March 24, 2018

Some People's Kids!?!

bear1Something happened Friday afternoon in Island Park that almost defies description. About 3:00 p.m. on a very hot and humid (for Island Park) afternoon a bear stepped out of the forest and into the river for a drink and to cool off. This all occurred about 75 yards upstream from The Landing Restaurant at Macks Inn. By some accounts the bear was a big black bear. By other accounts it was a grizz.

But that’s not important.

What’s important is that while most people headed into the restaurant or over to their vehicles to watch from the relative safety these provide, one woman, half dragging half carrying her child ran directly at the bear, to be able to “see it better.” Now, I’m no wildlife biologist, but I have enough experience in the wild to know that if you “charge” a bear, it’s going to take that as an aggressive move. Bears fight, they don’t flee. You charge a big bear (or even a small one) and it’s going to charge back. Unless you’re packing some significant firepower, you’re going to lose — every time.

I never cease to be amazed at the stupidity of some people. I’ve seen those “darwin awards” emails that have circulated, and I thought, “nobody could possibly be that stupid.” But after seeing this woman risk her life and the life of her child to be able to “see better” I have to agree there is no limit to some peoples’ stupidity.

The bottom line is this: bears are predators. They are at (or very near) the top of the food chain. They are predators. They are carnivores. They will hurt you if you don’t respect them. And it’s not just bears. Moose, wolves, elk, bison, can and will inflict serious bodily damage if you don’t allow them their space.

These animals are majestic beyond belief. They are beautiful to watch in their native habitat. But as one man on the Landing deck noted, these aren’t the “tame bears from Yellowstone, these are wild bears.” I would reply this way: “No, there aren’t any tame bears in Yellowstone. Yes these are wild bears. Yes, they will hurt you if you don’t give them the respect they demand and deserve.”

Please come and enjoy our wildlife. But please do so in a safe and responsible manner. This situation on Friday wasn’t tourists from Japan who knew no better. This woman was from an adjoining state. She should have known better. Please be safe. The life you save may just be your own.



  1. Distracted Momma says:

    …the life you save may just be your own…or that of your darling child!

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