August 18, 2011

"I stand quietly, but with arms out, hoping that I seem big to the bear even if he could nicely tear me up with one swipe of his paw."

"But he doesn't do that. He looks at us, hesitates, turns around and goes back, veering off the path into the thicket of flowers, with one last soulful look in our direction. The Ferdinand of bears, lost in his world of flowers and berries."

Nina encounters a bear on the International Appalachian Trial. Very sweet. Cool pic. But I was traumatized yesterday reading this bear story:
Olga Moskalyova, 19, gave an horrific hour-long running commentary on her own death in three separate calls as the wild animals killed her.

She screamed: “Mum, the bear is eating me! Mum, it’s such agony. Mum, help!’”

Her mother Tatiana said that at first thought she was joking. “But then I heard the real horror and pain in Olga’s voice, and the sounds of a bear growling and chewing.”

98 comments:

hoop said...

The difference between a hungry and a full bear.

Big Mike said...

a newlywed watched her husband get eaten by a bull shark, and now this. The animals seem to be p*ssed off with us.

Coketown said...

Very awesome pictures! But black bears are total pussies. I'd be more scared of that porcupine, really.

Scott said...

If it were legal, every hiker on the trail ought to carry a sawed-off 12 ga pump shotgun. There are way too many bears out there these days.

MarkG said...

The animals seem to be p*ssed off with us.

I think the shark attack was an anomaly. The bear attack(s) are a combination of large predator populations recovering and our increasing ability to get into their habitat.

Carol_Herman said...

Bears don't come to get us.

We go where they live.

Probably would be the same outcome if you met an Neanderthal. Especially if the Neanderthal was carrying an axe.

Methadras said...

Big Mike said...

a newlywed watched her husband get eaten by a bull shark, and now this. The animals seem to be p*ssed off with us.


Only in your limited view of how the animal kingdom works and considering we are a part of it. Plus the sensationalistic nature of such stories gets you to perceive that these isolated incidents are a result of a large animal uprising against humanity.

Carol_Herman said...

Do bears communicate with each other, and say "humans shit in the woods?"

Scott said...

Methadras: It's sort of a bastard new-age animism practiced by white people, init.

wv: horma

David said...

That story is traumatizing all right, but it's standard operating procedure for the mamma grizzly. She was teaching her cubs how to hunt and feed.

In Africa I once saw a female cheetah bring down a young gazelle. She had left her cubs to make the chase. After she caught her breath, she brought the gazelle to the cubs, who had trailed behind her. I thought she was going to feed them, but she had deliberately not killed the gazelle. Once it recovered enough to try to get away again, the cubs brought it down again and again until the mother stepped in and killed.

holdfast said...

We grew up with bears like that one strolling through our back yard at least a couple of times a year. The Canadian black bear - the scourge of garbage cans everywhere.

Now a griz would be a different story. Those are no joke.

galdosiana said...

That second story is horrific, but I agree with one of the commenters--it seems a bit odd to me that someone who was being eaten alive by bears would be able to hold an hour-long mostly coherent phone conversation during the attack...

Scott said...
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MarkG said...

Carol, maybe bears would say, "Does a human shit in his home?" Then they'd roll their eyes.

Robin said...

Bears are very powerful animals, fortunately they are very shy or we'd have already killed almost all of them off like wolves.

However, on rare occasions, one finds oneself on the wrong side of bear behavior and bad things happen.

As for wild animals, I think that whitetail deer are the greatest threat. They scare the crap out of me. Somewhere between 100 and 120 deaths annually caused by whitetail deer. They jump in front of your car on a rural highway.

Sixty Grit said...
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Big Mike said...

@Methadras, I think MarkG has the right of it. The bear attack seems to have started with a man getting between a sow and her cubs, and the girl's running turned her into a target. According to friends who live in Alaska, they teach you to stay still and play dead while the bear gnaws on you, but the girl seems to have made an already terrible situation even worse by speaking on the cell phone.

(And no, I don't know if I could successfully play dead myself while a bear was chewing on me.)

My friends referred to their .357 Magnum as "Deet for bears," or something like that.

Lincolntf said...

