Thursday, 28 July 2011

Bangers & Bears for breakfast!

Rule #99 in the remote angling guides hand book " Don't leave two Brits alone at camp with sausages (bangers) and a burner to cook them on"

So this story all began years ago when I first had the pleasure of guiding these two great guys from England, Bill and Neil. Five minutes into the first day with these guys and I realized Bill was terrified of bears, really really terrified! Neil knew the full extent of his mates discomfort with bears, and grasped every possible chance to badger Bill, either by throwing rocks into the forest, snapping branches behind Bill, or creeping on his hands and knees up behind him.

This has gone on for ten years now, and other than a few long distance sightings we have never truly encountered a bear, until last Saturday that is! Last week I was able to convince the boys to go camping with me on a remote stream, the fact that Bill agreed demonstrates that he has somewhat come to terms with bears, and believes that I will fight the bears off with my bare hands. While Molly and Bobbi ( my fellow workers) were packing our food for the trip Bill requested a few sausages to cook over the camp fire. Molly packed some very nice sausages in with the food, and Bill was quite satisfied with the thought of roasting them over an open flame.

Now Saturday morning, the boys were feeling a little sluggish on this morning. Friday was a big day of fishing, eating, drinking and enjoying a good old Canadian camp fire well into the night. We never did get to roast the sausages as Molly had packed us incredible home made Turkey Burgers and Salad as well. 

I was up at 6:00am, I made coffee, filled the boat with gas, prepared our usual continental breakfast etc... etc... At 7:30am I decided to wake the boys up, sleeping is great but we had fish to catch! As they muddled around I announced that I was going for a walk to the lower pool to take a few cast while they had breakfast and got themselves prepared for the days fishing. I deactivated the electric fence surrounding the camp, and walked off.

We never fish the lower pool in the summer, but I thought I would give it a try anyhow, just while the boys got ready. After about twenty minutes I noticed a small grizzly bear across the river looking and sniffing in the direction of the camp. I alerted him to my presence and he backed off slightly, still sniffing the air with interest. Then he began to cross the river, I quickly yelled at him, waved my arms but he continued to cross the river, again as he sniffed the air. Well I don't like to launch bear bangers, but this fellow needed to turn around, so I shot a banger over his head, BOOM! He ran away, thankfully. I decided to head back to camp, surely the boys heard the banger and were scrambling into the boat. As I started back to camp I began to sniff something in the air, SAUSAGES !!! When I got back to camp the boys were happily frying up sausages in a pan on the propane burner. "What did you bang Wally", said Bill. I banged your breakfast guest Bill, a grizzly was heading here for those damn sausages your cooking"! We had a great laugh. Ten years of fishing together no bear problems, Bill sneaks sausages onto a remote river and nearly has a grizzly come into camp for breakfast. As we chuckled about this I decided to join in and have a sausage. As I reached for the mustard, out of the corner of my eye I spotted a large shape. I quickly looked to the left and a big grizzly was walking forty feet from our camp. I dropped my sausage and walked over into the open and shouted at the big boy. He was not concerned with us or Bill's sausages, just passing by, he continued on his way without the need of a bear banger. Bill and possibly Neil held their breaths for the entire event.

Bill and Neil both hope to return to this river next summer, but without sausages.

Pictures below,

Walter Faetz
Spey Lodge Inc.

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