Less than an hour old bear tracks (!) on my way to LA/HM-212

On my way to LA/HM-212 today I discovered fresh bear tracks. When I met a person later in the day, I was able to verify that the bear tracks were less than an hour old. (One who had gone the same way as me told me when I met him, the exact time when he had gone there. The bear tracks crossed his tracks and he had not seen the bear tracks which were very clear across the snowy road). My adrenaline and pulse up to the summit was higher than normal, because I know that it is common for the bear to have control over where we humans are - when we are so close. I think it was probably a relatively large bear (the round box is 7 cm wide)

When I know there is a bear nearby, I didn’t want to go any further than I had to, so when I got to the activation zone, - 528meter from the top point itself, - I set up the antenna and started the activation. After 16 QSOs, the telescope mast collapses (cause: icing and that it is worn) and it also starts to get a little darker, then I packed my things and went down to the car. I ask for the understanding of the chasers that I did not complete the entire pileup, but ended it early…


Being scarred by bear, but not even getting winter bonus… :slight_smile:


I don’t think you need to apologise for cutting the activation short in order to avoid being eaten by a bear. I think you have a pretty valid excuse!!!

I don’t know the rules in your country. Do you carry (or are you allowed to carry) weapons for “self defence”?

Luckily where I live in the UK, we don’t have too many dangerous animals, which makes it completely unnecessary. It’s also illegal in the UK to carry weapons for self defence (at least as a civilian). Probably the most dangerous animals in this country are horses & cows. As much as they can be quite territorial & aggressive in calving season, most of the time they leave you alone.

Other than that, most of our hilltops are littered with sheep which pose significantly more of a hazard while driving to the parking area in your car!!!

I’ve often wondered about other countries which do have dangerous animals. I know in Svalbard there’s a requirement to have some form of defence against polar bears (usually a rifle or bear spray).

Without getting into the politics of firearms, from what I’ve read on the subject (I was considering a visit to Svalbard) a 2008 study seems to suggest that bear spray is usually more effective if you do find yourself in the unlucky situation of having an unintentional confrontation with a bear.


Bears are very rare in Norway but there are more in Sweden, which you were very close so it may have slipped over the border. :slight_smile:

It may not be much reassurance but European Brown bears are very shy and attacks very unusual, 4 deaths in the last 100 years I have read and these were probably mothers defending their cubs.

Looking at the weather you have the bear must be getting ready to hibernate soon. Which may make a return visit more comfortable. :slight_smile:


Lucky you! The bear lost its snus and you found it!
Tnx fer s2s!



Much easier James is to take someone with you who cannot run as fast as you can. No need for guns etc. in this case :slight_smile:


As far as I know, the bear will hibernate in October/November, so he must go to bed soon :slight_smile:
It has been mild and little snow, this is probably the reason why he has not found a place for the winter. It was an absolutely fantastic nature experience, this is the second time in two years that I have had an “almost” bear encounter on a SOTA trip


The bear has been completely protected in Norway since 1973. After that, bears are shared through licensing and damage reduction to stop or prevent damage to cattle, sheep and domestic reindeer etc. There is no penalty for shooting bears in an emergency (i.e. a farmer who shoots a bear while attacks his sheep ), but beyond this there is a prison sentence for shooting bears in Norway.

When it comes to polar bears on Svalbard, there are completely separate rules. Due to the danger of polar bears on Svalbard, everyone who moves outside the settlements must have suitable means of scaring away polar bears. The governor also recommends carrying firearms.


You are absolutely right:
The bear is afraid of people and does what it can to avoid meeting us, says researcher Ole-Gunnar Støen at the Norwegian Institute for Natural Research (NINA).

The researchers have carried out several hundred trials in Sweden, where they have gone against radio-tagged bears in areas with a high density of bears.

Although the researchers were close to the bears, and knew where they were, they saw bears in only one out of five cases. None of the bears were aggressive, nor were the bears with cubs.

One of the very best things about the SOTA program is that I get unique nature experiences - like this experience. In addition, I have to be in control in all kinds of weather and at the same time take care of all the radio equipment. Last but not least, I greatly appreciate all the pleasant QSOs I have while at summits


Lucky me! S2S with you 3 minutes before the telescopic mast collapsed. :+1:

If I had known if the bear had been radio-tagged, and knew the frequency and mode, I could have radio-tracked him and given him back the snus :grinning:


When I visited Svalbard, a Norwegian zoologist guided our multi-national party to the field. He had a pistol with him. I wanted to see a polar bear at a safe distance, but no bear appeared.
In Japan, we have black bears in Honshu (the main island of Japan), and brown bears in Hokkaido. I always carry a bear deterrent spray in mountains. Photo: black bear footprints at Hayachinesan (JA/IT-002)


Interesting setup with your box fixable a tree - certainly a good and simple idea!

Thanks for our contact on Saturday.

73, Markus HB9DIZ

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Black bears are common here in W4V (and the surrounding areas). I’ve come across black bears singularly and with cubs a number of times while biking, hiking, SOTAing, camping, and hunting (though they’re always absent when I’m actually hunting bear). I’ve yet to have one act aggressively and most of the time they take off running when they realize I’m there. The mother and cub stood their ground, but weren’t aggressive, more wary.

I’m more concerned about rogue humans or wild domesticated dogs than any properly wild wildlife. Both are unpredictable and have no fear of humans.



Presumably likely to be armed in W-land, unlike the bears.

Entirely possible. Another growing concern is illegal drug operations (labs, “farms”, etc). It’s a big problem out west with these activities taking place in the national forests (huge tracts of essentially uncontrolled public land). I haven’t yet heard of it happening in the eastern national forests where I roam though.

All that said, I don’t want to paint a scary picture of the national forests as I’ve never had any problems in nearly 40 years of recreating in them. The vast majority of other users I come across are friendly, polite, and just want to be out in nature.


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Polar bears are much more of a problem than brown bears, as they aren’t avoiding people, will investigate any chance of food and are really curious, but can switch moods from curious to agressive very quickly. If you’re travelling outside settlements on Svalbard you do need to carry some means of discouraging a bear and protect yourself, but you must still do everything in your power to deescalate any encounter and to avoid having to shoot a bear. The governor takes any such cases really seriously and will launch an investigation to determine whether you acted appropriately or not.


I’d place our resident Viper, the Adder, above a horse or cow on the dangerous animals list James.

Then I’d put the midge above that!


Believe it or not, but deer appear to be the number one animal killer in the UK!

There hasn’t been an adder death in the UK since the 1970s. Cattle kill 4-5 people a year, dogs 2, bees and wasps kill 2 to 9 (from anaphylactic shock) and deer kill 20 (from car accidents).


If it’s just general statatistics you’re looking at (ie googling) without specifying “in the mountain environment”, then I suspect humans are the animal that cause most deaths.


I’ve never actually seen an adder before. Thankfully they are very shy.

My understanding is that their bite is nasty & extremely painful but generally not lethal for most healthy people?

I was under the impression that cattle cause the most deaths (usually by crushing farm workers or attacking hikers who get too close to their young).

Are we considering car accidents caused by wildlife?

I would be interested to know how many sheep manage to kill people in car accidents (given how many I’ve seen randomly wondering around in the middle of the road in parts of Wales). I don’t think it would be fair to say sheep are particularly dangerous animals!

I know a few people do get attacked by deer but I don’t think there’s very many incidents of this? It’s usually down to people in our parks getting too close when they have their young. I thought deer generally run away?

I think that remark was made with a certain degree of sarcasm & humour but to be fair they are known to spread disease.

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