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Interesting bear encounters while riding.

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I often run into bears while MTB riding. Most of the time, the bear runs one way and I ride the other. I was wondering if anyone has had “interesting” encounters while riding.

I’ll start with two – one funny and the other a bit scary.

First the funny. There were three of us riding a trail near to town. I was in the lead but not paying a lot of attention to what was ahead because the trail was somewhat rooty and rocky. We had been making a lot of noise, as is our usual behavior when in the bush. When I came around a turn, I came face to face with a young grizzly standing on his hind legs about 10 feet from me. The guys behind me didn’t realize that I have stopped suddenly and both crashed into me, causing all of us to fall over sideways – a three stooges maneuver. We had a mess of bikes in which we were tangled and it took about a minute to untangle. The Griz watched the circus act with out moving. It was not until we got up and started walking slowly backwards that the bear ambled away. I’m sure he was smiling.

The scary encounter occurred on a 60k “there and back again” ride along a lake in Banff (Lake Minnewanka). We started as a group of about 8, but a friend and I decided to ride a bit farther. On the way back, a female Griz was happily eating berries when the two of us came over a hill and we saw her about 100 meters ahead. She was O.K. with my friend watching her, but took exception whenever I was in sight of her. At first she swung her head back and forth, but this quickly changed to false charge of about 30 meters. I know Griz can be fast over short distances, but it is remarkable to see a Griz run at you : – instant and powerful speed. We very quickly got the message, and walked backwards over the hill and out of her sight. Unfortunately, the other way out is a huge ride, and the afternoon was passing. The only alternative was to bushwhack around the Griz, which we successfully did; although we couldn’t be sure that she remained stationary and that we were not walking into her path.
post #2 of 14
I've twice seen bears while riding (I'm a roadie). Once was on Virginia's Skyline Drive. A cub bear, with its Mom close behind, just strolled across the road about 100 feet in front of me. There was a car heading towards me (which obviously stopped) and I stopped as well. I don't think the bears ever even noticed that humans were there (or if they did notice, our presence didn't phase them in the least).

The other time was in Vermont, sort of near Okemo. Much scarier experience. Big open field to my left, with the road hugging a stream immediately to my right. A bear comes running, and I mean running, across the field. It was taking a line that was going to come far too close to me for comfort. I had no idea what to do, so I just froze and prayed for the best. The bear ran across the road not 20 feet in front of me :, jumped in the stream and proceeded to catch fish. Swipe with its paw, splash of water, chomp!, swipe, splash, chomp. I just stood there in amazement for a few seconds watching it feed itself (thanking all that is holy that it was in the mood for fish and not human), and slowly rode away.

I've done a number of cycling tours where I've wound up camping in places where bears are known to live. Never had one visit my campsite though, and I like it that way, thank you very much. :
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
I was wondering if there would be any other posts.

I’ve had several bear encounters while in camp – food stolen out of bags tied in trees or sitting in a tent hoping the bear that we heard would not come in to get warm. Most interesting night experience was near Yellowstone. I went hiking at night with a young woman I met while working at a resort. (I was in the midst of a bike ride across the US and stopped for a month to work and play near Yellowstone.). Our intention was to camp on a ridge above the resort. Half way up the ridge we heard a bear following us and barking, sort of like a dog. Immediately, we climbed a tree and spent most of the night up there. The woman told me that she was having her period while we were in the tree. The black bear walked circles around the tree for about an hour and left.

I now carry bear spray and a bearbanger when out riding or hiking.
post #4 of 14
I've had two actual bear encounters. Several times I've seen evidence of bear.
The only time I've everh wondered if I was in danger ws the one time that there was a cub near by. Laugh, sing, keep pedaling and DON'T get between the mamma Bear and her cub!
post #5 of 14
I've never encountered a bear, but last winter I nearly hit a deer while skiing.
post #6 of 14

Bullwinkle

I had a Moose take a run at me on the trail that leads from the Hobacks back to the base area at Jackson Hole.

They had posted notices at the lifts to be wary.
post #7 of 14
Moose can be pretty nasty from what I understand. Way more aggressive than bears.
post #8 of 14
I keep having near-misses with wild boar on my mtn bike. No bears around here, thankfully.
post #9 of 14
I was coming up a hill once south of lake tahoe on my MTB, and saw a large black bear (no griz in tahoe) crossing in front of me with her three cubs about 20 yards in front of me. I stopped dead in my tracks & watched for a few seconds as I've never seen a bear with more than 2 cubs. Luckily I was down wind & I don't think she even knew I was there. I turned around & made a quick retreat.

I have encountered moose a number of times on my bike, with a few really close calls. I've heard they can be quite nasty.

How about mountain lions? Anyone had an encounter? I was riding up a canyon near my home, a regular ride for me, & almost ran over the chewed up hindquarters of a deer. It looked pretty fresh & I could see where the lion had drug the carcass across the trail & down the hill. I no longer will ride that trail early morning or evening.

