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The Bear Man

June 28, 2011

Back in my college days, I dated Janet.  Janet was a man’s woman: US champion canoe racer, camper, outspoken, etc.  One day we were talking about a girlfriend of hers, kayaking in Alaska.  I asked Janet if her girlfriend had a gun.  “No you dummy!  What would she need a gun for?!”


“If you careful and observant you don’t have to worry about bears.  You got more to worry about people.  You’re a city boy, so you worry about bears, not people.”

I’m still a city boy; I still worry about bears.  Wolves too.  So I called the Cleveland Zoo and spoke to their carnivore expert.  She said that I had little to worry about with wolves.  “Very skittish creatures. You can scare them off with a whistle.”  Bears are a different kettle of soup she said.  They can be very aggressive especially when cubs or a kill (Did she have to use that word?) are involved.  She recommend that I call the Alaska DNR and speak with a bear expert.  That person would know better than her.

So I called the Alaska Department of Fish and Wildlife, Fairbanks office and told them what I was doing and asked to speak with a bear expert.  Dick, “The Bear Man” returned my call.  “You have more to worry about from trucks than bears.  Well there are trash bears that hang around Deadhorse, but you should be able to avoid those.  And then there are some that fish the Sagavanirktok River, but you should be able to avoid those too.  If you’re near a river, assume you’re near bears.  Just make sure you don’t keep any food in your tent.   Get some bear spray and a bear resistant food container.  Keep the container away from your tent.”

Just remember to watch out for trucks.  They kick up rocks the size of your head.  If a rock that size hits you, you’re a goner.  It’s the trucks that are gonna get you, not the bears.  Wear safety goggles.”

Whew!  I’m so glad I called!

P.S.  If you are reading this, I need your help in two respects.  1) please pass this on to ten (10) of your friends.  My stats are dreadful.  2) I really need your help financially.  So far, I’ve dumped close to $4,000 into this project, and have received much less than that in donations.  So please, if you can afford to donate a few dollars it would mean a lot to me.  Click on “Donate Now”.  If you have problems let me know.  Remember 100% of your donation goes to the DPF.  I’m paying all my expenses.  Thanks!


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