The skulls of these brown bears we sent to Dr. Merriam, Chief of the Biological Survey, at Washington, and they proved to be most interesting from a scientific point of view, for from them the classification of the bears of the Alaska Peninsula has been entirely changed, and it seems that we were fortunate enough to bring out material enough to establish a new species as well as a new sub-species.
The teeth of these two kinds of bears show a marked and uniform difference, proving conclusively that there is no interbreeding between the species. I was told by Dr. Merriam that the idea which is so commonly believed, that different species of bears interbreed like dogs, is entirely wrong.
MY BIG BEAR OF SHUYAK
As I had been fortunate in shooting bears upon the Island of Kadiak and the Alaska Peninsula, nothing remained but for me to obtain a specimen from one of the outlying islands of the Kadiak group, to render my trip in every way successful.
I therefore determined to take my two natives and hunt from a baidarka the deep bays of the Island of Afognak, while Blake, not yet having obtained his bear from Kadiak, went back to hunt there.
He had been extremely good to his men, and in settling with them on his return from the Alaska Peninsula had good-naturedly paid the excessive demands they made. The result was that his kindness was mistaken for weakness, and just as he was about to leave his hunters struck for an increase of pay. He sent them to the right-about, and fortunately succeeded in filling their places.
A sportsman in going into a new country owes it to those who follow to resist firmly exorbitant demands and at the same time to be fair and just in all his dealings.
I have already described bear hunting in the spring, when we stalked our game upon the snowy hillsides, and again on the Alaska Peninsula, where we hunted across the open on foot, and also in the baidarka. I will now speak of another form.
Toward the end of June the red salmon begin to run. These go up only the streams that have their sources in lakes. After the red salmon, come the humpbacks, and after the humpbacks, the dog salmon. Both of these latter in great numbers force their way up all the streams, and are the favorite food of the bears, which come down from the mountains by deep, well-defined trails to catch the fish in the shallow streams. When the salmon have begun to run, the only practical way of hunting these bears is by watching some likely spot on the bank of a stream.
Early in July Blake and I parted, intending to meet again two weeks later. My friend sailed away in a small schooner, while I left with my two natives in the baidarka. In Fedor’s place I had engaged a native by the name of Lofka. We three paddled with a will, as we were anxious to reach a deep bay on the north side of the Island of Afognak as soon as possible.