Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Fed Bear is a Dead Bear

Dan and I began our road trip camping in the Grand Tetons. We picked up matching cowboy boots (of course) in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Homo on the Range

Near our campground of Gros Veintre, we saw a ton of bison. Everyone knows there used to be millions in the wild west. That is until those pesky white people came out and took random pot shots from trains, for fun.

For those hunters (like my brother) out there who say it's not a sport: why do they call it "game"?

Herds tumbled from the millions to a total of 25 animals left in Yellowstone by the early part of last century. They combined some animals from a private owner and built back their numbers. Today there are over 3,000 wild buffalo.

Look, he's got one of those friendly birds on his back. Mutualism!

Less well off are the bears. At all the campgrounds we stayed at there were warnings and flyers: "Be Bear Aware!" and "A Fed Bear is a Dead Bear!" You're supposed to put all your food away in the trunk or in a steel container because the rangers tell us that once a bear gets used to human food it becomes "aggressive".

There were several pictures up of real, live bears pawing at a car window (someone had left food on the front seat), or pawing at a tent with food inside. They didn't look rabid to me, more like pecking around, but the photos mentioned that these bears had to be "put down" because they were aggressively in pursuit of human food. I love the "had to be put down" bit. There was no other choice!

Why not dart and fly them to a remote section of Seskatchewan? Or dart them and ship them to a needy zoo? "Putting them down" must be, I presume, the only financially sound reason. This hypocrisy is magnified when I read in a book on Yellowstone that the National Park Department used to empty the trash outside purposefully, so that the bears would come rifle through it and the tourists could all take photos. This happened all the way up until 1971!

Now if the policy has changed so dramatically, why blame the bears? I say if you leave the cheeze doodles in your tent...face the Grizzly consequences!


Eddie said...

hot pic, mister (not the bison)

The Blackout Blog said...

I, for one, am a fan of an aggressive bear.

And nice boots, dude!

Don said...

More information on the boots - wore them in a past life and would like to do so again!!!