Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"No Way Out" - John McCoy

Rating: ***

No Way Out is the story of a man named Philip Propst who trains his dogs year-round by practicing "catch-and-release" bear hunting. Hunters can turn their dogs loose on wild bears at any time, but the dogs must be called off if ever close to an attack. Propsts loved to chase bears with his dogs but hadn’t wanted to harm or kill a bear for many years. Early one morning he began a trip much like all his others, bringing 10 dogs up towards the summit of Cheat Mountain. There they drove slowly until the dogs could catch the sent of a bear. Finally two dogs located what seemed to be a 250 pound male bear and Propst let the pack of dogs loose to follow bear. When the snarls and barks of the dogs turned into whimpers and howls Propst immediately ran towards the scene, hoping he could save his dogs before the bear could kill them all. The dogs had cornered the bear in a V shape and Propst thought that the bear may be able to squeeze through the small opening behind him. Thinking he was in the clear Propst entered the V to retrieve his dogs. Without him realizing it the bear had turned around and begun to charge towards him, within seconds Propst was on the ground kicking and fighting off the bear, using his hand to protect his face. When the dogs heard the screams of their master they leapt at the bear in full attack until the bear ran, they then continued to chase after him. The meat off the outside of Propsts right hand was mostly missing and was barely hanging there by a flap. He couldn't move any of the fingers on his left hand. There were tooth marks where the bear had bitten through one side of the hand into the other. Propst figured some tendons were bitten in two. Unable to get up he called for help, he was soon found and brought to the hospital with non life threatening injuries, but later discovered bite marks on his legs as well.

Propst was an incredibly lucky man, and acknowledges that the attack was fully his own fault. He knew the bear would kill all his dogs and felt he had to do something about it. Propst realizes that he was in the way of the bear’s only escape route and should never have entered the V.

There is so much danger involved in trained dogs to chase bears that I don’t see how it could be done as a hobby, or for fun. These dogs could have easily all lost their lives, as well as Philip Propst or any members of the crew that went with him on the excursion. The bear was just protecting itself and could have been injured for no reason. Although Propst is very lucky, and continues to bear chase, I believe it is a very ridiculous sport and simple mistakes can lead to unnecessary and lethal results.

McCoy, John. “No Way Out!” Outdoor Life Online. March 31st 2005. April 21st 2010 < http://www.outdoorlife.com/node/45010 >.

1 comment:

  1. Rating ****

    I found this article fascinating because it allowed me to see into a completely different lifestyle. My grand parents own a farm with many acres of bush and the rule has always been to leave the wild life alone unless they are harming the crops or farm animals. To see that this man Philip Propst endangers the lives of his dogs as well as himself for sport is astonishing. Hunting has always been a touchy topic no matter who you discuss it with however, I always believed that if you are hunting to protect yourself or to provide food it is not an issue. The issue arises when it is done for sport and animals lives are wasted or hung up in houses as trophies. I believe that the fact that Philip Propst decided to continue in this hobby even after this outrageous accident shows that he is reckless and I would no be surprised to be reading his name in the news sometime soon, but perhaps it will not be a survivor story.