When Animals Attack

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While tragic, we were in Montana in 1997 and spent a day in Yellowstone. We had the priviledge of sighting a grizzly and spent some time observing with long range lenses. She was a silverback. I've got a great pic on my wall. We were sitting next to a elk kill by this grizzly from the previous day and she was attempting to return for seconds. Were prob 600+ yards aways at the time on a hillside when she was attempting to come up from the river. She was getting agitated cause of some really stupid tourists who had accumulated into a large crowd by then as the buses kept stopping and no doubt pointing out hte attraction. Well these two idiots were way down close to the river getting close up shots.

Were were of group of five avid outdoorsmen, sportsmen, hunters, respectors of mother nature...one of which finally made a commetn about those two guys being idiots and stood a good chance of not making it home for lunch (by now a good 30 minutes more had passed since the crowds had started gathering. We had been there already 1.5 hrs maybe along with the guy that photographed the kill the evening before). Mind you the bear kept working up and down the river bank looking for a place to come up but she kept seeing these two idiots and would go back down and then pop up down the bank for another look, and was visibly becoming agitated. A lady, and a very ignorant one, behind us heard my friends comment and asked what he meant that the guy may not be home for lunch cause that was her husband down there and he was pretty fast. He expalined to her that this wasn't no effing petting zoo and they were really pissing the bear off and asked her if her husband could run 30mph for 8 hours. She said no and asked why. He told her cause a grizzly bear could. She said but isn't that a black bear. He said not that it would matter much, but black bears are typically black and this was grizzly country and wished her well on seeing her stupid husband and friend for dinner later. At which point she began running down the hill yelling for him to come back.

By now the bear was making its way up river and came up into the flats (we were still a pretty safe distance and only remained where we were because all the bus tourists were in front of us on the hillside). As it made it's way toward its prey, it lunged forward in bear mode and everyone started screaming. THat was the moment we bailed toward hte vehicle. As I was turning to go, I held my camera up over my friends head and snapped a pic on zoom (bear was still a good 100 yards from us) as we headed to the jeep. THe noise from all the screaming spooked the bear and it turned and ran. AS we got to the jeep we turned and looked and crowds were running after the bear for final photo ops. As fate would have it, my pic was perfectly centered and focused and that is the one framed on my wall.

The whole point of this digression is that although we were aware the Yellowstone is a wild and natural place, many are ignorant and act as though it is a petting zoo full of tame animals. We only remained near the kill to watch Murphy's Law unfold before us, as the tour bus folks formed a well stocked safety barrier between us and the bear. We had fully intended to move back from the area in plenty of time for the bear to be itself. Most attacks inside the park are the fault of the tourist. People not in tune with outdoors are typically out right stupid in those environments.

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