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The Grizzly Bear Mindset

I am pleased to present a guest post to my blog.  The author wished to remain anonymous.

” I am not interested in the credit.  I only want to make known the true issue and I don’t care to be “known” by strangers.  Who I am is not significant to the issue at all, but only the issue itself is important.

If you wish to have a signature assigned to it, say it’s from a “Marine Combat Veteran”.
That should be enough.”

Let’s start with the back story

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Twenty-one years after he was attacked by a grizzly bear sow while hunting bighorn sheep in northwestern Wyoming, Terry Everard still recalls the incident clearly and still carries the now-hidden scars as reminders.

“When it happens to you, all you wish is that it will stop,” he said.

Now 58 and retired in Sundance, Wyo., Everard still hunts and still has a great respect for grizzly bears and their power. He preaches safety in the backcountry, including suggesting that hunters and hikers carry bear spray and have it ready for use.

“I have no animosity against bears,” he said. “I still bowhunt today, I’m just very careful.”

Everard grew up in Cody, Wyo., and was hunting with two friends in the Sunlight Basin when he startled a sow grizzly with cubs that had been snoozing after raiding squirrel middens to feed on whitebark pine seeds.

The sow was only about 40 yards away when it stood up on its hind legs from behind a log, saw Everard and charged. Because he was attempting to fill his bighorn ram tag, he was carrying a .270 rifle, but he didn’t have a bullet in the chamber and doubts if he would have had time to shoot anyway, since the sow closed the distance between them so quickly.

All he had time to do was drop to a squatting position with his head down and cover his neck with his hands. With a backpack on, the bear concentrated its attack at his upper body. Down feathers from his torn coat flew into the air as the bear clawed his arm.

“It just goes on and on, it just seemed like an eternity,” he told the Billings Gazette in a telephone interview. “And you just feel helpless.”

The bear gave him a black eye from pushing down on his head so hard.

In an attempt to end the attack, Everard reached for his rifle with his left hand, loaded a round and fired into the air. The bear stopped its attack and backed away, blood smeared on its fur. Loading another round, Everard prepared to shoot if the bear charged again. It turned and ran.

The bear had bitten at his head, shoulder and arm in the 40-second attack, causing injuries that would require more than three and a half hours of surgery and 250 stitches to close up. Because of the long time it took him to first walk, then ride a horse and finally travel in a pickup truck to the Cody hospital, Everard lost an estimated four units of blood.

“If I had lost another pint, I would’ve been in trouble,” he said.

Although the attack was traumatic, Everard said, it hasn’t affected him much.

“Everything that happened to me was superficial,” he said.

Most of the blood loss came from lacerations to his scalp, which bled profusely. The injury to his shoulder was bad enough to keep him from bowhunting that fall, but no bones were broken.

“The worst thing that happened to me was I couldn’t bowhunt that year,” he said. “I love to bowhunt. I still bowhunt today.”

Sure, he’s had a few bad dreams about bears. But he wasted no time returning to the site of the attack to try to make sense of what happened and to retrieve his backpack, which he had discarded as he fled quickly downhill to the hunting camp.

Although tracks of a grizzly with cubs were found in the area, there was no blood near the tracks, convincing Everard that the blood he saw on the bear was his own.

And he returned to the region to fill his bighorn sheep tag, eventually bagging a three-quarter curl ram on the second-to-last day of the season.

His experience is a cautionary tale that anyone who ventures into grizzly bear territory should heed.

“People just have to be more prepared,” Everard said. “Don’t hunt alone. Carry pepper spray, and not in your backpack.”

To start  my line of comments here…

I will state first off that I was not there.  I have never been attacked by a bear. 

I have however been attacked by men, armed and unarmed, and I have once been attacked by a Doberman Pinscher when I was a teen.  I have been hurt in fights a few times, but never very badly.  But enough to know what it’s like to fight when it was for all the chips, and when I was already hurt.
So in respect to the man who was attacked I wish to state right out front that I am only trying to add additional perspective to his, and take nothing away.
I have been criticized by others in my presentation of classes, and in general conversation , and I know what it feels like to have someone tell me all about what I did wrong,  when those people not only were not there, but also have never been in a deadly confrontation in their lives, so it is with some reservation that I offer my comments here.

 Nevertheless I will however offer my thoughts to my loved ones and dear friends because this is a subject I am quite familiar with. 

In all the text above, the one thing I see from end to end that was “done wrong” (for lack of a better term) is carrying the wrong mindset.  This poor man was not ready, by his own admission.

 He didn’t believe it would ever happen to him.

Time

He did have a way to defend himself and his mind was jarred into reality when the bear charged.  A bear can outrun a racehorse in the first 300 yards, so from 40 yards away he indeed had very little time, but I open the thought process by asking “did he have enough time”?

Yes, I would submit he did, but he didn’t prepare himself mentally,  so he didn’t use it.

He had time to get a backpack up over his head.
He had time to drop to a squat.
He had time to recover a rifle from the ground, bolt a round into the chamber, and fire—  AFTER the bear had done some damage.

Defense?

