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Grizzly Attack: That Didn’t Take Long…

That Didn’t Take Long

Spring is here and everyone is chomping at the bit to get outdoors and enjoy the nice weather. Shed hunting, hiking, fishing, camping, are all on everyone’s minds.

Fresh on the heels of a deadly fall hunting season in regard to grizzly bear attacks in 2018 out West, and on the heels of a liberal judge’s decision to shut down our first grizzly hunt in a very long time last fall, the first major reported story of a bear attack didn’t take long to hit the press already in the spring of 2019.

A 17-year-old out shed hunting south of Ennis, MT on April 7 was attacked by a grizzly bear and was able to deploy bear spray after being pinned to the ground by the bruin. This deterred the bear, allowing the teen to get to safety for his minor wounds to be treated.

This isn’t a good sign for the start of the 2019 field season for those of us that enjoy our country’s public lands in the Rocky Mountain West. Grizzly bear numbers are over the carrying capacity for the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) according to the plans laid out by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

When people place animals’ lives ahead of the importance of human life, chaos ensues and always has. The psychologically sick individuals that sue over the delisting of a recovered species like the grizzly bear and wolf actually believe these animals to be of more importance than the sanctity of human life. These people have proven over and over again they are irrational and incapable of analyzing ALL of the facts and coming to a sound conclusion on any topic.

This isn’t a new phenomenon in human beings. Studying history books, including the Bible, it isn’t hard to see “there is nothing new under the sun.” I’m not trying to push religious hot buttons here, just illustrating that the facts from history show that when societies abandon morality, as is happening in the U.S. currently, chaos WILL ensue. Eighty-eight civilizations before us have proven it and we are following suit. This is more than a “predator death spiral” as we’ve coined the term in other blog posts here at Eastmans’. It is more accurately described as a “societal death spiral.”

Just the facts, friends, just the facts…

About Brandon Mason

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The letter below came through my email this morning. I’ll not divulge who wrote it …


  1. Articles like this don’t help your cause. Calling people “psychologically sick” for not agreeing with your point of view is part of what is causing this societal downward spiral you speak of. We have reached a point where it’s nearly impossible to have respectful conversations about anything we’re passionate about.

    Just because those people want to protect a recovering or recently recovered species doesn’t necessarily mean that they value an animals life over a human one either. That’s an inflammatory stretch in my opinion and potentially reduces your credibility.

    Personally, I’m all for science backed game management. If the folks who know what the carrying capacity is say that they have a sustainable population, then that should be what dictates that states hunting regulations (again, in my opinion).

    I’m a lifelong big game hunter. I have no desire personally to kill either bear or big cats but I know that managing their populations is a critical component of successfully managing big game populations. As such, I am happy to leave those hunts to those who enjoy them. Also, if I were in a life threatening situation, I wouldn’t hesitate to kill a bear or cougar.

    As hunters it is our responsibility to educate the greater population about topics like these. Calling them sick or stupid and stomping our feet while saying we should be able to kill whatever we want is simply not going to work in our favor.

    Just my two cents.

    • I enjoyed the article and personally agree with your sentiments.
      However, Jim is correct in his summation of a more effective approach towards those who misunderstand and therefore disagree with science based wildlife management.
      I sincerely doubt the likelihood of changing their minds with scientific facts towards managenent but wholeheartedly believe the certainty of minds closing when approached with emotional rhetoric pertaining to wildlife’s responsible and sceintifically proven management.
      Thank you for your passion.

    • But chaos WILL ensue! It’s a societal death spiral.

    • I agree with Jim 100% it doesn’t help YOUR cause at all. Tell you what Brandon stay the hell out of there already over crowded domain take take take says the white man trump ass kisser. Over the limit area??? How about open season on narrow minded people like you I’d day about 75% over the limit TROPHY Hunter! Not true game keepers/ landlords hunters. artctical a joke.

    • Kerry Pottruff

      Sorry Jim, but TA Chaput just proved Brandon’s point!

    • Well Jim is he wrong? Are there not a fair amount of people who value the life of an animal over that of human.
      Hundreds in Africa can be slaughtered every years, but shoot a lion named Cecil, and all hell breaks loose.

    • Saying people are psychologically sick is not the way to help our point valid. It’s called DIPLOMACY.

