As I have noted before, Kodiak Bears are big animals with large teeth and sharp claws. They can be daunting, even scary. And they always deserve respect. When I found one fishing the same small stream we were fishing on the Chiniak Peninsula last week, I beat a hasty retreat, slowly. Running away would have suggested I was dinner, or at least something to play with. And bears play rough.
Bears attack people but these encounters are rare considering the number of people and bear encounters each year. On Kodiak Island there are some 14,000 people and around 3500 bears. Odds are if you spend any time at all outdoors, you will meet up with one of these magnificent creatures.
Over a thousand people per year make the trek out to the Kodiak Island’s best bear viewing spot, the Frazer River. As far as I know, no one has been eaten. A friend of mine who taught wilderness survival skills to the military used to tell his students if bears wanted to eat people, they would move in to town where there are a lot more people to eat. Mainly bears like to avoid people. We are scarier than they are.
The bears of Frazer River put on a great fish catching demonstration and the moms and cubs had a serious “ah” factor. But they also cooled off in the water, sat and watched the world go by, established who was boss, and enjoyed a good scratch. I found some of their behavior quite humorous.
NEXT BLOG: Flying over Kodiak Island in a float plane.