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About 40 years ago My 14 year old cousin hit my Dad up to go fly fishing.My Dad who was always looking for a excuse to go fishing agreed and we went to a area a few miles form where we lived.He drove about 20 miles up a old dirt road that followed along the course of the river back into the mountains where the road was narrow and not very many people went.
He pulled over where there was a wide spot and big bend in the river with a deep hole and a good place to start fishing.
It was just daylight and late in the summer and the run off from the snow in the mountains was over and the water was down and perfect for fly fishing.My Dad kept a old 30-30 in the gun rack in his pickup and it sat in the truck as we walked off down to the river.
My cousin told my dad he was going down river a ways and we headed up river.We walked about 100 yards or so and dropped over the bank and started casting.The crystal clear water was about ten foot deep in front of us where the water banked against the bend in the river and the bottom sloped away from us to about three feet deep on the other side of the river.The river itself was about 30 yards or so across.I was standing about 25 feet down river from my Dad and we began to cast our flies out into the river. I was excited and determined to catch the first fish ,the most fish and the biggest fish.
I was focused with a mission when suddenly I felt a thump on my side and looked up at my Dad who had just chucked a small rock at me.He was pointing across the river directly in front of us and had his finger over his lips signaling me to to be quiet.
I looked across the river at the opposite bank and could see nothing but the wild grass at the edge that met the low vegatation in front of the timber that sat another 20 feet or so behind that.
I looked at my Dad again who was smileing at me and had his hand behind his ear signaling for me to listen.Above the sound of the water flowing by and normal sounds of the woods in summer I could hear a crunching sound.Maybe a minute had went by and I heard a loud crack and ripping sound and then from above the brush a brown black bear stood up. He looked across the river at us and sniffed at the air and my Dad and me just stood and watched as he dissapeared back in the brush and he went back onto four leggs.He had found a old dead log and was tearing it up looking for ants like they offen do.
My Dad and I were smileing at each other enjoying catching a old bear scratching himself up some goodies.After a about two minutes or so we didnt hear any thing else and my Dad cast his fly out again. I followed did the same and was pulling my line out for another cast when my Dad spoke out loud and said look and the bear had walked out of the brush and was standing on the opposite bank staring at us.
For the most part black bears will avoid people and if you do encounter one as long as it dont have cubs you can usualy yell at them and they will turn around and leave.But there are exceptions and some are unafraid and even agressive.My Dad having grown up around them knew something wasnt right and told me to run to the truck and grab his 30-30 and call my cousin and he said fast.
Looking across the river at the bear who was fat and a large bear at my age being brown he looked like a huge grizzly and he was looking right at me. He then walked into the river and started across I took off like a rocket up the bank to the road and ran right past the pickup totaly forgetting to grab the rifle first.My cousin was around the bend as the river made a S and I was yelling for my cousin who heard me and popped up onto the road.I remember the fear in his eyes as he said oh God and was looking past me down the road back towards where my Dad was.
I turned and looked and seen my Dad up on the road walking backwards with his old eagle claw fly rod out in front of him.
The bear was walking right toward my dad about ten feet from him following him down the road and my Dad had nothing but a fly rod to defend himself.My Dad had been around black bears all his life and knew better than to take off running because the bear would have been all over him had he done so.My cousin at 14 was very experienced and told me to start yelling and he took off running towards my Dad and the bear waving his arms in the air yelling as loud as he could so I followed doing the same. We ran down the middle of the road and when we go about 100 feet from the bear he stopped stood on his hind leggs and sniffed at us.
My Dad was still backing away from him and was almost to the pickup.All this occured in a very short time span as my Dad reached his truck he ran around to the cab and snatched his 30-30 out and the bear in the mean time had decided he wasnt sure what to do about the two loud critters running down the road at him yelling at him and dropped down on all fours and took off as hard and fast as he could right up the slope and into the timber.I remember feeling real guilty when I realized I had not did as my Dad had said and grabbed the 30-30 first and left my dad with nothing but a fly rod between a bear and him.
My Dad asked me why I didnt grab the gun first and I told him I was scared and didnt think etc. He did not get angry at me but gave me a long talk about doing as he says during a emergency etc.
i was very young and was confused with fear and my Dad knew that. He explained that when I ran off the bear had walked about half way across the river and he was headed up the bank and the bear then ran across the river and jumped into the deep part and swam to the bank and ran up onto the road.It only took a few seconds and my dad was caught on the road and in a very frighteneing situation himself expecting me to have brought him his rifle . He said the bear had came close enough twice he had poked him In the nose with his pole.
Who knows what the bear was thinking but his runnung across the river and obvious interest in us and non fear was not a good sighn he was just curious and bears are better left alone in any case.I believe had my cousin and I not been running yelling and stopping the bears attention at my Dad he would have pounced on my Dad.Although his initial charge across the river stopped when he reached the road his intentions were pretty clear.
We loaded up and found another section of the river to fish that day and the memories of that day are still in my mind and I never go into the woods unarmed and when I fish a stream I always carry a magnum on my hip.
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