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Avoiding Bears - Any Advice?


Mushtang
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My GF and I are planning a weekend cache trip with some muggle friends, and while making plans she informed me that she's really concerned about bears. Specifically, getting attacked by them while walking through the woods on our way to a waterfall or two.

 

I explained that in the past, whenever I've gone hiking in areas that bears live, I always try to be as loud as possible. This is to avoid inadvertantly sneaking up on a bear and it feeling it needs to defend itself. A friend and I once walked for about 2 hours in the woods yelling back and forth to each other, "Stay away bears! We're coming to look for caches! Don't mind us!! Stay away bears!"

 

The main reason for posting this is she mentioned she'd feel better if I brought my 9mm with me. I'd rather not bring it, but maybe it's a good idea.

 

Has anyone run across any bears while geocaching? Does anyone do anything specific to keep safe while in bear country?

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My GF and I are planning a weekend cache trip with some muggle friends, and while making plans she informed me that she's really concerned about bears. Specifically, getting attacked by them while walking through the woods on our way to a waterfall or two.

 

I explained that in the past, whenever I've gone hiking in areas that bears live, I always try to be as loud as possible. This is to avoid inadvertantly sneaking up on a bear and it feeling it needs to defend itself. A friend and I once walked for about 2 hours in the woods yelling back and forth to each other, "Stay away bears! We're coming to look for caches! Don't mind us!! Stay away bears!"

 

The main reason for posting this is she mentioned she'd feel better if I brought my 9mm with me. I'd rather not bring it, but maybe it's a good idea.

 

Has anyone run across any bears while geocaching? Does anyone do anything specific to keep safe while in bear country?

I would leave that 9mm locked up safe and sound! You would have about a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of stopping a bear with it! All it's going to do is either bounce off his skull, or irritate him. It may well cause fatal injury in the end, but not before he's had a nice "rack of geocacher" sandwhich! :)

 

Be loud, and be alert. If bears are a hazard in the area your going, try bringing along either a very loud whistle, or perhaps one of those compressed air horns that are popular at sporting events. That will alert Bruno that you are coming, and he can go the other way.

 

Unlike most animals, you aren't going to dominate a bear (and he knows it) so if worst truly does come to worst, fall down, curl up and scream like a five year old girl (which at that point shouldn't take too much imagination). Hopefully he will decide you aren't worth the bother!

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Back when I cooked for elk camp, the guides were required (for certification) to carry a minimum caliber of .357. The saying was that at least you could get away while the bear was laughing at you.

 

Seriously though, get some bear bells (just goat or smallcow bells) to attach to your pack or hip so they ring. The only time I've been close to a bear was when I wasn't wearing one and I was setting quiet in one spot for an hour. I even had one for the dog.

 

I am sure there are others here more experienced in bear country.

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I've crossed paths with grizzlies before I started geocaching. In the rare event that you do see a bear if you just keep your wits about you, you'll be OK.

 

If you are that concerened attach some jingle bells to your pack or clothes, talk loudly, and in general let the bear know you are coming. In general they want less to do with you than you with them.

 

If you want to bring a firearm, bring something with a little more stopping power than a 9mm. But you shouldn't have to. I have many guns, but I will take a can of bear caliber pepper spray instead of any of my guns (unless hunting). It's available in most outdoors stores. It's much lighter than a gun and would be better for the bear and more easily explained to a ranger or warden.

 

I've been within 30 feet of a grizzly in Glacier NP (not my choice) where you can't carry guns anyway, and I don't know that I would've felt any better with anything outside my 12 gauge in my hand than the pepper spray anyway. Fortunately for both the bear and me, the bear lost interest in us quickly and got back to heading towards the lake for a drink.

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I've run across several bears while hiking, hunting, fishing, geocaching, etc. First of all, it is not necessary to be extra loud while hiking. Usually the normal amount of noise people make while having a conversation on the trail is plenty to give a bear enough warning to let him know you are coming. If your not the talking type just put a little bell on your hiking poles. It is not that you are yelling that scares the bear away, it is the fact that you are human. You just want to avoid startling a bear in close proximity. He's only going to attack if he thinks it's too late to run. Contrary to what seems to be popular opinion, bears do not seek out people for meals. Most people attacked by bears were camping with the smells of other food on or around them. When the bear is suddenly suprised by the sneaky humans hiding in their tent he reacts in a defensive but deadly manner.

