on your door is a deterrent. Any deterrent is ineffectual in an actual attack. Spray an angry bear with this crap, and see what happens. It really p*sses them off!!
A gun, on the other hand - is MUCH more effective. Each year, we have campers who are killed and attacked by bears in Utah. Very few go into the mountains with some aerosol cans; most go in with a good sized pistol. A 9mm is on the small side; but it's better than a can of spray.
There were three instructors in our group. Two of them were probably Sierra-Club types, but the head instructor was more of an old-school mountain man mindset. I have a feeling in reading the alumni newspaper that NOLS has gone full greenie since then.