Friday, August 12, 2011

Bear Helmet anyone?

I just read of yet another mauling; of a hapless human, seemingly impudent enough to have disturbed a mother bear and her cubs. And as hiking season gears up there are surely more to come.
Now, hold yer bear cubs a moment...

With so many head-bandaged victims showing up on television and as front page news, ...perhaps another attack scenario needs to be explored.

If protection was the Mother bear’s motive wouldn’t she be shooing her infants away from such evident danger—that elderly fellow out for a stroll or the group of freckled hikers. Wouldn’t she be looking back every so often at the one hundred and twenty pound predator with ferocious dentures or the giggling teens making all manner of noise—to make sure he or they weren’t in hot pursuit. That’s exactly what she does when she meets up with a male Grizzly.

So what if Mom was actually teaching rather than protecting? And what if Mom’s lesson is about…a special treat? Easy now, I’m a bear fan too! But, haven’t you wondered what’s with all the bandaged heads and the scalping reported in almost every mauling incident? I don’t suppose that would have anything to do with the high glucose content of the brain…would it? By the way, Grizzlies are known to run down Elk, eat only the brains and leave the carcass behind. I see you wincing—too Jaws for you? You know about the bear and the honey pot, right! Sweet-breads anyone!

So, the next time you are out walking in the woods, you can keep on believing in the current version of cute little bears and their dutiful mothers, or, you can rig yourself some sort of head gear or otherwise inventive way to make your head appear menacing rather than inviting. Antlers! My father swore by the wide brimmed Stetson he wore while fishing in the Kananaskis or along the Castle River where Grizzlies roam at will. I used to wonder what he meant when he jokingly used to say it kept the bears away…. I thought it was just the place he kept his fly hooks. 

I don’t know if my brain-attack version really makes sense, and I certainly don’t want to spread any wilderness myths, but maybe someone needs to develop a bear helmet. 

When I hike in Grizzly country, at the very least, I wear a colorful cap. Yes, I also carry bear spray and wear a hunting knife on my belt. I’m not too keen on making noise—to let the bears know I’m there—but you can do that if you’re so inclined. I am sure you have more brains than I do and since that’s the case the bears might be less interested in the tiny bit of grey-matter I'm trying, most probably in vain, to hide beneath my cap. 

Note: There is no fat in the brain, so, the neurons draw energy from the blood stream. To function properly, the average brain draws between 125 and 150 grams of glucose per day.

Copyright: Douglas Squarek, all rights reserved.
Douglas was born in the Canadian Rockies and has often hiked in and around Waterton Lakes, Kananaskis country, and Banff…Grizzly country!