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My Friend Survives Grizzly Bear Attack in Madison Valley

by Randy
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on Sunday, 02 October 2016
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    Watch Todd Orr's video here:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tK609rbSBLs


       Todd Orr grew up in Ennis. He is a life-long outdoorsman with many years of experience in the mountains. I have known him since he worked in the local fly shop here in Ennis in the 1980s. He went on to own and operate his very successful business, Skyblade Knives in Bozeman, Mt.



   On Sept. 30, 2016, he was attacked by a sow grizzly bear with two cubs in the mountains near here...not once, but twice.

    He survived.


   Here is Todd's story in his own words with photos he provided:






Grizzly 10/1/16

Hello everyone.
 Thought I should share yesterday morning's Grizzly incident.

I took an early morning hike in the Madison valley to scout for elk. Knowing that bears are common throughout southwest Montana, I hollered out "hey bear" about every 30 seconds so as to not surprise any bears along the trail.

About three miles in, I stepped out into an open meadow and hollered again. A few more steps and I spotted a sow Grizzly bear with cubs on the trail at the upper end of the meadow. The sow saw me right away and they ran a short distance up the trail. But suddenly she turned and charged straight my way. I yelled a number of times so she knew I was human and would hopefully turn back. No such luck. Within a couple seconds, she was nearly on me. I gave her a full charge of bear spray at about 25 feet. Her momentum carried her right through the orange mist and on me.

I went to my face in the dirt and wrapped my arms around the back of my neck for protection. She was on top of me biting my arms, shoulders and backpack. The force of each bite was like a sledge hammer with teeth. She would stop for a few seconds and then bite again. Over and over. After a couple minutes, but what seemed an eternity, she disappeared.

Stunned, I carefully picked myself up. I was alive and able to walk so I headed back down the trail towards the truck 3 miles below. As I half hiked and jogged down the trail, I glanced at my injuries. I had numerous bleeding puncture wounds on my arms and shoulder but I knew I would survive and thanked god for getting me through this. I hoped the bleeding wasn't too significant. I really didn't want to stop to dress the wounds. I wanted to keep moving and put distance between us.

About five or ten minutes down the trail, I heard a sound and turned to find the Griz bearing down at 30 feet. She either followed me back down the trail or cut through the trees and randomly came out on the trail right behind me. Whatever the case, she was instantly on me again. I couldn't believe this was happening a second time! Why me? I was so lucky the first attack, but now I questioned if I would survive the second.

Again I protected the back of my neck with my arms, and kept tight against the ground to protect my face and eyes. She slammed down on top of me and bit my shoulder and arms again. One bite on my forearm went through to the bone and I heard a crunch. My hand instantly went numb and wrist and fingers were limp and unusable. The sudden pain made me flinch and gasp for breath. The sound triggered a frenzy of bites to my shoulder and upper back. I knew I couldn't move or make a sound again so I huddled motionless. Another couple bites to my head and a gash opened above my ear, nearly scalping me. The blood gushed over my face and into my eyes. I didn't move. I thought this was the end. She would eventually hit an artery in my neck and I would bleed out in the trail... But I knew that moving would trigger more bites so a laid motionless hoping it would end.

She suddenly stopped and just stood on top of me. I will never forgot that brief moment. Dead silence except for the sound of her heavy breathing and sniffing. I could feel and her breath on the back of my neck, just inches away. I could feel her front claws digging into my lower back below my backpack where she stood. I could smell the terrible pungent odor she emitted. For thirty seconds she stood there crushing me. My chest was smashed into the ground and forehead in the dirt. When would the next onslaught of biting began. I didn't move.
 And then she was gone.

I tried to peek out without moving but my eyes were full of blood and I couldn't see. I thought that if she came back a third time I would be dead, so I had to do something. Staying in position on the ground, I slowly reached under my chest to grab at the pistol I was unable to get to earlier. I felt I needed something to save my life. The pistol wasn't there. I groped around again but nothing. I wiped the blood from one eye and looked around.
 No bear.

