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Don't Invite Trouble
While the hunter is the predator and the elk the prey, the hunter may also become the prey.

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While we all know that safety is the most important factor during the hunt, we must also remember the checks and balances that nature has put in the enviroment. This being in the form of preditors and prey. While elk hunting, or any hunting in the Jackson area, or within the Yellowstone ecosystem, this is extremly important. This pertains to much of the Rocky Mountain west as well. While the hunter is the preditor and the elk the prey, the hunter may also become the prey. We must also realize that some elk hunters will be hunting in an enviroment which would be totally different from anything they may have encountered in the past, and will be in bear country.

You will not just be in the normal bear country, but you will be in GRIZZLY country. Now the hunter is the prey and has the responsibility not only to himself, or herself, but to their fellow hunters and to the bears as well. All people in the back country of the Yellowstone ecosystem, especially hunters, need to take the proper precautions to avoid conflicts with grizzly bears.

During elk season the bears will be trying to put on as much fat as they can for the winter. During hunting season there will be without a doubt, many gut piles in the mountains, as well as many carcasses, and many elk and deer on the poles at many camps. These are all open dinner invitations for bears. You will more than likely see bear scat and bear tracks while in the field. You need to be able to tell the difference between the track of a grizzly and the track of a black bear as well.

While many of you may be hunting black bear during the same time, there is no hunting season allowed for the grizzly bear. Now a lot of you would like to see a grizzly bear, I do not think that any one of you want to see one as it is trying to do harm to you. There are many human/bear conflicts every year by accident, so let's be responsible enough to take precautions so we do not invite these conflits. Give the bear, especially the grizzly bear, the respect that it deserves.

The U.S.Forest Service has strict guidlines not only for hunters, but for all who use the backcountry. These rules may seem a bit overbearing to some, but they are for your protection, and can save your life. These procedures are not to be taken lightly, and are indeed enforced by the Forest Service and the Game and Fish Departments. I doubt that any responsible and ethical hunter wants to be responsible for the death of the bear needlessly, knowing that it may have been avoided in the first place.

That is not to say that a hunter does not have the right to defend themselves from a bear attack, only that if it can be avoided, the better off we all are. And yes, there will without a doubt be incidents while in the field where we will encounter bears, and the bear would have to be killed to save one's life, but too many hunters think that it will not happen to them, and do not take precautions and the result is a dead bear or worse yet, a dead hunter.

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