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Updated: Montana Grizzly Bear Suspected of Killing Bikepacker Shot & Killed

Jul 9, 2021 at 10:45
by Alicia Leggett  
Authorities search for the 400-pound male bear that attacked and killed a bikepacker early Tuesday morning. Photo: Tom Bauer / The Missoulian via AP

Update: Officials say they killed the bear responsible for the attack Friday morning as it approached a trap set by Fish, Wildlife & Parks. They are waiting for DNA confirmation that it was the same bear before reopening campsites in the area.

A 65-year-old woman from Chico, California, was pulled from her tent and killed by a grizzly bear early Tuesday morning while camping along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.

The woman, identified as Leah Davis Lokan, was traveling with her sister and a friend on the much-anticipated bike trip, which was set to follow a scenic bikepacking route running nearly 2,500 miles from northern Montana to southern New Mexico.

The tiny western Montana town of Ovando sees about 1,000 visitors from the Divide each year, many of whom camp overnight right in town. Lokan and her companions were camped behind the 75-person-town’s post office when the bear pulled Lokan from her tent and killed her. The bear had woken them up before the attack and startled them, but had wandered off at about 3 a.m. The campers removed food from their tents, stored it elsewhere, and went back to sleep before being woken again by the attack. Lokan's two companions sprayed the bear with bear spray, driving the animal away, then called the sheriff's office at about 4:15 a.m.

Since the campers had food in their tents in the first place, some have speculated that being within town limits gave the campers a sense of false security, leading to complacency.

This behavior is highly unusual for a grizzly bear. Most bear encounters stem from the bears feeling threatened, either when a bear is surprised or when a bear is trying to protect its food or cubs. Rarely does a bear attack a sleeping person, though Montana grizzly bear populations have been growing in recent years and human-bear interactions have increased, the Washington Post reported.

Grizzly bears are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act, as they are classified as threatened. The area in which this attack took place, the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, is home to about 1,000 grizzly bears and many more black bears, and they're part of a tricky recovery effort that hinges on keeping bears out of trash and away from livestock and pets. Still, despite efforts to protect the threatened species, any bear that is determined to pose an ongoing threat to humans is tracked and killed.

Fish, Wildlife & Parks and local law enforcement agencies have searched unsuccessfully for three days for the bear, which was determined to be a male weighing about 400 pounds (181 kg). They have set traps all over the town, including at the camp spot and near a chicken coop the bear also raided that night. Authorities took DNA from the attack and plan to kill any bear found with matching DNA. A helicopter with infrared technology was also used in the search, though a heatwave in Montana has made distinguishing a bear from its surroundings difficult.

Large traps have been set around town, baited with roadkill. Photo: Tom Bauer / The Missoulian via AP

The town has closed all its informal campsites least until Sunday while the search continues, and it has opened up the fire station and a church for bikers to sleep inside. The town also had previously remodeled an old jail with cots for campers, the Associated Press reported.

Lokan, a registered nurse who participated in mountain bike races and was an experienced outdoorswoman, is remembered as someone who was always up for an adventure.

"A woman in her 60s, and she’s doing this kind of stuff — she had a passion for life that was out of the ordinary," her friend Mary Flowers said. Other friends remember her as a kind, deeply caring person who told great stories.

Our condolences to those affected by this tragic loss.

Author Info:
alicialeggett avatar

Member since Jun 19, 2015
745 articles

  • 338 6
 What a badass woman. Bikepacking in her 60s. Hugely sad situation all round.
  • 41 210
flag waxman (Jul 9, 2021 at 13:42) (Below Threshold)
 Based on past years of RtD participants the average age is around there. They have time, money and are bored.
  • 117 0
 60 is only old if you let it be. A number of the people I ride with are pushing 60 or beyond. Hell, at 50, I am the "kid" in the group.
  • 31 1
 Major respect to the person for being out there and taking life by the handlebars, but a tragedy nonetheless. 65 is young for anyone in good shape so lets hope that bear took some hits. Thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends.
  • 38 14
 Camping in Yosemite a long time ago in the Lower Pines camp. After dark two French tourists poached the edge of my campground. How do I know they were French? They were speaking French and had the audacity to poach and bring in all kinds of snacks. I told them to throw out the bags after they finished so the bears would not come. They spoke French and I speak English so the request was ignored. About two hours later I hear a bear and then screams in French (sacrebleu??!!!!). Turns out the bear didn’t like French food and only made off with le Cheetos.
  • 32 29
 @waxman: Dude, I actually thought you were a teenager with great ignorance and self-absorbed with that response, so out of curiosity I looked at your profile for age.. I'm actually in shock man... seriously.. how did you make it this far in life with that perspective and attitude?????
  • 5 1
 @SprSonik: Im 48 and dont feel any older then I was at 35. People say age is just a number not quite but not entirely untrue.
  • 6 0
 RIP old adventurer
  • 3 1
 @SprSonik: I see 50 year olds sending gaps and doing whips now..It's not uncommon...Look at buddy from the channel Joy of bike.

Continuously improves..
  • 7 27
flag marge88 FL (Jul 10, 2021 at 9:49) (Below Threshold)
 @ElDebarge: So you know they were French because they spoke French? They couldn't have been Canadian, Belgian or Swiss? So you don't mind if we put all the shitty stuff English speakers do on the Americans?
  • 1 0
 Leah was also a badass XC racer.
  • 13 10
 @marge88: bet you have green hair and a septum piercing living in your mom's basement waiting for the next protest to pop off.
  • 6 3
Quite the opposite of a SJW but whatever makes you feel better bud! Come to Revelstoke we'll go for a bike ride
  • 2 0
 @marge88: Can i come.. Reve is illmatic...
  • 1 0
 @SprSonik: You got that right!! I turned 55 this year, AARP qualified. I think I'll just ride away from it!
Keep the rubber side down!
  • 229 70
 "The campers removed food from their tents, stored it elsewhere, and went back to sleep before being woken again by the attack."

