Friday, June 1, 2012

Bad Campers Make Bad Bears

I  was on a trek at Philmont Scout Camp in NM. On day 9, I went back to our camp in the middle of the day to get my water bottle I had forgotten. I walked up to our cook fly and picked up my bottle. When I stood up, I saw the bear. Only 6 feet away, standing up, just looking at me. She was about 5 feet tall. I backed away slowly (after looking around really quick for other bears). I started banging pots and pans, throwing rocks, etc. She didn't care. In all, she ripped the sump pipe out of the ground, pulled a pack off of a tree and removed a packet of oatmeal (without damaging the pack!). She pushed on 5 tents, including mine, on which she broke a fiberglass pole, and put gashes in the door, window, and rainfly. She then went to our bear ropes, which were hanging all the smellables, and she started pulling on the ropes. She knew what she was doing and wasn't scared of people. After that, she moved on from our camp, and I imagine to other campsites in the area.

That evening, two rangers came past our camp and told us they had put her down. Turns out she did the same thing the summer prior. The rangers trapped her and sent her 600 miles away to southern CO. Over the winter, she came back. Once a bear does that, they have to kill the bear. I was bummed my tent was ruined, but I was more bummed in the end. I was in her house, not the other way around. Bad campers make bad bears, but at a scout camp, they can't have a bear that isn't afraid of people.

She was in the area with another bear - a male. The rangers were hoping that the male would move on after the female was killed. As far as I know, they didn't have to kill the male bear. I hope they didn't.....

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