(Excerpt from my Alaska Journal)
It rained all day today. We went hiking on the paved roads as the park service had the trails closed because a mother moose and her calf had been seen in the area. We saw a very good presentation by the park rangers on how to deal with moose and bear. Two out of three moose calves die before they are two weeks old. They are prone to predation by bears and wolves. The mother is very protective and if you confront one you need to exit the area as quickly as possible so she does not see you as a threat to her calf. With a bear you need to stand your ground and let the bear know what you are by talking or clapping your hands. Bears have very poor eyesight. They will keep coming toward you until they figure out what you are. If you run it will trigger the predator/prey instinct in them and the chase is on. Bears have a natural fear of man. Man did not become the dominate species by running away when he saw a bear. We became dominate because of the native people who saw a bear, picked up a spear and said, “Start a fire. I see dinner and a new coat.” The bears that had the DNA in them prone to going after people, ended up as coats and didn’t reproduce. The ones that had a natural fear of people and ran away, lived and reproduced. Thank the bravery of the native peoples for the natural fear that animals have of man.
We saw a very beautiful film on the aurora borealis set to music. It was good, but fifteen minutes too long.
Joel Jurrens author of In The Sticks