I'm sorry, but I wouldn't call anyone that keeps food in their tent "an experienced outdoorswoman". Hardly the bears fault when you sleep with food.
  • 68 13
 100000% accurate
  • 10 38
flag Peally (Jul 9, 2021 at 13:05) (Below Threshold)
 Andrew Skurka would disagree with your silly blanket opinion.
  • 66 70
flag kcy4130 (Jul 9, 2021 at 13:08) (Below Threshold)
 They were in a small town. Who expects a grizzly behind the post office? I'd have probably had food in the tent in that situation too.
  • 55 21
 Exactly what I was thinking. You have to be another level of stupid to keep food anywhere near you in grizzly country.
  • 65 4
 I thought this was basic knowledge in bear country.
  • 33 13
 This. One should know better to take all items out of the tent that have a scent. You are not an experienced outdoorsman if you make this basic mistake especially in bear country. It's very sad that she was killed, and fortunately no one else was injured, but this group should have known better.
  • 23 0

I get this to some extent.

But the town population is 70 people. Thats smaller than my somewhat rural neighborhood.

And even here we have bear scatt in my backyard a few times a year, and can hear the coyotes whenever they make a kill nearby. I'd feel totally fine camping in my backyard, but I certainly wouldn't want to sleep in my backyard with a bag of cheetos in my tent.
  • 28 0
 @Greg-Kline: Absolutely, I learned during the nineties as an employee of Yosemite Park. It does not matter if you had food near you Today or last week, a black bear will smell it and a Grizzly's sense of smell is stronger. I've seen the bears in action. IF YOU in bear country expect the worst and be prepared.
  • 13 1
 @kcy4130: probably anyone who plans ahead and reads information like this:

"The area in which this attack took place, the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, is home to about 1,000 grizzly bears and many more black bears..."
  • 2 0
 @kcy4130: I live in a smallish town. Last summer we had a grizzly one street away from our house. It happens.
  • 7 4
 @kcy4130: have you been in the mountains? Or a small town in the mountains?
  • 15 9
 not the time or place
  • 66 13
 Everyone loves the "I told you so" guy. Nicely done.
  • 4 1
 @kcy4130: Then you should expect bears as well...
  • 8 2
 @kcy4130: its got a population of 75 lol thats not a town that an outpost you make it sound like they were sleeping in an actual town. I imagine the post office along with pretty much every other property there backs onto the wilderness.
  • 4 2
 @kcy4130: ever been to rural Montana?
  • 113 25
 come on people, I understand you need to be important and have the best comment on pinkbike, but a person lost a life here. Just stay quiet. for once.
  • 35 83
flag mhoshal (Jul 9, 2021 at 14:39) (Below Threshold)
 @petrbasel: facts don't give a shit about your feelings bud!!
  • 36 17
 @petrbasel: it is terrible but I think it all could have been avoided. They had bear spray so they clearly knew bears were in the area and yet they were either lazy or just didn't respect the apex predator for what he was and decided to sleep with their food. Then on top of that after they scared it away the first time and got rid of the food "but not the smell of food" they thought hey lets "all"just go right back to sleep none of us should stay up and do hour watch shifts or anything it was only a grizzly bear... again you have to be on another level of stupid to do what they did.
  • 30 39
flag SuperHighBeam (Jul 9, 2021 at 15:01) (Below Threshold)
 @petrbasel: They lost their life out of ignorance for the situation they put themselves in. Had they done everything right and still been killed I'd have a lot more sympathy. Hard to sympathize with stupid. Not aiming to have the best comment, aiming to make sure everyone understands the reality of this situation; the bikers effed up and someone died.
  • 11 1
 @Peally: Had to look the name up. I see Andrew is known for sleeping with his food. He even wrote an article where explains his methods for sleeping with food and Andrew mentions he has three stipulations before sleeping with his food. And a stipulation is "The risk of a bear entering my camp is acceptably low, and ideally zero"
  • 11 9
 @mhoshal: Bingo! Could have totally been avoided. This would be very different had they done everything right or had someone been attacked while riding despite making lots of noise while riding. That's an important thing folks need to take seriously. Although it is nice to ride in silence to fully absorb yourself in the natural environment and hear all of natures sounds, in bear country, or just big game country, it is very important to be very noisy to deter animals away from you, otherwise you risk surprising an animal and getting attacked. Now I suppose in some rare cases it may be the situation that making noise could actually attract a curious animal but that is generally accepted to be very unlikely.
  • 7 1
 @alpineseven: Outside of bear country you can typically get away with sleeping with your food, although food is still known to attract rodents which will gladly chew through your tent. Best to always hang or stash your food away from your camp, and put it in a bear container in bear country.
  • 32 0
 This is Tragic. There are a lot of "facts" in this article that lead us to come to the conclusion that these women made a few mistakes. Camping next to a chicken coop, with food in the tent, not moving or looking for help knowing there was a bear in the area doing things bears don't naturally do.
I read a book when i lived in Northern British Columbia, " Bear Attacks, Causes and Avoidance", by Stephen Herrero. If I can remember correctly, there were only one or two examples of predatory bear attacks. They are rare. The one thing that stuck with me though was that, in the end, bears are wild and not necessarily predictable in their behaviour. Every person heading into bear country should read it. There may have been factors other than the food in the tent that led to this. The heat wave in the west? Competition for natural food sources in the area? Did this small community that caters to hikers and bikepackers, (assuming that they do), have proper camping spots with infrastructure for properly storing, hanging, food? The bear hasn't yet been trapped. Was it sick?
Chances are, this bear will be back and some of these questions will be answered. For the time being it may be best to reserve judgement. It's never as simple as a 1000 word, click bait article on your phone's news feed.
  • 11 3
 @mhoshal: have to agree here...and while people don’t like told ya so’s...they will help others be smarter in the future.