But even when he did get the rifle into action his mind was on defense, not offense.  Fights are not won in defense!  Defense may keep you from loosing ground, but it will never take ground.  It can keep the enemy from winning that time, but it won’t cause you to win either.

The bear quit, so the man lived, but ONLY because the “enemy” allowed it.  The bear dictated ever aspect of the engagement and every moment of the fight and even the time after the fight.

The Reality

In deadly combat, the one aspect that fighters learn that makes them a “vet” and separates them from the status of an FNGs or Greenies, is the mindset that it WILL happen, and it probably WILL HAPPEN TO ME.

 All Marines in my day got the same amount of basic training and the same amount of Advanced Combat Training before they ever went of to a school to learn an additional MOS (Military Occupational Specialty).  In most cases, Marines who went to combat had the same amount of TRAINING even if they were cooks or clerks.   But what made the real warriors stand apart from the rest was the idea that the fight was real, it was personal and it was GOING to happen to them. 

When you have that mindset, you do not let your guard down.  If you are blessed, you get to be wrong and it doesn’t happen to you.

But you never ever ever let yourself believe that “it’s going to happen, but to someone else.

The Warrior Mindset vs the “Sheeple” Mindset

It takes about 1 to 3 seconds for the average man to force his/her  mindset through these 3 stages and get into the fight.
Stage one—-  Denial of reality.
Stage two—-  Mental ascent to the probability of violence.
Stage three— Action,  forced by deadly conflict.

In most cases you will not have 3 seconds, which is why most people get hurt or killed even if they are “armed’ and “trained”.    They are not training themselves in the warrior mindset.    No amount of training in the arts or techniques of fighting is going to help if you don’t fight in time.

The “libs” of our communities will criticize that we are “cultivating paranoia”.  Don’t let them turn you!

That idea is based in a totally illogical overview.  The “libs would have everyone disarm, and never dwell on any possibility of real or deadly violence.  Sheep would have the wolves do the same, but wolves will not listen. 

In their twisted and incomplete way of thinking  (thinking?  ….Well… maybe I should write “feeling”) avoidance of the subject matter is insurance against the act.

It’s no different than removing seat belts from your car so it won’t crash.

Obviously someone with seat belts is looking for a crash—– in the same way someone with a gun is looking for a fight.  If this line of logic seems silly or foolish to you it’s only because it is.

I have been carrying handguns on my person since I was a mid-teen.  I have carried a pocket knife since I was 9.  I have had to use guns and my hands and feet to fight several times in my life. 

 And yet most people who know me say I am one of the nice guys.

 I love to help people and I love to cultivate friendships.  I am not predatory against my fellow man, and despite the “libs” feelings on the matter, when I am with others they are never less safe,  always at lest as safe as they would be without me, and usually more safe.
Even if they don’t know it.
Even if they don’t care about it.
And even if they hate the fact that I can protect myself and them.

Social Interaction

It is possible to teach some “libs” the truth.

Some are very difficult, but I have been able to teach some libs because not all are stupid.  Many are sincere, and those that are more sincere about a quest for betterment than they are about winning an argument can and have been educated.  

The facts don’t support their side, so feelings are all they have to fall back on, and insults against their opponents.

Those that do not sink to those levels are very often worth your efforts. Those that are honest and want to know truth (even if they don’t like it) will learn and are worth the effort to teach. 

If some will not learn, and are 100% unwilling to listen to any facts or truth, it’s best to allow for the fact that their opinion is unworthy of your time, and let them live in their world of feelings.

Do not bend in your convictions, or in your mindset to be prepared for combat at any time. Simply go on with your life as safely and as confidently as possible. Let the libs be the sheep they insist on being.

Let them take the seat belts out of their own cars too if they want, but not out of yours yours, (so to speak)  Let them go on with their lives until the crash,  thinking they are now safer right up until their last second. 

If you have the warrior mindset you are never unarmed.  Your mind IS the weapon.

Things that you use in your hands are only tools.  Tools don’t do the work.  Tools are only worked with by the worker.  Just as a saw and wood plane will not make a table, a gun will not defend you and your loved ones. That task is up to the worker.

In Summary

In the article above the one deficit the man had was the lack of proper mindset.

He knew that the area had grizzly bears, but he didn’t believe he was truly going to have to defend himself against one.  If that belief had been genuine and sincere he would have done exactly that.

The tools he had would have been in the condition of readiness and in position to have instant access.

This is not an ethical or moral judgment in any way.  It is simply a fact that this poor man didn’t believe this kind of thing would happen to HIM.  He was wrong.  I am thankful to God that he is not DEAD WRONG!

I am sure marksmanship and quality of the tool (the rifle) were not problems with this man.  He went on to kill a good Bighorn Sheep a bit later on, so that’s proof enough that he knows how to use a rifle well.

He had the rifle on his person as I said before.  He might even have had pepper spray in his pack. He had the time it takes for the bear to come 40 yards to get into action.

None of those advantages were used because of the one problem I am focused on here, to the point of sounding like a broken record about it. He didn’t believe it would really happen.

Correct mind set would have caused him to change ALL these factor before he was 20 yards away from his truck. He would have been ready for a real fight, and I am sure he would have done well.  Ability never trumps willingness.  Without willingness ability is wasted.

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