Things have been sadly exciting here in Kodiak in the last week.
1) You might have heard of the sinking of the Katmai below the Aleutian Islands on Oct 22. It wasn’t here but the locals really keep an ear out because it could happen to them. It wasn’t a tiny boat: it was a 93 foot fish processor. Its home port is right here in Kodiak, but it is owned by a Washington company and none of the crew was from here. Four were picked up by the Coast Guard from their float; 5 bodies were recovered (their raft had overturned) and 2 have not been found. Turns out that the SOS was not heard, but it was found to be recorded during the later investigation. They got word of the sinking by a satellite email the ship sent out and it was picked up by another ship about 1 ½ hours later.
All that happened in the weather whose day-after pictures we put on the blog this weekend, talking about our first real storm of Fall.
2) The other going-on here has to do with a bear mauling: it teaches us a lot about what not to do. It was in the paper, so I am not telling you anything I should not.
So these 2 guys are out deer hunting out on Larsen Bay (not the Anton Larsen Bay which you have seen on our kayaking pictures; its a bay further away). One guy from Montana leaves to scout things out by himself, sees a deer and shoots it. He puts down his gun, is packing up the deer to bring back to camp. A bear sow and her 2 cubs show up, attack him and he goes unconscious. When he comes to, he sees the sow and cubs eating his deer. So he gets up and starts screaming at the bears to leave his deer alone. They do; they attack him again. This time he says he feels the mother bite him in the neck. From what I saw, I can imagine him being swung around by his neck…like the tigers shake their prey till they kill it on the Discovery or nature channel. But bears are not so mean: after a little shaking (and a good size scalping) they leave him alone. There is a happy ending: his buddy finds him, is able to carry him off to a cabin, and uses a VHF radio to send a message heard by a passing float plane. The message is passed on and the Coast Guard helicopter comes to the rescue again!
So what should we learn?
a. If a bear wants your deer, let him or her have it. If the bear is nice enough to leave you alone, don’t try to shout him/her away from the food.
b. If you go hunting with a rifle, take at least one hand gun (a 44 Magnum) and keep it on your body at all times: you might have killed a deer with that rifle, but the moment you lay it down to handle the deer you are unarmed.
c. When in the woods, don’t shoot off a gun for the fun of it. Bears have learned to equate a gunshot with the sound of a dinner bell.
d. If you plan on using pepper spray: wait till the bear is closer than 30 feet and be sure the wind is not blowing back into your face before you press the lever. And whatever you do, don’t spray pepper spray on your tent trying to keep the bear away from your camp. They actually love the smell and taste of dilute pepper.
Now that you are Bear Aware, happy hunting.
PS: be sure to stock up on guns and ammunitions before the liberals take away or rights to protect ourselves!!!