Grizzly encounters while elk hunting

carsonkeys

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Oct 27, 2016
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Loving this thread. Born and raised in Southern Ohio, moved to Montana last fall. Two weeks ago did my first day hunt in the Montana Wilderness for spring bear. No bear, grizz or otherwise.

Packed in with spray on my chest, 9mm on my hip, and 30-06 in my hands. I didn't know I could be so on edge for 10 miles (5 miles out and back). That said, I nearly had a heart attack when a trail runner came running up from behind in a thicket without making his presence known. Now I know I don't have the nerve to hunt that stuff alone, much less camp in that backcountry.

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HAHA! A few years back I was in NW MT hunting black bears by myself and about turned inside out when a trail runner nearly bumped into me on a closed logging road.
 
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Will_m

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I used to be a commercial beekeeper and we would put electric fences around our hives that were up in the mountains. We used the most powerful ones they made and powered them with a deep cycle marine battery (not practical unless you are camping at the truck). But one trick we used was to tie pieces of bacon (raw) onto the fence wires so the bear would come up and lick it with their tongue, or nose it. Lots of straight trails of bear sh&t leading away from the fences. Not sure you want to attract bears to your camp with bacon, but just thought I'd throw it out there. We also put chicken wire down around the outside of the fence and attached the ground wire to it so the bears were standing on it when they touched the fence.
I've seen pieces of flagging tape tied at intervals as a curiosity bait of sorts. From what I understand, the bear is supposed to investigate the flag and get a good shock to the nose.

Anybody seen the 209 primer rig? Basically a trip wire that pulls a pin and strikes a 209 prime. Wonder if this would deter bears or scare them so badly that they charge through the tent trying to GHOD.
 

mtnkid85

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Anybody seen the 209 primer rig? Basically a trip wire that pulls a pin and strikes a 209 prime. Wonder if this would deter bears or scare them so badly that they charge through the tent trying to GHOD.
Ive seen them and wanted to play with one. I feel like it would be a lighter weight choice than an electric fence. But I have no idea how it would actually work in practice, if a bear would actually hit the wire enough to trip it or would just step over the wire.
 

Buglebrush

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Ive seen them and wanted to play with one. I feel like it would be a lighter weight choice than an electric fence. But I have no idea how it would actually work in practice, if a bear would actually hit the wire enough to trip it or would just step over the wire.
I have run one for years. Super light. About like a standard bic lighter. I use it when going Solo. Had it go off twice during different nights and something ran off, but I don't know what. I carry a few very light eye-screws and some zip ties to run my fishing line trip wire through. Whole setup is only a few ounces.
 

mtnkid85

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I have run one for years. Super light. About like a standard bic lighter. I use it when going Solo. Had it go off twice during different nights and something ran off, but I don't know what. I carry a few very light eye-screws and some zip ties to run my fishing line trip wire through. Whole setup is only a few ounces.
Which one are you using? A grenade top, or one of the commercial trip wire alarms?
 

Conroy

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Apr 14, 2014
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Mukwonago, Wisconsin, United States
In 2018 we saw 7 grizzlies while hunting around Cody WY. The closest encounter was probably 40 yds, and it was pretty crazy.

I was just there last week and I was looking for them to take pictures. I saw 18 over 5 days and was able to photograph 12 just from the road. None of these were seen in Yellowstone but off the North Fork. That area is thick with them
 

kid44

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Sep 26, 2019
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I have no experience with grizzly bears but am enjoying reading about the experiences of others.
 

kid44

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This involves fly fishing, not elk hunting. I know a lady whose good friend and husband went fly fishing/camping in Yellowstone. After a long day of fishing they got in the tent and promptly went to sleep. The lady was awakened by a grizzly chewing on her arm. She had a gun but couldn't get to it because the bear had her pinned down. She survived with a badly damaged arm and shoulder. Her husband supposedly slept through the entire encounter. I have ABSOLUTELY NO REASON to doubt the person who told me.
 

Hey_Bear

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May 28, 2020
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South East B.C.
Had a grizzly charge and flatten us and our tent at 10pm one night on a backpack bighorn sheep hunt.

