Bears

Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming

WANTED: BEAR DEFENDERS

Mission: Protect the last wild bears in the North American forests from a cruel and unjustifiable death during this winter’s killing season.

Conditions: Long hours, no pay, difficult terrain, cold weather and potentially dangerous encounters with hunters who have murder in their eyes and guns in their hands.

DEFENDERS: Whiners need not apply! Strong, courageous humans willing to learn the way of the bears to defend them. Previous backcountry and wilderness experience and ability to spend extended time in the forest is desirable.

SCOUTS: The eyes and ears of the defenders, both in the woods and in the towns. Ability to use navigation equipment is helpful.

ENFORCERS: Monitor and enforce hunting regulations in order to prevent the illegal killing of the bears. Intercept illegal bear baiting, atv’s and tree stands. Enforcers should expect confrontation with hunters, stand strong and not back down!

BASE CAMP OPERATIONS: Provide critical support for those in the woods. Run photos/media footage from the frontlines, maintain supplies, communication, organize transportation and assist with media and outreach.

Bait Station Sab

By Cody ..Yack.. Ursine

You really want to save the bears? Don’t waste time protesting in front of the TV cameras at the weigh-station on opening day. Leave that for the articulate and knowledgeable above-ground leaders of our movement. Other than showing new people the sickening horror of a murdered black bear being strung up, weighed in and having one of his or her teeth pulled out with a pair of pliers, the shadow activist has no business anywhere near the place.

People of conscience only have to visit a weigh-station once in their lives to ..catch the rage… The next step for some is to carefully start FSU for the bear hunters in their communities.

Lots of opportunities are there for the creative activist. If you want to stay out of the woods (and jail.) file a FOIA with the state requesting the name and address of every hunter who gets a tag or who weighs in a bear this year. This should be public information. Identify the bear killers and begin a polite, SHACesque home visit and public education protest campaign.

Or, recruit lawyers to fight the hunt in court. Write letters to the editor or lobby to enact legislation to ban bear baiting in the state. Do whatever you can.

If, however, you want to learn about people who trek into the wilderness for something fun, effective, probably illegal and immensely rewarding, read on.

If we are to protect the black bears in our communities, we must learn everything we can about them. We must be familiar with their habitat to protect them. We must roam and learn the deep woods.

It is equally important to learn everything we can about black bear hunters. Having a basic understanding of the bear hunter..s core killing strategies of scouting, baiting, stalking and ambushing has been shown to greatly increase a sab campaign..s effectiveness.

A hunt sab is not easy work. It is not particularly glamorous or exciting. It is cold, wet, muddy and enormously fun. Such activity is probably in violation of a number of state Hunter Harassment Statutes. (See, for example, New Jersey..s N.J.S.A. §§ 23:7A-1, 23:7A-2.)

A hunt sab can be dangerous in dozens of ways. We don..t recommend it. Most of all, the effort requires a level of fitness, patience and determination few city dwellers seem to possess. Although we certainly are not suggesting anyone commit the slightest illegality, this article is intended to provide the dedicated and the curious with a basic understanding of what some woodsy folks across the country are doing to FSU for the sick and twisted killers of bears.

SCOUTING

A protest at the weigh station is a punch in the heart. As many front-line activists have witnessed time and again, the hunters seem to find and murder a bear within hours of the first day of opening season. How do they do that?

First of all, it is inaccurate to say these people are ..hunting.. anything. To hunt implies you are looking for something. A ..successful.. bear killer is actually more of an assassin than a hunter.

The key strategy to a successful sab is understanding that the ..hunter.. already knows exactly where the bears are well before opening day.

Bear hunters are violent outdoorsmen. They hike the trails, fish the streams and generally hunt other ..game.. in the woods almost year-round. These killers are successful in slaughtering bears because they stalk them for
months in advance.

A bear murderer understands his target bear..s habits and habitat. By opening day of the bear season, the killer already knows exactly where his victim sleeps, eats and dens up. Although the ..legal.. hunting season is
brief, the murderer has actually hunted bears in the area for months and in many cases years. He scouts through the deepest sections of the remote woods, carefully noting bear ..sign.. – scrapes, digs, claw marks, food sources and scat (droppings.) Experienced bear hunters often log this information on a map or in a small notebook.