  2. scott pschirer

    Griz needs to be de listed and managed by the state wildlife agency, pure and simple!

    • Brent Pickerill

      I live in British Columbia where our Grizzly hunt was closed by urban voters, not by science. I am a life long hunter, son of a Conservation Officer and great grandson of the 1st explorer of Banff, AB. Our Grizzly conflicts have spiked in the last 2 years and will continue to do so without a limited entry hunt. The most attacks historically have occurred in National Parks where there is no hunting. Now the whole province of BC, with the largest population of Grizzlies is closed to hunting. An intelligent apex predator will just continue to get bolder and grizzly conflicts will continue to increase unless we get a change in political parties and science is allowed to prevail.

      • I think, as an apex predator, we definitely have the right to kill any grizzly bear we want. Once humans have inhabited a certain area, grizzly bears should not be there. The only real way to guarantee no conflict with humans, is to eliminate all grizzly bears. I just will not consider any other answer. The hunting conservation model has proven this to be right.

        • You think you can replace the natural order, whether it belongs to God or not, b/c as an “apex predator” you have the “right” to kill whatever you want.

          Those are judgments way above your pay grade.

          Its just flat out hubris and more than a little stupid to think the 100 or so years Europeans have been trying to “manage” wildlife populations on this continent is a substitute for standing back and letting things work the way they did for tens of millennia.

          That said, if what we’ve learned about “the landscape of fear” is any guide, a season on grizzlies would instill some wariness in the animal they don’t currently have. They haven’t been hunted for a long time. That isn’t natural, and if we added a season and they got a taste of danger the number of attacks would drop off.

  3. The limitations of your thinking can only result in these types of ridiculous conclusions.

    Evolved people understand that Predators are a valuable and integral part of the cycle of life and must be protected from overhunting.Furthermore – those who take the most issue with natural Predators refuse to acknowledge the psychopathic killing machine that is our economically – driven overexploitation of land and other resources.

    True immorality is a willful ignorance placing ourselves higher than the sacred cycle of life and thinking we’re more essential than the Predators nature itself evolved to keep the tapestry integrated.

    We have a collective responsibility to manage our own human interests in such a way that animals are safe from this delusional thinking that certain species have to be “managed” everywhere for our convenience.

    As if Planet Earth is only here to serve people,, billions of cattle, trophy hunting and mass market production!

    Let’s learn to manage our own population after we’ve built cities and highways and altered so much former wilderness into livestock and agricultural farms!

    It’s really time for a massive shift in how we collectively relate to our fellow creatures.

    The same mentality that results in HONEYBEES being endangered is this delusional belief that our species is more important than those making life possible.

    The best visionaries know Nature Needs HALF of the ecosystems and all animals within it for thriving gene pools and connectivity .

    Whoever isn’t part of the solution is most DEFINITELY part of the problem !

    • Your absolutely right! We should close all national,state and local parks. We should also stop all funding directed towards wildlife, land reclamation, and oceanic exploration. All BLM and national forests should be off limits to human beings. Also end all funding for wildland firefighting and any natural disaster reclamation efforts. Any and all water reservoir projects, sewage and recycling projects are not to be tolerated. All human beings should live in 300 sq. foot apartments in the middle of wasteland deserts and never see the sunlight!

      The fact that we are part of nature is lost on too many people. The fact that we are at the very top of the predator list is also lost on too many people. Responsible fact based management has proven to be effective . It’s a constant evolution of how to implement it and improve it. So rants about the horrible human race is getting old. You can make your own contribution and not have any kids of your own. Have a nice day!

    • I feel sorry for peggy everyone has a right to say what is on there mine.

    • Berney Sanders

      Peggy is the perfect example of why you cannot compromise anymore. She immediately starts out with the assertion that she is better than anyone who disagrees with her. Peggy is the type that wants everyone to believe in global warming because science proves it but then denies science when it comes to the management of wildlife. Peggy is your typical agenda driven leftist who drinks from the faucet of hypocrisy.

    • Peggy why are you up at 2:53am? Humans are predators, the solution is science based management in which humans are involved.

