View Full Version : Bear beats up pit bull

steve hiker
07-22-2003, 23:14
Black bear fights off dog in Smokies
2003-07-22 by Thomas Fraser of The Daily Times Staff

If you ever wondered which animal would come out the winner in a showdown between a domestic pit bull and a wild black bear, an incident in Great Smoky Mountains National Park Saturday may be a good indication.

Black bear in a TKO.

Smokies rangers Monday were asking the public for more information following a bizarre incident in Cades Cove Saturday that saw a pit bull owned by a Georgia man attack a black bear and her three cubs while they were the focus of a ``bear jam'' on Loop Road.

At 8 p.m., a crowd of visitors were watching the bear and her cubs near Hyatt Lane when the pit bull ran from the road and attacked a cub. The sow took offense, swiped the dog, and chased it into the crowd.

The bear only gave up when a visitor threw a camcorder at the bear's head, said Park spokesman Bob Miller. The camcorder did not survive the ordeal.

After the incident, witnesses provided a description of the vehicle to Park rangers, who pulled over a Dodge truck driven by 46-year-old Danny Hollifield, of Villa Rica, Ga., ``a few miles from the Cove,'' Miller said.

Rangers temporarily ``confiscated'' the pit bull inside the vehicle, which was examined and determined to have ``claw marks consistent with the bear encounter,'' Miller said.

Hollifield was cited with federal charges of harassing wildlife, having an unsecured pet and creating a hazardous situation, according to Miller.

Park rangers want more information from witnesses to determine whether Hollifield ordered the dog after the bears, or whether the animal bolted from the vehicle.

``He is ultimately responsible for the dog,'' Miller said, but rangers are seeking witnesses ``to corroborate the circumstances of the dog getting at the bear.''

An attempt to reach Hollifield by telephone was unsuccessful.

Anyone who may have witnessed Saturday's incident is asked to call the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Communication Center at (865) 436-1230.

07-22-2003, 23:50
What about the dingbat that threw the camcorder at the bear?? I think he/she should have been charged too!! Streamweaver

07-23-2003, 08:08
I have come to understand that my participation in this forum is counter productive. In an attempt to ammend this I am deleting my posts and have requested to have my account deleted

Lone Wolf
07-23-2003, 08:24
Euthanasia is used only on a person or animal suffering from an incurable disease. Black bear not considering us food has nothing to do with them being shot at.

07-23-2003, 10:05
Black bears are NOT hunters .....Dog owners are responsible for keeping thier dogs under control....the dog being allowed to approach the bear cub is what caused the sow to run towrd the crowd as a natural implus to protect her cub...

of course if the tourist with the camcorder had not beeen in close to the bear then they would not have been endangered...

black bears don't even hunt deer for food...they are mainly veggie-tarins like me cept they will get grubs and carrion....

a few years ago they was an bear incident on the cades cove loop where a man with a camcorder was filming a sow with cubs and as he continued ti "invade" the bears space the mother bear growled at him ....he threw down the camcorder and turned and ran....he tripped over a fallen tree and one of the broken limbs pierced his groin (offical nps langauge) ....justice served....

seems like the camcorder is the common element in both these cases

07-23-2003, 10:55
I'm not too sympathetic to pit bull owners. Most that I encounter are looking for a "tough guy" guard dog rather than a pet. Sure a well trained pit bull may make a wonderful pet and may be gentle with children and all the rest, but the breeding of the dogs has long been shaped in favor of greater aggression, territorialism, and violence. Only in the past few generations have folks even pretended to breed pit bulls as pets. A few generations don't take that kind of breeding out of an animal.

I'm not big on banning anything, and I won't advocate banning pit bulls either, but an owner that fails to control a dog with such a long and well documented history of extreme aggression, should be looked at very closely.

The dog owner is entirely at fault. The camcorder thrower was acting in self-defense.

As far as whether or not the camcorder operator was too close to the bear or not...have you ever actually SEEN a black bear run? They can move real fast when they have cause and protecting their kids is cause enough. They can cover 50 meters or more in a matter of a few seconds. Most people will FREEZE for several seconds under such circumstances, until their brains catch up to the action and the fight or flight instinct kicks in. Even then there will be confusion as the person's intelligence tries to overcome instinct and figure out the best course of action, generally without any valid frame of reference to work from. By the time all this has happened 2-10 seconds has elapsed and that bear coupld have covered 50-100 meters...really. So where the camcorder operator was standing is completely irrelevant. The moment the bear started menacing people, it became a valid self-defense hazard, regardless of whether a person created the situation in which the bear became aggressive is irrelevant to the immediate concern for preserving human safety.