I, for one, after reading these comments will certainly be even more aware and careful in the future if I’m ever anywhere near bear country.
  • 8 6
 @Muchogusto: Yes...... I live in rural Montana, I've spooked a grizzly backpacking (it was young and lucky for me it chose flight, instead of fight, that was very scary), I've had a grizzly scratch at a backpack outside our tent (no food in it, but maybe smell of food?). I've never seen a grizzly near humans or human habitations.. That said, I have never visited Ovando, so I can't judge. But in most small towns I'd be more worried about a dog stealing food than I'd be worried about a grizzly. If the town of Ovando had Grizzly problems and didn't make it very clear with signs and such, then perhaps they are partly to blame, I don't know, I'm not from there.
  • 12 0
 @kcy4130: must be a weird site to see grizzlies backpack
  • 3 3
 @kcy4130: the math alone should have you on edge, there’s 14 grizzly bears per person, they’re lucky to be attacked only once
  • 6 3
 @scvkurt03: I agree, but I’d guess the person was lured into a sense of complacency due to being amongst civilization.

At any rate, I don’t think now is a time to cast judgment. Condolences to the family.
  • 4 0
 @vw4ever: No judgment here, but there's definitely a lesson to be learned by others. Even communities in big cities have to deal with wildlife, including bears.
  • 5 1
 @kcy4130: So Grizzlies don't pass through small towns? I live in a town of over 10 000 and Grizzlies pass through the edges of town every spring and early summer. Ovando is a town of 75 people, essentially it's wilderness.
  • 2 2
 I was kinda wondering the same thing -- I really want to know the details of what kind and how much food she had with her in the tent. If it was a tube of toothpaste, that's very different than a slab of brisket with a berry reduction and a honey glaze sitting behind a solar-powered fan smell diffuser. I feel like this is the type of important information that might help this sort of tragedy not be in vain.
  • 10 1
 @proletariat: ok, your camping meal plan sounds fantastic. Would pay to be on your next trip.
  • 1 0
 @Peally: Could you link to or explain Skurka's logic for keeping food in a tent when in bear country? I'm not trying to start a discussion on it, just curious what his rational is. Thanks!

My condolences to the friends and families of the deceased.
  • 26 2
 Everyone saying that they couldn't be experienced or they would have known better: as a backpacker/climber, i've heard countless stories of highly experienced people making a dumb error or having a lapse in judgement. It's actually pretty easy to do something wrong once in a while, and if the stakes are really high, it can be deadly. It surprises me that you guys don't think that's possible. It's a pretty big mistake, but believable. Like, I know how to rappel perfectly fine, but one time I spaced out and threaded the ropes so wrong I could have easily died. People f up sometimes, no need to drag this woman through the dirt
  • 7 5
 @kcy4130: But other people here, with the same "facts," do KNOW, with 100% arrogant certainty. But really what they're trying to do is dispel their own fear: "This can't/won't happen to ME. I know what I'm doing."
  • 3 2
 @kcy4130: When that small town is in Montana I would expect to see bears just about anywhere. Bad choices were made and they paid the price...
  • 3 2
 @petrbasel: and they killed a bear too. ..
  • 6 4
 @petrbasel: It's not about being quiet. being quiet leads to denial, deceit and a lack of confirmation bias. Bears never truly leave an area. Mother bear teaches the young. I'VE observe bears identify colors of cars to break into. I've watch them break into cars by flexing the window glass until it splatters. I've watch them open car doors by inserting their nails into the door frame and popping the doors. Coyotes normally follow the bears. All this I watched from a distance during my tenure in Yosemite Park in the early 90s. I've seen bears remove 4ft tall refrigerators from Tents even though people were told no food aloud. A person loss. their life and now a Grizzly must be put down. Guess conservation of wildlife is out the door.
  • 2 0
 @mhoshal: how do you get rid of the smell of the food on a bikepacking trip .... fire / smoke ?
  • 2 2
 @Wayners: The bear was killed.
  • 2 19
flag DoubleCrownAddict (Jul 9, 2021 at 23:39) (Below Threshold)
 She should have had a self defense knife with at least an 8" blade. Would have saved her life.
  • 1 4
 They were in town behind a post office, did you read that?
  • 7 3
 @kcy4130: The town my brother in law is from.... Two rules....

Don't leave home without a rez dog
Don't leave home without a gun.

You don't follow these rules... Your life expectancy drops dramatically....

