Utah family sues Feds and State

Talk about Bear Hunting
Emily
Babble Mouth
Babble Mouth
Posts: 1155
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 1:13 am
Facebook ID: 0
Location: Catskill Mountains, NY

Utah family sues Feds and State

Postby Emily » Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:46 am

a family whose 11 year old child was killed by a black bear at a Utah park campground last summer sues:
from the Salt Lake City Tribune:
http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_8738266
The question she asked Friday after she and her family filed federal and state lawsuits: Why weren't they warned?
"We would have known something was up if there was just yellow tape up there, and I would still have my son," a tearful Ives said at attorney Allen K. Young's Provo office.
Their suits are seeking $2 million from the U.S. Forest Service and $550,000 from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR), which is protected by a state-mandated damages cap.
The suits - they name Ives, husband Tim Mulvey, and Sam's natural father, Kevan Francis, as plaintiffs - take the agencies to task for not warning campers that a dangerous bear was on the loose and failing to close the campground until officials could locate and kill the bear.
In addition, the family wants a "Sam Alert" system put into place to warn people about
Advertisement
dangerous bears and for campgrounds to be closed when one is on the loose.
But, said a state wildlife official, that's impractical in Utah's bear country.
"At first glance, it sounds like a reasonable idea," said Dean Mitchell, the DWR's conservation-outreach section chief. "But when you look at where people camp and [where bears are], it would be difficult."
Loyal Clark, Uinta National Forest spokeswoman, said the Forest Service does not comment on pending litigation.
The family alleges that the authorities knew a bear raided coolers and tore open a tent that morning, yet they did not post a notice about the imminent danger.
Young said federal and state officials, after the report from the earlier campers, searched for the high-risk bear for four hours.
The family said the only response they received from the state prior to filing the lawsuit was that the bear attack was a "natural occurrence."
Not so, said Francis. "If there's a shark attack, they close the beach."
Mulvey and Ives said they followed proper procedure for camping in bear country, stowing their food in the car. Young acknowledged the police report indicated that there were some Skittles candies in the family's tent.
dmeyers@sltrib.com


Fatal bear attack

* On June 17, Sam Ives and his family camped in American Fork Canyon at an undeveloped camping area fewer than 10 minutes' drive from their home. During the night, a black bear sliced open the tent, pulled Sam out and carried him off. His body was found 400 yards away.
* The 11-year-old was the first known Utahn to be killed in a black-bear attack, DWR officials say.
* The bear had struck that campsite earlier that day before the family arrived, raiding the coolers of an earlier camper who notified the authorities.
* After Sam's death, state and federal officials launched an intense search that ended when a federal hunter shot the bear.
* Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. said in the wake of the attack that the state would review its bear-management policies.
esp
Emily
Babble Mouth
Babble Mouth
Posts: 1155
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 1:13 am
Facebook ID: 0
Location: Catskill Mountains, NY

Provo paper editorial

Postby Emily » Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:26 am

says gov should settle
http://www.heraldextra.com/content/view/260704/3/

Sunday, 30 March 2008
State should settle bear lawsuit
Daily Herald
Utah and the federal government should settle a lawsuit over a bear attack that killed an 11-year-old Pleasant Grove boy. We think that any rational jury will find that government should have tried harder to prevent a tragedy.

On June 17, along with family members, Sam Ives was sleeping in a tent about a mile above the Timpooneke Campground in American Fork Canyon. A black bear ripped into the tent about 10:30 p.m. and dragged him off. His body was recovered about 400 yards away. The animal was tracked and killed.


Sam's family has sued state federal and wildlife agencies, seeking damages of $2.5 million. The key part of the lawsuit is that the same bear had attacked a tent at the same location in the early morning hours that same day. The boy's family says that if they had known of that incident, they never would have camped where they did. They blame wildlife officials for not closing the campground and not adequately notifying campers of the dangers.

The earlier attack was serious. About 5:30 a.m. a bear, apparently attracted by a cooler, went through a tent occupied by two young people. They got out, and with friends they threw rocks and fired pistols into the air to drive the bear away.

Wildlife officials designated the animal as a dangerous Level III bear and hunted for it, but without success. A wildlife official reportedly stayed at the site, but left before Sam and his family arrived.

The family says that because wildlife officers knew of the earlier incident, they should have warned campers. By one account, government hunters in a truck exiting the campsite actually passed the family. But the hunters only waved; they said nothing about the bear.

Wildlife officials have expressed regret about the incident, but say they did all they reasonably could.

But did they?

To get some perspective, consider the practices at Yellowstone National Park, famous for its bear encounters. Experts there stress the need to prevent bears from becoming accustomed to people and human food. Yellowstone visitors are reminded by signs, written materials and rangers that they must, at all costs, keep food away from the bears. Rangers patrol sites nightly to remind visitors of the rules. If danger arises, Yellowstone will close campsites.

Should Utah wildlife officials have closed the campsite where Sam was attacked? We think so. It is not enough to hide behind a policy. Common sense says that there's a responsibility to warn people when a specific danger is known.

