Kamchatka Land of 10,000 Bears, Part 17, Short Break and More Bears

by david on March 2, 2020

Since we were already stopped we decided to take a break and have something to eat, something to drink, and perhaps more importantly some time to rest my back. Climbing off the snowmobile, in order to rest my back and legs, was better than good. It was downright wonderful. I poured myself a cup of hot coffee and the guys had tea. A few of Olya’s home-baked cookies and a piece of chocolate rounded out our little feast in the forest and I really enjoyed a few moments to stand and stretch. Snacks consumed and coffee drank, we climbed back on the snowmobiles to look for more bears. We spent the next hour or so looking for bears and tracks and found some of both. Regrettably, there was nothing requiring further investigation.

With the wooded bottom land covered, we struck off for the mountain tops to do some glassing. Once again I was glad I was not driving. These two gentlemen took snowmobiles places that would have made me uneasy on skis (and I am very good on skis) to reach the desired observation locations. Once we got there, the views were outstanding. While the guys glassed I took some pictures including what I hope are some great panoramic views. I won’t know for sure until I can see them on a larger screen. This country is absolutely beautiful. We did not see any bears from up here; nonetheless, the trip was worth it just for the scenery.

On the way down, we come across some very, very big tracks. They are wider than my outstretched hand, which is about 9 inches between the tips of my thumb and pinky. I did not have time to check the length because Vasili hit the throttle and we were off to the races once again. After some hairpin turns in the woods complete with branches and limbs swatting me in the face, we caught up to him. He was huge. Unquestionably over ten feet and bordering just on this side of ancient. He was the monster bear I was looking for. Vasili and Igor kept questioning me as to whether I wanted to shoot or not and I was having difficulty comprehending what they were trying to convey. They kept pointing at the bear, pulling their hair, smiling big and gnashing their teeth, and mentioning mice or a mouse or something similar. Somehow I got the point they did not think this was the bear I wanted. I reluctantly conveyed my agreement and we watched the bear from the snowmobiles for a few more minutes, once getting as close as about 15 feet. He was huge.

The next bear sighting consisted of a female with two cubs. The interesting thing about her (if I understood Vasili and Igor correctly) is she was a black bear. Now I am almost certain there are no black bears on Kamchatka (she definitely looked black), so she had to be a black phase brown bear. As to not disturb her and the cubs, we never came within 600 yards or so. It was a treat to watch her and her offspring forage for food. Had she been a he, I would have filled my second tag then and there. A black phase brown bear would have been a very unique trophy. Another cool part of this story was Igor broke out a drone and piloted it over to take some pictures. I hope I remember to ask him for some copies.  We hunted for a little while longer and found no other bears. I was tired and my back was worn out so we headed back about 4:00. The time to shower, rest, and have a cocktail before dinner would be nice.

Imagine running a snowmobile through this at 40 mph. Imagine running a snowmobile through this at 40 mph.


At this point the snowmobile was more of a useful tool rather than arch nemesis At this point the snowmobile was more of a useful tool rather than arch nemesis. Please forgive the toboggan head.


My partners in crime and newfound best hunting buddies Vasili and Igor My partners in crime and newfound best hunting buddies Vasili and Igor.



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