By Leon Lorenz
For me, filming along remote rivers for grizzly bear behaviours during the Chinook salmon spawning season is paramount each year. As usual it’s one thing to see something interesting but it’s often quite another to capture the moment. Such was the case early one morning as I was towing my kayak upstream through a section of fast water, too shallow water to paddle in, when I spotted a good sized grizzly heading my way at about 75 yards. My first thought was, I wonder if I can get my camera out of the waterproof hatch in the kayak and get set up in time. As my backpack was lashed over the hatch cover I quickly realized there wasn’t enough time. The bear was now coming out of the deep water and had entered the shallow section where I was. Surely, I thought, it’s going to realize I’m in its path and will turn and run the other direction, but no, it held its downstream course and never broke stride. This bear clearly had an attitude and started blowing loud snorting sounds. It wasn’t backing down to me even though I politely called him Mister Bear. I backed further into the river as he thankfully went past me at 25 feet.
A couple days later another grizzly which was much smaller than the other one decided to use a large log for its path across the edge of a large log jam. What it didn’t realize was that I was positioned at the stump end of the log with my camera. At 30 feet I quietly said “okay” and it stopped in its tracks, wheeled and was gone.