Grizzlies literally hide in the bushes on the side of the road and pick off people and dogs.
  • 2 0
 @mhoshal: Not just grizzly but any bear, wild life in general. We had racoons open a "bear box" at a campsite and ravage our supply. I laughed about it but my girlfriend at the time was pissed !!!
  • 1 5
flag Madfella (Jul 10, 2021 at 12:09) (Below Threshold)
 @petrbasel: @petrbasel: agreed. Pinkbike: recommend you show some restraint and switch off the comments for this article
  • 1 0
 @proletariat: Bears have an incredible sense of smell when it comes to finding food. If you are camping in bear country all food and anything that smell like food should not be kept in the tent. This includes toothpaste dental floss etc. If you are in a pretty big commercial campsite there is generally less to worry about but I would not suggest keeping any food in your tent with rodents, raccoons, coyotes and other animals. You can keep toothpaste etc. if you are not worried about it because at campsite people are bound to have food in their tents so they make for better targets for animals.
  • 2 0
 @OlSkoolJake: where is this mythical place where grizzlies hide to pick off unsuspecting people and dogs?
  • 2 0
 @melikebikealot14: Native villiage in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest on the Central Coast of BC.
  • 1 0
 @OlSkoolJake: Near Bella Coola?
  • 59 1
 I live in Scotland so the worse that could happen to me is I’m dragged out of my tent by some mental crackhead looking for a place to sleep
  • 24 0
 I live in Scotland so the worse that could happen to me is I’m dragged out of my tent by some mental midge looking to feast on me
  • 13 0
 Do you sleep with your crack out? Smile
  • 1 0
 @blinkie: Midges in Scotland are death by a thousand cuts.
  • 2 0
 @ryane: I f*cking love that Instagram account. So much crazy shit going on there. I've never seen that many cars on fire.
  • 70 19
 Wow! How tragic.
When it’s ones time to go we, unfortunately, don’t get to pick how we’re plucked from this life into the next.
Prayers going out to loved ones. So sad.
  • 20 9
 Who would down vote this comment???
  • 58 51
 @greenpistol: I didn't down vote but I would assume many are sick of hearing "Thoughts and prayers" type line seeing as how prayers don't actually do anything
  • 27 48
flag joedave (Jul 9, 2021 at 14:19) (Below Threshold)
 @whippsb: mmmkay, I will respectfully disagree.
  • 25 17
 @whippsb: i'm with you on that. Probably my most hated type of comment of the last 10yrs. Sounds so cheap, especially if posted on social media. Non the less, this was such a tragic thing to happen to anyone, let alone a older woman with a zest for life. I have told everyone I know, that when I go, nobody better say "thoughts and prayers" for me. Crack open a Tecate and or light up a spliff instead.
  • 28 9
 @whippsb: I'm agnostic and I think down voting that comment is disrespectful to that unfortunate family.
  • 25 8
 @greenpistol: I'm a committed atheist and I think offering prayers is simply a way of paying your respects.

@joedave: I won't join you in your prayers but I will join you in offering condolences to the family of this member of our community. She was obviously still full of adventure; I'll be bloody delighted if I'm still out bikepacking at 65.
  • 13 41
flag morewhitenoise (Jul 9, 2021 at 16:15) (Below Threshold)
 Your imaginary friend doesnt exist dude, time to grow up.
  • 15 28
flag Serpentras (Jul 9, 2021 at 17:08) (Below Threshold)
 @Linkpin: I don't give a shit about prayers other then waste of time and for that I really dislike them on any type of medium.

I can't get my head around this. Someone dies every second, no prayers for them? Why? It's so stupid...
  • 6 2
 Tots and pears.
  • 21 14
 Im athiest too, and I dont care about people offering prayers. It is just away to try and spread a little love over hate. A person has died and that person can't hear or see our messages but anyone who knows this person can. Imagine being a friend of this person and seeing all the hate filled messages ("another level of stupid"). Who writes this shit? Is trump and his brigade trolling pinkbike. Say what you want and dont worry about how it makes anyone else feel. What a bunch of twats. Im sure the people writing comments like this have never made a mistake like...I dont know, not putting on a seatbelt. If they or a loved oned was to die in a car crash, I wonder if they would want to hear about how stupid they were because they didnt wear a seatbelt....
  • 11 0
 @mackzn: as a Christian this is one of the most mature statements I’ve read so far, sadly much more than most Christians.
I totally disagree on the meaning of prayers obviously - but on everything else I’m with you 100%.
  • 11 1
 Damn there's some nasty comments on here. No one's saying that with enough prayers God is going to transport her back to earth. It's just a way of showing respect and solidarity with those who lost a friend. Come on people, this is tragic. No need to be snarky, save it for an ebike article.
  • 9 2
 @mackzn: "Is trump and his brigade trolling pinkbike."

It is probably not specifically Trump supporters doing that.
  • 32 5
 Very sad, but also not smart behavior having food in their tent at any point at all. In a bear can and away from the tent, rule number 1. I'd imagine that played a role in this. Tragic none the less.
  • 12 0
 also, if you cooked food, those clothes you were wearing also away from the tent.
  • 6 0
 @disruptiveone: this is the stuff I didn’t realize. Not that I spend any time in bear country, but I wouldn’t have thought about the residual scent leftover from cooking etc on my clothes.

I hope this poor woman can rest a tiny bit more peacefully knowing many of us at least learned a few things from this that may prevent future tragedy.
  • 3 5
 @disruptiveone: lol been reading warning signs in the shitters at BC parks have ya?
  • 6 0
 @onemind123: nope. My son works with Grizzlies up north
  • 2 1
 When I sleep inside my truck, any hint of food is hanging from a tree with a 100' of rope if a bear-box isn't available. mainly because I don't want to have to replace doors and windows and the rear hatch. Grizzies can peel the roof off a car like a can opener. Nevertheless, RIP to this adventurous woman.
  • 25 0
 Me and my friend happened to have dinner with this woman the night of this tragedy. We had just finished a packarafting trip and we’re very hungry going into the local diner. She invited us to her picnic table with her sister and the more we talked, the more I admired her. She had been a professional XC racer for twenty years and one of the nicest people I had ever met. When I heard this news I had no idea what to think. Grisly bear killings are very rare, how could this have happened? It just shows us how we have to live everyday to the fullest, and not take anything for granted.
  • 25 0
 And just like that all of my bike packing plans are called into review.....
  • 6 4
 If you can legally own a gun, buy one and go on the trip.
  • 2 0
 @wburnes: well as long as it's open carry for non residents, you have a good idea!
  • 17 1
 Heard about this a day or two ago elsewhere. And it is horrible. Condolences to the family/friends.

I understand that the bear was acting unusually (its SUPER uncommon to have them come into a tent), and that this area in particular has had more bear encounters/deaths than normal (IIRC, another mountain biker was killed near there in 2016).

