By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is reminding people that no matter how tough they might think they are, a grizzly bear is tougher.
A recent national poll conducted by YouGov America showed what animals Americans thought they could defeat in a fight, and about 6% of respondents believed they could definitely win in a fight against a grizzly bear.
This group of people obviously has never seen the film “Grizzly Man,” about a bear enthusiast who claimed to have won the trust of certain brown bears and was later killed by one.
Nonetheless, the Game and Fish department reminded people that even though it might sound cool to take part in a cage match with a grizzly, no one should ever fight bears — or any animal, for that matter.
“The Wyoming Game and Fish Department views human-wildlife conflicts very seriously, and interactions between humans and grizzlies can be extremely dangerous,” Game and Fish Spokeswoman Sara DiRienzo told Cowboy State Daily on Friday. “Seeking out conflict with any wildlife is not only dangerous but irresponsible as well.
“Obviously, Game and Fish does not support anyone instigating a fight with bears (or any wildlife) and urges people to educate themselves on bear safety and take extra steps to avoid conflicts,” she continued
The top three animals people thought they could beat in a fight were a rat (72% thought they could win), a house cat (69%) and a goose (61%).
Admittedly, grizzlies were the animal the fewest people thought they could beat. Lions, elephants and gorillas were selected as the underdog by 8% of those responding. Crocodiles (9%) and wolves (12%) were also selected as more likely to be bested in a match with a human.
Noted outdoor enthusiast and Pinedale resident Paul Ulrich, who has had multiple encounters with bears, said anyone who thinks they can take a grizzly is an “idiot.”
“A few years ago, I was about 20 yards away from a 1,200-pound grizzly bear and if it wasn’t for my bear spray, it wouldn’t have been pretty,” Ulrich said. “I think I would have been fine because I’m in shape but my buddy is a 300 pounder and that bear was looking at him like a double cheeseburger.”
Ulrich said the bear spray stopped the grizzly and allowed he and his friend to get to their pickup truck in time to escape.
“These bears are not only fast but they’re nimble,” Ulrich said. “My friend is slow, fat, and uncoordinated. That bear would have chopped him up like a food processor.”