 

As for the 9mm. Come on. Except for the people with nerves of steel and lots of experience with an attacking bear it will do no good. How good of a shot do you think you are when your adrenaline is pumping like never before. Most people that use hand guns for "defense" against bears do more harm than good. If you do manage to shoot the bear instead of someone in your party (including yourself) you're probably just going to wound him and piss him off more. Also, I don't know if you've ever hunted bears, but it takes a very well placed, high powered shot to bring one down instantly. I was with a friend who put 3 shots with a 30/30 into a bear, and we still had to track it 4 miles to finish the job.

 

I've heard some positives about the bear spray (pepper spray with a much more power) that is being sold now. It's about $40 a bottle, but if you miss and hit yourself it's not lethal just painful. And who knows maybe the bear won't like the taste of you then. Unless he likes his food spicy I guess. It's still a relatively new product so there aren't a lot of real life accounts out there to go by.

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--->Mountain Lions<---

Now there is an animal to be aware of. When they are hungry enough, they'll hunt.

Cacher, Hiker or Mountain Biker.

I thought I'd seen in the forums where somebody posted a link on defense against cougar attacks. I'll check for it but if someone else knows for sure, hit the "Markwell" button on the ol' PC.

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I've heard some positives about the bear spray (pepper spray with a much more power) that is being sold now.  It's about $40 a bottle, but if you miss and hit yourself it's not lethal just painful.  And who knows maybe the bear won't like the taste of you then.  Unless he likes his food spicy I guess.  It's still a relatively new product so there aren't a lot of real life accounts out there to go by.

When I had a can that was about to expire I was going to take it down to the local zoo to see how it performed, but my wife talked me out of it.

 

(Just kidding, just kidding! I'd never do that to a defenseless zoo bear. There are plenty of bums around to try it on. Oh, there I go again...)

Edited by Bull Moose
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When I had a can that was about to expire I was going to take it down to the local zoo to see how it performed, but my wife talked me out of it.

 

(Just kidding, just kidding! I'd never do that to a defenseless zoo bear. There are plenty of bums around to try it on. Oh, there I go again...)

:D:D:D LMAO :D:):D

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I'm not sure if where you are going has bears in the area or if your girlfriend may be bear phobic. Like some people won't go Geocaching with me because they think they are going to see a snake.

 

There are some options to consider; bear bells; cow bells or something "jingly" like sliegh bells on your packs or boots, friends of mine who hike in grizzly bear areas use these. Bear reppellent, Bear reppellent, then click on "personal defense products" and you'll see a link for bear reppellent.

 

Not sure about the hand gun, someone who hunts will be able to answer this better. I just don't think that given the size and speed of most bears a 9mm would have the stopping power.

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For over 43 years, I've lived in a area that is POLLUTED with black bears. I've hunted, hiked, fished, swam, canoed, etc. etc and have never seen a bear except while driving. I've come across very fresh sign and realized the bear was just yards away watching me. Bears are intelligent animals that would rather avoid humans. The have superb eyesight, hearing and smell.

 

Be assured the most dangerous part of your trip will be the car ride.

Edited by boreal jeff & sons
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Are you talking black bear or grizz's? Black bear are usually non-agressive and will run away as soon as they spot you. Every one I've encountered in the forest has taken off like a rabbit in the other direction (and those suckers are FAST). Its the ones that are in my trash and going after my bird feeder that stink. They are pretty hard to shoo away.

 

Now I do say USUALLY non agressive. In extremely rare instances they've attacked (and somtimes killed) humans, but these are incredibly rare. I think maybe 5-6 known attacks by black bear on the past decade, or so. When you think of the many millions of people who wandered through black bear country during this period, you have a better chance winning Powerball than being attacked by a black bear.

 

Now, they have been known to bluff charges. If this happens, DO NOT RUN. Stand your ground. If you run away, you suddenly become food in the mind of the bear.

 

Grizzleys are a different story.

Edited by briansnat
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Are you talking black bear or grizz's?  Black bear are usually non-agressive and will run away as soon as they spot you. Every one I've encountered in the forest has taken off like a rabbit in the other direction (and those suckers are FAST). Its the ones that are in my trash and going after my bird feeder that stink. They are pretty hard to shoo away.

Yeah, I notice you are in GA. Unless you are making to Canada, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, or supposdely Washington, I really wouldn't worry about bears.

They might get into your food if you don't store it in a bear canister or hang it in a bear bag, but it is extremely doubtful they will want anything to do with you.

Edited by Bull Moose
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We'll be in the north Georgia mountains, and there are several black bears around. Perhaps just walking and talking loudly will do the trick. I'll suggest the bells on the backpack idea to her too.

 

Down here footballs only drive away falcons and bulldogs, not bears.