However, the part that stands out to me is that they mention the bear came around and woke them up at ~3am. And THEN here is the part that gets me> the hikers took their food out of their tents? Doesn't this sound weird to anyone else?

Usually you keep anything with food smell in a bear bag/container, hung up out of their reach, like 100yds from where you were camping. And while they moved food out at 3am, I wouldn't be surprised if there were still lots of residual smells in there that caused the bear to come back.

Certainly makes me want to be vigilant in keeping food out of my camp area when camping.
  • 27 1
 Only issue I have with your comment is that the bear acted unusually. If you have food in your tent, a bear will be after it if ones around. They are super opportunistic and always after an easy meal.

I REALLY don’t get how after a grizzly bear came into your camp site at 3am that had to be chased off, they went BACK TO SLEEP?!

I would have been freaking gone from that site and found the nearest solid structure.

The whole thing was 100% avoidable.
  • 4 0

Yeah, the bear was acting strange, no way around that.

But who knows if the whole situation could have been avoided had the bear not smelled something and investigated the group in the first place. Thats all I was really trying to say.
  • 6 0
 @FrankS29: Every tragedy is 100% avoidable. In hindsight.

I see people riding their bikes without a helmet, I see people driving their cars, cell phone in hand, or after having a beer, I see people changing lightbulbs without cutting the current - all those things are far more likely to kill you, than a bear attack, probably caused by some residual smell of food in your tent.
  • 8 4

Absolutely. But I draw a line in the sand when your mistakes and ignorance result in the bear being hunted and killed.

This was not residual food smells, they stored and slept with food in their tents. Then once a bear came into camp looking for that food and had to be hazed out of the camp, they simply moved the food and went back to sleep.

The bear now thinks those tents still contain food and those people are preventing him from getting an easy meal. Of course he came back, of course he ripped into the tent.

If they knew what they were doing, the food would have been stored away from the campsite from the start, to help prevent the bear making the food-human connection from the start.

Once the bear made that connection because they screwed up and kept food in tents of all places, you don’t stick around because that bear WILL come back. You pack up ASAP and find proper, sturdy shelter. At a minimum you don’t go back to sleep, you now get to stay awake the rest of the night with bear spray in hand.

If you make stupid choices and you’re the only one to pay the price, so be it. But when your stupid choices result in harm/death to other people or wildlife, you crossed a serious line in my opinion.
  • 2 0
 @FrankS29: Finally someone gave an answer that considers the bears life. Yes, humans are important, but time after time, human error results in another death of an animal acting on pure instinct. Certainly I am sad for the loss of the woman's life. She is the daughter, mother, wife of someone who no longer has her in their life, and that is tragic. However, at this day and age, ignorance over what it means to be on a level playing field with Apex predators, produces results that are devastating to humans and wildlife alike. People need to do better, and respect the natural world in which they are playing.
  • 13 0
 I'm no expert but that is very brazen/odd behavior for a grizzly. They're normally only dangerous if startled.
  • 4 1
 And 400 lbs is a small Grizzly, a yearling perhaps?
  • 6 0
 Bad drought in Montana messing up the food chain, maybe? I don’t really know so maybe a local can chime in.
  • 4 2
 @kcy4130: Yes that is small. Grizzlies reach upwards of 800lbs. 1000+ for coastal Brown Bears.
  • 4 0
 @bocomtb: Water was flowing pretty well and grass was green in Florence last week. Everywhere is dry, but seemed less dry than usual for July.

Family says the snow pack was down and melted off fast this year.
  • 3 0
 ish... we see grizzly encounters regularly here. They're scavengers and when there's food to be had, they'll have it.
  • 2 0
 from reading about bear attacks, grizzlies do usually attack if startled or protecting their young.. but if they're hungry/can smell food there's definitely always a chance a bear could decide to take you down as food yourself. there's even been stories of black bears stalking/hunting humans when they're hungry. almost never happens, but it definitely CAN happen. i recommend reading "Bear Attacks Their Causes and Avoidance" by Stephen Herrero to anyone who is ever close to bears.
  • 3 0
 @SuperHighBeam: 400lbs is a decent sized grizzly for the rockies in July. a 700-800lbs grizzly in the rockies is a monster
  • 8 0
 @Maslin02: the part of the state this happened at is not in a drought. The bear knew there was food there and smells or not he wanted an easy meal. The size of the bear probably means his mom recently kicked him out and he had to figure things out on his own and never had a negative encounter with humans. I've never had a run with a young griz but I've seen some young black bears do some wierd shit but they usually scare off easier.
  • 2 0
 @bitterrooter: Very likely this.
  • 6 2
 @ThisIsDan: I guess I am desensitized to the size of bears in Alaska. We have 400lb black bears here and 1000+ lb Brown Bears.
  • 1 0
 @Peally: Yeah, like a bear thinking it's going to snag some food from a tent and getting an unexpected kick to the face as it wakes up a human.
  • 11 4
 Man, that’s terrible.

I know that a lot of people will think that this is unnecessary, but I never camp out in grizzly country with setting up a minimum of 2 layers of shotgun trip wires that also set off little alarms.

I spend a decent amount of time in grizzly country and always paranoid about this kind of thing, no matter how much people tell me not to worry.
  • 6 8
 wait, what? "2 layers of shotgun trip wires that also set off little alarms" what are you even talking about? So your campsite is literally a death trap?
  • 9 1
 @whippsb: you are aware that you can just put blanks in the trip wires right?
  • 6 6
 @whippsb: Yeah this sounds like evidence in a future legal case
  • 14 1
 @dancingwhale: This is a common tripwire the shotgun shell is for noise not for projectile.
  • 12 2
 @dancingwhale: I believe that neither of you have any idea about what you’re saying. Which is fine, because most people will never go deep into the backcountry where scary things are-a-lurking
  • 23 3
 @dancingwhale: I kind of want to see this Temple of Doom obstacle course this guy set up while camping.
  • 2 1
 @dancingwhale: you must camp at the Y.
  • 7 0
 @SterlingArcher: it’s actually quite simple. Two wires wrapped around trees to create two concentric circles, one small device per circle. Everything is about the size of a rolled up 29” tube.

