At the end of my otherwise pleasant weekend at Heart Bar campground this weekend (Nope, it didn't burn!) ....This morning, I was tasked with some unpleasantness at the request of the forest service and camphosts. I had a digital camera, and they did not.. they wanted some pictures of an illegal doing up the road, and Fish and Game was nowhere to be found. They wanted pictures of a "crime scene" before it was over run by onlookers.
Up the road from the established campground, there are 14 dispersed sites. They are not necessarily remote, all are within sight of the road, but they are "out there" beyond any established areas. Only a fire pit and table.. everything else, you haul in. RVs can fit in most of them.
On the "Yellow Posts" which mark each site, there is quite clearly a BIG sign warning folks that the area is frequented by bears. The usual "Keep food away from sleeping areas" notes are added to them. The camphosts patrol and speak to everyone in these sites and warn them about the comminality of bears. It's a nightly and sometimes daily occurance to see them.
So, Bears should be NO suprise to anyone in the area. I see them almost every trip into the established campground.. they have a party every nite looking for forgotten tidbits and playing games to get the dumpsters open. I even saw a bear friday nite, as did a campmate who decided to step out the door of his toy hauler for a smoke, only to see Yogi standing under his awning
. The bear high tailed it and ran. As did the campmate, who screached and slammed his door shut. It was all of maybe 5 feet away when he saw it.
The pic below shows where the killed bear lay in relation to the dispersed site it was found at. Most of the wounds were in it's backside (IE: it was running AWAY from the site) and one near the heart, on it's side (I will spare you the gory pics) No prints were found in the site itself, or below the bear. It slid DOWN the hillside. Where the pic was taken from, I was standing by the picnic table.
Bottom line, if a bear is this far away, and not charging you, it is no threat. Enjoy it as seeing a wonder of nature. I have done so myself many times, keeping in mind the danger of doing any more than that. And always having an escape
route, even if its just getting into my car and running. (He can have my cookies and Dr Pepper.. I know where to get more)
I was welling up with tears as I stood so close to this beautiful beast, closer than I have ever been before. I think the forest service told me it was a California Brown Bear.
This was very senseless, and just wrong. And the folks that did it know it was too. They packed up thier trailer (I saw it yesterday as I was exploring near the site) and took off. It is a jailable offense to discharge a firearm in the forest in an undesignated area. And killing a bear in a protected area.. even more illegal.
There is a special place down below waiting for these folks, no doubt. If they felt justified in doing this, why didn't they just report it to the camphost down the raod and get it over with, hoping that they would be forgiven because of a real threat to thier lives.
This was no threat.. it looked more like sport to me. But.. we will never know just exactly how it happened, only how it ended up. It's just plain sad.