Possibly sad story...
Last winter I began to see a coyote out by the barn where I do weekend work. Beautiful, reddish, young. I've seen the big gnarly ones, but this was a relatively docile, and small, female. Loved seeing her, she could jump like a deer and had a very distinctive "mask". Heard on the radio yesterday that the police shot and killed a possibly rabid coyote that was "orangish" in color about a half mile from the farm. Hoping I see her again.

traditionalguy said...

The wild bears are in need of extinction.

Who believes that they are cute anyway? They need to volunteer to be eaten first.

Shoot the bears on sight and eat them.

Bear meat was a survival food over the winter in the frontier days,

Read, The Diary of Davy Crockett.

David said...

One difference: plenty to eat in Canada in summer, not so much in Siberia.

David said...
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edutcher said...

The North American black bear can be a very nasty piece of wwork when angered; there are a lot of stories of frontier life in Colonial times about very narrow escapes from them.

MarkG said...

The animals seem to be p*ssed off with us.

I think the shark attack was an anomaly.


No, the beaches around the island in question were closed down because this was the second attack in recent days.

MarkG said...

No, the beaches around the island in question were closed down because this was the second attack in recent days.

Because they think it's the same shark. The article I read said, IIRC, that there are typically only around 10 deadly shark attacks per year in the world. The question would be: are they increasing?

Carol said...

Been a lot of bear *incidents* this year, it seems. Not just grizzlies, either. I know of a woman in Cali who had her face practically torn off by either a brown or black bear.

I used to go walking in the mountains alone, but I uh, don't anymore.

lasckbounce said...
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Peano said...

But black bears are total pussies. I'd be more scared of that porcupine, really.

That registers on the Stupidity Meter right up there with, "Here, hold my beer and watch this."

Michael said...

The bear looked soulfully at Nina. Nina communicated with the bear, they were soul mates. Nina was one with all. Nina.....

Tea Party at Perrysburg said...

Seriously though, how could you call and talk on your cell when you should be running away? I don't get this. It sounds weird. "It's such agony!"

I dunno. Run away. Run away.

edutcher said...

MarkG said...

No, the beaches around the island in question were closed down because this was the second attack in recent days.

Because they think it's the same shark. The article I read said, IIRC, that there are typically only around 10 deadly shark attacks per year in the world. The question would be: are they increasing?


As far as I've read, sharks are being hunted close to extinction, so the answer is probably, "No".

Don't know about the 10 attacks, but they do seem to come in groups. I think there was a similar situation a couple of years ago off Long Island.

The thinking is the shark involved in the Seychelles attacks is a rogue, but, with 2 attacks in 10 days, the authorities aren't taking chances.

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

Why did you traumatize us? Even Drudge didn't run that story for long.

Mark O said...

I have a friend who was mauled by a bear near Jackson, Wyo. He was trail running when the bear saw something soft and easy to catch. Only the bear's lack of full attention spared his life.

Wild animals are not safe, under any conditions including this dopey story.

Robert Burnham said...

Very unwise behavior: do not mix with bears.

See: http://www.amazon.com/Beast-Garden-Predators-Suburban-America/dp/0393326349/

pm317 said...

Nina was lucky that it was not a mother bear with cubs.

Carol said...

Run away. Run away.


She tried..bears are very fast. She would have been better off to play dead. Now..I won't say it.

bagoh20 said...

I blame the Bear Hip Hop culture.

Megaera said...

Doesn't pay to take Nature lightly. Supposedly there were no confirmed black bear killings in the Eastern US and Canada and naturalists relied on that for a lot of mistaken assumptions -- until three young men were dragged out of their tents, killed and eaten by black bears up near the border about ten years ago. Coyotes weren't supposed to be a risk to anything but household pets and maybe an unattended infant or two until two coyotes attacked and killed a 19 year old girl in a provincial park in eastern Canada about two years ago, on a hiking trail within screaming distance of about 10 random parties of day-hikers. Rabies was not involved, nor was staration -- they just brought her down like they would a deer, and were feeding on the carcass when other hikers responded to her screams. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: Nature is red in tooth and claw. Walt Disney has a lot to answer for.

ET1492 said...

Don't feed the bears.

pm317 said...

When we were hiking in the Grand Tetons, the Ranger instructions were for us to make noise, to not surprise the bear by being quiet and walking in on it and go in groups of 4 or more and carry bear spray..I was nervous and was relieved to not encounter any 'soulful' bears. Let them have their privacy and me, mine.

bagoh20 said...