I figured that a renowned spy, such as yourself, would be more well versed in physical security measures
  • 3 1
 @Mntneer: I have to pretend not to delve too far into the danger zone. Unless we’re talking Krav Maga then it’s NO MERCYYY!

And I’m disappointed to hear that we don’t have to outrun a giant boulder or poison tipped arrows at any point in this Thomas Crowne Affair laser light setup u got going on
  • 8 1
 Bears do not generally ransack a tent unless they smell food, and no, they generally are not interested in man-meat at least not until they've killed a human which typically occurs during a confrontation where the bear is startled and attacks out of defense.
  • 6 0
 You Never want your tent to smell like food no matter where you are, You just never know with bears 99.9% its no problem but when it is any size angry bear is too big.
Sad and I hope others learn from this poor ladys mistake.
  • 7 0
 IF they were actually experienced they wouldn't have had food in their tents. That's like RULE #1 for backpacking/bikepacking. Don't keep food near where you're going to be asleep.
  • 5 0
 You know how when something is posted from an area showing great trails and all the locals chime in with the cliche "don't come here the trails totally suck". As a Montanan, I'll just say that Montana has some good trails, but there's just one thing...
  • 4 0
 Anyone interested in bear behavior should check out the documentary, "Bears of Durango", on PBS. It offers many useful insights based on long term observation of the bear population in the Durango, Colorado area, which is packed with people and developments. Being in a (relatively) urban area is no protection against bears.
  • 3 0
 I grew up backpacking in Colorado. Don’t get me wrong you can’t be dumb about bears here but it’s almost all black bears and most know to stay away from people. The scary ones here are mountain lions. I was once stalked by a mountain lion on a hike only reason I know this is my dog was acting strange for a couple miles and started barking and snarling in a very specific direction and I caught a glimpse of it disappear over a ridge a 100 yards away. My dog is a Great Pyrenees which thankfully for me are very aggressive and protective.
  • 2 0
 @SuperHighBeam: good dog! I think mountain lions like to attack the neck of their prey from behind, so a backpack that is relatively tall might be a good investment to cover your neck from behind.
  • 6 0
 That's a very unfortunate and tragic accident. Condolences to friends and family for their loss. Blank Stare
  • 2 0
 The best rule is to NEVER bring food into your tent just as you would never point any type of gun (even a replica) at something you're not willing to shoot. First, it's a bad habit. Secondly, there will invariably be crumbs or residues of smell. Just don't do it.
  • 6 2
 pretty sad.. reminds me that I need to buy a .45 to go next to my bear spray
  • 8 7
 Your more liable to miss and anger the bear with the gun. You're under a lot duress when faced with an agitated bear, very hard to ready and aim the gun.
  • 1 1
 Not sure it would have mattered in this case. Unless they decided to kill the bear initially.
  • 12 4
 @SuperHighBeam: Says the person who doesnt practice shooting a gun.
  • 5 0
 @SuperHighBeam: .. Next to the bear spray. And I'm a Veteran, I have some weapons training
  • 4 4
 @johnnygolucky: do you often practice shooting a gun on a bear in the middle of the night ?
  • 1 1
 @zede: You don't need to. Bears are very large targets, and if you actually need to shoot one its going to be nearly pointblank range (meaning it is so close that it is literally impossible to miss).
  • 1 0
 @SuperHighBeam: yeah just let the bear rip your head off instead. Don't want to make it angry.
  • 1 0
 9mm should be sufficient with a bit less recoil; that said if you're really good with the .45, its a good round.

  • 4 1
 I'm a gun guy, but carrying a gun is not a magic wand for warding off all kinds of avoidable dangers.
  • 1 1
 @johnnygolucky: Who practices shooting a gun under duress? How can you recreate the emotion of the situation. Shooting the gun at the local range does not prepare you for a bear encounter. For what it's worth though, I do not own a gun let alone practice shooting a gun. I see no benefit in having the gun.
  • 3 1
 @wburnes: Just shooting the bear doesn't mean it will stop charging or attacking. They are resilient beasts. You have to shoot them in the right place to stop them. Sorry to bust you bubble. Many a story of a failed gunshot that required either more shots or the shooter facing a sad demise.
  • 1 0
 @wburnes: What's your point?
  • 2 0
 @wburnes: Typical stupid answer. Something scary out there? Shoot it. Bears don't want shit to do with people. It's the food, man. Be responsible for yourself, and don't encourage an encounter with an apex predator.
  • 1 1
 @mtb2112: if bears didn't want to kill people she wouldn't be dead
  • 1 1
 @wburnes: This is a very ignorant response. Bears attack when they feel threatened, which thanks to their large claws and teeth makes it easy for them to kill. They don't kill people for no good reason. This bear wanted the food in the tent.
  • 1 0
 @SuperHighBeam: the food in her tent being her body.
  • 1 0
 @wburnes: C'mon man, seriously? Bears do not have the same interest as say mountain lions. Those bastards will snag a person for food, bears on the other hand could care less about the people they just want the food the people eat.
  • 1 0
 Hopefully if nothing else this is a learning experience for everyone else. If you plan on camping in bear country, don't have food or anything fragrant (including things like deodorant or anything else) in your tent. Hang anything that has a smell in bear bags away from your campsite.
  • 2 2
 My mate lives in Bozeman, Montana. He often sees bears and they are often captured or chased out of downtown montana but they don’t usually attack people. Why did the bear attack? Young, hungry, sickness?? Woke??? Seems odd. Anyone have any suggestions?
  • 2 1
 i lived in Montana for a few years in the early 2000s there were no many grizzlies back then, they were reintroduced around that same period, but in the news there was always the talk that they could overpopulate if they were reintroduced on their own without any other natural predator (wolf). Dont know if that ever really happened.