  4. We need to kill those Grizzly Bears! It says so in the Bible!

  5. Anyone who advocates for the closure of all BLM, National Forest, state and local lands just doesn’t use our beautiful land. People who don’t use and visit our country’s backcountry regularly must be seen as having no valid or credible opinion. Shame on you, Mark.

    • I believe Mark was using sarcasm when advocating BLM closure.

    • Mr. Coleman my satirical reply was lost on you! Thats ok, but it was meant to point out how some thought processes completely divorce man from nature as did Peggy’s comment. The fact that we have the ability to enjoy our surroundings and help manage its balance is a huge responsibility that comes at great expense to all of us. Hunting Grizzlies in a responsible way helps the entire ecosystem find a balance. Is it perfect? No, but necessary. Management mistakes are made every year but the effort that our governmental and sportsman based organizations continue to make positive strides in wilderness areas and wildlife proliferation. All of this funded by us for all inhabitants to thrive whether they are human or not! Sorry for the confusion.

  6. well said Mark!!

  7. Lets just relocate them to other areas in their “native range”. I wonder how many could fit in LA and SF?

  8. I think Jim captured it pretty well, glad the kid is ok. It is also worth noting that the MTFWP is asking folks to wait until later in the spring and give the animals a chance to get in better shape. Maybe that griz would have been further back in the high country and not down low looking for winter. BTW, so done with reference’s to the bible and god when it comes to hunting and fishing…keep it in church. Blaine

  9. Most of the decision making by Government is solely driven by Votes will they get to stay in power!

  10. Whoa! I appreciate all the comments above. The author is involved which is good, but the self centered perspective is absurd.
    “Liberal judge” – what the heck is that? So you get a speeding ticket and the judge agrees with the citation…Is he/she liberal or conservative? Was the cop?
    The young man sustained “minor injuries” – He seems to have done the right thing. He carried pepper spray. Could he have made an accurate shot with a gun with a bear on his back?
    If you don’t like hunting in predator country…good. Leave it for the rest of us.
    If you think it is “psychologically sick” to disagree with delisting you better consider it psychologically sick to support the lack of background checks for firearm purchases and the existence of automobiles. Just check out the comparative numbers. Read the history books and databases.
    Placing people’s lives above animals lives will result in the loss of habitat, the loss of fair chase hunting (which I thought Eastman’s supported), and leave hunting of any kind to “canned” hunts or only for the very wealthy. Defend yourself and family of course, but a other people are much more dangerous. Look at the news and “history books.”
    If you wish to attack the existence of predators (your specification) on the landscape, please consider that no one has been killed by a cougar, a wolf, a wolverine, a weasel, or a great horned owl this year.
    Is it moral to not consider stewardship of wildlife to preserve it for the future? Is it biblical? Of course you are trying to push “religious hot buttons.” If you don’t see it you are not thinking. If you do, you are lying. At the least you are pushing emotional perspectives. I do not think wildlife management with emotion is a good idea. Compassion yes, consideration of other value groups yes, emotion no.
    The death of the man last fall was tragic. I don’t take it lightly. It can happen. Be prepared. I had a griz come towards me at 20 yds. Last fall. Set me back for sure.
    Be prepared for extremist points of view which may result in anarchy. Trust science. Be as involved as you can.
    Grizzly management will be very complicated, the numbers are there, that is a fact I trust. It would be good if populations could connect with other genetic pools to the north. bottom line, I want more habitat for more elk, deer, wild sheep, and yes…more predators, and you know, more clean water and a better chance to allow more people to enjoy the outdoors.
    I’ll be thinking twice about reading Eastman’s again.
    The spiral is anarchist emotional thinking.

    • Ken, you’re right, the spiral of anarchist emotional thinking is where the problem stems from, where a Judge decided to disregard the scientific facts that took many years to accumulate; and made a hiatus decision based on Political Motive…….let me guess, you’re from Jackson Hole or Missoula….. so easily offended, without regard to taking the, in your own words, scientific facts into account, pretty hypocritical if you ask me!

