The Fish Guys And The Bear Guys
We were at a dam in the Canadian Rockies and were walking with a group of people to view the salmon, as they swam up the steps around the dam. Our guide was a Canadian Fish & Game person who was more on the "game" side of things -- very concerned about the wellbeing of bears.Humans so grossly and egotistically over-dramatize their impact on critters, and this egotism spawns regulations that impose extreme restrictions on our activities. We, the public, don't have a regulatory counterpart to those high-powered rifles, there to protect us, should any crazed bear-whisperer or self-appointed savior of elderberry beetles or fairy shrimp take one step too many off the deep end, for no real purpose other than to punish people for existing.
He whispered to us, "You will see bear fishing for salmon along the steps. You must be very, very quiet. Do not talk; if you must talk, whisper. Bears are easily distracted by human activity, and we must honor them and be very careful not to disturb them when they are feeding."
When we arrived at the viewing area, we stood in respectful silence, watching the salmon swim swim up the steps as the bears hovered, occasionally swatting out a fat salmon. There were few whispers as we all stood in silence, as directed.
Then suddenly, there was a huge whoop-whoop-whoop noise as a gigantic helicopter flew right over the bears and landed in a great cloud of dust and water vapor between the bears and the steps. The bears didn't even look up; they just kept their eyes on the water, swatting out salmon.
Two men with high-powered rifles got out of the helicopter and walked to the steps, their Fish & Game uniforms quite visible to us all. They set up shop, counting the fish, their rifles handy to drop one of the sensitive, honor-worthy bears if it took one step too many towards them.
Photo: Clark Vision Photography
Related Tags: Environment, Endangered species, Regulation