Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I had decided I would just refuse to worry about bears in the Yukon 1000 Canoe and Kayak Race next July. But as much as I try not to think about it, the topic keeps coming back.

When I first told Paul about the race, and mentioned I would be in Grizzly country, he responded “well at least it’s too far south for Polar Bears”. He followed this up with a Google search only to discover that a Polar Bear had made his way into Fort Yukon (right on our route) just this past March, and had to be killed.

Peter Coats, the organizer of this event, spent time this summer paddling part of the route, and his trip report is full of bear pictures and encounters.

Today Peter posted on the Yukon1000 forum that the racers will be paddling through Yukon Charley River National Preserve, and they have strict rules that all food on every boat going through the Preserve must be stored overnight in a bear safe way.

There are bear containers, but the problem is that the kayaks may have difficulty carrying enough containers to hold the food requirements of the race, less a problem for the canoes. In this race each racer must have a minimum of 20kg food weighed at the start of the race.

Organizers are now thinking about the possibility of supply drops along the way. Personally, I'm really hoping this race stays "expedition style", no support teams, no food drops. All the planning and logistics is part of the challenge and the fun, else it's just a very long paddle.

They are also asking folks what they think about allowing firearms. I don't even know how to use one, maybe I need to think a bit about that :)


Tom said...

You and Kristen are tough as nails, but your blog entry pointing to Stacey's and Ryan's webpage contained an encounter with a polar bear that could have caught them in the water if their sail was not up. And Ryan carried a gun.

For me it would be pepper spray and a weapon. Take a handgun class.


Capt'n O Dark 30 & Super Boo said...

Now we're talking... good to see the hairs up on the back of your neck "Lions and tigers and BEARS!!! OH MY!!

Noel said...

The Army taught me so I don't have any first hand experience, but Front Sight has a good reputation. If you know some local shooters they may be able to suggest some local training.

I would suggest a shotgun class as it is very hard if not effectively impossible to take a hand gun into Canada. But it is only a little bit of paper work to take a shotgun. (A Non-Resident Firearm Declaration)

See Using a Firearm for Wilderness Protection for Canadian legal stuff. see This faq for what the heck a restricted gun is in Canada.

If you still want a handgun, you could probably either ship it to a licensed gun dealer in Alaska or buy something up there.

In any case I think a shotgun would be better in the event you actually had to shoot something.

DancesWithSandyBottom said...

Non-restricted, restricted, prohibited:

Shotguns are "non-restricted",

handguns are "restricted",

a sawed-off shotgun with a barrel length less than 18inches or overall length less than 26 inches would be "prohibited" (sawing off some of the barrel and/or the wooden stock).

How about a sawed-off shotgun with barrel slightly greater than 18 inches and an overall length slighted greater than 26 inches. Apparently that would be "non-restricted" and would fit in a kayak more easily.


Kristen said...

Which end do you hold...?

Noel said...

You should always hold the bear by the tail ... and not let go.

Michael said...

Thought you might like to read this... It's about the trip not the bears, but interesting nonetheless.