The pistol and holster were lying five feet to my left. The bear's ferocious bites and pulling had ripped the straps from the pack and the holster attached to it. Now trashed, that backpack may have helped prevent many more serious bites on my back and spine.
 I picked everything up and moved down the trail again. I couldn't believe I had survived two attacks. Double lucky!
 Blood was still dripping off my head and both elbows and my shirt was soaked to the waist and into my pants. But a quick assessment told me I could make it another 45 minutes to the truck without losing too much blood.
 I continued the jog just wanting to put more distance between that sow and I.

At the trailhead was one other vehicle. I really hoped that person didn't run into the same bear.
 I snapped a couple quick photos and a video of my wounds, laid some jackets over the truck seat and headed for town. I stopped a rancher along the way and asked him to make a call to the hospital. When I got into cell service, I made a quick call to my girlfriend to ask how her morning was going, before freaking her out and asking her to bring me a change of clean clothes to the hospital.
 Another call to 911 and I gave the operator a quick run down of my injuries and asked her to call the hospital and give them a heads up that I was ten minutes out.
 Moments later I was met at the front door by the doctor, nurse and an officer. I had to ask the officer to open the door, put my truck in park, and unbuckle my seat belt. My left arm was useless. He was impressed I had taken the effort to buckle.
 Once inside, the x-rays revealed only a chip out of the ulna bone in my forearm. Following was eight hours of stitching to put me back together. Most were arm and shoulder punctures and tears. A 5" gash along the side of my head will leave a nasty scar, but I'm hoping my balding doesn't come on too quickly and leave that one exposed. smile emoticon:)
 And finally, this morning, numerous deep bruises and scrapes are showing up from the bites that didn't quite break the skin. Dark bruising in the shape of claws, line across my lower back and butt where the bear stood on me. Also a few more chest bruises and facial abrasions from being smashed and slammed into the ground.

Not my best day, but I'm alive.
 So thankful I'm here to share with all of you. smile emoticon:)
 In a couple weeks I will have to clean out the truck a little better. My girlfriend says it looks like I had gutted an elk in the drivers seat.
 Todd Orr. Skyblade Knives.







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by Randy
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on Monday, 22 August 2016
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   yellowstone_r   The recent news of thousands of rocky mountain whitefish going belly up in the Yellowstone River has aroused much angst and trauma amongst the local populations of  fishing towns like Gardiner, Livingston, Bozeman and Ennis. Widespread panic is working it's way through the fly shops, motels ( lodges, inns, resorts, "ranches", etc.).

   As the ospreys, eagles and turkey vultures are celebrating over their new-found bounty of fish flesh and bones, fishing guides are pouting and moping over their Bud-Lites in the Pastime Bar and The Murray Hotel in Livingston. Dozens of Fish and Game employees are firing off emails, texting each other and nervously checking on their pensions and 401Ks.osprey_eating_fish

   You really can't blame them. The Yellowstone kill is only one of a string of many bad fish-news events on Montana's Blue Ribbon streams. Starting with Whirling Disease on the Madison in the early 1990s and the blowout at Hebgen Dam in 2008,  we have had fish kills on the Lower Madison, brown trout fungus on the Big Hole, green slime on the Beaverhead, a 30 million gallon treated wastewater spill from the posh Yellowstone Club into the Gallatin River, vanishing grayling, full closure of the Jefferson...and mysterious goings-on at the Missouri and Henry's Fork in Idaho. Did I forget anything?fish_kill_2

   It's a fragile situation. I remember sitting in on one of the many "public meetings" held by the power company after the Hebgen Dam broke. The meeting, as it usually does, was disintegrating into a whine and bitch session when one bright eyed fishing guide raised his hand.

   "When you guys finally get this dam fixed could y'all make sure you make it a bottom release? This would cool the water down a few degrees and we all know trout love cool water."

   A lady sitting right next to me shot her hand up and nearly jumped out of her seat.

   "My name is so and so and I am a water quality person and we have taken many core samples from the bottom ooze of Hebgen Reservoir and you really don't want to be stirring up that stuff...it's ugly down there."

