On day three of our Kodiak adventure I awoke quite stiff and sore. Upon our return to camp on day two, Rob had wrapped his deer in a plastic bag and buried it in the dirt a few yards from our tent to keep the bears from it.
Wrong! When Rob checked on it in the morning it was entirely gone. No sign of anything. At that point we knew we were in for a difficult fight for our deer meat.
I loaded my gear onto the pack frame and headed up the mountain, with rifle in hand, to retrieve my deer. Rob stayed in camp to rest up and make a short trip to the opposite site of the valley to see what he could find in the way of deer there.
My climb was uneventful and I was eager to retrieve my buck. As I approached, I was careful to watch out for grizzlies. Sure enough, as I approached the site of my kill, I could see that it would be a difficult retrieval.
A large grizzly was laid out flat on top of my deer – asleep.
What to do now? I stopped about 100 yards away from the bear-on-top-of-blacktail pile and shouldered my rifle. Maybe a shot over his head would send him packing.
Boom. The great bear stood and hunched his back with hair on end. Not a good sign.
I knew that shooting the bear was no option and apparently he was ready to do battle to defend the large food supply beneath him.
After a few minutes I concluded that retreat was the only option. The score was now grizzlies two and Fletchers zero.
It has been a long hike to the buck and the deer herd seemed to have moved out of the area. Not only that but I was in no mood to shoot, clean and haul another buck on this day.
I couldn’t even recover my antlers which included my deer tag. Oh well, at least I had another.
I retreated back to camp and reported the situation to Rob. We concluded that we’d fish on Thursday and then I’d go after another buck on Friday, the day before our departure. That way we’d only have to figure out how to keep the bears away for one night.
We were short on ideas, but we’d figure something out.