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Xand
distinguished member (339)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/10/2018 12:35PM
Just got back from 6 nights in the Kawishiwi-Polly-Malberg area and had a fun run in with a very bold bear on Polly. On our way back out from Malberg to position ourselves for an easy exit we decided to shack up on Polly; unsurprisingly most of the campsites were taken (have I mentioned I detest Polly?) but we were lucky enough to be able to set up camp on the site situated at the far west of the big Northern bay (around the corner from the peninsula and two island sites).

We had dinner, cleaned up, hung the food etc. and turned in relatively early around 11pm. Just as I was dozing off my tentmate elbowed me and said he heard something rustling in the woods. After initially not hearing further noise I laid back down only to immediately hear some crunching. Both on edge and alert we grabbed out lights and hopped out only to find what appeared to be a fully grown bear just chilling on the edge of the woods. We proceeded to bang pots/pans/paddles and scream at it for about 20-30 minutes to no avail. It just sat there chuffing and watching us, completely nonplussed. Eventually we had no choice but to retreat to our canoes where we watched it saunter through camp and investigate pretty much every part of our gear (and spend an uncharacteristic amount of time trying to get into our two tents). We eventually retreated to the nearest site where the occupants were kind enough to let us hang out at their fire grate (and make us coffee!) until sun came up.

TLDR: be careful on the far west side of Polly. This bear had absolutely NO fear of humans and wasn't leaving until it had its way (and we had a pretty clean campsite). It showed zero interest in our actual food and instead tried to abscond into the woods with two tents and a couple sleeping pads on top of eating a nerf football (?) and some other random items. I called the Tofte ranger station to report it but consider other sites/areas of Polly in the mean time and tread carefully.

Also apologies to anyone we woke up with our noise, we were a little stressed :)
 
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NursePaddler
member (7)member
 
06/10/2018 01:03PM
Well no wonder! he's never met anyone with a can of bear spray!
PatrickE
senior member (51)senior membersenior member
 
06/10/2018 07:46PM
In all seriousness, if we are in this situation and have bear spray, it's advisable to spray the bear that is this bold and unbudging? I'm assuming so but obviously the only thing worse than a placid bear unafraid of humans is one that wants to rip your head off.
mastertangler
distinguished member(5439)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/10/2018 09:37PM
Wow, that bear has to be put down IMO. It's not going to stop and will probably only get worse. Odd behavior, usually they walk through, nose about and leave when they don't find food.

I don't think I would spray a bear unless it got interested in me personally, especially if I wasn't very far from getting out. Spray is not 100% effective. I also wouldn't throw rocks at it unless it became interested in me.
carmike
distinguished member(1507)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/10/2018 11:59PM
Glad things worked out, all things considered. Sorry you had to spend a night like that. I had a bear do something similar to me on Malberg (another lake notorious for problem bears)...it's definitely no fun.
analyzer
distinguished member(1645)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/11/2018 12:10AM
Thanks for the feedback. I think you're better off staying safe. It's unusual for a black bear to attack humans, but they have. I realize there are some that would prefer that you teach the bear to be weary of humans, but no point in being a hero.

Might be time to draw a bear tag this fall.
hexnymph
distinguished member(946)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/11/2018 08:26AM
This seems to be a repeating cycle in this area. I suspect the sow shows the cubs for a year or two, how to steal those picnic baskets. After a while she gets a reputation and is an easy harvest some fall. Couple years later Boo boo and siblings start the same thing till they get "thinned".

I don't blame the bears, they are opportunivores. If the opportunity wasn't there, they wouldn't be either. You can tell people to keep a clean camp till your face turns blue. Some people are not going to change. Some people intentionally feed these type of bears.

Let the outfitters know about it. In my experience(s), the forest service doesn't seem to want to know.

Hex
cyclones30
distinguished member(1341)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/11/2018 04:03PM
We just returned from Malberg and stayed a night on Polly for the exact same reason. (Friday night) Saw many occupied sites and ended up with one along the west shore of the big point in the middle of the lake from the south. No bears but I do recall reading about bears in prior trip reports.
SinglePortage
distinguished member (120)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/12/2018 09:03PM
I reassured my daughter on our trip last month that if we keep a clean camp we won't have bears. But the truth is that all of our effort to keep a clean camp can be erased by others who do not do the same.
scat
distinguished member(654)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/13/2018 09:38AM
We were on Polly that night. I heard about that when we got out.
tumblehome
distinguished member(1431)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/15/2018 05:43AM
The USFS will dispatch that bear. And the one over by Shell too.
Every couple of years this happens and the outcome is usually the same. Unfortunate, but I guess the only way to solve the problem without a human being injured.

Tom
A1t2o
distinguished member(568)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/15/2018 10:04AM
With a bear like this shouldn't you be looking at doing things like flipping logs in it's direction, and toss big rocks that have no hope of hitting it? Things to show your strength and intimidate it to make it think you are too big of a risk.

How far can you go with intimidating a bear before you risk provoking it? If Xand hadn't left, would the bear have started to get more aggressive, just start going through things like they weren't there, or gotten impatient and left?

BTW: Any bear sightings around Little Sag and Tuscarora? Going in on Wed.
Xand
distinguished member (339)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/18/2018 02:22PM
A1t2o: "With a bear like this shouldn't you be looking at doing things like flipping logs in it's direction, and toss big rocks that have no hope of hitting it? Things to show your strength and intimidate it to make it think you are too big of a risk.


How far can you go with intimidating a bear before you risk provoking it? If Xand hadn't left, would the bear have started to get more aggressive, just start going through things like they weren't there, or gotten impatient and left?


BTW: Any bear sightings around Little Sag and Tuscarora? Going in on Wed."


I wondered about this too but in the heat of the moment it seemed prudent to leave given that we didn't have anything on hand to throw (and I didn't feel like searching in the dark) and how utterly nonplussed it was with our attempts to intimidate it.
 
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