On Saturday evening when I came home from my fishing trip (more about that soon to come) my wife wanted to go out to the Alouette river, just five minutes from our home, where she had previously scouted for a particularly beautiful scenic photograph she had in mind. We drove the short distance down to the river and as we approached a four way stop from out of the blue and without warning a blacktail doe walked onto the road ahead of us. Within a couple of seconds two spike bucks followed her. The traffic came to a complete stand still on all for stop signs as the deer, completely oblivious and not one bit intimidated by the traffic meandered back and forth over the roads to nibble here and there.
The doe was the first to walk leisurely on the roadside toward the four way stop and then across the intersection into the front lawn of a house. Again the two spikes followed her. Meanwhile my wife, who was driving and had pulled onto the shoulder of the road, began happily snapping pictures at high speed thru the window of the car. Once all three deer settled in the front lawn and began to browse on the variety of flowers on offer the traffic cautiously started to move again. Around here people are used to seeing deer and gladly grant them right of way. The deer in turn are so used to people and traffic that they behave more like livestock than wild game.
My wife, never one to pass opportunities up wherever they may present themselves, turned the car around and followed the deer. Parking the car in the driveway of the house gave her a good view of the deer browsing in the garden like they belonged there. Finally the deer moved into the woodlot behind the house and my wife turned the car to head to the river just around the corner.
She parked the car on the roadside, gathered her camera bag from the back seat and left the car. I was only a couple of seconds behind her when I heard her shouting, sounding scared and exited: “Honey, a bear!” while at the same time yanking the camera up and snapping away. By the time I arrived at the scene I could just see the bear’s fat backside disappearing in the bush. Since we are not people who give up quickly we decided to stick around for a bit in the hope that the bear would return. We had reason to believe that he would show up again since when my wife disturbed him he was standing in the river obviously looking for a meal.
My wife took several pictures of the scenic shot that she had in mid all along while I was watching out for the bear. It was perhaps twenty minutes or so later when the bear showed up again. He was indeed hungry as he went straight to the river where he turned a big stone over and followed that with a swipe of his front paw that landed a big pink salmon in his mouth. The fish was about the size of the one that I had caught that morning in the Fraser River. My wife grew more curious and brave as she walked back and forth on the bank of the river to photograph the bear from different angles. At one point she could get quite close to him and he didn’t appear to mind having people observe him from such close proximity even while eating his dinner.
Of course all this attracted passers-by; some looked and went on about their business without saying much. Others cautiously looked down the riverbank and when the bear moved or looked up they got scared. A few horse riders passed by and we thought it might be wise to advise them that a bear was just a few yards below on the riverbank. But the riders seed not to be concerned at all, in fact one of them was saying as nonchalantly as if she would talk about a dog: “Yes we saw him just on the other side a while ago in someone’s garden. There are plenty of bears around here.” I had to smile when I heard that, thinking of the animal rights groups that keep claiming that bears are an endangered species and yet here we are not five minutes away from the town center with deer walking around on the streets eating berries and cultivated plants and bears fishing in the river and all in broad daylight. Similar bear stories can be heard in the news almost daily. Bears are not an uncommon sight in North Vancouver or many of the cities on the north side of the Fraser and are even known to show up on the south side of it in Abbotsford.
It was one of the best Saturdays we have had in a long time. In the morning I went fishing then came home and witnessed wildlife encounters with my wife practically in our backyard. It can’t get much better than this. Or can it? This exceptionally good weekend started on Friday afternoon. When I came home from work my wife announced that Corel, one of the best known graphic software applications producers approached my wife with an offer to provide her artwork to be used by the company to advertise their software. My wife uses Corel almost exclusively for all her artwork and photography editing and is of course extremely happy to have her artwork acknowledged in this way. Now this is very good news and I am very proud of my wife and if you visit her website you will agree with me that she is a very talented graphic artist and photographer and that is why Corel contacted her, they are impressed by her art.
Photographs provided by Heidi Kohler of Artemis Graphics & Design
Larger Wildlife images, containing also the ones shown here can be viewed in Artemis Graphics and Design Wildlife Gallery at Deviant Art
Tags: Fishing, Alouette River, Wildlife Photography, Rural Town, Blacktail Deer, Black Bear, British Columbia, Canada, Corel, Craphic Software, Artemis Graphics and Design