Lately, hunters have been observed scouting with GPS devices; marking ..weigh points.. everywhere they find sign or ..spore.. of a bear. There are even some who enter all of this collected data into computer spread-sheets and topo maps to keep track of the bears they wish to kill. Other hunters are known to possess receivers that can pick up bear tracking-collar transmissions. They use these illegal devices to get a general sense of where bear habitat is in a given region.

The bear killer dreams of murdering a large male bear. He is looking for a ..trophy.. not a meal. The most valuable sign for the bear hunter to find is the large, deep claw-scratches a boar (male) often makes on a tree. This sign identifies the edges or path of a boar..s territory and can tell the hunter his size, weight and age.

Here is an example of a two-year-old tree scratch made by a black bear.

Bears are very social animals. Claw-scratchings often indicate a number of bears have left their marks on the same tree. This seems to be some sort of ursine communication method. Wildlife biologists believe black bears also leave scent markings at these scratches that can tell fellow bears what foods are being consumed and who the largest and most dominant bear is in the area.

COUNTERMEASURES .. The hunter..s pre-season scouting is what makes his trip to the woods so short on opening day. The truth is, if activists only attempt to sab the hunt during the brief season, they will likely fail to save a single bear. If we truly wish to impede the killing of bears in our woods, some of us must be in those woods year-round.

We need to know where the bears are in order to protect them. We need to be better bear scouts than the hunters and that means we need to spend a great deal of time off the trails, away from the campsites and far back into the deep woods.

There are said to be more than one million black bears in North America. Study their tracks, signs and habits in books but then put on your boots and get out there. Learn and know the terrain and you will find bears. They will usually be found in the deepest, darkest most inhospitable parts of a forest or state park. Finding their dens and food sources, mapping their locations and quietly ..patrolling.. these areas for evidence of bear hunters and bait stations are the keys to a successful sab.

BAITING

Once the hunter has scouted the area and found signs of bear habitat, he will usually set up a series of ..bait stations… These are ambush sites selected by the hunter where he can begin to basically ..train.. his target bears to stop by for a free meal. The bear killer sets up a bait station where he is able to comfortably conceal himself close-by to ambush and murder the bear while he is eating.

Finding food occupies just about every waking moment in the life of a bear. Male black bears are usually run off by their mothers in the second or third year of life. They begin foraging for food outside of the mother..s territory and they seem to remember every location where they have ever successfully found something to eat. Bears are said to be able to store hundreds of ..food images.. in their brains. If they find something tasty at a location just once, they will be back.

The bear..s biological memory adaptation is, of course, why humans feel a need to murder them. When wasteful suburbanites leave their trash out for a bear to find, it becomes a permanent food image for that particular bear for the rest of his or her life. The same rule applies when a bear encounters horse or companion animal food, a well-stocked bird feeder, a greasy barbecue grill or a hunter..s bait station.

The hunter exploits the fact that the bear spends most of his day looking for food. The way the hunter is able to ambush and murder black bears is by regularly feeding them at a very cleverly designed and located bait station. Food left in a container at the bait station may include bacon, donuts, fryer grease, honey or animal carcasses. A bear hunter will often put something heavy over the top of the food container at his bait station to insure that raccoons and smaller mammals don..t take the food he has left for the bears.

Bears have a tremendous sense of smell. Wildlife biologists claim a black bear can detect and track a food scent from more than three miles away.

Hunters have a variety of commercial ..scent products.. available to lure bears to their bait stations. One smells like ice cream. Others smell like bacon, blueberry..s or jelly donuts. State wildlife biologists in New Jersey have assisted the companies that manufacture these scents. The biologists test the various formulas on bears in the field. One vendor this business can be found at:

http://www.bearscents.com/SCENTS.html

For those in the movement who focus on legislative remedies, an aggressive campaign to halt bating may be successful if these types of companies were exposed to public scrutiny. The state wildlife ..experts.. would have difficulty claiming they are trying to ..thin.. the black bear population from encroaching on suburbia if the public were to learn their own biologists assist the hunting industry in testing scents like bacon and ..hickory smoke concentrate.. on wild bears.

