Our man Weingarten recently posted on the recent Grizzly kill in northern Idaho (not far from Ruby Ridge, FWIW). Reader RA wrote-in with his .02.
My family has a cabin in Island Park, Idaho just outside of Yellowstone Park. While there are lots of bears in the area (according to Idaho Fish and Game 800-1200) my wife has only seen 1 bear in the 40 years she has been travelling up there. In the 11 years we have been married I have never seen a bear in by the cabin, however we do hear stories of them being in the general area. Last fall while hunting in the area I was able shoot a big grizzly with my trail camera [above]. Hearing about bears in the area is one thing . . .
seeing them is another. Last week we had the grizzly eat a man in Yellowstone and a few days later grizzly started to show up in the area near our cabin. The bear has been making nightly visits for about a week now and I would argue definitely has the potential to pose a threat to people in the area. Camille and I went to the cabin with our 5 kids (ages 1-9) over the weekend and we didn’t venture anywhere beyond the cabin where we were not armed with either a gun or bear spray.
Upon arriving home last night I read the story of Mrs. Casey and her bear encounter up in Northern Idaho. I can’t fault Mrs. Casey for shooting the bear to protect her family, however I do think we can learn a few valuable lessons from the story. Sorry for some of the cliches.
1) Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight. Better yet don’t bring a .22 to a bear fight. I know, “any gun is better then no gun,” however, any gun against a human may be better than no gun, but against a pissed grizzly? I’m not so sure.
2) Train, train and train some more. I have no problem with with Mrs. Casey shooting the Grizzly with the .22 if that had been all she had. However she had a .45. Unfortunately it jammed at the most inopportune time. Malfunctions cost valuable time and can cost a life if not handled quickly. Luckily Mrs. Casey is fortunate she was able to grab another rifle and chase the bear off.
3) Backup weapons are truly valuable when you need them. A backup to your backup is even better if you have it when you need it.
4) Maintain situational awareness regardless of where you may be. Whether on the streets of Chicago or the backwoods of Idaho, know where you are going, whats around you and have a basic plan of what you’ll do if you encounter a problem. When seconds count (especially with a charging grizzly) being mentally prepared is just as important as everything else.
5) It is time to remove the Grizzly from the endangered species list and let hunters start helping to control the population. However, until that happens I would urge people to join PDAADG (Parents Demand Action Against Dangerous Grizzlies), stage non violent protests, and write your legislators until our voice is heard.