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Talking of Bears...


Pukeko
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Not sure if I have posted these previously.Tagging bears with the wildlife biologists.Off the yukon  north coast in the Beaufort sea.We are on frozen sea ice .The little guys are about 20 lbs each.They had to be tranquilised so they wouldn t run away  while we were working on the mama. They have big feet...my size 12 and his ! That is the big males,not the cubs!!

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On 6/14/2021 at 8:45 PM, MTO said:

Love to hear more about your bear projects  Pukeko!!!!

Hi MTO.The bear projects are done every so often in two or three of the main areas in Canada to determine  several things .The local indigenous communities have traditionally hunted them for generations ,food,clothing etc.Like most species ,there is a decline for various reasons ,and by tracking ,tagging,collars etc ,this is one way to determine what can be sustainably harvested in the various areas.There are very strict numbers allowed to be taken ,first by the locals  and secondly by "trophy " hunters ,who pay big bucks for that privilege ,which puts money back into the local economy.With the declining ice in some areas ,it makes it harder to find food as most people dont realise,until the sea ice forms between the spring and fall.the bears are not able to go out and hunt seals for food on the ice.They try and forage off the coasts ,carrion ,etc .Some have even been venturing into some of the northern communities ,which can be troublesome obviously.Churchhill ,Manitoba  is one of the places,plus others.The females will have their cubs n dens in the spring in which they have wintered over,and will usually stay 3-5 miles inland ,surviving on what little food they can  for up to 4 months. Also  to stay away from roving hungry males who will eat the cubs  or the females.We saw a male onetime eating a female he had killed ,leaving the cubs who were watching from far.The wildlife people were notified a,nd they came and got the cubs. One time we were up on the north coast east of Hudsons Bay,and came across a large whale .There were 34,yes 34 bears feeding on it .None were  nice and white,but were all filthy from the sand ,mud ,whales guts etc.Each animal caught  is recorded in a book.They get a tattoo in the gum,a tooth pulled ,blood sample etc. Once they are down ,they are checked to see if there is already a tattoo ,which would have been recorded ,One we caught on the Yukon side  ,had a tattoo ,and it was determined, Ian ,the bioolgist  had caught it 21 years before  at Point Barrow ,Alaska,as a 2 year old .She was in great condition ,and had a nice cub with her.They move a lot ,and we would come across tracks and I would keep on the tracks for up to an hour sometimes travelling at 60 -70 mph,then we would finally spot them.That represents a good couple of days travel for them.When we would have them down on the ice flows,a wary eye was needed as they are very curious and sometime s you would look up ,and there is one very close by checking out what was going on.I was the "spotting" guy,with the big rifle in case something  got too close.We had to fire the odd shot  to scare them off sometimes . I was  very lucky to be on those sort of jobs over many years .Other jobs included moose and deer surveys,caribou tagging ,barren ground Grizzly,musk ox tagging ,wolf monitoring,wild sheep surveying   and counting etc.

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Just now, mrfred54 said:

Very interesting. What a great job?  I did see one bout 22 years ago while hunting caring east of the Hudson bay

Darn spell check!!! Caribo

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Pete....are the two cubs you are holding...........the ones that wanted to take over the helicopter, when they ''came too'   sooner than expected....??

Mike

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On 6/19/2021 at 3:38 PM, Delta Dirt said:

My thinking is Mike Newman and Pukeko are brothers??

Regardless-------two interesting characters in the least.  Keep the reports coming.

 

DD

....corrrect  !!!

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On 6/18/2021 at 6:45 PM, mike newman said:

Pete....are the two cubs you are holding...........the ones that wanted to take over the helicopter, when they ''came too'   sooner than expected....??

Mike

Mike ,one of those was put in the machine .He was not happy and scratching at the window and rushing around in the machine ,so Ian tranquilised him .His sibling  took off running,and I had to fire up the machine and go after him.I landed when we were close (he had gone nearly 1/4 mile ) and let Ian out and then I was able to "pin " him with rotor wash against a big ice flow till Ian could catch up on foot .He was very scared and bit thru Ians thick gloves . They have teeth like needles. He was then tranquilised. With the little guys ,the amount given has to be determined very accurately  based on body weight and these little guys were only just over 20 lbs .  If  we hadnt caught him ,he would have been lost and not survived.We werent happy having to go after him like that,but that was the only option.The biologists I have worked with are extremely conscientious  of the animals well being,and try to subject them to minimal stress as possible .

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