BWCA Bear encounter Snake River Entry Point (84) Boundary Waters Listening Point - General Discussion
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06/08/2024 11:23AM  
My buddy and I exited our trip yesterday (June 7, 2024) via the Snake River Entry Point (84). I was making my second trip carrying a carbon handled bending branches paddle and an aluminum shaft net with a pack on my back. If you are not familiar with the portage at this entry point, it is long but well maintained with two bridges. The first bridge as you are exiting is about 20 feet long and 3 or 4 feet wide and crosses a small stream that flows about five feet under the bridge. I was approaching this first bridge with a bug net on over my head and the sun glaring through the net making my vision poor. As I was about to step on the bridge I noticed movement under the bridge directly below my feet. I am no black bear expert, but I quickly realized that a large black bear was coming out from under the bridge approximately one paddle length from my feet. I took a couple quick steps backward expecting the bear to run down the creek out of sight.......nope.

This bear turned towards me, stepped out on the portage and stood on its hind legs. At this point it is about 10 feet away from me standing on his hind legs with his nose pointed straight up trying to smell me. I am 5 foot 8 inches tall and I felt like I was standing in the paint during a college basketball game. This dude was significantly taller than me. I started banging my paddle and net against each other while holding them over my head yelling "get out of here" and took a couple steps toward him in an effort to scare it away. I quickly realized that this might not be the proper strategy as the bear stood its ground on both feet with its paws held out in front of him like a dog does when its begging for a snack. I continued to bang the paddle and net together over my head and after a couple second stare down the bear went back down on four legs and slowly walked off in the woods turning its head to stare at me. It made a half circle about 10 yards out into the woods, got down wind of me, then ambled off to disappear in the alder.

Very cool encounter, would have preferred it to have happened at a slightly greater distance.

Happy trails to anyone using this entry point over the next couple weeks.
 
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Moonpath
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06/08/2024 01:15PM  
Excellent story, one you will remember the rest of your life. I have on many BW trips but have never encountered a bear. It sounds like you handled it well. Kept your cool, tried to act bigger than the bear, did not run, and the bear eventually went away. What were you thinking or feeling during the encounter? How did you keep your nerve? Thanks for sharing.
 
06/08/2024 03:31PM  
Wasn't really thinking just reacting. My friend who was traveling with me missed the entire encounter by about 10 seconds. He heard me yelling and came running, and was confused to find me standing in the middle of the portage peering into the woods while I beat my very nice paddle up against my very cheap fishing net.

I have also been traveling to the BWCA for years and this was my first bear, now if I could just see a wolf.....
 
scat
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06/08/2024 03:45PM  
You obviously have nerves of steel. Wow, nicely played and told.
 
pleflar
senior member (75)senior membersenior member
  
06/08/2024 05:25PM  
Awesome encounter and great response to that surprise!

Well done.
 
06/08/2024 05:48PM  
Good Job…I think I would of had to clean my shorts after that :)

T
 
NEIowapaddler
distinguished member (273)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
06/09/2024 07:18AM  
Sounds like you handled it like a pro. It's always concerning when wild animals don't show an appropriate fear of humans.
 
06/09/2024 10:07AM  
DougD: "Wasn't really thinking just reacting. My friend who was traveling with me missed the entire encounter by about 10 seconds. He heard me yelling and came running, and was confused to find me standing in the middle of the portage peering into the woods while I beat my very nice paddle up against my very cheap fishing net.


I have also been traveling to the BWCA for years and this was my first bear, now if I could just see a wolf....."


Cool story!

I've often wondered how often we've come close to wildlife without ever knowing.
 
06/09/2024 03:38PM  
What a remarkable encounter! I wonder if I would have been so composed? Perhaps with your bug net on the bear wasn’t quite sure what you were?
 
06/09/2024 04:15PM  
DougD: I am no black bear expert, but I quickly realized that a large black bear was coming out from under the bridge approximately one paddle length from my feet.



It seems from my research that you may have met. Ursus trollacanus, the elusive Troll Bear.
 
06/09/2024 09:34PM  
That is exactly what we have been referring to it as, a Troll Bear. Very rare.
 
gulkana
  
06/10/2024 12:25AM  
Always carry bear spray. Even on multiple trips on the portage.

Glad you handled it so well and the bear did his/her part too. (He/she obviously read the bear/human interaction manual.)
 
Carbonfiber
member (13)member
  
06/12/2024 06:48PM  
Sounds like the bear is way to use to humans.

I have encountered dozens of bears in my life 95 percent of them run at the sound or sight of a human.

Those that don't have learned not to be afraid.
 
06/12/2024 09:12PM  
Dang! I'm so glad my first bear encounter in the BWCA is everyone's dream... across the lake!

The only bummer was I had to paddle down the river it had just crossed, and was hoping it wasn't its territory. (Everything was fine).

I would have shipped my pants so close. Great job remaining calm.

I usually have bear spray on hiking adventures, but never on my hip, usually in my pack, but I do carry a bear horn at the ready ever since my BRT hiking trip where the notorious Rose Lake Bear was running amuck.
 
CoachWalleye74
distinguished member (176)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
06/13/2024 10:32AM  
DougD: "My buddy and I exited our trip yesterday (June 7, 2024) via the Snake River Entry Point (84). I was making my second trip carrying a carbon handled bending branches paddle and an aluminum shaft net with a pack on my back. If you are not familiar with the portage at this entry point, it is long but well maintained with two bridges. The first bridge as you are exiting is about 20 feet long and 3 or 4 feet wide and crosses a small stream that flows about five feet under the bridge. I was approaching this first bridge with a bug net on over my head and the sun glaring through the net making my vision poor. As I was about to step on the bridge I noticed movement under the bridge directly below my feet. I am no black bear expert, but I quickly realized that a large black bear was coming out from under the bridge approximately one paddle length from my feet. I took a couple quick steps backward expecting the bear to run down the creek out of sight.......nope.

