Reflections on bear safety, Fox Creek Campground, August 13 &14, 2014
On July 28, 2010, three bear attacks, two with injuries and one a fatality, occurred at Soda Butte campground, just a few miles from our 2014 site at Fox Creek campground. The bears involved were a grizzly sow and her three cubs.
The week after that 2010 attack, we camped a few days near Livingston, Montana, less than 100 miles as the crows flies from Soda Butte campground, and, after that, moved down into Yellowstone to the Fishing Bridge campground. I wrote about the incident on August 2, 2010 in Grizzly Country.
Wanting to know more about the event, I came across a couple of very good references. The first is Terror at Soda Butte, by Scott McMillion. The other, a bit dryer and quite repetitive, is the Investigation Team Report – Bear Attacks in the Soda Butte Campground on July 28, 2010.
The bear safety takeaway from both of these sources is.
- the people who were attacked did everything right with regard to bear safety.
- the mother grizzly’s behavior in attacking and killing was highly abnormal and authorities have been unable to identify any specific reason for it.
- From the team report: “The summary morphological diagnosis was a bear with a thin body condition, moderate to numerous numbers of tapeworms and roundworms, and enteritis (inflammation) of the small intestine probably associated with the parasite load.“ The report declines to identify the bear’s physical condition as even a contributing cause.
Knowing that we were going to be in bear country and that this incident had occurred made little difference in our plans. We always keep a clean campsite and try to be aware of our surrounding on the trails.
Next – I still need to replace that pesky heater plug.