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Episode 34 - Bob Jackson


Bob worked as a backcountry ranger for Yellowstone Park for 30 years, where he became known as “Action Jackson” for his work that led to a record number of convictions of poachers in the park’s remote southern area known as the Thorofare. Bob rode perhaps around 70,000 miles in Yellowstone’s backcountry, and had lots of bear encounters, but he never had to deploy bear spray once. Some of the poachers Bob helped convict were protected by powerful politicians like former Vice President Dick Cheney, which put him in the crosshairs of his own agency. Here Bob shares stories of his fascinating career and gives simple, logical and compelling advice on how mounting hunter conflicts with grizzly bears can be reduced.





INTERVIEW EXCERPTS

"Once you get into “horse country” down in the southern part southeast corner of Yellowstone…it’s kind of a lawless land."

"All those [hunter] camps could be clean, but they’re not. Why aren’t they? Why are they leaving the elk carcasses where the bears can get at ‘em? They all know what they need to do, but they’re not going to because it’s more important to be “old wild west…'”

"…you’re behind a tree or cliff waiting for the bad guys, because you’re in a good spot but that good spot means you’re hidden even more. And so, if the wind was right, the bear could be really on you. That happened four times. That’s where your scalp actually moves, you feel it move, and you got a 50 percent chance. And so, you could say I was lucky."

"…I mean the bears are what makes life. Yeah, I always had to think of bears -- every night you bang on the door before you go out in case there’s a bear right on your porch. You’re yelling “here bear” when you’re going to the outhouse, you’ve got your flash light, you’re ready to go. But that’s where the humbleness comes in. You’re not top dog.

That’s how I would get the poachers, you let them go through all their stories, and you break them down, and they cry when they’re broken down. Then you get the confessions."

"The culture is what’s got to change… Like first off, [hunters] have to get full [elk] quarters out of there, just like everybody used to do. And they got to get them out immediately…. All these bears that are coming around [outfitters] camps, if there isn’t food, they don’t come around."



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