Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What Caliber for Bear? Librarian.

#1 Blogdaughter sends in this story of a very lucky young girl, and some information that could have been presented better...

Bear thought to have mauled Michigan girl shot and killed, though family skeptical animal was involved in attack
Conservation officers shot and killed a black bear in northern Michigan and plan to conduct tests on the animal to determine whether it's the one that mauled a 12-year-old as she jogged on her grandfather's property.

The Detroit Free Press reported that the bear was killed over the weekend. But the girl's grandfather doesn't believe the animal killed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources was responsible for the attack, according to the newspaper.
First off, thank goodness the girl was okay. Mauled by a bear - even a 150 pound black bear - isn't something I'd care to experience. She was injured, but should recover fully. She called for help after being attacked and then played dead, which apparently did the trick, as the bear stopped the attack. It could also have been that more folks were headed out towards the location of the attack, too.

What was interesting, though, was the choice of wording from the Michigan DNR about what to do in the event of a bear attack:
"If you encounter a bear, stand your ground and then slowly back away," the agency said in a news release. "Do not turn away."

It advised people not to show fear, run or play dead, but instead to make themselves look as big as possible and talk to the animal in a stern voice. "Fight back if actually attacked with a backpack, stick or bare hands."
(emphasis mine). No word on whether the bear should be shushed or not...

It is interesting that we have two stories where the authorities tell us to fight back, isn't it? It's like it doesn't matter who - or what - the predator is; offering resistance of any type is likely to result in a better ending than just playing dead. In this case it worked; I would surmise the reason they no longer advocate "playing possum" is that people by and large suck at it.

I also can't help but note the irony of Michigan officials telling folks to stand their ground...

That is all.


Dave H said...

I've never heard of a bear attacking someone with a backpack or umbrella. Although I suppose that might be why Cindy Bear carries a parasol, in case Yogi gets too frisky.

I question whether the DNR's suggested response will be effective against an attacking mother with cubs, but if you encounter one of those you're pretty much hosed anyway so I guess it doesn't matter.

I saw a black bear on the way home from the Bloggershoot. I'm sure it could outrun me in the woods, but I defy it to catch me on I-91.

breda said...

Depends on the librarian.

Anonymous said...

Running from predators is always bad, bear, dog, people, it does not matter.

Most black bears will just slap you around then leave you alone. Grizzly bears moms are the same but males tend to eat what they attack including other bears.

We pushed a bear out on a deer drive and it beat the deer down a hill. It ran through things the deer went around.

My favorite bear story: We had a new game warden dart a bear in our county in PA and was going to move it upstate for release. He didn't have a trap to load it in so he had it put in the back of his pickup truck and headed north.

As he was driving on I-78 people started waving at him and flashing their lights. It seems the bear was waking up and sitting up in the back of the truck.

Young WCO pulled off the road and decided to give the bear another shot of sleepy time juice and continue the trip. The bear was OK with the idea but our hero stuck himself instead of the bear.

He wasn't sure how much he injected and didn't have any counter measure with him. So he lowered the gate on the truck, backed up the truck at speed and slammed on the brakes, dumping the bear in the woods. He then drove himself to the nearest hospital for treatment.

All survived this trip and we handed out t-shirts with a black bear on the front at the next youth field day in his honor.


Matthew said...

From the bear capital of America... ;) (Colbert Threat Level: Maximum)

Per our DNR recommendations black bear sows with cubs will usually hightail it, not stay to defend, the cubs go up trees typically.

Black bears in general will usually be gone before you see them and, if confronted, will often back down to "standing your ground and looking librarian", then you back away.

Black bear attacks that are followed through should -always- be fought against with whatever weapons are available, as almost all of the time such attacks are predatory: submit and you'll be eaten.

Playing dead is only for brown/griz as they will (usually) not be predatory attacks but are out of fear, dominance reasons, or to defend cubs. Brown bears will usually treat people like they would another bear, so soon as they have slapped you around a little and decided you are no longer a threat or have submitted they will usually leave.

That said, you fight a brownie (generally) only if the attack persists (we aren't bears and can only take so much punishment) or it seems like they wanted to eat you from the first moment (stalking behavior).

Up here the brown bear encounters are usually just them beating you up cause they are fat and happy on salmon and berries.

Upland grizzlies away from the salmon are always hungry and I'd be less likely to play dead with them. Even if it started out just as a dominance response it could easily turn to dinner time in their head.

Stan said...

Where is the irony? Im confuzzled.

Jay G said...


There's been a spirited discussion in Detroit around "Stand Your Ground" laws and possibly repealing them. All the while the MI DNR is telling folks to Stand Your Ground WRT bears...

Stan said...

Oh right, Detroit, that place. To the UP Detroit is like Mordor and we are the Shire.

Rifleman762 said...

I'm a librarian, and I prefer .357 for black bear. No one says "shush" better than Smith and Wesson.