Yeah, I know it's arrogant to presume that human safety supercedes the right of the bear mother to protect her cubs...I've heard that argument before, but you'd have to be a bloody cold , or just plain stupid bastard to stand by and allow an animal to kill a human because you either were unable to do the moral and ethical "algebra" or decided that the bear's priority was superior to the person's.

You can sit back and mourn the necessity to cause the bear (which WAS rightfully defending her cubs) pain and distress, but that's a darned sight better than regretting the fact that you chose not to prevent a human injury or death. Theory is nice sitting in your office behind a computer or reading in your living room, but it goes clear out the window when you you encounter the real world.

But let me be clear...the dog owner is entirely responsible for what happened, top to bottom. If a person was injured by the bear or the dog, and/or the bear had to be euthanised, the fault would still be his. The degree of the crime would be determined by whether he was merely negligent in controlling his dog or actually sicced the dog on the bear to clear the traffic jam. I have NO sympathy for ignorant dog owners who use their dogs as weapons. Training and using an aggressive animal as a weapon is, in my opinion, similar in character to tossing a hand grenade into a crowd or placing an unattended booby trap on a road or in a shopping mall. You release a weapon knowing that you cannot control what it targets and attacks. You demonstrate a clear disregard for the welfare of innocents whom that weapon may injure in it's random attack. As an ex-soldier I despise such weapons. I think the guy should be prosecuted the the full extent of the law on whatever grounds they can make stick.

07-23-2003, 11:15
I have come to understand that my participation in this forum is counter productive. In an attempt to ammend this I am deleting my posts and have requested to have my account deleted

Lone Wolf
07-23-2003, 11:28
Rangers in the Smokies STILL hunt wild boar and kill them leaving them to rot for bear and other scavengers. They don't euthanise them. The boar don't belong there. If you've hiked in the park you know what they do. Maybe you could start a "Save the Boar" campaign. Poor little piggies.

07-23-2003, 11:58
I guess this incident just confirms why Dogs aren't allow in the park. It's sad, but true. A few people who can't control their dogs results in no one being able to take their dog thru the park...


07-23-2003, 12:14
I have come to understand that my participation in this forum is counter productive. In an attempt to ammend this I am deleting my posts and have requested to have my account deleted

steve hiker
07-23-2003, 14:39
The way I read the article, the bear ran into the crowd only from chasing the pit bull, which I presume ran back to its owner with the bear in hot pursuit. Thus the bear never was menacing anyone, and the tourist probably threw the camcorder at the bear to try to save the dog's life.

Three cheers for that bear! I wish she had killed the dog. Pit bulls are vicious creatures and I fear them much more than I do bears. My worst nightmare would be to come across an abandoned or feral pit bull or pack of them in the woods.

07-23-2003, 15:00
Having been in bear jam in Cades Cove (they suck), I would be willing to be the bear took off after the dog through the crowds of people gathered around. Some just standing inside the car doors. Other dumb asses trying to get as close to the bear as possible. Even touching it.

When the bear ran by the dude with the camera, he just threw it (probably just dropped it) at the bear. The bear probably wasn't even "going after" the camera operator. He just got in the way of her pursuit for the dog.

07-23-2003, 17:33
I've heard of more than one case of the dog turning tail and "bringing" the bear back to the master. As Martha would say: "That's a good thing"
Dogs don't protect you from bears, snakes, mosquitos or anything else. They mostly cause trouble such as this case shows.
An incident like this could have disasterous results along the road or miles up the trail.

B Thrash
07-23-2003, 19:48
I drove the loop at Cades Cove a few weeks ago, and what before my little beady eyes was several idiots and little kids (with camera's and camcorders) walking toward a bear digging out an stump in an open meadow, the bear did not even look up at them. These people did not recognize the danger that they were in, they disreguarded all warnings about getting near these wild animal's. As far as the pitbull dog the bear should have him for supper.

07-23-2003, 23:07
Yes, I have seen a bear run....I have even chased after a few of them and even barbqued one of em back in my carnivore days....

I have also volunteered in the GSMNP and studied the behavior of the most Dangerous and destructive animal, the human,

this bear was being molested .....those bears that hang around Cades Cove Loop road, a place where I wouldn't stay any longer than lightning ona Limb, are well known and have names ,,, thier behavior around people is known, of course the guy with the cam corder was to close to the bear, with all the tourist animals crowded round he'd have to have been real close to get any kind of shot at all....people start crowding the bear and then the bear defends itself and some one who harassed the bear gets hurt and then the bear pays , bears and dogs are old enemies and sometimes the most tame and domesticated dogs " go off" at the scent of a bear.....a bear just isn't going to run into a crowd of people unless provoked.... bunch of tourist harassed a bear should be the headline in the morning paper....but the bear well as always will take the bad rap....

