In the 1950’s there were lots of bears in Yellowstone National Park. Despite warnings, people fed them, got out of their cars to photograph them, and listened to the campground garbage cans being raided. I saw hundreds of bears in Yellowstone, but have seen only one in the wild elsewhere.
I was never in danger there, but did have a few experiences. We traveled with a nineteen foot travel trailer, which made camping a lot easier. On one trip we were in a campground near the Firehole River so my father could fly fish. A sow and her two cubs had established residence close to all that food in the trash cans. The Park Service decided it was dangerous to have them in the campground and decided to trap them. The trap they used was mounted on a trailer. It was made from a ten foot section of galvanized 48″ culvert, closed at one with a trap door at the other end. They put bait up near the closed end with a trigger arrangement that closed the door when moved.
It worked. It trapped mom, but the cubs were outside. What a noise! She sent the cubs up a tree and they cried. Mom roared. I don’t remember when she was trapped but it was still dark, and there was no more sleeping for anyone in the campground. The Rangers showed up around 8:00 AM and stood around trying to decide what to do. The usual procedure was to haul the bears to a remote area some distance from the capture point and release them there.
This would not work here, with two howling cubs up a tree. Why hadn’t they thought of this beforehand? Three bears making enough noise to be heard at Old Faithful and a couple dozen campers standing around watching the fun. The Rangers thought about moving the trap across the creek and releasing her there. Would she charge back on a rampage? Would she stay there with two cubs across the creek afraid to come out of their tree? Would she cross the creek, collect the kids send then go on a rampage?
The Rangers were reluctant to release her right there, afraid of a rampage. Dilemma. Lots of standing around and talking. They finally chased all the campers away some distance away and let her loose. She called the cubs out of the tree but they were reluctant and even noisier, then they came down, and all three left the campground in a hurry. Everyone was relieved to not have a berserk bear in their midst.
On another trip my friend Mike was along. There was a bear visiting the campground each night. My parents were in the trailer, and Mike and I slept on the reclining seats in the 1955 Nash (shudder). We decided to leave the windows down and shoot the bear with our slingshots when he came around.
We had a metal cooler with lunch food that we kept in the car when traveling. It was on the ground outside the car with good smells coming from it. We slept, than something woke me up. I heard something outside and poked Mike to wake him up. We loaded our slingshots and looked out. A BEAR! Just out the window. A big bear! Never have hand cranked windows gone up so fast. No shooting bears that night.