I hike alone a lot. Bears are all that scare me out there. You can scare off a cougar or coyote, but if a bear wants you, he's gonna have you. The only predator that gives you no options. They can out-run, out-swim, and out-climb you. They have no soft spots. You can't win with a club or probably even a knife. Even a handgun is gonna take
multiple shots.

You are screwed. I suggest cleaver negotiation - maybe convince him you will bring back a nice salmon dinner instead.

SteveR said...

When I was younger, in New Mexico, I did a lot of backpacking and geology field work. I generally was noisy and not alone.

Sixty Grit said...
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bagoh20 said...

I guess challenging the bear to a spelling bee is not an option either.

Michael K said...

In the area where I lived for 40 years, Orange County CA, mountain lions were the local predator. A few years ago, a woman mountain biking about 5 miles from my house was attacked by a lion. Her companion beat it off. Her husband, a local oral surgeon, fainted when he saw her in the preop room before she went to surgery for her face injuries.

The Sheriff's deputies were looking for the lion when they found another victim. Another mountain biker, alone, had been partially eaten. His liver was gone. It was less than a mile from the other attack.

Heart_Collector said...

"Olga Moskalyova, 19, gave an horrific hour-long running commentary on her own death in three separate calls as the wild animals killed her."

That is fuckin terrible.

Nora said...

I've grown up in bear country in Wisconsin and the most valuable tip I've ever gotten for dealing with bears is to remember that bears have very sensitives noses. If you're unfortunate enough to get that close to a bear, grab and twist its nose as hard as you can. It's the bear equivalent of kicking a guy in the crotch.

Paul said...

I stopped being amazed at people who don't take their personal security with any seriousness.

I see them every day. They walk across roads without even looking up. They lead their children to the banks of rivers yet they don't know how to swim. They stay out late at night in areas that are known for violence. Most of the time they luck out and there is no consequence to their actions.

They do the three stupids That is they go to stupid places and do stupid things with stupid people.

But now and then, one pays for their stupidity. And this girl who went unarmed where dangerous animals roam, paid this time. Her idea of a defensive weapon? Cell phone! Just like the guy who died at Yellowstone last month. All his wife had was a cell phone to call for help!

Stay away from the three stupids. The life you will save will be your own.

Lucius said...

How much meat does a momma and three cubs leave on the bone?

I mean, you need to move your arm a bit to place a call, I suppose.

A terrible story. Doubtless something terrible really did happen.

Still: this is British and Russian media. Do you suppose any exaggerations might . . .

bagoh20 said...

The best of my most memorable moments in life involved one or more of "the stupids". I'm pretty cautious (and I don't like it), but I'll take my chances. You're gonna die anyway.

I mostly fear a slow boring (smart) exit. Risk is not stupid. If it was, getting in your car or going into your bathroom would be some of the stupidest things you can do.

What happens if you take few risks in life and then get killed by a drunk driver, or cancer? Now that's stupid.

I can't control the drunk driver, or the cancer, so I got to water them down with worthwhile risks: hiking, biking, flying, hang gliding, running with scissors,... I hope one of them kills me quick.

The only problem with being eaten by a bear is doing it too young. Besides, being found flavorful at my advanced age would be taken as a high complement. I would not use my cell phone to call for help until he was satisfied with his meal. That's just common courtesy.

chuck b. said...

I like to think that if I was being eaten alive by bears I would have the sense NOT to call anyone who loved me and burden them with such a horrible, unbearable (haha) memory when a simple, final "I love you" text message would suffice.

bagoh20 said...

""I love you" text message would suffice."

And then you're backspacing and retyping to get the spelling right, and bitching cause your hands are slippery with blood. That's gotta suck.

chuck b. said...

iPhones have auto text corrrect!

mtrobertsattorney said...

After this hike, I think you two are ready for the Chillkoot Trail. It begins outside Skagway, Alaska and ends at Lake Bennett in the Yukon. It's the old trail from the Klondike gold rush days.

Mike said...

When hiking here in Washington state, I always carry a .357 to discourage 4 legged and 2 legged predators. Haven't had to use it yet...but I could say the same about my seat belt.

chuck b. said...

