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More fun in Southeast today #15081579 07/26/20
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pabucktail Offline OP
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More fun in Southeast Alaska today! I decided to hike and explore around a salt chuck, which is basically a very confined bay of salt water connected to the sea by a narrow neck that goes dry at a low tide, basically making it an independent salt water lake for a several hours a day. It turned out the country was very brushy and broken by small, steep, hills and cliffs. The steep hillside comes right down to the water in many areas there. As I was quietly making by way along the "lake" an out of place noise caught my attention, it was the sound of a bear clacking its teeth. They chomp their teeth together as an act of aggression and threat. Not sure if I'd really heard that or not, I took step up the hill and listened. Definite teeth clacking, not more than 20 or 25 yards uphill from me. Taking in this sound I look around me and I realize I've walked right into a cache. Along with enough torn up dirt to make you think someone was practicing with an excavator, there are two giant piles of crap next to me. The pop-can circumference of them tells me the guy making the noises is a big bear. My nose is full of the smell of him, earthy with a slightly acrid muskiness to it.

When bears kill a deer or another bear they can't eat it all one sitting so they will tear up the ground to bury what's left and then bed down nearby, generally uphill or someplace they can see and guard their food. Many people have been charged when the stumble upon these caches. Walking up on a brown bear's food cache is one of the most dangerous things you can do here.

So anyway, I've got this guy up hill, close, and sounding mad. The clacking sounds are now joined by menacing, huffing roar-growls. It's brushy here and visibility maxes out at about 15 yards. I cannot see him, or see any brush moving to tell me exactly where he is. Regardless, he cannot be more than 25 yards away. I feel the sounds as much as hear them. I plant my feet, point the .375 his way and swing the safety to the middle position, expecting at any second to once again hear the sounds of a charge; the guttural bellow that announces he's coming and then the sound of sticks breaking and brush parting as he barrels in, the sort of sound a decent size car might make as it rolls down a hill in neutral at 35mph. I know this is about to happen. He'll come low and fast, the real thing, not some high up posturing bluff charge. I kneel with both knees on the ground, low in order to see him well through the brush. I remind myself not to belt him until the angle's good and he's clear enough of the brush to really plow him. It occurs to me it was rather gentlemanly of him to give a bit of a heads up. Here. We. Go. In the space of about 10 seconds I've gone from a jolly little hike to the verge of fighting.

Then I realize the reason I have a nose full of bear is that the wind is blowing from him to me. He likely thinks I'm another bear. Then I start talking to him. For what it's worth I talk to bears in German, because somewhere out there is a French brown bear. The teeth clacking continues as I look around to figure my options for escape. I realize to go back the way I came puts me at the bottom of a funnel that leads right up to him. If I go that way and he stays grumpy it might incite him to charge. Escape sidehill the way I was headed is no good due to two fallen and interlocked yellow cedars. Their springy branches are as impenetrable as barbed wire at the moment. Downhill is the only option. It's about 25 yards to the water, and I head that way, talking and making noise to let him know I'm leaving. He continues the angry noises. At the bottom the hill turns into a cliff, and it's a good ten feet straight down to the water, There's no way I'm heading any other way so I grab an alder branch the size of my arm in one hand while holding the rifle in the other. Fast, but not too fast I end up in water past my knees with more function than grace. From there it's a short walk down the beach to safety, and a much longer one around the bay to get back to the boat.

In the end I had a hike that got my heart rate up, and didn’t have to do any skinning and hide hauling. It was a good day.

BP-B2

Re: More fun in Southeast today [Re: pabucktail] #15082376 07/26/20
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frank500 Offline
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Nicely written !!!! We leave bear incidents relieved there were no short loud noises. It is exhilarating to me to be close to a large predator. Unfortunately in Wyoming the bears are emboldened by the lack of short loud noises followed by pain and severe bleeding.

Re: More fun in Southeast today [Re: pabucktail] #15082620 07/26/20
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I like bears. Smart and generally - as you say - gentlemanly - even the ladies.

Until they aren't.

Good outcome there, and great post.

Makes you feel great to be unscathed, no? smile


The only true cost of having a dog is its death.
"It would have been a good distance shot if they hadn't been so far away". Seth Kantner in "Shopping for Porcupine"
Re: More fun in Southeast today [Re: pabucktail] #15082654 07/26/20
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pabucktail Offline OP
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Yes, the walk back to the boat was filled with a sort of exhilarating appreciation.

Re: More fun in Southeast today [Re: pabucktail] #15083510 07/26/20
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kk alaska Offline
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Well written thanks for sharing!

Quote (He'll come low and fast, the real thing, not some high up posturing bluff charge.)

Thats for sure lo and fast, head down and, not popping there teeth or huffing. On a serious charge, after words you sure feel alive! IMHO


kk alaska

Alaska 7 months of winter then 5 months of tourists
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Re: More fun in Southeast today [Re: pabucktail] #15083662 07/26/20
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Valsdad Online Content
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Interesting story,

thanks.


The desert is a true treasure for him who seeks refuge from men and the evil of men.
In it is contentment
In it is death and all you seek
(Quoted from "The Bleeding of the Stone" Ibrahim Al-Koni)

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Re: More fun in Southeast today [Re: pabucktail] #15083681 07/26/20
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mainer_in_ak Offline
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Pa,
I'm glad you're ok. Good on yah to keep ah cool, keen sense of the situation.

Re: More fun in Southeast today [Re: pabucktail] #15083930 07/26/20
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Originally Posted by pabucktail
Yes, the walk back to the boat was filled with a sort of exhilarating appreciation.

Just don’t let your guard down!


If you take the time it takes, it takes less time.
--Pat Parelli

American by birth; Alaskan by choice.
--ironbender
Re: More fun in Southeast today [Re: pabucktail] #15084016 07/26/20
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Now that’s sporty .


I do not entertain hypotheticals. The world itself is vexing enough. -- Col. Stonehill
Re: More fun in Southeast today [Re: pabucktail] #15084160 07/26/20
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las Offline
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Up here we call it "adventure", and try to avoid same.... smile


The only true cost of having a dog is its death.
"It would have been a good distance shot if they hadn't been so far away". Seth Kantner in "Shopping for Porcupine"
IC-B

Re: More fun in Southeast today [Re: pabucktail] #15084288 07/26/20
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Tejano Offline
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Nice write up. The 375 is a good companion to have along for these kinds of encounters. Every time I was close enough to smell bears the hair on the back of my neck would stand up like a dog getting ready for a fight. A pleasant reminder that we are still animals with primitive instincts and reactions. Makes you feel good to be alive.


"When you disarm the people, you commence to offend them and show that you distrust them either through cowardice or lack of confidence, and both of these opinions generate hatred." Niccolo Machiavelli
Re: More fun in Southeast today [Re: pabucktail] #15085798 07/27/20
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GAGoober Offline
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To paraphrase as Fred Bear said: “It will cleanse the soul.”

Re: More fun in Southeast today [Re: GAGoober] #15088596 07/28/20
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Originally Posted by GAGoober
To paraphrase as Fred Bear said: “It will cleanse the soul.”


The cleanup may take a little doing. Or is that doo-dooing? smile


The only true cost of having a dog is its death.
"It would have been a good distance shot if they hadn't been so far away". Seth Kantner in "Shopping for Porcupine"

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