In New Jersey, most of the bears killed on opening day are murdered at or near a bait station. The law says that no bear can be shot within 100 yards of a bait station.

http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/pdf/2005/dighnt55-69.pdf

The truth is, almost all bears killed each season are in fact shot coming or going to one of these ambush sites. An informative and deeply disturbing article about how the black bear hunter..s bait station is set up and managed can be found here:

http://www.bowhunting.net/billjones/black.htm..top

COUNTERMEASURES:

Disrupting the baiting of bears is one of the simplest, safest and most effective sab methods available. Again, please refrain from actually engaging in any of the tactics mentioned below.

The black bear forages for a living. He is naturally curious and will take great risks to find fresh, pungent food. He stores food images for life. But he has no way to distinguish between grubs under a log, acorns under an oak tree, garbage at a dump site or food at a bait station. Shadow activists try to help the bear with this dilemma.

Activists sab the hunt by locating and ..compromising.. the bait stations. Through good scouting, they will invariably find bear habitat and bait stations in the woods. There will be dozens if not hundreds of bait stations set up in the months and weeks prior to the opening day of bear season. According to one anonymous activist, ..Every bait station we drag out of the woods is one less bear a hunter will be able to murder on opening day…

It is not illegal to hike through the forest looking for bait stations as long as you leave them alone. If you are in good physical health and pay attention to the wind, you can usually smell a bait station from a good distance away. If you detect the odor of honey cooking, however, make note of the exact area but leave immediately. Hunters use small stoves to cook honey and other food items to lure bears to their bait stations. If you detect anything cooking the hunter is probably in the area.

There will be other obvious signs of human activity close by a bait station; including tree stands, hides and fresh trails. The stand or hide is often slightly above and downwind from the bait station. Saplings and tree limbs may be freshly cut or bent to create a ..shooting lane.. between the bait station and the hide. Some hunters will also leave items of unwashed and sweaty clothing near their stands and hides to get the bears accustomed to their scent.

Understanding the ..mechanics of the murder.. can help in stopping it. The killer knows he will ultimately have to drag the bear..s body out of the woods. He will often set up a cluster of bait stations close by a logging trail or back road so he can conveniently ..service.. each station with fresh food and eventually transport his ..trophy.. out of the forest with out much trouble.

Scout the woods in the late autumn along the back roads and on the logging and ATV trails and you will find fresh paths to these well-hidden ambush sites. In the weeks just before opening season, scouting in the middle of the day, during a weekday seems to be safest. Hunters are at work and foraging black bears seem to be most active early and late in the day.

Wealthy white suburbanite bear hunters are the laziest and often the easiest to compromise. On weekends, activists have had great luck driving along the back roads and logging trails and marking on a map where they have pick-up trucks and SUV..s parked unattended along the side the road. They return in the middle of the week to that same location and follow the fresh boot tracks into the woods; eventually locating the bait stations.

Bears live and forage in very remote sections of the woods. They prefer steep grades and heavy brush. Pay close attention to the man-made trails. Be prepared to hike, climb and crawl to the bait station. Take your time and be hyper observant. Things to look for are small, reflective tacks and fluorescent strips placed at eye-level along the trail. Lazy hunters hate to waste time stumbling to their bait stations in the dark and they will often mark their paths with these flashlight reflecting tacks and strips. Here are a few examples:

http://www.deerhuntinggear.net/Trail_Marker.htm

http://www.cascade-ammo.com/catalog.php?type=product&id=26096

http://www.cascade-ammo.com/catalog.php?type=product&id=36057

If one is particularly skilled in the deep woods, ..rerouting.. these markers along a particularly inhospitable path is said to be a source of amusement. Otherwise, activists simply remove and bury them.

Always make certain that you approach a suspected bait station slowly and cautiously. The goal is to avoid both the hunters and the bears. Male black bears have a very distinctive musky scent that is unforgettable but difficult to describe. The odor is comparable to a skunk in texture and pungency but not as acrid. As mentioned above, the smell of anything cooking is a danger sign that a bear hunter is in the area.

One notorious activist group removes every bait station they find. Sometimes a scout locates multiple bait stations in an area and others make special arrangements to compromise them all on one trip. This is an inherently risky activity. In some cases it may be in fact be illegal. Again, we strongly advise against this sort of thing. It is said that radios and other communications equipment, over-watch teams and good planning are required for this immensely rewarding task.