(Fwiw, I'm not sure I'm prepared to believe "the village of Termalniy, near Petropavlovsk Kamchatskiy, in the extreme east of Siberia" actually has cell phone service, as reported in a British tabloid.)

ironrailsironweights said...

Fwiw, I'm not sure I'm prepared to believe "the village of Termalniy, near Petropavlovsk Kamchatskiy, in the extreme east of Siberia" actually has cell phone service, as reported in a British tabloid.

It's possible ... Petropavlovsk is a sizable city, and Termalniy is only about 25 or 30 miles away.

Peter

William said...

There was a Native American tribe, the Dulanees, who inhabited the Pacific Northwest. To be accepted as a true man among that tribe, you had to hunt down and kill a grizzly. You were only allowed a sharpened stick for this purpose. The tribe is now extinct.

davis,br said...

Okay. Time for my bear story.

A few decades back now, I'm deer hunting on a switch back on the side of a hill in a stand of mixed broad leaf and tan oak (Northern California, in the Coast Ranges). Kind of steep back country. Very dry; the rainy season was late that year.

I'm walking along this tree-covered, rising and falling trail in the early morning, as quiet as I can be (and I could do my Native American ancestry proud in my younger days), looking up hill towards some denser stands, hearing occasional deer sound, but not seeing anything clear.

I get to the top of a little rise, and just over, and hear a "huff" sound, and look away from up-hill, and direct into the eyes of black bear ...maybe three feet from me. Maybe.

We stare at each other a bit.

And then a bit more.

Both of us all silent like, and contemplative. (It was early morning, y'know.)

I'm lookin' at him, and thinkin' "Oh shit, a bear".

And he's lookin' on that rifle at the ready in my arms (pointed pretty much at his snout, so it was pretty hard to miss it, even for such near-sighted beings as bears), and I could hear as clear as all get out him thinking "Oh shit, a gun".

I pretty swiftly come to the conclusion that if he ain't gonna move from the trail - and hell, as it weren't wide enough to pass by and go our separate ways - that maybe I'd just eeeaaasssse my way back up over that rise, which was just a short couple of foot behind me as I recalled.

So I step back and look away for a maybe a quarter second ...and hear a "galoomp-galoomp-galoomp" ...and feel a bit of a shake to the ground through my boots, y'know? Like when a train passes you by on a levee?

And look QUICKLY back towards the bear.

But there's just dust rising. That bear was just ...gone.

Good times.

Curious George said...

"chuck b. said...
I like to think that if I was being eaten alive by bears I would have the sense NOT to call anyone who loved me and burden them with such a horrible, unbearable (haha) memory when a simple, final "I love you" text message would suffice."

lol bear
wtf
brb

Shanna said...

This story was awful!

I just looked to see if there are bears in Arkansas and apparently it used to be called the "bear state", but we hunted the bears down to tiny numbers so the wildlife service in the 50's secretly reintroduced them by trading fish and some other animal with another state for some bears. Now there are thousands. How interesting! I guess if I go hiking in NW arkansas, I will have to pay attention to that.

Scott M said...

For what it's worth, I read this story a couple days ago and was instantly repulsed...until I wondered just how in the hell someone can place a phone call while being eaten.

I just don't see it happening.

AllenS said...

Re: shark attacks

Always remember this, when you enter the ocean you immediately move to the bottom of the food chain.

robinintn said...

"...with one last soulful look in our direction. The Ferdinand of bears, lost in his world of flowers and berries."

It's crap like this that's responsible for getting people killed and eaten.

Calypso Facto said...

When I went to Alaska with the Army, my sponsor said of wilderness hiking and bears:

"Make sure you wear bells so they can hear you coming and you don't surprise them. And always carry pepper spray to ward off an attack. And know how to recognize bear scat: Black bear scat looks like a medium-size dog shit with beetles and berry seeds in it, while grizzly bear scat looks like a large dog shit that smells like pepper and has bells in it!"

Great pics from a great adventure, Nina.

michaele said...

I guess I'm a gullible sap...my eyes welled with tears as I read the story and tried to comprehend the almost inconceivable pain of mother and daughter...physical, emotional, psychological. I mean, truly, the horror...made me want to hug a loved one.

Freeman Hunt said...

The bears in Northwest Arkansas are the fairly docile non-grizzly kind.