This bear turned towards me, stepped out on the portage and stood on its hind legs. At this point it is about 10 feet away from me standing on his hind legs with his nose pointed straight up trying to smell me. I am 5 foot 8 inches tall and I felt like I was standing in the paint during a college basketball game. This dude was significantly taller than me. I started banging my paddle and net against each other while holding them over my head yelling "get out of here" and took a couple steps toward him in an effort to scare it away. I quickly realized that this might not be the proper strategy as the bear stood its ground on both feet with its paws held out in front of him like a dog does when its begging for a snack. I continued to bang the paddle and net together over my head and after a couple second stare down the bear went back down on four legs and slowly walked off in the woods turning its head to stare at me. It made a half circle about 10 yards out into the woods, got down wind of me, then ambled off to disappear in the alder.

Very cool encounter, would have preferred it to have happened at a slightly greater distance.

Happy trails to anyone using this entry point over the next couple weeks."



Wowza...kudos to you for staying calm. Holy cow!
 
06/13/2024 11:26AM  
Nice work! Good on you and thank you for sharing.

 
06/13/2024 01:21PM  
Played it good… I did very similar to one trying to get into our camp. The best part was only minutes later we heard the neighbors camp banging pots and such. I’d been sitting on the throne… back in the wooden throne days.
 
06/16/2024 09:11PM  
There are bridges on the Snake River entry now? Do you have any pictures of the bridge where the bear encounter happened?
 
gravelroad
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06/16/2024 09:49PM  
Carbonfiber: "Sounds like the bear is way to use to humans.


I have encountered dozens of bears in my life 95 percent of them run at the sound or sight of a human.


Those that don't have learned not to be afraid."


There is another type of black bear that does not quickly leave. Very large males have a different attitude. The only time I’ve had to detour around a bear that I couldn’t push into leaving was one of these, on Vancouver Island. This was while I was accompanied by my wife and my 86-pound German Shepherd Dog.

They are in a different class altogether:

”’Each year there are millions of interactions between people and black bears with no injuries to people. So while the risk is low, it does exist,’ said Herrero, an expert in bear behaviour and ecology in the U of C's Faculty of Environmental Design.

"’Our findings raise some important new insights that can be used to better understand the cause of attacks and how they can be avoided in both the front and backcountry.’

”In particular, the common belief that surprising a mother bear with cubs is the most dangerous kind of black bear encounter is inaccurate.

” Instead, lone male black bears hunting people as a potential source of food are a greater cause of deadly maulings and related predatory attempts.

”The study also found that fatal attacks do not typically involve bears that are familiar with humans, although some fatal attacks did.

"’Most fatal black bear attacks were predatory and all fatal attacks were carried out by a single bear’ Herrero said.”

Beware of predatory male American black bears: Attack rates are rising with human population growth.
 
Bamthor
senior member (60)senior membersenior member
  
06/17/2024 05:54AM  
Since you asked for a few wolf encounters I have had two.
The first was on the long portage on the East side of Rose. We were about 250 rods in to the 600 or so rod portage and encountered two large black wolves on the portage trail. My buddy had a canoe on his head and I had a large pack with a paddle in my hand. We stopped about ten yards short of them. I can say that they appeared to be much larger than other wolves I had seen at the zoo. We stood there for what seemed to be an eternity and they just stared at us and would not move. I told my buddy that we had to move as time was slipping so we slowly walked towards them. They stepped off the portage and walked about ten yards into the woods and proceeded to lay down and watch us. It was an extremely creepy feeling to know they were behind us watching us. We made it to the next beaver dam and paddled across and basically made record time on the rest of that portage. We both laugh about it looking back.
This winter on a trip to Seagull we had our second experience. We were with a second time winter guy and had probably the easiest winter trip of our life due to lack of snow. Scariest part of this trip was it was in Mid March and there was a lot of open water. Anyway we made camp at an elevated site and my friend needed to find the thunder box. We heard him scream while up there and he was standing on top of the cliff where it was located looking at a wolf. As we stayed at this site a few days it became apparent that this was a momma wolf that had a den around the corner from the facilities. We saw her a couple of more times as we did our business she would be standing off about 30 yards in the woods watching us. Needless to say we kept this activity to daylight and expedited the process. Pretty cool looking back on it.
 
06/17/2024 09:38PM  
gsfisher13: "There are bridges on the Snake River entry now? Do you have any pictures of the bridge where the bear encounter happened?"


Here is a screen shot of a video I took my first trip across the bridge....if only I had done this the second trip.
 
06/19/2024 07:32AM  
gsfisher13: "There are bridges on the Snake River entry now? Do you have any pictures of the bridge where the bear encounter happened?"


I remember bridges from when I went on that portage about 15 years ago.
 
06/19/2024 08:10AM  
I’ve been there twice and I didn’t remember bridges on the portage. I must be getting old and forgetful :)
 
06/19/2024 08:12AM  
Crazy but I wouldn’t have even thought to watch for a bear under there but makes sense. Thanks.
 
sinking3
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06/22/2024 01:10AM  
Was on the snake portage very recently. Fresh bear tracks on the trail. They were running away from our direction. Moose and wolf tracks at the snake river put in when we exited. Summary, there are definitely critters around. You may have caught one off guard due to the river noise.
 
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