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Old 07-30-2010, 08:46 PM
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Default Bears & Tranqullizers;

Rather than tag to the existing thread about the recent bear attack in Yellowstone I have something further to toss out for your thoughts. I realize that bear attacks are not General Fly Fishing Discussion but this is current and this is a much viewed forum area so................

On the thread about the attacks Jimmie made a post and I am going to quote it here to set the context for my writing.

[Ouote: Jimmie]What's going on?
When we were in that area at the end of June there was a gentlemen killed when he was in an area where some bears had recently been tranquilized. [Quote]


That jogged my memory; I know a fella who is about one of the 'earthiest' person I have ever met. Tony is a Pawnee Indian and for years (late seventies through 1983) he lived off the land in the areas around Yellowstone Park. In 1981 we were fishing the Madison together in an area where a man had been killed three weeks earlier. Needless to say the topic came up. Tony had observed that many of the bears who go berserk had previously been "tranquilized" by the wildlife dept. He stated that the "Knock Down Drug" that is used on Grizzly Bears is the pharmaceutical counter part to the street drug PCP. Many may remember that PCP is what was at the root of the behavior that got Rodney King into the mess years ago.

PCP or 'Angle Dust' is one of the most powerful drugs out there and my friend believes that bears who are subjected to the huge doses of tranquillizers simply have brain damage from the drugs used. He pointed to the differences in complexity between the human brain and the much more primitive brain functions of Grizzly bears as the root of the problem. Many people who have used powerful recreational drugs have went on some sort of rampage either while high on the drug or in some cases much later while experiencing an almost bi-polar depression syndrome from the damage the drugs had done to their brain chemistry. Remember this, it is a "problem bear" who gets the darts, not bears who act normal. So if you have an individual who is a problem person when sober what's the chance that person will "mellow out" when you give them some PCP?

Now as you may know I am not a biologist or a researcher of any sort of data relating to rouge bears. However I place a fair amount of consideration to observations made by natives of an area who have proven to me to be very savvy about wildlife behavior. Tony is one such person and I never forgot what he told me way back then. I would be of interest to see if the Park Service has records that could correlate bears who attack people with drugs at all. I'm sure not all bear attacks are related to the drugging of 'problem' individuals but there must be some.


Ard
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Old 07-30-2010, 09:32 PM
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Default Re: Bears & Tranqullizers;

This is a really interesting and thought-provoking post, Ard. I don't have anything to add at this point other than to note that your hypothesis makes a lot of sense to me. I'm hoping there's some aspiring biology graduate student out there who will take this on as a thesis project.
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Old 07-30-2010, 10:59 PM
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Default Re: Bears & Tranqullizers;

Hi Neal,

When Tony laid his thoughts out to me we were standing on the perimeter of the area that was still taped off where the fatality occurred. I was paying close attention to what he had to say. This guy lived in a Colman Pop up camper year round just outside West Yellowstone and hunted and trapped for substance. He was a genuine outdoor type as I saw it. He had a subtle polish to himself though. I used to meet up with him every year and we would fish his spots in Montana together. We met because he rode a motorcycle and that was how I traveled to the west every year. The bikes got us onto trails that he used and the places he took me were the sort that we were always alone out there. Those were good times.
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Old 07-31-2010, 08:19 AM
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Default Re: Bears & Tranqullizers;

Ard,
Great post; it definitely makes you wonder about the possibilities of what these supposed benign drugs can actually cause. I think a study of this subject would make for a great Masters Thesis.
Dan
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Old 07-31-2010, 09:57 AM
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Default Re: Bears & Tranqullizers;

The anatomical differences between a bears and a humans brain is tremendous. Thats why something similar to PCP would tranquilize a bear and be a major drug for us. While there is a big difference there are a lot of similarities that would be the same, atomic make up etc etc. which could cause the harmful of the pcp effects of the tranquilizer/drug to occur in later stages with a bear. Sadly when a bear goes on that sort of rampage it's a lot more dangerous... sometimes...

To what hardyreels said, generally PCP will not mellow anyone out, it's probably more of like how much it affects a person, some people maybe not a whole lot and some people get the full effect. It all has to do with how the persons brain receptors react to the drug and dopamine levels.

I'm an excercise science major in school, with a minor in biomedical sciences. But this would make a great master thesis for a grad student.
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Old 07-31-2010, 10:31 AM
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Default Re: Bears & Tranqullizers;

Interesting what your friend had to say Ard. There were two reasons that I mentioned it. It was stated that way in the newspaper in Sheridan, Wy. Another is years ago watching a documentary where they tranquilized Grizzlies, took measurements, and tagged them I saw one come out of the drug early. He was very angry. He batted a steel Army ammo can like it was a golf ball. That left three holes in the steel sides from his claws. Then he attacked their vehicle.
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Old 07-31-2010, 11:22 AM
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Default Re: Bears & Tranqullizers;

Quote:
Originally Posted by lancer09 View Post
To what hardyreels said, generally PCP will not mellow anyone out, it's probably more of like how much it affects a person, some people maybe not a whole lot and some people get the full effect. It all has to do with how the persons brain receptors react to the drug and dopamine levels.
I wrote that sentence within a facetious context, I am well aware of the effects of this drug. Cynicism runs deep in many of the things I write, I am a creature of these times.
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Old 07-31-2010, 11:57 AM
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Default Re: Bears & Tranqullizers;

Good points being brought forward. We need to however also avoid speculation into the effects of human and grizzly brains as we are two totally different species(unless you have a pharmaceutical background with a minor in vet. science or a veterinarian) and thus we can only guess. Drugs effects are so multifaceted that we barely understand their efx on humans and all humans differ in response due to age, BSA/BMI, disease or health state, etc... Speculation about this is plain guessing. Some drugs have contradicting modes of action of two different individuals or disimilar ages or sex. Not wanting to discount the theory discussed here but just to keep everything in context. I'm also sure most of us know PCP as 'angel dust'. I am not a pharmacist but I do work with them everyday-and I did sleep at the Holiday Inn Express last night as well : ^ ). As fishermen we recognize the nature of the beast and that like lightning-this is a rare occurance and perhaps only preparation and situational awareness will keep one safer.
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Old 07-31-2010, 12:24 PM
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Default Re: Bears & Tranqullizers;

That makes sense, I addressed the situational awareness topic in the Suggested Ammo For 44 Mag thread in the AK. forum (I think)

Good one about sleeping at an Express last night
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Old 07-31-2010, 10:53 PM
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Default Re: Bears & Tranqullizers;

Very good points everyone. A problem with pharmeceuticals is that sometimes we do not exactly know how or why something works. Take anti-depressants for example. We do not know why they work, generally it's speculated that it increases dopamine levels, but the problem is that we cannot physically measure the dopamine in a persons brain. Essentially in a clinical study they found that by mixing the different elements people seemed to be less depressed, we do not know exactly why or how.

Another example is viagra, it began as a heart medication in clinical testing but throughout it's trials the researchers began to find out what it did, instead of what it was intended to do within the heart, and they found out that it really, well we all know what it does.
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