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Thread: Animal Encounters

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    Our national bird is not a very upstanding character, more of a carrion-eating pirate. Perhaps Ben Franklin was right and we should have selected the wild turkey to represent the nation. Here in the Pacific Northwest where, since the banning of DDT gave them a new lease on life, bald eagles are extremely common, it is not unusual to see an eagle jump an osprey carrying a fish back to its nest and force it to drop its prey. The eagle is usually able to recover (steal) the fish before it hits the water. In the late fall and winter when riverbanks can be littered with the carcasses of spawned-out salmon, I've come across eagles so stuffed with rotting salmon as to be unable get airborne and forced to crow-hop along the gravel bar when approached.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by 51BC View Post
    vicrider,

    Not weighing in on right, wrong, or indifferent. Having spent most of my adult life earning a living in the woods of Northern Minnesota, the behavior you describe sounds to me like a bluff charge. I've seen it several times, with or without water involved.
    Having the "luxury" of experiencing many bluff charges, some to the point of just a few yards separation I would not consider a bear on the opposite side of any river a "charge" of any kind...

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by vicrider View Post
    Gosh Hap, I didn't mean for my experience to rile you up so much. I stand by my statement that the bear could have had the fish if he came across the river and came after me. Maybe with your vast experience and calm demeanor around a bear chasing you could have simply had him whimpering and backing off from your knowing stare but unfortunately for me you weren't there to do that and I had no intention of trying to walk away from the bear and just stare him down as I walked.

    The three times I saw the bear try to cross the river he started in very splashy, then hit a hole and current and backed out. I don't think MN woods black bears have the knowledge of water that bears feeding (and yes, I've seen video of the diving bears) and living off the water do. We had no salmon to feed on in MN rivers. I do know the year they closed the dump in Finland MN we had horrendous bear troubles for a couple of years with them breaking into cabins, stealing dog food, ripping up garbage cans because they were used to feeding on the dump food we tossed out and I've had my share of trouble with black bears on camping trips but never had one wanting to take the fish I had on a stringer before and had no intention of putting myself in a position of finding out who wanted the fish more. He wins.

    If I ever had the chance to fish Alaska I'd only do it with a guide who knew the bear situation and depend on him. Just watching the bears wandering around the fisherman on TV is enough to make me nervous.
    The problem and concern is condoning the act of feeding bears fish. The simple act may seem defensive but the result will likely be a dead bear and possibly mauled or dead people. Your acts were correct, leaving, but the Plan B was not. My point is to raise awareness about what to do if a bear does attempt to take your fish.

    I would far rather see someone shoot a bear advancing on them looking for fish, because that has become a "bad" bear. Tossing fish to the bear has a high probability of failing to get the bear to stop following you and only makes it harder on the next unsuspecting angler. And I doubt the bear would be likely to get very close to you in the first place. It is after the run slows and fishing becomes harder when bears will start pushing the envelope more and more to get fed when the real problems will show.

  4. #64
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    I have two very cool encounters with wildlife. The first was fly fishing for brookies on the Little Isabella River in northeast Minnesota. I hit a really deep pool, so I walked up onto the bank and started to pick my way around the pool. I stepped over a downed tree, and much to my surprise just about stepped on a cow moose with a calf that were bedded down. I tripped over the log trying to back my way out, only to look up and see the moose looking down at me. I crawled on my back into the river.

    The second was in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, and we were fishing for Northern Pike. We heard something above us, looking into the sky we could see what looked like two dots, several hundred feet up. We watched, and the dots kept getting bigger. eventually we could see that it was a pair bald eagle with there wings tucked close to their bodies, doing an all out dive. When they got about 40 feet above our canoe they outstretched their wings and swooped between the bow paddler and myself about 15 feet in the air. Absolutely amazing!

  5. #65
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    Hap,
    Your experience and advice are VERY much appreciated. Untill I read your post and logic, I too would have thrown the bear the fish. I am now wiser and , thanks to you, even more wiser :>)

    Mark
    Last edited by Marco; 02-08-2014 at 10:00 PM. Reason: the smile thingy
    THAT being said, I'd rather be in Wyoming.

  6. #66
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    Hooked: Wild Boar, Beaver, 2 Bats on drys, Seagulls-many, 3 Cormorants, 2 Grebes, 2 Gannets, Booby, 2 Barn Owls (1 on a Jitterbug LDR'd, 1 on a fly frog), Night Heron, Canada Goose, Mallard duck, Garter snake, Blue Bellied lizard, 3 Pond Turtles, Snapping Turtle, many Bull Frogs.
    Some were intentional. Most were not. The Wild Boar probably put up the greatest fight and was intentionally caught on an Apple slice and 40# class rod. If you try this, I suggest using an old pickup as your casting/fighting platform. Standing on the ground w/ a .45 on my hip wasn't as safe as I thought it would be. It was done as "trapping" on a depredation permit. The Beaver, accidentally hooked in the tail on Salmon gear was a close second.
    I have a lot fewer "incidental catches" since I've gone to the fly. Maturity will do that to you.

    Tight Lines,
    Wade

  7. #67
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    I've had more encounters with animals while duck hunting, rather than fishing. Having a beaver tail slap the water while canoeing across a pond with a 90 lb lab in the boat in the black of night is an eye opening experience. I've also heard of friends having bald eagles and snowy owls swoop down and steal ducks that were just shot. One of the best encounters that I have seen/ heard of was with a seal and a duck hunting guide in Rhode Island:


    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jyMEBNgNZNM

    The coolest experience that I have had was in Montana, when I had an opportunity to fly fish while a bison casually hung out about 100 yards away on the other side of the river. I also got to see a golden eagle swoop down and grab a trout out of the river we were fishing, which was also pretty cool.
    Last edited by JTR; 02-16-2014 at 12:56 PM.

  8. #68
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    That seal video reminded me of this one I saw a while back with a sea lion and a kayaker/diver. Love the guys initial reaction.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=ALOr8knqJ0U

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    I fish saltwater flats from a kayak. While chasing redfish, it had a 9 foot shark swim buy in the opposite direction about four feet away. I turned to follow it and another 6 footer crossed right in front. After paddling around a few minutes I came up on them mating. While fiddling with the camera, I almost drifted over them.


    Sharks2R.jpg
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