Bears, Eagles and Crabs, Oh My
The eagles find a score…something fishy washed ashore…they catch more fish than I. We did cop some fresh Alaskan Dungeness crab, though, thanks to our friends and nearest neighbors, Dale and Reenie. Let’s head to the fishin’ hole.
A group of local fishermen are in my spot. Usually, the bears are there. Okay, so I head across the bridge and fish the other side of the Chilkoot River, where a person is in danger when bears arrive on account of only one way in and one way out. Hey, there’s plenty of fish for all.
Eagles swoop onto the river, talons extended to snag a fish. The guys across the river from me have caught two Sockeye so far. Their loose Labrador runs across the bridge and down to where I’m fishing. “Don’t be bringing any bears to me!” I yell loud enough for the beer-bellies across river to hear.
Mare and Jack walk around taking photos, and bears appear at a safe distance, across and down river. Mare puts Jack in the truck even though he is on a leash. A professional photographer sets up a tripod. Wow, a bear and her cub play and hunt for food. What an awesome sight…until the loose Labrador attacks the bear cub. The cub rears up and the dog scats back to his ill-mannered owner, who puts him in a truck along with his other buddies. The photographer runs off as well.
However it is too little too late; the bears are distressed…pissed. Once we see them start to run onto the bridge, in fighting mood and maybe in search of that dog, I dash up and into the truck cab where Mare had already jumped inside.
You just can’t predict what a bear will do, especially when stressed, so when two other guys run to our truck of course we let them in. They had nowhere else to go. Four of us squeeze into the front seat, along with my fishing pole with a “pixie” plug still attached. We shut the doors just as the bears run a few feet past us and into the woods. The bears stare from only a few feet away. “Thanks for ruining things for everybody else,” I hout over to those fishermen who feel that they own the river. They just stare at me, mouths open, with their dog running loose again.
The next day, two guys approach Mare out on our deck at Chilkat State Park. “Thanks for saving our lives yesterday!” They take photos in front of our truck. They are from the Czech Republic. Although we could not identify their accent, we shared their smiles.