I can remember hearing Elena holler that to us kids in Old Harbor when a Kodiak bear came down out of the hills behind the village and then fearlessly ambled into our village. Bears that did not fear man were considered "no good" and dangerous. The men in the village would shoot them. Bears did not do that often but when one did it was not tolerated.
We were taught to respect bears and keep our distance. When everyone went to Barling Bay to "get fish" for drying there were always guys with the job of keeping a watchful eye out for bears that came too close. I don't remember any bears ever being shot while we were out but I can remember hearing that there were bears close by. When the bears came then the fish gathering was hurried up and we all loaded back into the skiffs and went home to the village.
That was normal village life in the summer. Fish came and bears came. Fish went and bears went. If they didn't they were shot.
Whenever we go on a road trip here in South central Alaska I always keep my eyes peeled for bears. I never see them! I have my camera sitting on my lap in case I do though! I keep reading others stories of seeing bear especially around Denali Park! I scour the terrain looking and looking but still have not caught a bear on my camera.
I did some reading about our elusive, furry fish lovers this morning. They have furry coats in shades of blonde, brown or black or combinations of those colors. Many times the longer outer guard hairs of the brown bear are tipped with white or silver, giving it a grizzled look. Short stubby tails. Brown bears have a large hump of muscle over their shoulders, used for digging. A large bear can break the neck or spine of a fully grown buffalo with one swipe. His claws don't retract so they are usually dull with wear. Normally these bears get up to be 9.2 feet tall. The larger Kodiak bear can get to be up over 10 feet tall. Brown bears use their sharp canine teeth for neck-biting. Brown bears will ambush their prey with force. These guys have been clocked at speeds in excess of 35 mph and are known to have incredible stamina--- capable of running at full speed for miles at a time without stopping.
Brown bears may live up to 34 years but according to Alaska Department of Fish and Game "this is rare. Usually, old males may reach 22 years. Old females may live to 26." These bears can smell very good and under the right conditions may be able to detect odors more than a mile away! Hearing and eyesight are much the same as man's. When a bear stands up it is not to get ready to charge but to test the wind and to see better.
A bear CAM from National Geographic! It's at the McNeil River here in Alaska, a popular, remote, bear-viewing area. (I had to download and install a RealPlayer plug in, watch the download carefully if you don't want to get any other add-ons to your browser or desktop or have Realplayer change your preferences.) It's worth the download! It's a very cool webcam!
Chevy, my big dog, barks whenever he hears fireworks (we live in one of the only fireworks allowed area in Alaska) and when he hears gunshots. Normally he does not bark. At 4 A.M. this morning he was barking and barking. He woke Doug and I up.
I listened for fireworks with my eyes closed but it was quiet. Finally, Doug got up and went to the opened window and called, "Chevy? Chevy?" Chevy just kept on barking, so he went to the deck door, opened it and I croaked, "Don't scold him until you know what he is barking at, he never barks for no reason." He went outside to look around and when he heard something in the lake he thought at first it must be a beaver sloshing around out there, then he saw something big and he thought a moose. Then he says, "Connie! A bear! A brown bear!"
Oh my word!!!! I was so excited. A bear right on our own Maui Beach! (An area we have been clearing to make it into our own Maui Beach, hehehe.) I jumped out of bed and got outside too. I could hear him but he was in the trees. I ran to get my camera just in case this would be the day my camera caught a bear!
Marie was jogging around the lake last night just before she retired and when I told her we saw a brown bear this morning she gasped and said, "I had a strange feeling last night that there was a bear or something close by!" OH MY GOODNESS!
Anyway, this is the picture of the brown bear.
It IS in there somewhere!