[pct-l] No need to fear bears

Mary Kwart mkwart at gci.net
Thu Jul 29 13:25:10 CDT 2010

When coming back from a backpack trip in the Brooks Range of Alaska in 2005 I stayed in the village of Kaktovik. A native wilderness guide told us a story of a rogue young male grizzly that tried to attack a raft of people in a river. A huge rock stopped it. That night the same grizzly attacked a couple in their tent and killed them. The bear dragged them around--they couldn't deploy their gun to shoot it. They had done everything right--cooking away from their tents, etc etc. 

I believe that bears go rogue just like people--especially adolescent ones who are pissed off about the encroachment of humans on their territory. Grizzly bears were actually more reclusive in the wild than black bears in Alaska. It seemed young male black bears were more volatile than grizzlies. I worked at a wildlife refuge in Alaska and backpacked and worked in the field extensively.

I always carried bear spray when out in the woods in Alaska--it is more easily deployed than a gun in the wild (I know because I had to qualify shooting a12 gauge shotgun at a rapidly moving bear target before I could go into the field for work). Perhaps this is a wake up call for hikers in Grizzly country in the lower 48. 

In Alaska people were actually carrying lightweight electric fences to put around their tents. Of course they were flown in by bush plane.

This being said, I don't fear bears on the PCT, but would take more precautions in the Northern Rockies on the CDT.


More information about the Pct-L mailing list