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Hiker deters charging griz with bear spray

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Posted: Thursday, October 13, 2011 6:30 pm | Updated: 8:38 am, Tue Apr 22, 2014.

What a difference pepper spray can make. That’s the confirmed thinking of Dan Kotter after he recently deterred a charging grizzly bear in the Great Bear Wilderness while working on a bear population research project.

Kotter was hiking alone on the Devil Creek Trail about 5 miles in from the U.S. 2 trailhead on Oct. 8. He intended to hike in 15 miles, camp overnight and hike out the next day, but those plans were abruptly canceled.

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          Welcome to the discussion.


          • adhcompany posted at 10:02 am on Thu, Oct 20, 2011.

            adhcompany Posts: 43

            YES Tallcat, confidence does come with a piece strapped to your side.
            Besides confident, also feel piece of mind that one can effectively handle a dangerous man or beast should the problem present itself.
            don't go looking for trouble....but never run.

          • CREEPINGDEATH posted at 6:51 am on Mon, Oct 17, 2011.

            CREEPINGDEATH Posts: 3

            Yo Montanaeasy56, A problem bear out in the middle of the GREAT BEAR WILDERNESS? Really? Kotter was in the bears yard, at a time when bear's are fattening up for Winter. He got lucky, STAND YOUR GROUND & spray for the head at that range. And practice pulling and using your spray as if it were a side-arm. I travel with a .44, nice, big chunck of lead.

          • tallcat posted at 1:43 pm on Fri, Oct 14, 2011.

            tallcat Posts: 1

            Kotter saw grizzly tracks, but instead of turning back, he pushed on, which resulted in a dangerous confrontation. Luckily, bear spray saved his bacon.

            If someone with a gun did the same thing, all the greenies would be screeching, "He should have turned back. Guns make people overconfident."

          • adhcompany posted at 10:25 am on Fri, Oct 14, 2011.

            adhcompany Posts: 43

            A mind set for a potential Grizzly attack is needed when you go into the woods. Just like Mr. Kolter mentions in his recount, it happens fast and it can throw you off your game plan in a hurry.
            In my (not much of an opinion but here it is anyway), Mr Kolter was good right up until he lost it and retreated, slipped and fell down. STAND YOUR GROUND. PULL YOUR WEAPON. KILL THE BEAST.
            Then the next guy along won't have to try to be cleaning up your mess.
            Feed the Bear carcas to the wolves...set up over it and shoot them too.

          • Cody posted at 9:47 am on Fri, Oct 14, 2011.

            Cody Posts: 22

            If USFWS or FWP had to admonish everyone for hiking alone in bear country, wouldn't they spend all of their time scolding every hunter that ventures out alone in this region. That's ridiculous. If we learned anything from the latest alleged "bear attack" on the Idaho-Montana border it's that hiking or hunting with someone else is more dangerous. A guy illegally shoots and wounds a grizzly, tracks it, the bear is obviously pissed off (I know I would be), and attacks, and then your buddy shoots you to save you from the bear. No thanks, I'll venture out on my own.

          • rivergal posted at 8:55 am on Fri, Oct 14, 2011.

            rivergal Posts: 44

            What a fantastic outcome for both the hiker and the bear! I would always assume that when in the wilderness the potential for contact with a bear is inevitable. That does not mean it's a "problem" bear montanaeasy56. They are doing what comes natural in their own environment. Humans combined with trash, bird seed, dog food etc is what creates a problem bear and unfortunately the bear is usually the looser.

            I always have bear spray handy when camping and even in my raft when floating the beautiful Flathead rivers.

          • seesaw posted at 8:03 am on Fri, Oct 14, 2011.

            seesaw Posts: 2

            Where is the admonishment from state/federal officials for this guy hiking alone in bear country? I guess that does not apply if you are one of Kate's employees. What a double standard!

          • montanaeasy56 posted at 10:58 pm on Thu, Oct 13, 2011.

            montanaeasy56 Posts: 234

            I wonder if there was any collaboration on this incident. Did the FWP or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigate this area for a potential problem bear? I'm not saying the guys' story is BS, but I would at least like to get some confirmation from another source..

          • Elizabeth S posted at 8:33 pm on Thu, Oct 13, 2011.

            Elizabeth S Posts: 8

            So glad to read that this ended well for man and bear!!

            I walk with my Karelian Bear Dog in black/grizzly bear territory. I have a "sling pack" with my spray on the strap that crosses my chest and I regularly practice "drawing", removing the safely and "shooting"...and paying attention to wind direction. The practice is necessary, I believe. That is what law enforcement and military do - they PRACTICE! - so that in the heat of the moment there is a habit.

            I believe it behooves all of us who walk and hike in Montana to do this - in defense of both ourselves and the wildlife.

            Yes, this is a GOOD story. Kudos to you Kotter for keeping being on top of the situation!

          • photoguy posted at 8:06 pm on Thu, Oct 13, 2011.

            photoguy Posts: 940

            In case people don't notice, this for once is ONE of the GOOD stories, glad you kept you head about you and were able to save yourself AND the bear, I was in the same area in 2002 and had a very similar situation happen and I don't know how, but I was able to keep my head above water and use my bear spray to deter an attack.

            Tell Kate HI! from a friend, glad you still hear to let us know how effective this product is!


          AP Montana