Scott M said...

The bears in Northwest Arkansas are the fairly docile non-grizzly kind.

The bears we had when I grew up in Chicago only had one good year, but it was a DAMNED good year.

Freeman Hunt said...

If you see a bear in Arkansas, you're supposed to puff yourself up and yell at it. "Go away bear!" According to reports, that seems to work.

That will not work with more aggressive bears in other parts of the country.

Scott M said...

I call bullshit, Freeman. Arkansas doesn't even have an NFL team.

Shanna said...

If you see a bear in Arkansas, you're supposed to puff yourself up and yell at it. "Go away bear!"

Apparently they don't advise you to play dead unless it's a momma bear with cubs? I'm glad we dont' seem to have any bears in the central part of the state. We sure do have a lot of deer, though!

pm317 said...

If a bear is charging at you, the only thing (for us non-gun owners) that could stop it is bear spray.

I feel bad about just commenting on bear risks. I am happy for Nina to have experienced that encounter without all the dangers it entailed. Her pictures are gorgeous and as a hiker, I know how she must have felt. Congratulations!

Calypso Facto said...

Heard this yesterday, Scott:

Bears practice was halted for several hours when players noticed an unknown white substance on the field. Practice resumed when the substance was later determined to be the goal line.

Sixty Grit said...
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A. Shmendrik said...

Tatiana, darling, could you get me another shot of vodka? And when you get back, please to be entertaining our guests here with your spot on impression of bear growling and making chewing sounds. I'm telling you, Sergei, she has this cold! There is not a better bear imitator than Tatiana for a thousand kilometers!

David said...

Nina is exercising her right to bear arms.

sonicfrog said...

God, that second story... horrible. Wish I never read it.

a newlywed watched her husband get eaten by a bull shark, and now this. The animals seem to be p*ssed off with us.

I blame global warming.

Scott M said...

manbearpig prefers "climate change", at least for now. It'll probably be back to "global cooling" before long.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I don't get the calling on the cell phone while being eaten alive.

How can you do such a thing? Did she also text and tweet? Perhaps update her Facebook page?

chuck b. said...

As I understand it, that strategy of making yourself look big by holding out your arms is good against bears and felines but completely wrong in an encounter with any kind of canine.

Scott M said...

but completely wrong in an encounter with any kind of canine

Or octopi. They're very competitive about arms.

MikeinAppalachia said...

Mike-
I'm a big fan of .357 mags. Probably the best all-around caliber, IMO. But, if needed vs. a threatening or, even more, a charging Griz, you might want to consider getting a .44 Mag. Even an expert shot, unfazed by a charge, is going to have trouble stopping a grizzly with a .357.

Megaera said...

Sixty Grit: I think it's the California Golden Bear (a grizzly subspecies) on the flag that was declared extinct; there are some regular grizzlies in the Sierras still, plus black bears, and many of them have very troubling human interaction histories. Various wildlife control agencies who have to remove so-called "problem bears" from more inhabited areas choose remote mountainous areas for drops for their delinquents -- the Sierras and the Rockies are favorite dumping grounds.

bagoh20 said...

"That will not work with more aggressive bears in other parts of the country. "

Those are union bears.

Kim Priestap said...

That second bear story turned my stomach. I feel like I could vomit.

PoliTech said...

I saw a woman pull her car to the raodside and engage in hand feeding of several black bears (we were somwhere around Yosemite Park). She was feeding them some sandwitches. I simply couldn't look away. She hand fed the last sandwitch to the largest black bear in the bunch, then she actually turned her back to the bear and was talking and laughing with her kids while strolling back to her car.

She got away with it but I still cringe at the memory.

Javert said...

Carol Herman, you almost always crack me up, or make me think, thank you.

Ger said...

"Nina encounters a bear on the International Appalachian Trial. "

So did the bear plead guilty or not guilty?

Hucbald said...

It's illegal, of course, but on the App Trail I carried a .357 magnum (The vaunted, "rule of law" never has impressed me much: Seems indistinguishable from tyranny much of the time).

Rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Also rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6. Pick your cliche.

Bottom line is, I'd never go out in the sticks without being armed. Yes, I even illegally carry in national parks, and to hell with anybody who says I shouldn't. Laws against what I do are, of course, illegitimate (And tyrannical!).

