Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What To Do When a She-Bear Comes A-Courting

Carl Humchitt is a contractor with Western Forest Products and a councilor with the Heiltsuk Tribal Council (Bella Bella people). He put in an interesting shift the other day:

I was measuring out 50 meter intervals from this salmon creek to the bottom boundary. My two partners had continued on doing the side boundary and top boundary...I was about to head back down to the river and this bear stumbled down the hill and a standoff ensuied.

It was apparent the bear was a girl bear and she felt that because I was downhill she had the right of way. Of course when the bear pushes the personal boundary - in the woods its the law; you must draw a line in the dirt. So here I was with this stick and smaking trees and making my way up the hill, deliberately pushing down small trees as I went and giving her mean and agressive looks and whooping at her.

When I got up to where she was, she realized that I was bigger than her. I was clicking my teeth and pestering to show tell her I was bigger and meaner than her. That was when I got into trouble. She started to stare at me and sway her head from side to side, which means "hey, I'm big and bad too." So I started to yell at her and tell her that I was no one to mess with. All of a sudden she stopped and was just looking at me. When the dance starts and you have to talk to them, it usually ends with the bear conceding the arguement.

This one just sat there and was staring at me. Then all of a sudden she put her head down and tilted it to one side and started blinking at me. This one was new to me, as I have never seen that expression in my own bear encounters. So, as I stood there trying to figure out what she was saying... she got up and turned her back to me and was looking over her shoulder.

It was then I realized what she was doing. I was wearing a long sleeve black shirt and brown pants. In her eyes I was a bear too. She was trying to court me!!! I have many years of bear encounter experience, but this was a first for me. As I was standing there, I was thinking it an unatural act to deny an advance from a female bear.... so what am I supposed to do?

Well at that moment, my partners had heard me yelling at the bear and came down the hill to assist me. Because there were two of them, it meant pack mentality and so the girl bear ran off down the hill and I could hear her when she crossed the river and up the opposite bank. Then my partners came through the bush and asked if I was ok over the radio. I told them I was kewl and that I once again won the arguement and was going back to work.

The rest of the day I was wary of my backtrail, not afraid, but nervous she would come back expecting you know what.

So, she was the first girl to hit on me as a married man.


Blogger OregonGuy said...

Wow. Talk about getting your freak on.


10:43 AM  
Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

Married... hmm... I was going to advise the pair to visit the closest religious cleric. Or a civil marriage?

Still, all things considered, the guy held his ground pretty well. I would have broken a few world records already...

11:19 AM  

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