if there is overpopulation, it doesnt matter if the animal is "peacefull", the posibilities for accidents to happen increases.
  • 6 4
 Bear smelled food. Bear broke into tent. Bear scared people. People scared bear. Bear attacked and dragged out lady. Lady died in bear attack. Pretty simple. Bear didn't want people, bear wanted food people had, people got in the way and threatened the bear.
  • 3 0
 Friend of mine is set to start this ride in a few weeks. A bit unnerving to read this.
  • 4 3
 If your friend can legally bring a gun, tell him to.
  • 2 1
 I legit didn't know that you had to take special food storage precautions around bear country.
Isn't a human in a sleeping bag pretty much like a big burrito to a bear anyways?
RIP badass lady. Frown
  • 4 0
 Even around black bears (which lets face it are still more than capable of killing a human if they wanted) you will want to find a way to hang your food up and out of the way. At least 100yds from where you are sleeping and about 10ft away from anything they can climb. So find a smaller branch that juts out 10+ft.

They will smell anything. You can have a 1/4 of a Hershey bar in a backpack in your car and they will break in and take it. Also don't cook bacon and then pack those clothes in your tent on worse wear them.

Some of the ready to eat meals I have I think may be designed to save my life. I don't think even bears want any of that.
  • 1 0
 Bears are not often interested in the smell of people, only the food they bring along with them. So no, human in sleeping back is not a human burrito to bear unless of course you're covered in the scent of food. Wouldn't recommend sleeping in Cheetos covered clothes, or clothing that is notably soiled with food of any kind.
  • 2 0
 Damn. A terribly sad end to such an adventurous and positively bad ass lady. Thoughts and prayers for her friends and family.
  • 4 1
 The bear has now been tracked down and killed. Such a bummer for the lady, and my condolences to her and her family/friends
  • 6 6
 I wonder if Aaron Gwin crashed on a run and chest planted into a rock and died....would people call out his "ignorance" for not wearing appropriate armor and chalk it up to stupidity, bad judement or other? Or would people pay their respects to the man or simply move on?
  • 18 14
 too much to bear
  • 2 2
 Dude... witty... but too bloody soon. As in - probably never would be more appropriate - considering the circumstances.
  • 16 4
 Maybe paws the puns for this one
  • 2 0
 people should take the griz more serious. maybe, she did and was just rolling the dice. rip
  • 1 0
 Going camping in Montana this coming weekend! Legacy bike park!!! So pumped, food as always will be far from the tent. Very sad story...
  • 5 7
 It's a shame for these people, even though it's hard nowadays not to know that you shouldn't sleep with food. The saddest part of all this is that we are going to kill this bear or any bear with similar DNA. It's not going to bring this person back to life, it's pitiful to react like that.
  • 5 4
 This is such a pathetic attitude. If you don't kill it, it will attack other people. Bears that kill humans deserve only to be exterminated.
  • 5 1
 It's not some kind of kooky capital punishment toward the bear. It's a safety measure to protect all the other humans that bear might ever meet.
  • 1 1
 @wburnes: Deserve? Really? You have some issues that need resolving.
  • 1 1
 @mtb2112: Yes really.

In terms of issues that need resolving, here is one: why do you have more empathy for animals that kill humans than you do for actual humans?
  • 4 2
 Whelp, I guess I'm never bikepacking. That answers that!
  • 3 1
 Come prepared, keep food out of the tent, and you'll be fine. This is a bad scenario. Probably would not have gone this way had food been kept out of the tent.
  • 4 2
 Not good. This is why I like sleeping in my SUV rather than a tent.
  • 3 1
 When I camp I always sleep in the van with the "burner" in hand.
  • 5 3
 tacklingdummy, even a small black bear will open up your SUV like a poptop on a beer can if there is food inside.
  • 2 1
 Bears can open doors, and can break windows if opened slightly for ventilation. Car is a false sense of security unless locked and windows up.
  • 2 1
 I know first hand in California the bears know how to break open cars. Windows are easy but if in the mood they will rip the door open. They will also walk into house that are unlocked by opening the doors. I know in other states they say the bears there don't know how to break into cars but I don't like chancing it.
  • 1 1
 @chrscshly: I don't think you need a burner to cap a bear. Unless you've got felonies.....
  • 4 0
 A metal car is still stronger than a tent made from fabric. I have seen many videos of bears breaking into cars. Yes, they can get into them. However, it buys you much more time to react and grab the bear spray or gun. That is fine, you guys take your tents, and I'll take my SUV.
  • 5 0
 @tacklingdummy: Hard to carry an SUV on your back when you're in the backcountry, tho.
  • 1 1
 @tacklingdummy: There are TONS of vanlife folks living/camping all over bear country, fully stocked with food, that have gone years without incident. So I'm thinking your SUV is pretty safe. I should know I was one of them!
  • 2 0
 @Moonie2123: That is true. Haven't heard of many vanlife people having their vans broken into and they do have lots of food in them. I still think it is rolling the dice having food in any car with bears around.
  • 1 0
 @Moonie2123: It is very safe if you lock the doors.
  • 9 11
 Just yesterday I quite literally ran INTO a black bear on a trail (I have video post-meeting including the bear trying to get up a tree). There was quite a bit of hair on me and in my rear derailleur.

