Friday, June 22, 2012

Bear bells don't work on Moose

Either they don't hear that frequency at all or don't give a fig about a us puny humans. On Thursday I almost ran into a pair of yearlings at the entrance to Death Canyon in the southern end of Grand Teton National Park. The male's butt was about 6 feet in front of me and 2 feet off trail to the left, in dense scrub, when it startled at my presence. After about .1 seconds when I realized it wasn't a grizzly about make me a Werner Herzog subject, I backed up, took some pictures, and tried to get them to clear the trail. No dice. I whooped and hollered and insinuated their ancestors messed around with pronghorns. They were determined to slowly chomp all the vegetation in that narrow section between the stream and the valley wall. There was no way past without coming within 10 feet of one of them. So much for hiking into death canyon.

This is a good place to point out that I: A - suck at whooping to scare animals and B - am not all that observant of my surroundings while on the trail.

Just before encountering the Moose I had loosed one of my meek anti-bear "whoops". One is supposed to periodically make a little holler to give the animals warning so as not to come right upon a bear. For some reason hollering calls domestic animals towards oneself (because they learn they are going to get fed {until that last holler call}, and sends wild animals away (no curiosity?)
My "whoop" is actually a "woooooo!!"
Actually it's Ric Flair's "wooooo!!"  Nothing else I try comes out loud. It works but I have have to exert my willpower to keep from proceeding it with "To be the man, you have to beat the man!!!" And from following it with a little stulted turkey trot of pride. After all I'm not trying to provoke the local ursine into a ladder match; quite the opposite.

About 20 minutes later as I hiked back to the trailhead, I "wooooo!!"ed then came to the edge of Phelps lake. Then I turned to my right and saw 2 children about 20 feet away. I said "hello" and they said,"there's a deer right behind you". Which there was; a big ol' mule deer about 15 feet away. Conclusion: for me to notice if an actual bear was nearby it would have to be Balu from 'The Jungle Book' and he'd have to be in the middle of a musical number.

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