      • What were the scientific facts I neglected? Look at the text.
        What was hypocritical? Look at the text.
        Say it, defend it, don’t blame it.
        You seem to think that simply because a judge disagrees with you that it is politically motivated. Perhaps the judge is attempting to apply the rule of law.
        And the only offense I feel is the author’s insult to the intelligence of the reader. I did not mention being offended. Do you feel offended? Why?
        I have lived in multiple parts of Montana, rural and semi-urban. Why do you attack my residency? What are you afraid of. Stick with the facts. Where I live has no bearing on the issue. You do not need to fear me. You do not need to attack people. What a person says and what a person does is my standard. I suggest you simply defend your position in a rational way.
        Thanks for reading.
        Think Habitat.

        • The facts that both you and the judge neglected to recognize, are the years of scientific studies that were conducted by biologist and game and fish departments….do the research, facts have already been established that the Grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Area, have out grown their inhabitable environment. I don’t fear you or anyone, just call it as I see it, and not an attack, simply an observation, one of which, made it so easy to pick you and your kind out of a crowd. Want to talk about the rule of law, that’s as broad as saying, we do it this way, because this is the way we’ve always done it, the facts have been established. Open minded, I don’t see it from your point of view…..evolve, rather than talk in circles and try to sound intelligent. Habitat and Human interface is exactly my mind set……evolve Obie One!

    • Lol ya this year Colorado a man running was attached by a mountain lion, if it would have been a female kid dead! It was in a state park no hunting. No management.


  12. Ken, a liberal Judge would be one that Barry Obama appointed, like the one from Montana that stopped our Grizzly hunt here in Wyoming.

    • Spot on shootbrown elk, but Ken’s supposedly not offended by such terms as “Liberal’ but then again wants to imply that it’s a personal attack and that people from certain communities don’t side in one direction or another ” what difference does it make where you’re from”, and most importantly, he’s done his research, but fails to believe the fact’s that were compiled by biologists and game and fish department over a long span of research that took many years to compile. The Management Plans were put in place and set in motion, until a Federal Judge shut it down, problem here is that these sort of decisions shouldn’t be made by the Federal Government or a Federal District Judge, LET THE STATES MANAGE THEIR OWN RECOURSES, and keep those from Montana (Ken) out of our business!

  13. scott pschirer

    Grizz and wolf absolutely, 100% need to be managed by the individual states fish game agencies. My God it is that darn simple!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Just shoot them whenever you see them. We will never get good management policies. Just remember: Hunters’ lives matter.

  15. Most of the naysayers have absolutely no clue how wildlife interact, even though they pretend to. Those of us who spend most of our lives in the woods know and directly see the devastation that is happening to our game animals from overpopulation of prey species. While prey species have a role, their role is negligible in the fact they are not the type of animals that life can be sustained upon. If any of these naysayers cared about the poor, the hungry, and/or the starving, they would surely see the significant impact game animals play in the sustainability of feeding the masses. But sadly they don’t, and ironically the predators they care so deeply for wouldn’t give a second thought about making them fertilizer! Balance is key. If they gain a healthy fear of humans through management, then they will know their place and be better off.

    • Exactly true. Judges and polititions have no business managing wildlife. They can’t even manage themselves.

  16. Absolutely spot on.

  17. Just relocate problem animals to the neighborhoods of the people that file the law suits

    • Send them to Mexiformia. They don’t have any. There are several mountain areas that need them. Starting off with Mt. Palomar, Lake Arrowhead and on up the coasts into Org.

  18. Tom Busalacchi

    Great article and spot on! I can’t believe we have so many irrational liberals amongst us!

  19. Guy Eastman, what in the world are you doing allowing this kind of vitriol on your blog? I suppose that we all have our opinions on the subject of grizzly season. Frankly, I really don’t care to kill a grizzly, but I would have jumped at the chance in my younger days. The idea of biology driving game management is great, but it isn’t ever going to happen. Every fish and game department in the world is subject to political pressure whether from sportsmen who would like more opportunities or from people who want less consumptive use and more viewing of wildlife. The latter now outnumber the former in almost every state.
    As to the idea that a hunting season on grizzlies will lessen the likelihood of attacks on hunters seems to me ludicrous. Yes it will lower the chances of an attack by the number of bears killed. In my state of Idaho, that would be one. Not big difference. Grizzlies are, by nature, aggressive. They were hunted almost to extinction and yet those that survived still are aggressive and will attack when they feel threatened. Just because one is killed doesn’t mean any others will be less likely to attack. The only bear that learns that humans are dangerous from a hunting season is the dead one. The rest don’t know. At least if the hunter does his or her job and makes a clean kill. Most bears that cause trouble are killed now. The others don’t seem to be learning from that.
    Finally, I kind of like the idea that there’s another hunter in the mountains that might be hunting me. Personally, it kind of makes me feel more a part of the whole situation. Mountain lions, bears, wolves, even rattlesnakes all add to the experience, and yes when I’m in their territories, I’m just a little more aware of everything going on around me. It ups my game.