I have never, not ever been so terrified on a trail.....I can not imagine being taken out of a tent by a Grizz.

As for the idiots with food in their tent...Darwin.
  • 1 0
 Bears don’t bother me, but if that happened to me, I would have shit my pants. It is one thing having them 40 feet from you, entirely another to slam into one and wonder if you just pissed it off.
  • 2 1
 @carym: I think we'd all crap our pants a little in that situation.
  • 2 0
 I have nearly ran into black bears on my dirt bike several times and even knowing you are on a loud machine that is super fast wearing a lot of protection and a helmet that is pretty intense. I can't imagine actually crashing into it on my bike wearing almost nothing but a plastic cap he can probably shatter in one swipe.
  • 8 5
 Bike check?
  • 4 3
 It's a shame that a threatened apex predator had to die because of a human in it's environment.
  • 3 2
 carry bear spray....... everywhere.... thats it.
  • 2 1
 A little excessive, but sure why not.
  • 3 0
 Her companions used bear spray. I never camp without a pistol or rifle by my side
  • 4 0
 They used the bear spray. You have anymore tips?
  • 3 2
 @shawnca7: Hell, we do not do most things with out a pistol on our sides ;-)
  • 1 1
 @Iberian: Yeah, they forgot to take the food out of the tent AFTER they used the bear spray. They should have either removed the food and put it like 300ft away from their tent, OR, relocated camp AND put the food well away from their tent. The bear spray bought them time, it does not necessarily permanently deter the bear. They made some dumb mistakes. I also recommend having flares in addition to bear spray. No need for a gun. You'd better have nerves of steel and excellent markmanship otherwise your gun is nothing more than a dangerous noise maker.
  • 1 0
 Have you ever read the pamphlet that comes with bear spray? Is says to find a tree to climb after you spray the bear. Ever seen a bear climb a tree?!
  • 2 0
 @SuperHighBeam: please never use a flare in the woods!!! Unless it's super wet, like super wet!
  • 2 1
 @Beaconbike: Pffft...heck, we just done use duh flares cause it too heavy to roll in a drum of diesel fuel to scare off duh bears.
  • 1 0
 @Beaconbike: I trust the professionals that offer bear spray training far more than the pamphlet from the bear spray manufacturer...there is never a mention of tree climbing about spraying and yes black bears can climb trees. Brown bears/grizzlies not so much.
  • 1 0
 @Beaconbike: Why not? Seems to be a popular option up in Alaska. They're loud and bright and the bears don't like them.
  • 1 0
 @SuperHighBeam: uh, fire. Might be okay some places. Where I live once the snow melts the fire danger generally goes up quick! Also did you watch that video, they can climb!!! Not known for it, but if they are pissed they will
  • 1 0
 @Beaconbike: Holy Crap, I guess they (brown bears/ grizzlies) can climb if they feel really threatened or they feel their young is threatened. That debunks the theory that they won't climb more than 15ft.

Yes I concur that once snow melts off and in the abscence of regular rainfall use of a flare as a deterrent could pose a significant fire hazard, particularly if dropped before extinguished. I'd still rather have a flare than a gun though. It's a tool for a very special circumstance that occurs very infrequently.
  • 1 0
 @Iberian: she didn't have bear spray... her friends in another tent did...
  • 1 0
 @shawnca7: exactly. her companions did. she did not......
  • 1 0
 @Bkinzel99: Well that was a fatal mistake along with sleeping with her food
  • 2 1
 Moral of the story.. dont sleep with food when camping.. sad story
  • 3 2
 Why I camp in a van with guns!
  • 2 1
 I do, too...but guns are not a cure for poor planning.
  • 1 0
 @edslittleworld: True! But guns are a part of good planning.
  • 1 0
 Probably an upright canine or genoskwa.
  • 2 0
 Ride In Peace
  • 1 0
 I'm reasonably certain she woke up at some point.
  • 4 5
 And the bear is now being hunted to be killed, because a bikepacker when to bed at her tent with food. Double tragedy as usual caused by human irresponsibility.
  • 1 0
 Still a better way to go than slipping in the shower…
  • 7 7
 Yeah just kill all the bears. That will solve the problem... Stupidity
  • 6 4
 Kill the ones that are aggressive to humans, and you will be left with bears that don't attack humans.
  • 1 2
 @wburnes: Train humans not to feed them.
  • 3 2
 @suspended-flesh: humans are the food in this case
  • 1 1
 @wburnes: Wrong.
  • 3 5
 It’s the poor bear I feel sorry for, this is what happens when they have no food to eat!
I get like that too when I’m hungry!
  • 1 0
 Bears have so much food, they just go for the quick easy option, into town for some fast food.
  • 12 12
 Condolences to the bears.
  • 6 7
 @Iberian: bears that attack humans deserve to die.
  • 4 3
 @wburnes: Bullshit! We're the cancer of this planet and there are literally billions of us.
  • 1 0
 @Dustfarter: Odd worldview you have. Please send pictures of your bug and raccoon-infested house.
  • 6 7
 What happened here is tragic, but why kill the bear? It’s just doing what it does…
  • 5 5
 Because we want to eliminate from the gene pool any bear that is aggressive to humans.
  • 7 9
 Yeap, I agree.. the saddest part of this story is that a bear is gonna get killed for the stupidity of a person sleeping with food in a bear country town..
  • 8 6
 Yeah the saddest part is definitely not that her sister had to watch and listen to her get mauled to death
  • 11 12
 Makes me sad they killed the bear.
  • 8 1
 A bear that has tasted human flesh is liable to attack human again unfortunately. The options are relocation or euthanize.
  • 4 0
 Probably necessary though. Once a bear realizes humans are less of an obstacle than a $10.00 Igloo I don't think he is going to stop.
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