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from the article: 

"Police in Hokkaido, Japan, are searching for any sign of a missing angler who they believe may have been eaten by a bear after a human head was found"

What other sign do they need?

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So he eats the angler and then uses the waders for floss. My religion prevents from fishing and wading where there are Grizzlies, alligators, crocodiles, or sharks. I'm a very devout coward when it comes to being around things that are able to eat you. I spent a lot of time in the north around black bears and even had a very nervous time with one of those once or twice. I'm gearing up for one more trip this year that could be my last major outing and I really considered going down to visit Mike Chell if he'd have me and fishing the easy access canals for the exotics available there. Then, after reading a great and encouraging article about them I read how you learn to land them quickly with minimum splashing along the bank beause the gators (or crocs, whatever they have) have learned to zero in on that splashing for a quick meal at the expense of the angler trying to land the fish. Not for me.

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The state of Massachusetts sent an email out last year to anyone with a fishing or hunting license saying that the black bear population has exploded in recent years.  There have now been confirmed sightings in every town and city so "Be Aware".  As I do often fish alone and off the beaten path there are some considerations to be made.  While fishing I'm usually trying to be stealthy and the worst case scenario is surprising a mother with cubs.  I try to make some noise anytime I'm moving and a good cigar also helps to give away my presence.  The last bear attack in Mass was in 1933 and happened because someone tried to pick up a cub.  99.9% of the time a black bear is going to head the other direction but it's that last .01% that has me considering getting a can of bear spray.

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36 minutes ago, DFoster said:

As I do often fish alone and off the beaten path there are some considerations to be made

Yep same here. We have seen a huge increase in the black bear population here in Mi over the past 15 yrs or so. I've seen a couple up around my cabin that were easily in the 450-500lb range.

I'm actually going today to pick up a holster for one of my pistols for my trip next month. Like you said, 99.9% of the time a black bear will turn and run the other way as long as it knows you are there. But Having seen more than a few videos of hunters/anglers here in Michigan over the past few years had an actual encounter that was a bit nerve wracking, I figure better safe than sorry. Because this year on my trip I'll be fishing 100% alone and I do a lot of night fishing. So figure its better to have and not need than need and not have.

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For some reason bears love rubber and plastic, i watched a bear destroy someone's zodiac once while fishing in the early morning for salmon. The owner was probably sleeping and in no way i was going to try chasing off a 8ft grizz.

 

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The black bear episode that kind of unnerved me was on the Baptism River fishing for salmon. Baptism was my home river and I "harvested" a lot of salmon and trout for the table and the smoker. One year they closed our town dump and the black bears were pissed and raiding garbage cans and dog food dishes all over town. That fall I fishing the Chinook run on the Baptism was up by "three step" falls, the upstream barrier for steelhead and salmon. I had two nice fish on a stringer to haul out and was just started out when a black bear on the other side of the river started to eye my fish with meal ticket on his mind. I didn't think much of it until he started to experiment with where to cross the river. I figured it was a good time to leave and take the salmon home for smoking. As I headed back down the path he kept grunting and starting across the river toward me. There were places he could have forded but for some reason just wasn't anxious to wade across. He'd slap at the water, start in toward me, then back out. He kept following me and doing this on his side of the river as I headed back for the parking lot. I even went as far as to slide one of the fish so I held it in a loop and could drop it easily if he decided to come across and make a charge. He followed me for a long way on the river until the path dropped away and I was almost expecting him to be in the parking lot but he didn't go that far.

That was the only time in all the years fishing the steelhead and salmon runs out of Lake  Superior on the north shore I ever experienced a situation like that and it was a little unsettling to me. Like I had said earlier I did not fish a lot of places I could have traveled since I had a great dislike of fishing where things could eat me but that was the first black bear I'd had in years of fishing northern MN and WI that made me really nervous. I think a lot of it was because of the dump closing in Finland where the bears did all their feeding and living off the woods was something they weren't familiar with yet. 

If you're still with me I need to tell the story about our dog Ginger and the black bear. We lived at that time in a mobile home that had a 6" by 6' window right next to the door. Ginger was one of the most mild dogs we'd ever owned but a great pointer and retriever for partridge for me. One night he started growling on the porch where his feed was and he never growled at anything. I told the wife to turn on the light and look out and see what she was growling for. She walked over the window, turned on the porch light and stuck her face to the window. At that same time a black bear that was eating the dog food raised up and stuck his face to the other side of the window. My wife made this sound I would compare to sticking a knife in a tire and letting all the air escape. She stumble back and ended up sitting on the couch more by accident then plan. l chased the bear the but watched as he grabbed the bag of dog food in the shed and took that with him. I fired my 12 guage in the air and don't think he ever came back but wife to this day gives me hell for sending her to look out the window.