   The room fell silent. I had visons of swirling, turbid murky slime mixed with mercury, pestisides, cyanide and who-knows-what tumbling its way throught the spillway and into the gills of thousands of trout in the Upper Madison River. I never did find out what she found down there.

   But I'm really not all that worried. If we lose our wild trout in the Madison, so what? Fish and Game will snap into action. The fish hatcheries will step into full reproduction mode. Holding ponds will overflow with trout sperm and egg-laying females. The hatchery trucks will line up and carry the payload, backing up to boat launches at Raynolds Pass, Pine Butte, Lyons Bridge and McAtee, dumping thousands and thousands of six inch stocker rainbow trout into the Upper Madison. hatchery_truck

   The little rascals will be lost at first, but soon they will find a home behind a rock, along a bank or maybe in some soft water. They will do just fine until whirling disease eats out their brain cells and wipes them out or maybe a 20 below zero winter and the gorge freezes them to death. The next year and the years after? No problem. Lather, rinse, repeat.

   Fishing guides? No worries. Your future is secure. The hatchery truck schedule will be well published in advance. Just anchor up below Lyons or McAtee boat ramps, tie on a few fish pellet flys with a BB and a bobber and let 'er rip. A hatchery bow on every cast!

   "How's the fishing?"

   " We had a big day...we caught a dozen six inchers, a few eight inchers and a whopper twelve!"

   So don't worry about a thing... Big Brother will take care of you.






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  • Ralph Watson
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    Ralph Watson says
    Good News Lots of good deals on new pick ups, drift boats and rocket launcher rod boxes here in Bozeman


by Randy
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on Friday, 19 August 2016
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(Bozeman, Mont.)—Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is implementing an immediate closure of all water-based recreation (fishing, wading, floating, tubing, boating, etc.) on the Yellowstone River and its tributaries from Yellowstone National Park’s northern boundary at Gardiner to the Highway 212 bridge in Laurel. This significant action on the part of the Department is in response to the ongoing and unprecedented fish kill on the Yellowstone. This action is necessary to protect the fishery and the economy it sustains. The closure will also help limit the spread of the parasite to adjacent rivers through boats, tubes, waders and other human contact and minimize further mortality in all fish species.

In the past week, FWP has documented over 2,000 dead Mountain Whitefish on some affected stretches of the Yellowstone. With that, FWP estimates the total impact to Mountain Whitefish in the Yellowstone to be in the tens of thousands. FWP has also recently received reports of the kill beginning to affect some Rainbow and Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout.

Test results from samples sent to the U.S. and Wildlife Service Fish Health Center in Bozeman show the catalyst for this fish kill to be Proliferative Kidney Disease – one of the most serious diseases to impact whitefish and trout. The disease, caused by a microscopic parasite, is known to occur in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. It has been documented previously in only two isolated locations in Montana over the past 20 years. Recent outbreaks have occurred in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. In trout, research has shown this disease to have the potential to cause 20 to 100 percent mortality. The parasite does not pose a risk to humans.

The effect of the disease on Yellowstone’s fish populations is exacerbated by other stressors like near record low flows, consistent high temperatures, and the disturbance caused by recreational activities.

FWP Director Jeff Hagener says in coming to the decision, the Department had to weigh the totality of the circumstances and risk to the fishery.

“We recognize that this decision will have a significant impact on many people. However, we must act to protect this public resource for present and future generations,” said Hagener.

"A threat to the health of Montana's fish populations is a threat to Montana's entire outdoor economy and the tens of thousands of jobs it sustains," said Gov. Steve Bullock, noting that Montana's outdoor recreation economy is responsible for more than 64,000 Montana jobs and nearly $6 billion in yearly economic activity. "We must be guided by science. Our state cannot afford this infectious disease to spread to other streams and rivers and it's my responsibility to do everything we can to stop this threat in its tracks and protect Montana jobs and livelihoods."

FWP will continue to monitor the river and will lift the closure when stream conditions such as flow and temperature improve and fish mortality ceases.

FWP staff will be available to the media Friday, Aug. 19 at 11 a.m. at Region 3 Headquarters in Bozeman (1400 S. 19th Ave.) to help answer questions related to the fish kill and this management action.

