Chatting around the campfire A.T.T.A.C.K.

By Duane Miles

Special to the Forks Forum

This two-part quiz is an opportunity for any brave man or woman to test some of their outdoor knowledge. In addition, any score above 90 percent will be posted in this column for anyone who submits such a score. Here is how to enter your score: make a photocopy of both part one and part two, complete these tests and mail to the address found at the end of these tests. Both your name and score will be detailed before the end of the year. At that time no more entries will be honored – so hurry. Early next year the correct answers will be posted.

Much of the following questions will pertain to knowledge which may have been first learned from the information shared in this column. The rest will require a search into each person’s previous knowledge gained from experience, study and common sense.


Part one will deal with cougars, the most potentially dangerous wild animal predator on the Olympic Peninsula. Part two will deal with both black bears and grizzly/brown bears. The addition of those large bears is because so many peninsula residents occasionally vacation, hunt or work in areas where these huge unpredictable creatures roam.


Though both cougars and black bears can be found virtually anywhere on this peninsula, perhaps the most dangerous for a confrontation with either of them is in our main wilderness area, the Olympic National Park. This is because most park users are not adequately prepared to defend themselves.

Nevertheless, a spokesperson for the ONP recently was quoted in print saying that there has not ever been a human fatality due to cougar or bear attack since the park has been in existence (1938). This is, indeed, a significant statement, if true.

But there have been some scary attacks by cougars; as many of you probably know. While bears are omnivorous and can survive without fresh meat, a cougar being carnivorous cannot. One is merely an opportunist, while the other is strictly a cold-blooded killer.


The total list of tools needed for bear defense are not all necessary for cougars. Of this complete list including a whistle (1.), a compresses air horn (2.), only a rifle (3.), a pistol (4.), a flare gun (5.) and pepper spray (6.) are needed. Take notice of those tool numbers. While using these tools, the following actions may be necessary: shouting (I.), shoot (II.), run (III.), climb tree (IV.), lie on stomach (V.), make yourself seem larger with coat, etc. (VI.), eye contact (VII.), stand still (VIII.), build fire (IX.). Be sure to put an X in the appropriate underscore _. These spaces will begin appearing next week. The quiz scenarios will now begin. Be advised that multiple answers may apply to each question.


Some 15 years ago, a backpacker made a solo trip into an Idaho wilderness area. After several miles of hiking he picked out a good camping spot. This wilderness had a large population of cougars, black bears and grizzlies. Because of the bears, he put all food items high into a tree before crawling into a mummy bag.


With the weather being mild, he chose to camp without a shelter, under the stars. While sleeping soundly, something caused him to awaken in the dead of night. And it wasn’t something caused by any bodily emergency. As he awakened he sensed that something was out of place, even though there was silence around about. He soon realized that he couldn’t  see stars directly above his head. Some unknown object was above him, but he was pinned in that bag unable to reach any defensive tool.


Moving as quickly as he could, he thrust himself onto his knees, now facing what he suddenly made out to be a tensed cougar.


Sorry, this will have to be continued…


By the way, be sure to retain the previous data and instructions!


Mail replies to the quiz to the Forks Forum, PO Box 300 Forks WA 98331…


May light for your feet guide you on the path of life until we meet again.