JF
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by twoturn View Post
I had a Moose take a run at me on the trail that leads from the Hobacks back to the base area at Jackson Hole.

They had posted notices at the lifts to be wary.
Last year my wife and I did the wilderness/Elk refuge tour at Jackson, WY. They quoted some stats, (I can't remember the exact numbers), human fatalities from moose exceed those from bear, buffalo, elk, mountain lions combined. We saw some huge moose, taller than a Suburban and almost as long. Good thing they like willow bark.

Bears....I was sitting on a park picnic table, taking a break from my MTB ride, eating a power bar. Two black bear cubs ran out of the woods, and around me sitting on the picnic table. I froze, the direction they came from was between me and the cubs. I slowly climbed up on the picnic table and tried to get up in a tree close by. I ended up hanging from the limb with my hands, trying to run my legs up the trunk, in my bike shoes. The cubs soon left, I never saw the mother.

Another time I was riding on some railroad grade trail. I rounded the corner, and saw what I thought were two Rotweilers (sp?) walking away from me. They hadn't heard me yet, I continued to crank like a dumbus (I like dogs). Then, I thought what in the world would two Rots be doing out here? I hit the brakes. Then one turned around, yep, bear. They just ran into the woods. Too close.

Mountain Lion...3 of us MTBing outside of Boulder, CO. We start seeing signs for Lions posted as a warning by the park service. One of my friends really starts getting paranoid about Lions. I'm saying things like, Oh they are more afraid of you, etc. We continued riding and I was ahead of them. I stopped and waited for them to catch up. While I was admiring the scenery, I saw the head of a lion in some bushes looking back at me. I waited for my friends and we just walked our bikes for a while. The Lion never came out of the bushes.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnys Zoo View Post
Bears....I was sitting on a park picnic table, taking a break from my MTB ride, eating a power bar. Two black bear cubs ran out of the woods, and around me sitting on the picnic table. I froze, the direction they came from was between me and the cubs. I slowly climbed up on the picnic table and tried to get up in a tree close by. I ended up hanging from the limb with my hands, trying to run my legs up the trunk, in my bike shoes. The cubs soon left, I never saw the mother.
I have heard (no idea of its true) that black bears can climb trees really well... And that grizzly bears will either knock the tree down or just shake it until you fall out.

I have heard though that "making yourself look bigger" (like climbing up on a picnic table) tends to confuse the heck out of bears, so they'll probably leave.

For creatures that have such a fearsome reputation, bears seem to be awfully skittish. As mentioned above -- moose in mating season and mountain lions -- look out.
post #12 of 14
Up close, those cubs didn't look friendly either. I've heard of people getting pretty messed up by cubs. I wouldn't think anyone would want to pet one of those things. When you have to react quickly, ie... OK I have food, don't run that's bad, and 2 cubs running around me "playing." Making it to higher ground seemed the best impedement to getting mauled that I could think of. I was all for making it known that I didn't want to mess with those cubs. This all happened in a couple seconds probably.
post #13 of 14
I was mtn biking in Sedona in the red rocks, the rest of the group took the pink jeep tour, i biked the same trail, a mountain lion popped up about 50 yards away, no one was around, he/she was beautiful and i had never seen one in wild, then i felt a lot like a ribeye....... I rode away never saw it again.....
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post
I have heard (no idea of its true) that black bears can climb trees really well... And that grizzly bears will either knock the tree down or just shake it until you fall out.

I have heard though that "making yourself look bigger" (like climbing up on a picnic table) tends to confuse the heck out of bears, so they'll probably leave.

For creatures that have such a fearsome reputation, bears seem to be awfully skittish. As mentioned above -- moose in mating season and mountain lions -- look out.
Grizzlies can and do climb trees. An acquaintance was killed here about three years ago. She and her friends were running and encountered an adult Griz. Her friends backed away, but she didn’t go with them and climbed a tree. The bear climbed up over 30 feet and pulled her down. There are claw marks all the way up the tree. I rode past the place where she died yesterday – still chilling. Some experts think that the bear was habituated to humans and that she acted like prey. This bear had been captured a week or two before and taken to another location about 50 k away, but it came back. The morning of the attack, it had advanced on some golfers and was chased off the course by a guy in a truck.

Generally the rule of thumb act submissively and back away without eye contact with Griz and black bears, but black bears might require some confrontation convince them to leave if they are interested in you as prey. The best thing to do is not surprise them (make lots of noise) and ride in a group. Bear spray can deter an attack by either Griz or Black, and bearbangers work well if the bear is a distance away and you want to scare them away. Most people who ride here go “armed” with this stuff. Luckily, the vast majority of bear encounters do not end in a bad way, and most people never use their “weapons.”

Steven Herrerro has an excellent book - Bear Attack - about this subject.
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