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Are you talking black bear or grizz's?  Black bear are usually non-agressive and will run away as soon as they spot you. Every one I've encountered in the forest has taken off like a rabbit in the other direction (and those suckers are FAST). Its the ones that are in my trash and going after my bird feeder that stink. They are pretty hard to shoo away.

 

Now I do say USUALLY non agressive. In extremely rare instances they've attacked (and somtimes killed) humans, but these  are incredibly rare. I think maybe 5-6 known attacks by black bear on the past decade, or so. When you think of the many millions of people who wandered through black bear country during this period, you have a better chance winning Powerball than being attacked by a black bear.

 

Now, they have been known to bluff charges. If this happens, DO NOT RUN. Stand your ground. If you run away, you suddenly become food in the mind of the bear.

 

Grizzleys are a different story.

Yeah, that was the same question I had, where are you caching and what kind of bears are you expecting. The old advice about playing dead may, just may work with a grizzly, but not with a black bear. In the extremely unlikely event that you would be attacked by a black bear, DO NOT play dead, they will go ahead and begin feeding on you. Fight like hell. The grizzly on the other hand usually wants to exert dominance, and may leave you alone if you are submissive enough, but if a black bear would start to stalk you, it means to eat you. The good thing is that a black bear is a lot smaller than a grizzly, and very, very rarely hardly ever bother humans.

The idea about making some noise to avoid surprising the bears is good common sense, especially around a waterfall where just talking may not carry very far. As far as going armed is concerned, a 9 mm beats the heck out of a knife or your bare hands (a short 12 gauge pump shotgun with buck and slugs would be better yet). I know it isn't very PC these days, but that shouldn't matter where your safety is concerned.

Again, with grizzly bears, play dead, with black bears, fight like hell.

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Brian, ever considering using a paintball gun on the bears that dig through your trash. They sting like hell and the paint is water based so it won't hurt them if they digest it. It should only take two or three shots beofre they get the hint, as long as you do it from inside your home.

Edited by magellan315
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Brian, ever considering using a paintball gun on the bears that dig through your trash. They sting like hell and the paint is water based so it won't hurt them if they digest it. It should only take two or three shots beofre they get the hint, as long as you do it from inside your home.

 

The neighbors wouldn't appreciate it if I missed :) .

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Brian, ever considering using a paintball gun on the bears that dig through your trash. They sting like hell and the paint is water based so it won't hurt them if they digest it. It should only take two or three shots beofre they get the hint, as long as you do it from inside your home.

 

The neighbors wouldn't appreciate it if I missed :) .

If you miss, blame it on the bears :D

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Not familiar with GA but here in the CA Sierras the bears are plenty and have never been a problem. There are areas here in the fall where we have seen 3-4 a night for a week. Store your food properly and do not use coconut oil suntan lotion ... don't laugh, we came accross someone doing just that in the fall in the Yosemite backcountry ... giant human popsicle. :D

 

Leave the 9 mm at home and watch this training video. :):D:D:D

Dealing with Bears

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It almost sounds like you're just going to be doing a little walking in the woods. Most likely on an improved trail. Be sure to bring a camera to take pictures of any bears you run across, because you'll have a very rare item. I've been playing in the Idaho, Washington, Oregon mountains and woods for close to 60 years. Spent a little time in Labrador, Canada. I can count the number of times I've seen a bear on the fingers of one hand. Three of those were in Labrador. One was a brief glimpse of the south end of a rapidly heading north bear(at least I think it was a bear, the glare off the windshield kept me from getting a real good look). That leaves one remaining. I saw him about 30 years ago in Crater Lake National Park. He was going through the camp ground.

 

Last summer we were in Yellowstone NP. Supposedly bear country, right. No bears to be found.

 

I've had my share of troubles caused by wild animals while playing in the mountains. Most were the theivery actions of squirrels and jays. My youngest had a jay steal a cookie right out of her hand when she was 3. Another case,(glad this one wasn't me), squirrels went throught the side of this guys tent, into a cardboard box, then into some dry cereal. They had to find something else to eat for breakfast for a couple days.

 

Beware of small animals, don't worry about the bigger ones.

 

By the way, sides hurt from laughing at the thought of somebody walking through the woods yelling "Stay away bears!".... :):D:D:D:D

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In light of the rising frequency of human - grizzly bear conflicts, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is advising hikers, hunters, and fishermen to take extra precautions and keep alert of bears while in the field.

 

We advise that outdoorsmen wear noisy little bells on their clothing so as not to startle bears that aren't expecting them. We also advise outdoorsmen to carry pepper spray with them in case of an encounter with a bear. It is also a good idea to watch out for fresh signs of bear activity.