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That made me laugh, Nick.  

I've had a few encounters, but none real close that ever caused me to be unnerved.  We frequently get black bears in our neighborhood in the Spring and Fall, lots of woods around here, and bird feeders.  This Spring and last we've had a sow and 3 cubs running around, and one good sized boar.    

Here he is from a few weeks ago, at my neighbor's bird feeders. Crappy trail cam pics.  

35375e25-93bf-45a8-9de9-4f615aeeddbea.jp

6bd93b31-8520-4a68-a1f6-8344eef91c5ba.jp

 

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I can see why you would be unnerved Nick. That would have spooked me as well.

niveker - Yeah that is a pretty big one there. I'd say that is about the size of the couple big ones I saw here.

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The recommendations for bear country is to carry pepper spray and wear bells.  If you're unsure if the area you're in is "bear country" or not, look for bear scat.  It's easy to spot.  Just look for animal crap with bells in it that smells like pepper spray.

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Way down south here in Florida, we've got very few black bears (and to encounter one - you'd have to be willing to work through miles and miles of swamp -filled with much more hazardous things than our scrawny black bears - the few that still remain...).  The two biggest hazards I see on a regular basis are sharks and big 'gators.  I'm at risk from sharks while releasing fish - and have had one or two close calls when a shark - that we never see coming (our waters are very dark and sharks - big or small can be very close by without showing a hint that they're present...) actually grabbed a fish I was holding onto.... 

Big 'gators are just dangerous period - we stay away from them.  Fortunately all they come after is our fish (mostly) but every year or so someone is killed or badly hurt by a big 'gator - usually one that everyone knows about in waters next to where people live or play.  They can outrun you on the ground, and while in the water lunge up into the air as much as six feet to attack a bird or other pray animal up on a bank - or in a small skiff...  The people most at risk?  Children and women of small stature - so I'd advise anyone - stay a good distance away from big 'gators, period (and keep your dog on a leash if you're near waters that might have a 'gator or two - they really like dogs...).

As far as our crocodiles go... the biologists tell us that the American saltwater crocodile - is a fish eater - mostly,  so we tend to ignore them.   Here's a pic of one next to my skiff at the boat ramp - and me busy ignoring him... 

bPui8rF.jpg

Our crocs get bigger than our biggest 'gators so they do make an impressive sight... Hook a baby tarpon near one and it will do its best to steal it from you... Like I said ours are fisheaters - everywhere else in the world a big saltwater croc is a maneater... 

 

Still, the animal my anglers are most likely to encounter each day is the shark - and we have them in every size from tiny - to almost as big as my 17' skiff... The deal with sharks is pretty simple - all of our fish along the coast live in close proximity to each other.  Sharks though, as a rule, can't catch a healthy fish very often at all... Hook a fish though with a shark nearby by and its struggles will draw any nearby shark (and some days we win - other days the sharks win..).  My general rule in summer when we're fishing snook or redfish - is that we have a very good shot at the first fish we hook... but if you try to catch a second you're probably only going to get half a fish... if that.  Further,  I would never, repeat never go swimming in the areas we fish - it's just too dangerous for my tastes..... And of course the shark that kills your fish won't be a very big one at all - just hungry... very hungry.. .Here's a typical shark photo... 

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from the size of the bite - it wasn't a very big shark - but that didn't make a difference for that poor snook....   One day not far away we caught and released a baby Great Hammerhead shark - about six feet long and sixty pounds.  It swam away in good condition but a few hundred feet away got blown up by a really big shark - right in front of us - probably a really big bull shark.  That's the world along the coasts of the Everglades each day.. Like I said, I don't recommend swimming in those waters at all...

 

 

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1 hour ago, Capt Bob LeMay said:

As far as our crocodiles go... the biologists tell us that the American saltwater crocodile - is a fish eater - mostly,  so we tend to ignore them.   Here's a pic of one next to my skiff at the boat ramp - and me busy ignoring him... 

Very interesting. While I like most people knew of the huge number of alligators in Florida, I was not aware there were actually crocodiles down there.

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I'm really enjoying this thread.

No alligators here to worry about. Just a few cougars.  Black bears have been reported but I haven't seen any yet. Oh, and rattlesnakes.

Good times! ūüĎć

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