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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hungry Bear

On our recent goat hunt, after we got back to camp with our goat we had a visit from a hungry bear. At first we thought it was pretty cool, and, confident in our electric fence and the meat hanging up high in a tree, we took lots of pictures. But the next day the bear returned and was much more aggressive and persistent. He was not deterred by shots into the air, yells, or anything. He wanted the goat and even aggressively charged the fence a few times. This was NOT cool and with visions of sleepless nights fending off hungry bear we called our air charter and arranged a move to another place to hunt.

Hungry bear did not want us to take the goat away, and pursued us down onto the beach where we were awaiting pickup by float plane. This time my brother shot close enough to the bear to spray him with gravel. He circled around and then meandered off to dig for sand fleas on the mud flats. We watched him in the distance while we waited for our ride. We began to wonder if we had over-reacted, and if, perhaps, we should have stayed at our camp.

It turned out our plane got delayed so we moved all of our gear to the other side of the bay by raft to camp for the night. We figured the bear would leave us alone over there. But NO! The next day when the plane arrived the pilot reported that the bear was swimming across the bay directly towards us. He had to haze it with the float plane to get it to go back to the other side. It seems we had not over-reacted - that was one persistent bear and I am sure that if we had not left to hunt elsewhere it would have made our nights miserable.

While at the head of Uyak Bay we noticed that the hungry bear was the only bear around. This is very unusual as Uyak Bay is usually swarming with bears feeding on fish. But this year the salmon runs on the west side of Kodiak largely failed - so far less bears than usual. Our bear appears to be a sub adult and his mother probably taught him to frequent the area for fish at this time of year and he does not know of any place else to go. Making it worse, the recent deluge of rain on Kodiak (6 inches in one day) washed all the remaining spawning salmon out of the rivers. We did not see any salmon in the local streams. No wonder the bear wanted our goat meat. Patrick

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