It was pretty intense for a bit...amazing how many thoughts can race through your mind.

My buddy and I recieved non life threatening bites to our arms as a nice reminder, though after a decade the scars have faded...memories haven't.

 
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Will_m

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Best story yet @Hey_Bear. Where was this? Seems odd to have grizzly problems on a sheep hunt, but then again, I know nothing of sheep hunting.
 

SoDaky

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sd
Great stories.Some scary stuff.I have had a handful of 'encounters' over the years but no charges or really close encounters.While bowhunting in NW Mt a friend and I stalked what we thought from distance was a black bear.Got over there and it was a sow grizz with cubs.Fortunately no wind swirls and we backed out without being seen.
Potentially another serious incident involved one about 80 yds from an elk my wife had shot.We had her 270 with 3 rounds and should have backed out.I decided not to and it got hairy for awhile with teeth snapping etc.We kept hollaring and talking after it swung downwind out of sight.Never saw again but it was a spooky packout.Second trip with help and horses.Handled it stupidly and poorly.Lucky.
 

Don Qui Puncher

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Boston Ma
I dropped into a big bowl in island park last year, there was a couple inches of snow and every time I got cliffed out or back tracked I had grizz tracks on top of mine, this happened maybe 4 times over a couple miles. I never laid eyes on it, last time it happened I saw where the tracks went into some thick nasty dark stuff a few hundred yards away. The second time it happened I got cliffed out and backtracked and it couldn’t have been 4-5 minutes and it’s tracks were on mine I knew it was close by
 

zion zig zag

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Something I think we've all suspected for a long time: https://www.wideopenspaces.com/grizzlies-are-following-elk-hunters-study-says/

I used to do quite a bit of alpine climbing in the Tetons, practically lived at the Lupine Meadows trailhead for a couple of summers. Days would often start just after midnight hiking through thick brush in order to be at the base of a climb at sunrise. I would tell my partners that it was the scariest part of the day, but we never had a bad encounter with a bear. I live in grizz country now, I have to have a special garbage can because I live in the "conflict zone." I have a very healthy fear.

I think hunting is so much different than other activities in bear country; you're intentionally being quiet and as the article states, they view you as a supllier of elk. Good stories in here.
 

Hey_Bear

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Best story yet @Hey_Bear. Where was this? Seems odd to have grizzly problems on a sheep hunt, but then again, I know nothing of sheep hunting.
South Eastern British Columbia, grizz pretty much all over this Province in varying densities.....lucky us.

On my stone sheep hunt last season the grizz were in the rocks hunting the sheep from above them.

Luckily I haven't called a grizzly while Elk hunting but I know a couple guys who had to shoot them in self defense as well as a couple incidents where guys got messed up pretty bad by grizzlies while elk hunting...

I just think of it this way....whats the chances of actually being attacked by a grizzly.....? So what are the chances of actually being attacked TWICE....lol
 

AndyB

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Mar 8, 2013
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North Wales UK
Had that bear fence and sold it. It will stop a curious bear, charging bear forget about it.
Blackie in CO, charged right thru mine. SW357 two shots killed the beast but still crashed into tent.

Made up my own bear deterrent fence from feed store but with 3x the joules power, more voltage!
Not incl 6-D batteries total weight is <4lbs. Mostly use it to surround, protect hanging meat area.
And I doubt it would stop a charging bear.
There's a story there ,c'mon don't hold out on us! :)
 

bummer7580

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Oct 9, 2017
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minnesota
I have hunted the Thorofare area in WY 3 times, once for a bighorn and twice for elk. All three times we ran into grizzly bear but the most memorable experience was when riding back to camp after I had killed a good bull. It was about 10:00 at night and I was on my horse following my guide back to camp. We could see pretty good because of the snow and the full moon. Suddenly my horse lurched forward and tried to shoot past my guide. I had been dozing on and off on the ride back and I damn near fell out of the saddle when the horse jumped. I got the horses nose tucked into the guides horse's tail and looked back to see a big grizzly following us. After some shouting the bear stopped and then left, I suspect he smelled blood on us and came to see what was available. I didn't have any trouble staying awake the rest of the ride in.
 
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