In addition to the closure on the Yellowstone, FWP is asking for the public’s assistance in preventing the spread of this parasite by properly cleaning (CLEAN.DRAIN.DRY) all equipment prior to moving between waterbodies (i.e., boats, waders, trailers). FWP has also set up two Aquatic Invasive Species decontamination stations set up along I-90 near the affected area in an effort to help reduce the chance of this parasite moving to other rivers

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by Randy
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on Sunday, 03 July 2016
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From the Montana Standard...seyler_bridge

   "Stream access proponents are hailing a judge’s Wednesday ruling as a victory for public access at a long-contested Madison County bridge.

District Court Judge Loren Tucker determined that the public easement for the Seyler Lane bridge across the Ruby River extends 5 feet past the bridge abutments.

“This is a win because people can get to the water,” said John Gibson, president of the Public Land/Water Access Association.


PLWAA’s opponents in the case seemed less certain of the judge’s ruling.

“It’s not clear if that grants public access or not,” said Reed Watson of the Property and Environmental Research Center, which had sided with Madison County in the dispute against PLWAA.

Also intervening on the county’s side were the Montana Stockgrowers Association and James Cox Kennedy, the billionaire chairman of Cox Enterprises.

Whether the ruling ends a 12-year-long court fight is unknown, but for now the PLWAA is savoring the victory.

“If we hadn’t fought this I’m afraid we’d be looking at ‘No Trespassing’ signs and electric fences across the state,” Gibson said. “Somebody had to stop these people.”

The Ruby River is a small stream that starts in the Gravelly and Snowcrest mountains of southwestern Montana, running about 100 miles north to its confluence with the Beaverhead just south of Twin Bridges. Seyler Lane is one of the last roads across the Ruby before it reaches the Beaverhead.

This is the third access case that PLWAA has fought in the county on three different bridges over the Ruby River. The other two bridges were at Duncan and Lewis lanes.

All of the cases were instigated when Kennedy tried to block public access at the bridges. PLWAA sued the county to force Kennedy to provide public access and remove fences blocking entrance to the river. If this final bridge case goes in the win column then the PLWAA has won all three.

“This one shouldn’t have gotten this far and it only did because of the resources of the landowner,” said Bruce Farling, president of Montana Trout Unlimited, which supported PLWAA in the case."

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by Randy
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on Sunday, 27 March 2016
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   from The New Yorker

Postscript: Jim Harrison 1937-2016

by Thomas McGuane


   On Saturday night, my oldest friend, Jim Harrison, sat at his desk writing. He wrote in longhand. The words trailed off into scribbles and he fell from his chair dead. His strength of personality was such that his death will cut many adrift. He was seventy-eight years old and had lived and worked hard for every one of those years. He published a book a month ago. His health had failed, he lost his wife of fifty-five years, and his shingles were a torment. Recent back surgery had made his beloved walks impossible and yet he was undefeated. He was active and creative to the end, but it was time to go: no one was less suited to assisted living. For his family, vastly numerous friends, and admirers, the death of Jim Harrison leaves an extraordinary vacancy.


From the moment we met, we talked about writing, and in some ways co-evolved over time, through letters and talk, until our views hardened and separated to such a degree that it was better not to do it in person. But we went on as before, in weekly letters, and continued to do so until a week ago; and left all that was not literary—nature, food, sport, love—to times we actually saw each other. To select a book or poem from the ether for chat was best handled in print, though we could revisit favorites for euphoric consanguinity. At times, we resorted to censorious silence. We worked out differences in letters and tried to make each other better. I could always expect Jim to write something marvelous and seemingly out of the blue. Few American writers of recent times have had his erudition and phenomenal memory. To the end, Jim was a country boy who’d been touched.


Read Jim Harrison’s contributions to The New Yorker: two works of fiction, “The Woman Lit by Fireflies” (1990) and “Father Daughter” (2004), and “A Really Big Lunch,” about a thirty-seven-course meal that Harrison enjoyed in 2003.




Born: Dec. 11, 1937 Grayling, Mi.

Died: Mar. 26, 2016 Patagonia, Az.




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