Yesterday I read all the news articles I could find about the 14-year-old bear hunter who mistook and fatally shot a woman on a popular hiking trail.
I must admit it depressed me all day. What a tragedy for all concerned. Many people asked how it could happen, but that is because they weren’t there. It can happen and did. We all believe there are places where we are safe, and one of those places is a well used hiking trail. In this case, the “what ifs” will haunt all involved for a long time. The story as I found it was that two teenagers, a 14 year old and a 16 year old were dropped off in the morning by their grandfather to hunt bears, a season which opens in Washington State on August 1, just when there are lots and lots of other people in the woods. The kids were looking for and thinking bear. It was foggy enough that the woman who was shot had stopped to put on her poncho (blue) and was bending over her pack on the trail. The kid saw a dark shape, the size of a bear and shot. There was no mention of where the woman’s hiking partner was at the time, or where the other boy was. The 14 year old was a good shot and the woman died and fell down a steep slope.
I go out in the wilderness by myself all the time. As a result, I try to pay better attention to everything around me. In this case, I might have seen the boy’s tracks, and as they had no vehicle at the trailhead it would have looked suspicous to me. But no mention was made of whether they were on the trail or off it. Lots of people in Washington State do not realize there is an open hunting season starting August 1. I try to keep up on those things, even though I don’t hunt. I have always felt that well used trails are the most dangerous places because I have learned that humans are by far the most dangerous animals in the wilderness. No other animal has a weapon that can kill from so far away. Any wild animal has to be up close and personal to kill or harm you. There isn’t any way to fix this accident, or anything that I can think of that the woman should have done differently. I can even feel sorry for the 14 year old as I have seen many a “rock bear” in my life. He will turn on the rotisserie of guilt all his life for not taking a second look.
Causes Linda Hunter Supports