Lone Wolf
07-24-2003, 08:47
What kinda sick bastard would molest a bear?! The horror!!

07-24-2003, 16:08
Smoky Mountain Steve: I agree completely, people are stupid around wildlife, especially black bears. Apparently someone started putting the word out that black bears are as tame as Winnie the Pooh.

In the Smokies it is FAR better to have the Rangers and their licensed hunters hunting down the boars rather than opening a hunting season in the park. By doing things the way they do them, they have people who are intimiately familiar with the park, where the trails are, etc. hunting these IMMENSELY destructive animals, constantly culling the population.

The wild hogs breed like rabbits by the way. A sow can reproduce in the first year and can produce as many as 8 piglets who will then grow up and breed. With no natural predators, they pretty much grow up to maturity, breed many times and die of natural causes. In many areas of the south, wild hogs are huntable pretty much year round with no bag limits, no requirement for taggin or inspection and no restrictions on weapons to be used other than that they be legal in the first place. A guy I know in Texas hunts them year round on his and his neighbors property, and guides others on those properties in an effort to control the local herds. Boars have good noses and run FAST, their tusks are also extremely bad news, so Semi-auto rifles are the norm for fast follow up shots and good defensive capability if a boar decides to fight it out. Wild boars are probably significantly more dangerous than eastern black bears.

A fact that most folks don't know is that pigs are omnivorous. They'll eat pretty much anything, and are extremely nasty about it. And by nasty I don't mean messy. They'll eat wounded, but still living animals with great gusto. Most highly domesticated pig species are safe, but the closer they get to wild... In the middle ages boars were hunted with very stout spears featuring a crossbar several inches behind the large spearhead. This was to prevent the boar from running itself up the spear to get at the spearman (spears are seldom actually thrown in combat). I'll take a high powered rifle any day of the week.

In trying to eliminate wild pig herds it is much more effective to target the sows than the boars. Same with culling deer populations. The males can't reproduce, but if you have a herd of twenty females and your hunting managed to miss 1 male, that male is gonna service ALL those females. If you kill all the sows, or even most of them, you have effectively limited population growth no matter how many boars are around...they'll do a number on their own population fighting over the remaining sows.

These wild pigs are another unintended consequence. (they were introduced by wealthy folks looking to recreate the European boar hunting experience, and once again, they got out of hand.) The fact that hunting has dropped off over the past thirty years has allowed a lot of animal populations that used to be controlled, to explode. The wild pigs are easily the most destructive of these species.

steve hiker
07-24-2003, 19:00
So how successful have the rangers been in reducing boar population? I take it bears don't go after them.

07-24-2003, 19:03
I have come to understand that my participation in this forum is counter productive. In an attempt to ammend this I am deleting my posts and have requested to have my account deleted

07-24-2003, 21:06
The boar carcasses don't last long in the park. The bears & vultures pick 'em clean. The hunters (snipers) in the park also use silencers on their rifles. They can pick off several boar that way before the know whats going on.

07-24-2003, 21:18

Lone Wolf
07-25-2003, 00:43
Yo Steve. You're blatant ignorance is shining through.

07-25-2003, 01:50
Thats just 1 hunter out of millions ! Streamweaver

Blue Jay
07-25-2003, 07:40
Steve is right. I don't know about down south but up here in upstate NY you do not go outside, let alone hike, during deer season. "Hunters" shoot each other, an average of 20 per year. They shoot cows, horses, last year a llama. The pigs are vastly more intelligent. Don't get me wrong I'm not opposed to hunting, without it our Nazi Government would ban guns, then chrush the constitution, instead of slowly strangling it. I'd much rather have profesional hunters do the shooting, at least they know the difference between a pig and a backpack. They drink less too.

07-25-2003, 07:41
Rangers are "better" at hunting Boar in GSMNP for a variety of reasons. They have access to data that hunters do not have access to, rangers use silencers and can kill several boar in a herd within minutes, rangers don't get lost nearly as often as a hunter unfamiliar with the land would, rangers don't drag their prey out, so they can hunt areas of the park where meat hunters would never go, rangers are (in most cases) more familiar with the land, so the potential for accidently shooting a visitor in the most visited national park in the USA in minimized. Those are just a few reasons...

Anyway, hunters have 10's of millions of acres available to hunt on in the SE, and much of that land contains Wild Boar. Wanna kill boar? The Cherokee NF in SE Tennessee is loaded with 'em. Have at it!

07-25-2003, 11:51