Sorry. These things are like Great White Sharks. They are pretty much incompatible with humans. That doesn’t mean we should drive that shark species extinct, but it does mean that swimming humans should not share the water with these particular sharks. It’s humans over here, Great White Sharks over there, and never the twain shall meet! Separation. Divorce. Boundaries. Borders. And on land, fences and walls.
I did a lot of research on these bears recently for a big article I wrote. They had maps showing human-bear conflicts in the last 10 years. The conflicts were red circles on the map. Everywhere there were Grizzly Bears, there were red circles. Where there were lots of Grizzly Bears, there were lots of red circles. Lots of red circles. I mean you could barely even see the map anymore.
So in other words, whenever you have Grizzlies and humans, you have these things called “Grizzly-human conflicts.” And the conflicts are pretty serious. “I saw a Grizzly Bear and got scared and ran away,” doesn’t count. Like ghetto Blacks, these things can’t really live with (other) people without causing a lot of problems, if not a bit of mayhem.
Yes, there are ways around it. Pepper spray works great, if you can get it out and hit the bear fast enough with it. Problem is these huge animals are stealthier than you think, and you would be surprised how many times the damn things come out of nowhere charging at you from way too close.
Guns are even better. I know people in Alberta, Canada who tell me that they do not even go outside their homes without a loaded gun. Why? To concealed carry to protect themselves from criminals? Hell no. There are hardly any criminals up there anyway except for Indians and they’re usually too drunk to commit a violent crime against you. There are Grizzly Bears all over where these people live in rural Alberta, and they tell me it’s not even safe to go outside your backyard without a gun. Even with a gun you might get nailed if you can’t get it out fast enough. Quite a few hunters get mauled or even killed.
I was shocked at the number of actual bear attacks in the US in recent years and stunned at the number of fatal attacks. I cannot give you any figures, but it’s not unusual at all up there to have people killed by Grizzlies. Maybe one a year in Montana and Wyoming each.
What happens when they kill you? Well it’s pretty awful, but let’s face it, it doesn’t matter to the dead person how they died, and it surely does not matter to them what happens to them after they check out. Well, you get eaten. The bear has you for dinner. Ugh. Gross.
For instance, a hunter went missing southeast of Yellowstone (northeast of Lander) recently. That’s not a good sign up there. They searched for him for a while, and finally they found his partially eaten body. That means he got killed by a bear because no other animal out there is going to kill you and munch on you for lunch.
I do not mind these bears expanding out of their habitat though. If they want to expand, let them expand. Wyoming officials are trying to draw some lines beyond which bears may not cross in their state, but it’s not working. The Yellowstone population is at capacity, so that means that the population is expanding outwards. It’s not so easy in the modern West to keep a wild animal from expanding their range. If they want to do it, they will do it. I realize that means more problems, but I am in favor of wild animals doing whatever they want to in the US within reasonable means.
Bears are collared up there and most of them have numbers. Managers know each bear individually. If a bear gets into a conflict, managers often trap it and put it somewhere wild a ways away. If it meanders out again and gets into more conflicts, this is considered to be the bear equivalent of a hardened criminal, a bear that has not learned to stay away from humans. These bears are often killed by managers.
Some misguided persons want to put these Great White Land Sharks back in California because they used to live here. I am dead-set against that. If they want to wander back on their own, they are welcome to, but that may take decades. They will not make it here in my lifetime. Grizzly Bears expand their territory rather slowly. They are not wolves.
But putting them here is a mistake. I have spent a lot of time in the wilds of California hiking, and the woods are dangerous enough as it is. There are plenty of ways to get in trouble out there, not including wild animals. There are not many wild animal dangers in California, but there are bears and mountain lions, and they are not harmless. Every time I go hiking in California, I carry a very long wooden stick in case I meet up with a mountain lion. I’ve been in the woods my whole life, living and hiking in the wilds, and I haven’t seen a mountain lion yet. They’re all around, but you never see ’em, even when you live right in their midst. They don’t like people much and unlike Grizzlies, they tend to avoid us.