Elkmont Report 7/5/08
I went fishing with Caught 108 at Elkmont this morning. We walked up above the old parking place where the iron gate use to be before we started fishing. We caught a few small fish in this section. After a couple of hours fishing we moved on up to the high wooden brigde that goes acroos the creek. We split up at this point. Caught 108 got in at the brigde and I moved on up the trail before I started fishing. I caught several small fish. I was a 1/2 mile from the Goshen Prong Trail when I got an uninvited geust. It was a large bear (300 lbs. plus) and he was coming down the creek right at me. I stood my grown, the bear was no more than 25 to 30 yards from me. He just walked by me like I was not there. Then he stopped and looked straight at me. I was getting a little nervous to say the lease. After about 30 seconds the big boy waded across the stream to the other side and entered the woods. I watched him and thought that he was gone but to my surprise it came back. He came back and entered the water again. I think he was trying to figure out what I was. He stood in the water and looked at me for a couple of mins. or more then he just turned around and entered the woods again. I finally got out of the creek and started to walk back down to find Caught 108 when I saw the bear again. He was on the other side of the creek walking alone with me. I would stop and he would stop. I'd walk and he would walk. I was watching him and he was looking at me. This went on for 15 mins. when finally the bear disappeared into the thick brush of the wilderness. My heart was racing as I made my way down the road toward my fishing buddie. I finally found Caught 108 and told him about my encounter. He stated " That me staying calm and not bringing attention to myself by doing something stupid kepted the bear at ease." By keeping my wits I belevie I kepted the situation from turning into some thing where I could have been injuried by the animal. It was a great encounter that I will remember for a long time.The animal never once showed any fear of me or did it move in any way that I thought was threating. I guess he was just curious. Well back to the fishing My buddy caught 20 to 25 Rainbows and I caught 15 to 18 Rainbows. I lost count. Caught 108 landed 3 nice fish in th 9 1/2 to 10 1/2 inch range. 4 were 7 to 8 inches and the rest were small. The fish that I caught a couple were 7 to 8 inches and the rest were below 7 inches. I hooked my fish on peacock body stone fly ( #6 with some weight). My buddy landed his fish on a lead wing and a prince nymph. ( #8 with some weight). We fished durning 3 hard rain showers each one lasting about 20 mins. I was glad to see it rain the streams need it. We had a fun day of fishing. If anyone gose up ther to fish watch out for the bears, and be careful and good luck...
May God Bless You.
Bill...nice report. It is indeed good that you did not panic. I hope that you realize how fortunate you were with that encounter. My question is, how long did it take for you to clean out your waders?!!!
Again, this is why I carry a BIG knife with me when I leave the campground/road and go back country...even if it's just a half mile.
I commend you for standing your ground, it's not as easy as it sounds. I had a bear encounter at fish camp prong two years ago. Although I know all the "right" things you are supposed to do - I ran! The bear entered the water quickly and moved directly toward me. He was thin and looked sick and/or hungry. I saw an easy exit to the trail and I took off, not stopping until I was well down the trail. I know that if a bear wanted to chase me, he would most likely overtake me, but common sense was not at work. I will say, I am fifty two years old but I think I could have qualified for the Olympics on that particular day.
Yeah, that would be hard to do. I generally try to act disinterested. I've done this in dealing with dogs, which have a similar mentality as a black bear from my experince. The only exception is the really aggressive ones that you can tell are going to bite you once they reach you. Those guys I grab something to beat them with or run. Luckily our new neighborhood doesn't have a lot of strays like the old one did.
I thought that when you encounter a black bear that you are supposed to make noise to intimidate it. Is this not true? I have been running for 34 years and I know when I come across a loose large aggressive dog, the best thing to do is ignore it until it comes right up to you. When the dog is a few feet away turn and yell at it. I usually yell,"get back in you yard". It always works.
So what is the right thing to do when a bear confronts you as it did Bill?
On may encounter with the bear above Elkmont I feel like I did the best thing I could do. I have seen several bears in the park and the National Forest where I hunt. This bear showed no sign of being in a bad mood. I think he was out for a walk. I have came across bears that smacked the ground or popped their jaws to let me know that I was a little to close. In this situation I backed off and gave the animal room to pass. I've also had a bear follow me to a deer stand one morning before dawn. The bear made no attempts to charge me or attack. I kept checking on him with my flashlight to see where he was. The animal finally got tired of walking behind me. It stopped turned around and walked away. I belevie this bear could not make out what I was so it followed me until the wind change and it got my scent in it's nose. I could have screamed at the animal and it might have run off. I don't know for sure. I do belevie making loud sounds such as yelling will work to make a bear run away. The worst thing you can do is run. I think if a bear notices something running away that the animal thinks it has just spooked some food and the chase is on. If you see bears in the wild just give them some room. If you feel the animal is getting to close just back away slowly and yell at it.
May God Bless You...
I think it was back in 1998 we were up on Hazel Creek in October. We had had dinner, our packs still on the ground, and were cleaning up. My buddy Ed was down in the creek washing his dishes the guys up the creek yelled to me that a bear had been in their camp and was heading our way down the creek. I walked over and yelled this to Ed, he looked upstream and saw the bear within 15 feet and coming! Needless to say he hustled up the trail to the campsite. The two guys from Ashville came down to our site, there were four of us plus them. The bear was small 150 - 200 lb and he wanted our packs. We beat on pots and pans and he ran up a tree like I would climb steps 2 at a time. He sat there a minute or two then climbed down and came back, more pot beating, and back up the tree he went. Another minute and back down he came toward us with his head wagging back and forth low to the ground. One of the guys from Ashville produced a pack of black cats and lit it with his ...... cigarette. The bear was not seen again that weekend! I usually carry m-90's now but have never felt the need to use them since that day, though I have seen several bears. Used to see them often on Sam's Creek.