In an opinion piece in my hometown paper yesterday, the Bozeman Chronicle, there is an opion entitled, There is nothing like living in grizzly country, by Jeff Welsch, communications director for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. Just to put this opinion in perspective I was a board member of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and I firmly believe we (in Bozeman) are far better off for living with the grizzly.
In his opinion Welsch is hiking on a Yellowstone National Park trail and runs into a grizzly bear track, and writes about the Yellowstone Grizzlies plight, and turns around on the trail to avoid conflict with the bear if he runs into it.
To give some perspective to Welch’s unencounter with the grizzly bear…the bear may be up ahead on the trail and smell Welsch and choose to leave. The bear is displaced but avoids an encounter with a human. This may happen a lot of the time with bears on a trail.
I have, like Welsch, run into grizzly bear tracks on Yellowstone National Park trails and my reaction is much like Welsches, but maybe I have different reasons for turning around.
I see grizzly bears as quite able to inncur a lot of dsamage on their percieved advesary. The end result for the advesary may be death, more often than not scarring and I have seen the range of scars; not a pretty thing.
I regularly saw the track of a female grizzly and 2 cubs of the year along a trail called Tepee Creek. When I saw her tracks I made a bunch of noise. Her tracks along the trail were a scary thing for me to spot. I think she was a radio collared female and she weighed about 325 pounds. One night I saw her chase her cubs up a tree than run to face a black bear as large as she was and I watched as she chased the black bear away. I did not want to run into any grizzly bear let alone her.
In short seeing a grizzly’s track on the trail, and I have many times, will usually make me loud, real observent and quite nervous until I leave the track well behind. I hope the grizzly lasts around here forever, just the way Welsch does, but I have no intention of ending up as a scapula in a grizzly bear’s scat the way a heavily pro bear friend ended up several years ago…Welsch is right, as I am, but for different reasons.