Bonus: Black bears are not NEARLY the threat that brown bears are, as they are relatively small and naturally shy. I'd want something like a .44 mag or a .454 Casull in grizzly territory, as they fight over territory much more readily... and are way huge. Female black bears with cubs are the danger. They will attempt to kill ANYTHING they perceive as a threat to their cubs.

In the west it's catamounts: They seem to enjoy dining on unarmed human hikers.

Have fun out there, kids. lol.

Dave Hardy said...

I once skimmed a book on bear maulings. The author had a list of possible responses (run, climb a tree, play dead), but to know which one to use you had to determine the species (some won't climb, others can climb faster than you can) and the motive (playing dead for a hungry bear just makes it easier for him). I concluded the suggestions were impractical. A .44 Mag, or better yet, a .45-70, seemed much more practical.

Dave Hardy said...

Fish and Wildlife Service joke: a fellow asks what type of handgun is best against grizzlies. He is advised "take a snub nosed .22, grind off the sights." He says "that's not likely to be good against a grizzly." He's told "No handgun is going to be good against a grizzly, but at least that one will hurt less when he rams it up your arse."

Rusty said...

Never forget. When you leave the lawn for the bush. When you step off the parkway into the brush. You aren't one with nature. You're part of the food chain and not near the top either.

comatus said...

tradguy, I'd be wary of that "Kill the bears and eat them" strategy.

All bears may be assumed to carry trichinosis. Unless you're an experienced field butcher and camp cook, a bear will kill you after he is dead.

Oso Negro said...

I stood between my family and a bear one time. All I had was biggish rocks to heave. That time turned out OK, but since then, I have serial dreams of bears and I always go out armed to the teeth. There just isn't any fucking around with Ursus Horriblis.

Zeus Almighty said...

It took a long time for humans to get to the top of the food chain, a position I do not intend to yield. I am grateful that National Parks do not automatically disarm visitors any longer. The idea of curling into a fetal ball and waiting until the bear gets bored with mauling you is not a viable survival strategy in my book, although it continues to be what the Parks recommend.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Paul said...

They do the three stupids That is they go to stupid places and do stupid things with stupid people.

Fine, blame the victims. That's it. I'm organizing a Bear-Bait Walk. Come on, everyone. Lets cover ourselves with Snickers and hike the Appalachian trail!

Milwaukee said...

A few years ago, 15 or 20, a woman was hiking or jogging a trail in California, and was killed by a mountain lion. Of course the momma lion had to be put down, but left behind two cubs, as did the jogger. Bank accounts were established for the orphans. Naturally, the orphaned mountain lions had more money in their account than the orphaned children. People get all gooey about wildlife.

The story is that a couple of back packers were getting ready to hit the trail when the park ranger pulled into the parking lot and warned them of bear attacks. One of them returned to the car, took off his boots and put on athletic shoes. The other hiker scolded him saying, "You can't possibly out run a bear.", to which he responded "It's not the bear I need to out run."

RightWingNutter said...

What Zeus Almighty said: Amen
What Rusty said: Here's why I'm at the top of the food chain. http://www.marlinfirearms.com/firearms/bigbore/1895m.asp

PatCA said...

Both stories are traumatic, and almost unbearable. If we are going to allow animals to repopulate to their original levels, we should teach people to behave in the wild as people 200 years ago did, not as Nina does.

Idealists and romantics: one way or the other, your days in Eden are numbered.

Tatter said...

"I saw a woman pull her car to the raodside and engage in hand feeding of several black bears (we were somwhere around Yosemite Park). She was feeding them some sandwitches. I simply couldn't look away. She hand fed the last sandwitch to the largest black bear in the bunch, then she actually turned her back to the bear and was talking and laughing with her kids while strolling back to her car. She got away with it but I still cringe at the memory."

That's how many bear encounters end up. Most of the time a bear will decide attacking a human is too risky, even with its back turned, especially if the bear has actually witnessed another bear being killed by human hunters.

Sadly, but profitably for casinoes, human brains are simply not wired to accurately assess probabilities. The old lady has probably fed bears many times before without being attacked, and will probably spend the rest of her life absolutely convinced bears are her wonderful friends, rather than wild animals who would kill her in an instant if they weren't so afraid of her.