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June 19, 2007

Family Surprised Bears Live in Woods

Tragically, an eleven year old boy was attacked and killed by a Black Bear in a campground in Utah this past weekend. Immediately after the boy was attacked, his step-father went to another campsite in the dark without a flashlight wearing flipflops to summon help. This is a tragedy, and it's sad that the child perished in the attack. Normally, we'd just say a prayer for the family and move on. But the grandfather is now publicly castigating the people at Timpooneke campground for not warning people that bears live in the woods, and that's where I draw the line.

It’s a senseless tragedly that this boy died in a bear attack. It’s a further tragedy to blame it on the people that run the campground. Blaming the authorities for not warning you that bears live in the woods smacks of nanny-state socialism. A man is responsible for defending his family. Running crying to the next campsite for help wearing flipflops like a Girl Scout in the night is not the optimal response to a bear attack.

I was a Life Scout in the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scout motto is "Be Prepared". So, obviously, this family wasn't prepared to be in the situation they found themselves in. Let's discuss rationally, how different people in the same situation might have responded. And this is not "Monday Morning Quarterbacking" on my part. My daughter and I were in a tent in the Arapaho National Forest this past weekend. This exercise has real-world implications.

The article mentions that the same bear attacked someone else earlier on the same day, but doesn't bother to mention the reason the first victim survived. One is left to believe that it was dumb luck that the first guy survived the initial attack. Can you guess why the first victim survived? Anyone? Anyone?

The first victim survived because someone in his group had a firearm and they discharged it multiple times, scaring the bear away. The only mistake they made was not killing the bear during the initial attack. Probably, they were afraid they'd be prosecuted for shooting a bear out of season, which they no doubt would have been. A guy up here in Conifer shot a bear that was consistently breaking into his house and spent over $50,000.00 in legal fees trying to stay out of prison.

As an added bonus, this article includes a link to the Official Utah State-Sanctioned Victim's Guide to Bear Encounters that doesn't mention the word "gun" or "firearm", but includes this gem:

"If you encounter a bear in a residential area or if you have an encounter with an aggressive bear, please alert the Division of Wildlife Resources. During regular office hours (8 am–5 pm, Monday–Friday), please call the office closest to you (offices and numbers are listed below). A division employee will notify a conservation officer of your encounter or transfer you directly to law enforcement personnel. If the encounter or sighting occurs after hours or on the weekend, please call the police, who can contact a conservation officer to handle the situation."

How pathetic is that? I mean, I can hear that phone call right now:

"Uh...yeah...I'm sorry to bother y'all this late on a Saturday night, but a bear just drug my son through a bear-sized hole in the tent by his skull. How soon can y'all get a police officer over here? Oh. Not on weekends, huh? Geez. That sucks..."

Jennifer and I camp out frequently, and we've never had a problem with wild animals. Of course, we're always armed to the teeth, just in case.

Remember, a gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone. A gun is one of those things that, if you need it once, and don't have it, you may not need it again. When you're camping outdoors, you need to have a firearm. And bigger is better. If you feel threatened by an animal, kill it. A general rule of thumb is that anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Or more. Ammunition is cheap. Life is expensive. Suing the idiots that run the campground will not bring your child back.

Rest In Peace, Samuel Ives.

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 19, 2007 at 5:01 PM


I don't understand why you call this guy a tree hugger. Tree huggers know that bears live in the woods and fully expect to run in to bears when venturing into the woods. And quite a few of us will carry firearms while wandering into bear territory just in case the meeting turns unfriendly. Only idiots think that bears respect human life. This is not a tree hugger issue, but instead an example of humans encroaching upon wild territory and expecting to have the upper hand simply by virtue of being human.

Posted by: sally on June 19, 2007 at 8:01 PM

Sally, I'm sure you're right. Probably he's not a tree-hugger. Probably a city slicker? What do I know. Someone in the family should have the presence of mind to carry a firearm into the woods though. That's my point. Sometimes my prejudices get in the way of my story.

Posted by: Rob Kiser on June 19, 2007 at 8:29 PM

The bear would just get mad and take the gun away from you and use it against you.

Posted by: Brady Bunch on June 29, 2007 at 5:57 PM

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