    • Opening a season will definitely save human lives because it will make bears become more afraid of human activity simply in the fact that after getting shot at a few times, they will be far less likely to want to cross paths with a human and this will keep them pushed back in more remote areas where they will have less interaction with us. Unfortunately, FWP won’t put out enough tags to make a difference for a long while, but every little bit helps and may also save the lives of dwindling, precious game animals being overrun by predators, especially down low. No brainer here. Furthermore, if we as hunters/revenue source for FWP want our voices to truly be heard we should stop buying any tags whatsoever. Let’s see how long they cater to special interest groups, over their revenue base, Then I bet our preferences about our animals will finally be constituted!

  20. The mother Griz was protecting her young, mother nature has a level playing field. Human lost…

  21. I’ve lived in Montana all my life. 42 years. I love to hunt and hike. I’ve experienced enough of “people” and can say I’m not sure I’d value a humans life over a griz. Especially when there are 7 billion of us. I’m not sure what “chaos” The author refers to, will ensue. He makes it sound like Armageddon. And bringing the Bible into this makes absolutely no sense to me. All this being said, I’d be more than happy if griz were on the list of things to hunt and I believe in wildlife management. Let’s not get out of control when we debate something, like this author has. Let’s use common sense. And if your in griz country, be smart. Carry pepper spray or a gun. The 17 year old survived because he had spray.

  22. Brandon- Seems like you really missed the mark when you were touting Facts. As an avid hunter who often hunts in grizzly country, here are some facts to consider. Fact: As sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts there are always inherent risk to ones self when we venture afield: Death and injury from: falls, automobile accidents, drownings, and weather, far exceed injury and death to humans when compared to animal attacks. But yeah-bear attacks make far better headlines than death by falling or bee sting. If one in not willing to accept, prepare and be responsible for those risks maybe you should stay home or plan you outings to Disneyland.
    Fact: Bear spray was very effective in this incident (and has been proven so in the past. See- Efficacy of Bear Spray in Alaska, Journal of Wildlife Management 72(3). Also, the individual in this incident knew the risk and planned ahead. Maybe that should have been your spin on this incident. Education and knowledge will do far more to protect hunters and bears than the biased information you provided in your article.

  23. Great opinion piece. Funny to see people get so fired up just because it differs from their opinion. The facts referred to are available in print at state & federal conservation agencies; come on people, if you doubt, go get educated with an open mind and then make your own decision! As to the Biblical reference, the Bible has endured as an integral part of the entirety of world history (whether u agree with it or not), kinda silly to suggest it is only applicable in church. Again – if you doubt, read it with an open mind and then make your own decision. After a long career in wildlife conservation law enforcement, I know the biologists are giving their all to their calling, and it is a shame when the people who give their lives for a balanced, inclusive, healthy ecosystem are undermined by lawyers.

    • The issue is/was – not that it differs from my viewpoint but that is was so biased, non-factual and poorly written. Eastman’s articles are usually intelligent and thought out. This was not.

  24. Brandon, Please keep the bible out of Eastman’s articles. Hunting is my religion and it is based on science. If crap like this article starts showing up in the magazine, then I’ll be canceling my subscription.

  25. Brian Bassett

    I think there is only one way to solve this argument. We need to reintroduce Grizzly Bears and Wolves back into their habitats. For example: The Angeles national Forest, starting with Santa Monica Canyon. And then moving north in the foothills around San Francisco. And let’s not forget along the whole coastal mountains from Mexico to Seattle. After they are well established there we start with upper state New York and of course Central Park, it could use a few packs of wolves and a few Bruins. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander! I use to take walks in the woods and fish upper lakes and never really had any fear from Predators but now I carry and I’m not talking pepper spray the threat is real and when confronted. Lock and load!

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