Bear, hunter charge each other; bear backs down

AnchorageOctober 7, 2013 

From the Chilkat Valley News: A 61-year-old Haines bow hunter said he decided to emulate a charging bear last week when he found he didn't have time to go for his gun. 

“I ran at it and waved my arms and shrieked like a woman,” said Don Nash. It worked. The bear stopped about 15 feet away and retreated, much to the relief of the local fisherman.

“It was like the biggest rush you can imagine,” Nash said in an interview Sept. 24 before heading back out Haines Highway to continue hunting.

Nash was alone at twilight and about 200 yards from his moose camp above the Kelsall landing Sept. 20 when he encountered the bear after he crossed a narrow river channel. The bruin – that looked to be about 300 pounds – came down a log and toward him at a diagonal, chuffing and making a sound “like air being let out of a tire.” ...

“As soon as I saw it, I thought ‘small bear.’ ” Afterwards, he said, he recalled terrible maulings and fatal attacks in Alaska by black bears a little more than 100 pounds. “Have you ever tried to fight with a 5-pound house cat? They’ve got claws and teeth and they can hurt you, too.”

Read more: No time to get gun, hunter charges bear

The day before Nash's bear encounter, Deb Marshall of Haines had her own frightening encounter with wildlife, reports the Chilkat Valley News.

Marshall was walking about 150 yards to [a house] from her car around 8:15 p.m. when she rounded a small spruce tree and came eye to eye with a moose she believes was a cow. The moose bellowed and Marshall leapt backward, landing in some rose bushes.

Marshall said she spoke to the animal – “I said, ‘Go away, go away,’” – but instead it kicked her with a foreleg, hitting her hard on the right thigh. A second blow by the moose hit her in the left hip. That’s when she decided to keep quiet.

The moose stood its ground about 5 feet from her, then eventually lay down there, facing the house.

After about 20 minutes, Marshall sprinted back to her car. Besides a huge bruise, Marshall said, she’s taking some lessons from the encounter. “I think they’re super sensitive to sound. She wanted me to be quiet.”

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