Monday, July 30, 2012

Shooting Bears in The Meadow

July 17-20th - Once we had gotten to the clearing with the meadow grasses, we stopped…..and looked around to see if any bears were about.
If we spotted a bear, and we usually spotted several, spread out around the meadow ………
The guide would help get us into position to be able to photograph the bears. That’s me (Sue) with the blue day pack and ball cap (and curly hair) and DeWayne, our guide, to my far right.
To get into position to be able to observe the bears, we would walk single file, grouped close together, following the guide. This is Simyra, one of the owners of Hallo Bay, leading another group. You do NOT want to sneak up on a Brown bear…..They are not like deer or caribou that you have to stalk. When startled, they do not run. Instead, they are likely to attack! It is much better to walk out in the open, keep talking, and let the bears know that you are coming. 
The guides did not carry firearms or pepper spray. They carried a marine safety flare that they have found to be more effective to ward off an attack. They have only had to use the flare 4 times in 25 years, and have never had a client injured by a bear. Avoidance of an attack is the key. We all simply conducted ourselves in a non-threatening way….sitting down, staying grouped together, and not making  any sudden moves or loud noises.

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These bears, as bears would be in the wild,  have had no positive or negative experiences with humans. They do not associate people with food….we are not on their menu…..and they have not had any occasion to get food from people, either through trash or camp food. They are not hunted, nor have they been captured or otherwise mistreated.
As we would sit and watch and photograph the bears, we could talk quietly…
Move about a bit, even eat our lunch. It seemed that they took no more notice of us than they did of the drift wood we sat on.
And if we did catch their attention, the guide might just start calmly talking to the bear… let them know that everything was OK.
We were instructed that if a bear were to be approaching us a bit too closely, the guide might stand up and ‘shoo’ him off…but we could feel free to keep on taking pictures. : )
We might spend several hours at a time in the meadow observing the different bears……..
We would watch as they moved about eating, or occasionally interacting with each other…..
And we would head back out to the meadow in the evening, when the lighting was especially spectacular……It was an awesome experience to be able to just ‘be’ a part of this world.

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