Removing bait station feeding containers often requires a crowbar or bolt cutters because some hunters chain and stake the container they use for holding the bait. If there is time, activists will rake and remove the surface dirt where the bait station was found. Some hunters pour grease around their bait station container so the bear leaves a trail from the bait station back to the woods. Other bears will then follow the scent trail back
to the bait station.

Activists spray various organic cleaning products, hot pepper powders, human urine and other scents throughout the area and along every approach trail to further compromise the bait station.

A cleaned out Elmer..s Glue bottle is said to make an excellent applicator for these liquid sprays. Several bottles can fit flat in the pocket of a pair of cargo pants. Anything with a pungent, non-food scent that is safe for the environment but indicative of humans seems to be effective at spooking bears.

One strategy that some are experimenting with may hold some promise and appears to be perfectly legal. Take your companion dogs with you when you are out scouting for bear sign. Male pups in particular tend to mark places where wildlife has marked previously. Bears that forage suburban areas are usually aware of and afraid of dogs. In many parts of the country, dogs are also used to hunt bears. We still don..t know for sure, but dogs may be able to permanently ..close.. a bear bait station with a single spray.

Along with removing every bit of the bait station, some activists also seize tree stands, destroy hides and use other ..techniques.. to ensure the hunter knows his ambush site has been compromised. Activists generally try to make it appear that competing hunters are the culprits.

Some of the more aggressive sab folks are said to carry a sharpie and some fingerprint-free index cards along so they can leave menacing notes for the hunter. A popular message simply cautions the bear killer that there seems to be a lot of firearms accidents in the area this time of year. The hunter is again left with the impression that these notes were written by other hunters who don..t appreciate his presence. Bear hunters seem to be as territorial as bears. And rednecks with guns already tend to have a pre-existing paranoia. When they find their bait stations gone and unfriendly notes posted in what is left of their hides, they seldom return.

When activists leave the area, they heavily spray the above-mentioned human scents on the trails at the obvious entry points along the wood line where the bear hunter..s vehicles were observed. This is very important as the season looms close. On opening day, the bear hunter wears special scent masking
clothes. If he steps anywhere an activist has recently applied a human scent, his entire hunt can be compromised.

Activists have recently begun to find tree-mounted infrared-actuated cameras near bait stations. Hunters evidently put these out to get a snapshot of whatever animal happens to walk by. Learn to identify these camouflaged devices and watch out for them. They are called ..game cameras… It is inappropriate to be surreptitiously photographed vandalizing a bait station by one of these devices. One activist group is known to confiscate them. Here is what they look like:

http://www.cabelas.com/products/Ccat20098.jsp

Some sab groups subsidize their efforts by selling appropriated tree stands, game cameras, etc. These seized items can be sold for cash on eBay, at  markets, pawn shops and in the classified sections of most small town ..thrifty nickel.. type papers. Without creating any movement drama we do not think this is appropriate. Although anyone who is seizing bait stations is saving bears, the equipment will likely be used to murder animals if it is sold back into circulation.

The truth is that effective bear hunt sab strategies require more time and patience than money or material. You know you have to do something to stop the killing. So what do you want to do?

a.) Dress in a bear costume and hold a protest sign in front of the heartless freaks that ambush and murder our ancient friends.

b.) Run in the middle of the woods with a boat horn and a whistle on opening day and get arrested for interfering with the hunt.

c.) Learn the ways of the bear and target bait stations in the deep woods weeks in advance.

Activists claim the bait station sab is actually safer, more fun and way more effective at saving bears. Please don..t try it. The risk may be small and the rewards may be great, but believe me; nothing will create a sense of accomplishment and euphoria in your affinity group better than compromising a bait station. Do it just once and you will not be able to stop. One should therefore avoid this activity at all costs.

Black Bear

black_4

Average lifespan in the wild: 20 years
Size: 5 to 6 ft (1.5 to 1.8 m) long
Weight: 200 to 600 lbs (90 to 270 kg)
Group name: Sleuth or Sloth
Did you know? Black bears are not true hibernators. During their winter dormant period, though, they do not eat, drink, urinate, or defecate, but may wake up if disturbed.

Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:

Black bears are North America’s most familiar and common bears. They typically live in forests and are excellent tree climbers, but are also found in mountains and swamps. Despite their name, black bears can be blue-gray or blue-black, brown, cinnamon, or even (very rarely) white.

