We rode the center mountain of the Tetons in Mid August, when the huckleberries were ripe, NEVER again. If you want to ride the Tetons ride them at some other time. The trails on the center mountain go right thru a lot of huckleberry patches. Huckleberries are one of the bear's favorite meals. So if you interrupt their meal, guess who they get a bit teed off with, yep, you got it, YOU.
True Story, What to do with a close bear encounter.
No, you don't run. A bear can reach speed over 40 mph and quick. No, pepper mace doesn't work, but bear mace does, and we carry it. Put at ten feet if he wanted you, you would not have time to draw your gun or mace.
Now here comes the tough part. In anticipation of such an encounter, we asked the locals what you do with a close encounter of this type. Now this is a solo bear, and not one with cubs. Those with cubs you handle differently. And we have had the momma with cubs episodes also.
The locals said if this happens you have to be the aggressor. The hair is still up on the back of my neck, and I'm thinking be the aggressor, ok, nothing else I can think of right now. Remember I'm on a 16.3 hd horse and this bear is bigger than we are. So, I turn his head toward the bear and ask him to take a couple of steps toward the bear, and I can just hear him thinking "are you sure you want to do this?" He takes the steps toward the griz and the bear gets down and walks up the mountain. Now who trained who here.
And that is not the end of this story.
We go a short distance down the trail and come up a solo hiker. No gun, no maze, no nothing except he is white as a sheet, and I'm sure he needs his diaper changed. As it turns out there were two bears at that location, one on each side of the trail. He said he was sure he was done for. He got down on all fours crawled a short distance, took a picture and headed down the trail.
We had not gone very far and the wife said he is trying to catch us. Sure enough he is running full bore down the trail to catch us. And he says " I'm not going to let the cavalry out of my sight until we get off of this mountain"
The End, And this is a true story, almost sounds like a fair tale when you re-read it.
We encountered bear, lots of bear everyday that mid August in the Teton's. The Teton's are absolutely beautiful, but need to be ridden when the huckleberries are not ripe.
Close encounters with the sow and twin cubs. We are riding along a trail just up hill about 50 yards from a lake shore, when all of sudden we hear this blood curdling scream and now I have 2 bear cubs in the fir tree not 2 feet from me. They are up there screaming their heads off and the fur and fir are flying everywhere, and Momma bear is raising a similar ruckus down at the shore line. You give momma bear her way. We are in heavy down fall and getting thru it, off the trail, is a real task. But we exit rear and swing way out and around the bear cubs. Finally get to the trail head, not over 1/2 mile away. And find some oriental folks wanting to take pictures. We warn them of the sow and cubs, but as we are loading the horses, we see them trot off down the trail in search of pictures. You can not fix stupid.
What do to with a bear looking for a free meal.
One day we are riding up the mountain and all of a sudden this young couple comes running down the trail, screaming, "there's a bear after us". Sure enough here comes the bear. Fortunately, just a little guy, only stood about 3 ft tall, when on all four. The got behind us, and I just started walking up the trail directly at the bear. Got about 10 feet from it, and it turned and went up the mountain. Seems this bear had picked up the habit of aharrassing hikers, and the hikers threw him a sandwich to get rid of him. Signs, everywhere. "Do Not Feed the Bear". You can not fix stupid.
Can not fix real stupidity.
One day we were walking up the trail and my horse smells bear. Sure enough, I walk over to a large downed tree, and at the other end is a crotched down bear. Just below us in a little valley there's a family with some small children camped. I warn them of the bear. As we are riding off we see this 6 or 7 year old girl going up to the bear with a sandwich in her hand, and Dad standing back with the camera.
That's enough of the bear stories, we have many more but don't want to bore anyone.
Bear do not bother me so long as everyone in the party uses some common sense. Now, mountain lions, are a different story the scare the living daylights out of me. Fortunately, there has always been plenty for them to eat and they like the higher country.