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  • Dave Butler

My Harrowing Experience in the Great Outdoors – by Dave Butler

When you spend time in wild areas as the three of us do, you’re bound to run into trouble once in a while. We thought we’d pick our most memorable bad experience and share. Feel free to share yours in a comment below.

Where and when was your “adventure”?

Banff National Park.

What happened?

My national park warden partner and I had spent days trying to live-trap a problem grizzly bear that had been terrorizing campers and picnickers at a local campground. I watched him on a couple of occasions, and realized that he wasn’t doing it in a “I’m moving towards you to eat you” way, but more in a playful “if I bluff charge you, I know you’ll drop whatever tasty morsels are in your hand” way. But I also knew that things could go sideways in a hurry.

So, we sat on the edge of the campground one night, waiting to set the culvert trap. In the back of the truck was the ripe elk carcass that we’d picked up from the side of the highway a few days earlier. We watched for the bear for at last an hour, but no sign of him. Suddenly, the truck shuddered and rocked, and I looked in the rear-view mirror to see a 700-lb grizzly bear climbing into the bed of our truck to snack on the elk. Talk about things going sideways! It took repeated horn blasts, turning the headlights and brake-lights on and off, and even slowly driving away from the campground, before the bear got the message and jumped out.

What did you learn from this experience?

If you don’t like hitchhikers, don’t drive around in a national park with a ripe elk carcass in the back of your vehicle.

Oh, and bears apparently don’t like the way I drive…

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