Do Grizzlies Stalk Hunters?

by
posted on December 2, 2014

Photo Courtesy of USFWS

The Question
We've all looked over our shoulders when in grizzly bear habitat, especially when we're elbow-deep in deer or elk blood after a successful hunt—but do bears actually stalk hunters hoping to steal a meal?

The Test
According to this article, the U.S. Geological Society's Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team outfitted 100 volunteer elk hunters and 8 grizzlies (no word on whether the bears volunteered) in the Tetons with GPS devices to track their movements.

The Results
One of the bears began tracking a group of hunters as soon as they parked their truck, at one point stalking within 100 yards of the humans. After a nap, the bear rejoined the elk hunt and stalked back onto the hunters' scent trail.

The Ruling
This evidence strongly suggests that grizzly bears see hunters as a means to a food source—let's hope that the bears don't decide that the hunters themselves are too easy to pass up.

The Free Tip
When hunting or scouting in grizzly country, keep your firearm and/or bear spray with you at all times and be extra vigilant once your prey hits the ground and the knives come out. A friend standing guard while you gut is good insurance.

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