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Discussion: Bear sighted today on first loop highlander course

in: Hudson Highlander XVIII (Oct 18, 2015 - Kanawauke Picnic Area (41.234379, -74.116585))

Oct 17, 2015 7:45 PM # 
Kpop was out on the first loop of the highlander course today and sighted a bear.... Please bring a whistle with you.
Oct 17, 2015 8:39 PM # 
Neat! How close do they have to be before they come when summoned with the whistle?
Oct 17, 2015 8:40 PM # 
was the bear on my course?
Oct 17, 2015 8:41 PM # 
I'll ask kpop to answer that as soon as she stops shaking enough to operate her phone or computer.
Oct 17, 2015 10:37 PM # 
I'm all better after a shot of vodka and a change of underwear ;) Sent the bear to Joe's part of the course.
Oct 17, 2015 11:09 PM # 
Vodka makes it bearable?
Oct 17, 2015 11:17 PM # 
Think about not being afraid of "the average black bear" in the northeast. We have plenty in our local New Hampshire woods. They run off every time, from me, from my dogs etc. I think it's reasonable to call them harmless. Bears in the western sates are more concerning.

I recall a Swedish orienteer years ago in the summer Harriman woods so paralyzed by the presence of a rattle snake near a control point that he quit the course.
Oct 17, 2015 11:39 PM # 
We will mark the bear as a purple x on the map as is moves around. New technology makes this possible!

Jokes aside, I have seen a few bears in that specific (and still top secret) area of the course. You smell them. They actually smell you before you smell them. Usually they quietly move into the other direction and we should do the same.
Oct 18, 2015 1:38 AM # 
I saw one on the Billygoat this year, so maybe it's a trend.
Oct 18, 2015 11:00 AM # 
I found a Canadian orienteer up a tree due to one, also in Harriman.
Oct 18, 2015 12:32 PM # 
Black bears climb trees faster than any orienteer.
Oct 18, 2015 2:57 PM # 
My closest encounter with a bear while orienteering was last summer at Canadian champs long course in Whistler. On my final approach to the first control I heard footsteps behind me and just ignored them like I usually do. I arrived at the control at same time as another guy coming in from my right.

He looked at me and said matter of factly "Did you see the bear?" With my concentration momentarily distracted by this odd Canadian greeting I replied "What bear?" He pointed over my shoulder and I turned to see a sizable bear standing maybe 20 meters away in the exact direction I had come from, looking directly at us.
Oct 18, 2015 4:26 PM # 
Some people carry and use bells and whistles to scare off bears.
Unless you threaten them or their young black bears will not be a threat to you. They eat berries, not orienteers.
Brown and grizzly bears, however....
How do you tell whether you are in black bear or grizzly bear territory? Examine their scat - poop- black bear scat contains the remains of berries. Grizzly bear scat contains bells and whistles.
Oct 19, 2015 5:35 AM # 
When the North American Rogaining Champs were held in B.C. in 2005, I wrote this in my AP log:

As we approached the third control after a particularly steep climb, Sherpa asked: "What's that by the pond?" I saw a small, dark animal and wondered what she was so concerned about. Then I saw the big Mama bear and both her cubs, romping around about 100 meters beyond the control. Oh oh.

Then we noticed Bent [my husband] and Hingo sitting on a rock about 150 meters away from the control on the opposite side. I called out, "Are you waiting for the bear to leave?" and they didn't seem to hear us. Then Sherpa and I decided there would be safety in numbers, so we swung wide around the field toward the guys. Before we got there, the guys left. It turned out that Hingo had heard me ask about the bear, but Bent assured him that I was just kidding. They had wondered, however, why we hadn't visited the control yet.

Sherpa and I didn't want to give up that easily, so we talked loudly and sang a few choruses of "The Other Day I Saw a Bear, A Great Big Bear Away Out There". Then we took a wide loop around the field and couldn't see the bears, but were still worried because the control was on a little rise and we couldn't see right behind it. Finally, we got our nerve up. I darted over and jammed my SI card into the box while Sherpa held her bear spray at the ready. We didn't bother filling in the intention sheet!

We later learned that other competitors had just told organizers, "I saw a bear by #35", and they were credited with the points. So our stupid bravery was for nothing!
Oct 19, 2015 12:59 PM # 
Ramapo Reservation - the large park just south of Harriman - has been closed for the last month because of aggressive bear activity. The bears have been approaching hikers and not backing off. Several bears in the park have been shot for aggressive behavior in the last few weeks.
Last year, a hiker was mauled and killed by a bear in one of the parks south of Ramapo Reservation.
Oct 19, 2015 2:21 PM # 
I agree with Bernie. Just because it's a black bear does not mean it isn't dangerous though I expect 999/1000 are not a threat.

There is some good info on what to do if attacked by a bear in this thread though you need to scroll down to the posting by UPNORTHGUY

And note that the right thing to do DEPENDS on the bears intentions which, in your panicked state, you somehow need to access.
Oct 19, 2015 3:28 PM # 
999/1000 people are harmless, too.
Oct 19, 2015 7:38 PM # 
Well, now that you mention it, I guess the response is exactly the same:

Asses the bear (or person), intentions and than act accordingly. You need to read the info that upnorthguy linked to but as I remember, if the bear (or person), is trying to defend it's self, than you need to be non-threatening, play dead, move away, etc.. If the bear (or person), intends to pray upon you, than you need to aggressively defend yourself, use the bear spray (pepper spray for people), fight back, etc.
Oct 19, 2015 7:41 PM # 
Yup. And maybe consider the same issues as to whether or not you'd be comfortable venturing into their territory.

(Although if a person wants to pray upon you, maybe you can just say Hallelujah! and tell him you've already been saved. Personally, I like the idea of going for the pepper spray in that situation anyway.)
Oct 21, 2015 9:31 AM # 
Or you could just speak Danish at it -
(starring Søren Bobach in Canada)
Oct 22, 2015 10:22 PM # 
And the live-action version:
Oct 23, 2015 12:11 PM # 
Lol big fuss about up, Soren.
Oct 24, 2015 10:23 PM # 
Sounds like he was viewing the proverbial Devil Incarnate, even w/o translation. I'm pretty sure I'd just have ignored it. Do we share O map terrain with grizzlies or brown bears, say in Alaska or maybe Wyoming or Montana?

This photo was taken just last week at Shelburne Museum in VT. One bear was killed in 1949, the others pre-1940. They were shot on Kodiak I, Alaska and spent their trophy days at an Adirondack hunting "camp". An encounter with one of these would invoke justified "terror". Best be not anywhere nearby unless studying them. Maybe rattlers in some parts of the country are more of a threat.
Oct 24, 2015 11:47 PM # 
Most of our O areas (Whitehorse, and southern Yukon generally) are black and grizzly bear habitat. Sightings fairly rare, although a few years ago I saw three black bears one evening when hanging training flags for a session the next day.

This discussion thread is closed.