 

Outdoorsmen should recognize the difference between black bear & grizzly bear excrement. Black bear excrement is smaller and contains lots of berries and squirrel fur. Grizzly bear excrement has little bells in it and smells like pepper.

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... Outdoorsmen should recognize the difference between black bear & grizzly bear excrement. Black bear excrement is smaller and contains lots of berries and squirrel fur. Grizzly bear excrement has little bells in it and smells like pepper.

:D:D:):D this is too much. :D:D thanks got to go and clean the Pepsi out of my keyboard now.

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yeah, that was the same question I had, where are you caching and what kind of bears are you expecting. The old advice about playing dead may, just may work with a grizzly, but not with a black bear. In the extremely unlikely event that you would be attacked by a black bear, DO NOT play dead, they will go ahead and begin feeding on you. Fight like hell. The grizzly on the other hand usually wants to exert dominance, and may leave you alone if you are submissive enough, but if a black bear would start to stalk you, it means to eat you. The good thing is that a black bear is a lot smaller than a grizzly, and very, very rarely hardly ever bother humans.

 

we have a saying ....

 

If it's brown lie down

If it's black fight back.

 

Brown being a grizzley and lie down meaning play dead.

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we have a saying ....

 

If it's brown lie down

If it's black fight back.

 

Brown being a grizzley and lie down meaning play dead.

I'm color blind, so the conversation might be something like....

 

"Joe look, it's a bear. Oh crap, it's running this way!"

"Um.. what color is it?"

"It's black!!! RUN!!!"

"No wait, I know what to do. Uh.. if it's brown lie dow.. AAHHHH"

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First. Bring the 9mm. What the heck do you own it for if you keep it locked up? You can stick it in your pack then you have it 'handy' enough to make your caching partner happy which seems to be the entire point of the question.

 

Like everyone said though, your normal conversation will do the job of clearing the area of bears.

 

The 45, 9mm, and 347 are all about the same for stopping power. The 44 mag is better and used to be the standard side arm where people live and work around aggressive bears. The 500 mag may be making inroads as the 44 mag was marginal at best for the job of dispatching a bear. If you like guns use that as an excuse to pick up a nice new pistol with their blessing.

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I'd love to see a black bear! I've been looking for one for over a year, and my caching buds seem to see them always when i'm not around....GRRRRR. I've been caching for over a year, and have done some hikes in prominent bear habitats, and still, I never get to see one.

 

DOn't worry about a bear. Black bears will run away, they are hunted. I have heard that they get curious, and might test you by following you for a bit, but I've never had anyone I know experience that. The only black bear to be afraid of is the mama with babies, stay away from them, or the males with a mate.

 

I'd be more concerned about a grizzly, but unless you live in the areas where they reside, you don't have to worry about them at all.

 

I wouldn't worry about bears. Its very unlikely that you'll see one. In fact, I have a friend who is also a cacher that works in forests and creeks all the time, and this person has seen more bears rummaging dumpsters in public places than out in the wild.

Edited by Ce'Nedra
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I'd love to see a black bear! I've been looking for one for over a year, and my caching buds seem to see them always when i'm not around....GRRRRR. I've been caching for over a year, and have done some hikes in prominent bear habitats, and still, I never get to see one.

 

Come hang out by my garbage cans :D .

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I've encountered many black bear hiking in VA and NY.

 

They have always been interested in food.

 

I saw one wander over to a waterfall on a popular trail where people (including us) were sitting on rocks eating lunches. All the people (at least 2 dozen) got up and backed away to the other side of the waterfall. The black bear casually looked over the lunches, picked one, and ambled off. All the people came back, got their stuff, and offered extra food to the robbed party.

 

Nobody confronted the bear and the bear showed no interest in the people themselves.

 

The other black bears encountered have either

A) Been seen ahead of me on the trail and have beat a rapid retreat once they took note of me or

:D Were heard attempting to get at the bear-bagged food near our campsite at night. (this is why you always bag it a distance from where you sleep!) Hollering always ran them off.

 

I've always heard advice that if a black bear does show too much interest in you for comfort, do not run (triggers an instinct to chase), make loud noises, move away calmly, and maybe drop your bag as a last resort because he might be smelling food in there and that's all he's interested in.

 

I don't think the 9mm is a reasonable idea here.

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I saw one wander over to a waterfall on a popular trail where people (including us) were sitting on rocks eating lunches. All the people (at least 2 dozen) got up and backed away to the other side of the waterfall. The black bear casually looked over the lunches, picked one, and ambled off.