Black bears are very opportunistic eaters. Most of their diet consists of grasses, roots, berries, and insects. They will also eat fish and mammals—including carrion—and easily develop a taste for human foods and garbage. Bears who become habituated to human food at campsites, cabins, or rural homes can become dangerous and are often killed—thus the frequet reminder: Please Don’t Feed the Bears!

Solitary animals, black bears roam large territories, though they do not protect them from other bears. Males might wander a 15- to 80-square-mile (39- to 207-square-kilometer) home range.

When winter arrives, black bears spend the season dormant in their dens, feeding on body fat they have built up by eating ravenously all summer and fall. They make their dens in caves, burrows, brush piles, or other sheltered spots—sometimes even in tree holes high above the ground. Black bears den for various lengths of time governed by the diverse climates in which they live, from Canada to northern Mexico.

Female black bears give birth to two or three blind, helpless cubs in mid-winter and nurse them in the den until spring, when all emerge in search of food. The cubs will stay with their very protective mother for about two years.

Ralph Cianciarulo on Black Bears, Part IV
Ralph Cianciarulo on Black Bears, Part III
Ralph Cianciarulo on Black Bears, Part II
Ralph Cianciarulo on Black Bears, Part I

Grizzly

grizzl7

Average lifespan in the wild: 25 years
Size: 5 to 8 ft (1.5 to 2.5 m)Illustration of the animal's relative size

Weight: 800 lbs (363 kg)

Protection status: Threatened
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:

The grizzly bear is a North American subspecies of the brown bear.

These awe-inspiring giants tend to be solitary animals—with the exception of females and their cubs—but at times they do congregate. Dramatic gatherings of grizzly bears can be seen at prime Alaskan fishing spots when the salmon run upstream for summer spawning. In this season, dozens of bears may gather to feast on the fish, craving fats that will sustain them through the long winter ahead.

Brown bears dig dens for winter hibernation, often holing up in a suitable-looking hillside. Females give birth during this winter rest and their offspring are often twins.

Grizzly bears are powerful, top-of-the-food-chain predators, yet much of their diet consists of nuts, berries, fruit, leaves, and roots. Bears also eat other animals, from rodents to moose.

Grizzlies are typically brown, though their fur can appear to be white-tipped, or grizzled, lending them their traditional name.

Despite their impressive size, grizzlies are quite fast and have been clocked at 30 miles (48 kilometers) an hour. They can be dangerous to humans, particularly if surprised or if humans come between a mother and her cubs.

Grizzlies once lived in much of western North America and even roamed the Great Plains. European settlement gradually eliminated the bears from much of this range, and today only about 1,000 grizzlies remain in the continental U.S., where they are protected by law. Many grizzlies still roam the wilds of Canada and Alaska, where hunters pursue them as big game trophies.

Brown

brown.2

Average lifespan in the wild: 25 years
Size: 5 to 8 ft (1.5 to 2.5 m)
Weight: 700 lbs (318 kg)
Size relative to a 6ft (2m) man:

The awe-inspiring brown bear lives in the forests and mountains of northern North America, Europe, and Asia. It is the most widely distributed bear in the world.

These omnivorous giants tend to be solitary animals, except for females and their cubs, but at times they do congregate. Dramatic gatherings can be seen at prime Alaskan fishing spots when the salmon swim upstream for summer spawning. In this season dozens of bears may gather to feast on the fish, craving fats that will sustain them through the long winter ahead. In fall a brown bear may eat as much as 90 pounds (40 kilograms) of food each day, and it may weigh twice as much before hibernation as it will in spring.

Brown bears dig dens for winter hibernation, often holing up in a suitable hillside. Females, or she-bears, den while pregnant and give birth during this winter rest, usually to a pair of cubs. Brown bear cubs nurse on their mother’s milk until spring and stay with her for some two and a half years—so females only reproduce once every three years.

Adult brown bears are powerful, top-of-the-food chain predators, but much of their diet consists of nuts, berries, fruit, leaves and roots. Bears also eat other animals, from rodents to moose.

The world’s largest brown bears are found in coastal British Columbia and Alaska, and on islands such as Kodiak.

Despite their enormous size, brown bears are extremely fast, having been clocked at speeds of 30 miles per hour (48 kilometers per hour). They can be dangerous to humans, particularly if surprised or if a person gets between a mother bear and her cubs.

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