Grizzly Bear Attacks

Grizzly Bear Attacks … Swift and Fatal

Grizzly Bears are huge and very dangerous omnivores (they eat plants and meat, just like humans) that have always been considered to be carnivores (meat eaters only). Grizzly Bears eat meat, of course, and will kill prey to get it. In fact, they eat almost anything and, in the wild, there is nothing that can stand in their way to keep them from devouring what they want.

Their diet truly is varied. They eat a large variety of plants. In fact, plants make up 80% to 90% of their diet. They will – and do – eat salmon, trout and bass. Everyone has seen how Grizzly Bears hunt while standing in streams as salmon struggle to reach their spawning grounds and, as they pass by the deadly Grizzlies, get picked off like tasty appetizers on a dinner table.

Grizzly Bears Attacks Grizzly Bears are known for catching live prey and eating it. Grizzly bears attack and target big animals like elk … moose … deer … sheep … bison … caribou … and even smaller black bears. Their natural aggressiveness and their deadly, razor-sharp, over sized claws make them fearsome hunters. They will take advantage of any easy prey they encounter, like caged rabbits, chickens, and pets tied up around people’s residences.

Their biggest prey doesn’t have four legs and can, at times, fight back … it is human beings. Yes, Grizzly Bears attack, kill and even devour human beings unlucky enough to cross their paths. These Grizzly Bear attacks generally occur in the wild or in National Parks at campgrounds or, sometimes, along well-traveled paths. But when a hungry Grizzly encounters a human, it is almost always a one-sided contest.

In the years between 1900 and 2003 (more than one hundred years, of course) there have been 50 documented deaths of human beings that can be directly attributed to Grizzly Bear attacks also known as “brown bears”. Now, “brown bears” are a species into which many subcategories fall, including Grizzly Bears. So it’s entirely possible that not all of the 50 recorded deaths can be blamed on Grizzly Bear attacks.

However, the fact that they are extremely aggressive and dangerous – and that they are known to attack humans – means that most of the fifty fatalities can be attributed to the ferocious Grizzly Bear. In the 8-year period, 2000 through 2008, there were ten Grizzly Bear attacks, all of which resulted in the death of the human victim or victims. Many of these Grizzly Bear attacks occurred in under-populated parts of Alaska and Montana, areas where the Grizzly bears roam freely.

In 2001, a 41-year old male named George Tullos was attacked, killed and partially devoured by a Grizzly Bear. In another incident that same year, an elk hunter in Montana crossed paths with a hungry Grizzly and was slain. The most famous deadly encounter occurred in 2003 when famed author and naturalist, Timothy Treadwell was killed by a Grizzly Bear attack that he had “literally lived with for months.” The bear turned on him and killed him.

It can be said that Grizzly Bears are dangerous predators (they are) and have no place on earth anywhere near humans. But the truth is the killing occurred “in the wild” and not in the urban areas populated by people. The “playing field” was the natural habitat of the bears.

The conclusion to this information is inescapable. People need to stay away from Grizzly Bears to avoid being attacked. It is not the bears that have gone out searching for people, but rather humans that have put themselves in harm’s way.

Grizzly Bear Information Center