Bad idea. Before you let a bear eat any food loud noises should be made in an attempt to drive the bear away. By letting the bear freely get to your food, food and humans are not associated. That's the very last thing that should happen. That bear will probably evevntually have to be killed because he pestered too many people.

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Recently when I was vacationing in Mammoth, CA

A family of bears climbed the tree right outside our vacation home.

We invited them in and they brought their cubs.

After a couple of cups of Joe, and a few good games of chess, they went off on their

merry way. They were a real nice bunch, and they assisted me in understanding

the finer points of running focus groups and the like.

They also helped in understanding pigmentation modifications in Chameleon's

skin cells and such.

It was a hoot, and my 5 year old loved wrestling with the cubs.

My suggestion, leave your 9mm home.

:D

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"Bad idea. Before you let a bear eat any food loud noises should be made in an attempt to drive the bear away. By letting the bear freely get to your food, food and humans are not associated. That's the very last thing that should happen. That bear will probably evevntually have to be killed because he pestered too many people"

 

NO NO NO. They did exactly right.

 

When a bear has learned to do what that one did, it's already too late to keep them from associating food with humans.

 

NEVER get in between bears and food they are going to get. If you want to stand away and yell, or bang pots, you can try that. But NEVER NEVER interfere in any other way. If they keep coming, YOU BACK AWAY and let them have the food. Otherwise you can get really hurt.

 

That bear was likely moved, he was living in a National Park.

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1. Little bell's on one of your hiking shoes.

 

2. Bear spray is only good at short ranges.

 

3. 9mm will only piss off a grizz a 45 would be better.

 

4. Leave food in a tree outside of camp.

 

5. you arent going to see a bear unless you cook steak and potatoes in butter every night for dinner.

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I think your 9mm is not big enough. Especially when you can run into a big bear.

Here is a picture of a track I found while placing a this cache in the back country several days ago. I'm going back up on Tuesday, do you want to go and we can look for Winne the Pooh after you find the Cache.

 

The ruler is about 5 1/2 in. So this black bear was probably around 300 lbs. coming out of the den, a good 400 lb. come summer.

f651f66c-695d-4fd3-bebc-84a2ab9fb8fe.jpg

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... Outdoorsmen should recognize the difference between black bear & grizzly bear excrement. Black bear excrement is smaller and contains lots of berries and squirrel fur. Grizzly bear excrement has little bells in it and smells like pepper.

:D:D:D:D this is too much. :D:D thanks got to go and clean the Pepsi out of my keyboard now.

You know you're REALLY in trouble when you find grizzly excrement with a 9mm Glock in it.

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I've heard some positives about the bear spray (pepper spray with a much more power) that is being sold now.  It's about $40 a bottle, but if you miss and hit yourself it's not lethal just painful.  And who knows maybe the bear won't like the taste of you then.  Unless he likes his food spicy I guess.  It's still a relatively new product so there aren't a lot of real life accounts out there to go by.

When I had a can that was about to expire I was going to take it down to the local zoo to see how it performed, but my wife talked me out of it.

 

(Just kidding, just kidding! I'd never do that to a defenseless zoo bear. There are plenty of bums around to try it on. Oh, there I go again...)

:D Geezus Bullmoose! I got tears coming out of my eyes at that! LMAO :D

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LOL to those last replies!!! :D

 

I'm from Minnesota (albeit a relatively bear-free part of the state) but I have done my share of camping in the bear-rich parts of our state. I have come across black bears several times, one of those times about 100 feet away, just by happenstance. Without exception, they ran away at the first sight of me. I'm not ugly or anything, mind you; I'm just human, and I have found that black bears don't like being close to us UNLESS there is food nearby.

 

Bears used to come sniffing around the places where we cleaned fish or were cooking outdoors, but only when people weren't nearby. But one look at a hollering human, and they ran away post-haste. My conclusion: black bears are very skittish around humans.

 

On an slighty unrelated topic, I also saw a mountain lion (cougar) once when I was walking through a path in the woods of northern Minnesota about 20 years ago. I was walking through the woods, heard some rustling, looked ahead, and saw a cougar heading at a good clip through the woods about 50 yards away from me, headed roughly to the northeast. At that time, it was thought that cougars had left the state years before. No one believed me when I told them what I thought I saw; many suggested it was some other animal. I didn't have a camera with me at the time, so I can't prove it, but I KNOW what I saw was a cougar. Since that time, several of these secretive animals have been caught on camera, living fairly close to now-suburban neighborhoods. They too are extremely secretive animals.

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