Being Bear Aware! - Page 2

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Being Bear Aware!

This is a discussion on Being Bear Aware! within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    05-18-2010, 03:51 PM
I have no first hand experience with bear encounters, but have done a bit of reading on the subject. (Not the same, I know!!)
There has not been a Documented case of bears attacking people on horseback. (At least not at time of publishing, maybe 6 yrs ago.)
So #1, don't fall off your horse, lol.
The most dangerous bear is a sow with cubs, especially if you have inadverdantly gotten in between them! So the general rule of hiking (and riding, I guess) is that you Want the bear to know you are coming... so make noise. Bells, sing, a whistle blown every so often. They will move off right away.
If you encounter a mama bear, act submissive and back away. Make sure you are not blocking Her escape route. If she attacks, it is my understanding that this is when you play dead, she will leave with her cubs when the threat is gone.
If you encounter a predatory BLACK bear (wants to eat you), make yourself big, loud aggressive. If it charges, hold your ground, may be a bluff charge. If it attacks, fight back with all you got.
Mama grizzly, same as black bear, submissive, no eye contact, slow retreat, play dead.
Predatory Grizzly.... you're screwed.
Anyone, please correct me if I made any errors!
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    05-18-2010, 04:56 PM
Putting bells - like jingle bells- are great to warn all wildlife. You may spot the bears before the horses do, but you can bet they know you're there before you see them. Most will leave you be. Our cougars are hard to spot, and very sparse, so I don't worry about them. Bears however, will consider it a threat if you look them in the eyes. I have had them charge me for a simple slip like that. You may need to with other animals, but with the bears, look at their ears, their mouth, feet - but don't make eye contact. In their language, it's a challenge. The only amendment I have to Skip's post is black bears - playing dead doesn't work. That is only for Grizz/brown bears. A black will false charge several times before they really mean it, sometimes coming within 10 feet or less before they back off - never - NEVER turn your back on a charging bear. Otherwise, Skip's got it down.
That pic of the wolf looked more like a coyote to me. They tend to travel alone while wolves are usually in packs, and about 3 times the size of a coyote. IMHO, wolves are the worst. They can/will take down a horse - coyotes are not big enough, and generally shy away.

Don't know how to train the horses to accept it, unless you can get a hold of something with bear scent on it to get them desensitized to the smell of them. Otherwise, it's just a matter of exposure.

Good luck, hope ya have a safe ride!
    05-18-2010, 06:12 PM
I assure you it was a pack of wolves, I only got one on the picture. There were 6-7 of them, but they scattered when they saw us. You can see it is almost black in color. Not a color found among coyotes. They were close enough to see their size and coloring when we first spotted them, By time I got the camera out, turned it on, I just got parting shots.

I've shot and skinned enough coyotes, that I am very familar with what they are.
    05-18-2010, 08:14 PM
Hey, no insult meant, PH. Looking at the pic in passing, it looked like a 'yote to me. Didn't say it was, after all, I wasn't there. Just mentioned what it seemed to me. Sorry if I ruffled your feathers. But I don't think I put it in a way that was insulting.
    05-18-2010, 08:18 PM
Went bear hunting with Grasshopper today. Didn't see any today. She sure is a wary horse though. Been out in open range for so long that she looks behind every tree. Kinda like pentacostals looking for demons behind every bush!

It will be interesting when we actually see something together. There's never a problem with coyotes, elk, deer, etc... she just perks up and watches them for a minute. But she's the one who lined up 60 other horses to charge a bear off their field, so she obviously knows they are a threat.

I know though that she freaks at donkeys. There are some donkeys on the ranch where they board and she just went nuts the first time she saw them. They are just too strange looking for her, I guess. But she is getting used to them. So it is obviously wierd looking, unfamiliar things that spook her the worst.
    05-19-2010, 12:14 AM
Qt no feathers ruffled. Sorry didn't mean to come across that way. Just wanted to clarify that I do know and can tell the difference.

At the distance in the photo it does look much smaller than it really was. Especially in that tall grass.
    05-19-2010, 01:08 AM
:) Hard to read intonation when it's typed! I would LOVE to see some photos of your hunts - predator hunting is my favorite thing to do outdoors outside of horses ;)
    05-19-2010, 02:09 PM
This may not add to your confidence, but a horse cannot outrun a bear in the woods. They look like a giant fur ball in high gear. We tried to head/heal this bear & had the dogs behind us, but never got close enough to get it roped. I have never had a bear act aggressive while I was on a horse, but I was also always surrounded by dogs & think that makes a big difference.
    05-19-2010, 02:27 PM
I think most bears will leave you be. Last time I went hunting I had cubby bears climbing my tree, and mom sitting right under it - she knew I was there, but never bothered me. I've had more problems with adolescent males than anything else. I've walked near mama bears with little bowling ball babies without any problems, and had 500# boars run off on seeing me. Black bears are pretty docile, and yes - wicked wicked fast.
    05-19-2010, 02:33 PM
Originally Posted by wicastawakan    
This may not add to your confidence, but a horse cannot outrun a bear in the woods. They look like a giant fur ball in high gear. We tried to head/heal this bear & had the dogs behind us, but never got close enough to get it roped. I have never had a bear act aggressive while I was on a horse, but I was also always surrounded by dogs & think that makes a big difference.
That could get wild in a hurry! If you ever get one roped I want pictures. I have a hard enough time roping a sick cow so I wouldn't even try roping a bear.

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