Obviously, campers should understand that nature is intrinsically dangerous. Wild predators of several varieties roam the mountains and can cause trouble for people. If this had been a random attack with no advance warning, the whole argument would be different.

But the possession of information changes responsibility. It's hard to view the failure to warn campers about this bear as anything but an example of negligence.

How far did wildlife officers think the bear was likely to have roamed in Timpanogos terrain? One mile? Five miles? And how far is far enough for safety?

Bears forage at night. Moreover, according to Canadian researchers D.R. Klinka and T.E. Reimchen of the University of Victoria, bears follow regular trails and are less likely to be deterred by humans in darkness. At night, bears maintain "high fidelity to [the] trails," the researchers wrote in 2002, and certain trails appear to act as "nocturnal sensory corridors."

This could mean that the bad bear on Mount Timpanogos had long been a regular visitor to the same camping spot.

Whether local wildlife experts were aware of such nuances or not, the basic fact remains that the whole backside of Mount Timpanogos is regulated by government -- both developed and undeveloped areas. Therefore, a certain moral obligation falls upon public employees who are charged with wildlife management to share what they know.

It seems so simple.

Let's look at the question from another perspective. What would a school principal do if an armed man burst into a classroom, then ran off? You can bet school would be cancelled for a day or two until students' safety could be reasonably assured. By the same token, all the campgrounds on Mount Timpanogos should have been closed that day.

"Policy" is only the minimum starting point; it should never be viewed as a bastion of immunity.

Legally, perhaps, the situation is not clear-cut. State policy is said to be discretionary, and as such provides some protection from damage claims. The argument is that the state cannot be held liable if the basis of action hinges on personal discretion of employees.

We doubt that would sway a jury, however. And we don't want to see this matter drag on to an expensive -- both financially and emotionally -- conclusion.

Sam's family is hoping their lawsuit will push officials to establish "Sam alerts" to notify campers and shut campgrounds when a bear presents a danger. We agree with this sentiment. State policies should clearly direct such action, in our view. In addition, mandatory procedures, not merely discretionary ones, should be instituted.

We know Sam's family is still in agony over their son's death. His stepfather, Tim Mulvey, is a Daily Herald employee. But that doesn't change the logic. When government knows of a danger, it should be required to share the information. That's true whether the danger is tainted food, a likely flood, an armed criminal, a terrorist plot, a faulty product or a rogue bear.
esp
Ike

Postby Ike » Wed Apr 02, 2008 2:01 am

Hummer
Tight Mouth
Tight Mouth
Posts: 76
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2007 3:59 pm
Facebook ID: 0
Location: WI

Postby Hummer » Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:29 am

Ike

Postby Ike » Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:36 am

liontracker
Babble Mouth
Babble Mouth
Posts: 2052
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:49 pm
Location: CO
Location: Durango, CO

Postby liontracker » Wed Apr 02, 2008 12:26 pm

The Real problem here is the anti-hunting attitudes and propaganda that is spreading like cancer throughout america, including the state game and fish agengies. If they want to sue somebody they should sue the Humane society for reckless endangerment. After all, predators are the top of the food chain and the only law they know is kill or be killed. Our fore fathers discovered the hard way what an acceptable level of large predators was around civilization. This self riteous - fish aquarium view that the antis have of mother nature is going to cause a lot more large predator attacks on humans. The simple fact is - humans have changed, but predators have not and will not.
User avatar
TomJr
Open Mouth
Open Mouth
Posts: 637
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:50 am
Location: Arizona
Facebook ID: 100004374097746
Location: Hereford
Contact:

Postby TomJr » Wed Apr 02, 2008 6:57 pm

User avatar
hounddoggin'
Silent Mouth
Silent Mouth
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:27 pm
Facebook ID: 0
Location: god's country

Postby hounddoggin' » Wed Apr 02, 2008 8:33 pm

Camping in bear country is "at your own risk" isn't it... yes it is a couple of sad stories, but what could the state or dwr do about it... any bear could be a dangerous animal
liontracker
Babble Mouth
Babble Mouth
Posts: 2052
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:49 pm
Location: CO
Location: Durango, CO

Postby liontracker » Thu Apr 03, 2008 12:55 pm

The problem is that "bear country" has become back alleys and high use campgrounds w/dumpsters. It is plainly obvious that some areas of the west have too many bears. 2nd and 3rd generation dumpster divers are nothing more than an accident waiting to happen. How many more people will die before the general public comes to their senses ?
Spanky
Open Mouth
Open Mouth
Posts: 837
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2007 6:05 pm
Facebook ID: 0
Location: Swan Lake, Montana
Contact:

Postby Spanky » Sat Apr 05, 2008 8:33 pm

Scott Sciaretta

Groom Creek Kennels
www.Hounddawgs.net
Cedar Creek Outfitters
www.Cedarcreekmt.com

Leave it in the tree if you want to run another day!!!


Return to “Bear Hunting”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests