Friday, August 5, 2016

A Bear Has Poor Eyesight

At Mole Harbor we found evidence that the bears had caught beaver. And then there it was, about one hundred yards beyond our stranded canoe, and a quarter of a mile away from them, a medium-sized grizzly walking boldly out onto the beach. We decided to stalk him, as the wind, for once, was right. A bear has poor eyesight and might even mistake the three people for another bear. We crouched low, hunched our heads over, and moved in single file behind the guide, so that the bear could never see more than one form approaching.

Like a gang of convicts we went, in lock step, toward the unsuspecting mammal, first crunching over the mud and mussels, then splashing through the shallow water. At last the bear lifted his head and looked. Then he continued to waddle slowly toward the channel where the salmon splashed. Not until we were within one hundred yards did he stop to consider. Still the procession kept on, never changing its gait. The bear sat down and scratched himself to appear unconcerned, but it was plain he was puzzled. What was the steadily advancing bulk?

Fear seized him when about eighty yards intervened, and he started for shore on a dead run. Water splashed in all directions beneath his flying paws. We raised cameras and began to shoot. The bear hesitated, doubled his speed, then he stopped again. By this time he was over two hundred yards away, and the camera hunters lowered their cameras with satisfied feelings. It had been a good picture, with plenty of action—the best of the trip. Suddenly, without warning, the bear changed his mind. He would not be out-bluffed by this queer-acting thing. He'd show it, he would!

On a dead run he went back toward the channel, the water flying beneath him as he galloped. At his goal he raised himself on his hind legs to look out on the bay. He'd let this unusual enemy see what a big bear he was! Then he dropped down on all fours and prepared to fish for salmon, but all the time he kept one eye cocked around to see how this maneuver was working. The humans stood still. They did not seem impressed. This was just too much! The grizzly flung around. He stood up again to show his fighting strength. Then he charged. The guide aimed his gun, we our cameras. With terrific speed the bear came, snarling as he rushed. Then it was that the guide's cool voice turned the charge of victory into ignominious defeat with the command: “Stop that, boy! Stop it! Stop it quick!”

And it worked. The bear stopped, confused, turned, and raced off. And we turnedFree Web Content, happy with our photo-trophies.

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