Saturday, April 14, 2007

Bears... (update)

Yesterday I talked about bears being active now that their hibernation season has passed. In this area of the country, one must always be "bear aware", whether hiking in Glacier Park - or behind one's home. Just today I found a story of an Idaho man who was mauled by a grizzly in his back yard, just feet from his home.

It appears that the carcass of a moose was just out of eyesight and a grizzly was making a meal of the carrion. When this fellow went outside to get his Great Pyrenees dog, the grizzly was chasing the dog and turned on the man. He was badly mauled and bitten, but was able to reach his home and get medical attention. You can read the whole bear attack story here...

We hear of such stories every year and most of us always think "that can't happen to me". Well, it CAN and taking extra precautions in bear country is something that we just have to do. So when you take off down a path in Glacier National Park, stay alert for bear signs and treat every blind turn as if a mama and her cubs were standing there waiting for you. Make noise, let her know you're coming. Carry pepper spray and know how to use it.

My purpose in relating these bear stories is not to scare anyone or make you rethink your trip to Glacier. Quite the opposite... I want you to experience this marvelous place and remain safe while you're here. Millions of people visit every year and most never even see a grizzly, let alone have a bad encounter. So like the Boy Scout's motto says, "Be Prepared".

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bears... They're b-a-a-a-a-c-k!

Around these parts, bears are plentiful. In fact, NW Montana has the highest population of grizzly bears in the lower 48 states. And now they have awakened from their winter slumber, and are on the prowl because they are hungry - very hungry. I has been my experience that bears only bother people when they are grumpy. Unfortunately, they are always grumpy.

They're beautiful creatures to see in the wild, but the are NOT cuddly and cute. Bears awe wild, dangerous, unpredictable creatures and common sense says that you give them a wide berth.

My family lives "out", about 10 miles from Kalispell, Montana. We have many homes, farms and ranches all around us, but we also get visits from bears quite frequently. They are such a problem that for seven months of the year, I have to keep my trash cans behind a bear-proof electric fence.

Just today, two stories hit the wire that illustrate what a problem bears can cause in our area.

Grizzly bear captured after livestock attack

A 425-pound grizzly bear, captured Sunday by a Blackfeet wildlife crew after attacking livestock near Kiowa, was released without incident in Glacier National Park near Polebridge on Monday, park officials said.
This was the 6-year-old bear's first capture and first known offense, officials said. Both grizzly and black bears have been sighted this spring, and officials are reminding visitors... see rest of story

Train kills two bears north of Whitefish

KALISPELL — A train struck and killed two young male grizzly bears about a mile north of Whitefish, state wildlife officials said Tuesday. The collision occurred early Monday along Whitefish Lake, said Tim Manley, a bear-management specialist with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.... see rest of story

The point of this post is to remind you to be bear aware. When you visit this beautiful area, remember to keep a clean camp. Glacier National Park regulations require that all edibles, including pet food, food containers and cookware, be stored inside hard-sided vehicles or in food lockers. Garbage should be placed in bear-resistant containers. A little awareness and preparation will ensure that your visit is a memorable one.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Only a few days left to get "Lucky"

"Lucky" is the name of the Mackinaw Lake Trout worth $35,000 to a lucky angler if they catch him. Although other tagged fish are worth $100 and $500, even the freebies are fun to catch.

If you are new to this blog, I'm talking about the annual "Mac Days" fishing tournament now in progress at Flathead Lake. The lake's trout population numbers in the hundreds of thousands and they are not native to Montana waters. The purpose of this semi-annual tournament is to help reduce the Mac population. The emphasis is on catching huge numbers of fish.

For all the rules and to read up on who is catching what and where, visit the Mac Days website. Mac Days is sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

Good luck to all you fishermen on this last weekend. Save some for me!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Work at Glacier National Park?

Are you kidding me?

I don't usually post PSA's (public service announcements), but if you or possibly your children are looking for something to do this summer... tell ya what I'd do... If I was a young man on summer break with no family or heavy obligations, I'd spend a summer working at Glacier National Park.

What a hoot that must be. Man, what I would have given to have known about such an opportunity when I was a young fella. Living and working at the park (IMHO) would have to be second only to being a park ranger.

Anyway, I received an email alert today about "Glacier Park, Inc. Properties" now hiring people for the summer season and that's what prompted this post. Maybe I'll reach a young person who would just love to spend their summer making a few bucks and living in Paradise.

If you're interested, or know someone who might be, visit their website at http://www.gpihr.com/ and complete a short online application. An application may also be requested by calling 406-892-6719.

I don't know the people doing the hiring and have no affiliation with the company. I just happened to see the message about them hiring and thought how much I would have loved such an experience. So there, they got some free publicity, but more importantly, maybe this will catch the eye of a young person who is looking for a unique experience this summer!

Maybe when I retire.....