Salmon Slaughterhouse: Black Bear Survival (Full Episode) | Alaska’s Grizzly Gauntlet

Alaska Fifteen thousand square miles of Paradise The Mill Road in no Road out In this narrow strip of coastline Over 3 000 Alaskan black bear congregate One of the densest populations of black Bear in the world Two banners for every square mile Right here right now Because there'll also be over tens of Thousands of salmon I'm here to embed myself with the Alaskan black bear to get down in where They are To learn their survival techniques [Music] There'll be no humans where I'm going Just me and the best The Alaskan black bear has a small Window of time to make the most of the Salmon spawning in this network of bays In southern Alaska But it's a moment that gives me a brief Opportunity to see them in action Or I take one step into their territory I'm meeting with local Wilderness guide Dennis sadra He spent decades observing black bears In Prince William sound He knows firsthand the challenges and Dangers of walking into Bear Country Tell me what I can expect out there um The Bears you know they know that this Is their opportunity to put on their

Weight you know the last probably six Weeks or so a bear is going to put on The fact that he needs to get to the Winner and then winners are cold and They're you know it's dark and they need All this energy they've got to grab this Protein while they can it's a real Narrow window of opportunity what's Particularly uh dangerous for me in this Situation well you're going into their Feeding grounds you know we've had three People killed in this state this year by Black bears you got to be cautious of All of them any of them can can change In the blink of an eye and especially When you're in that close to them that's When it happens you know In order to stay safe I'll need to stay Focused Prince William's sound has thousands of Miles of Base just like this one Bears travel here from far and wide to Feed on the Salmon Run Getting in close enough to these Bears To learn their survival techniques is Going to be challenging for me and my Crew Turn around Oh This is magnificent Time to get into Bear Country and this Is perfect Bear Country There are over a hundred thousand black Bears in Alaska and 3 000 in this region

Alone Following the clues to their favorite Feeding grounds Will place me in Prime position to Observe these animals up close See there's fish up here on the shore But this is I can almost guarantee That this fish is just a fish that's Died it's not from bear activity See that rump Nutrient Rich lots of fat and oils in The rump The black bears are going to want to be Eating primarily the rump the brain out Of the males and the row the eggs out of The females that's where all the Nutrients are if the Bears are feeding Well they'll focus on those parts of the Body of the fish if they're really Hungry they'll just eat the whole thing These strategic fishing habits are a key Component of the black bear's survival Instincts And they serve to maximize their energy As winter approaches When I find evidence of this efficient Feeding I'll know I'm on the right Trail [Music] What I hope and expect to find Moving up into here is bear scat that's Filled with decaying Salmon roll And it'll indicate that I'm close to Peter when it comes to finding a spot

Where the Bears are feeding All right I'm about to head up into the Bear zone so time [Music] Along with me is a team of wildlife Cameramen following my journey And covering as much of the black bear's Activity as possible There it is my first science And this bear Scott poop His purplish bluish is full of berries Full of seeds So this indicates to me earlier feeding Not current feeding this this could have Been here oh even a matter of a week it Depends on how much rain hits it makes It dissolve at this point in the season The Bears have moved on from berries They're going to be taking full Advantage of the Salmon Run As the window to feed rapidly closes So this is earlier season feeding What I want is current season feeding The salmon Foreign This here is not a human Trail This is a Bear Trail they may be looking Around out in the bay That they're feeding somewhere up here And I'm basically following that trail Into their kitchen I hope See this cat Doesn't have seeds and berries It has salmon roll

Salmon eggs and it stinks like fish Oh yeah I'm in the right place already [Music] Foreign [Applause] [Music] Different Bears can favor different Fishing spots specific to their survival Needs a mother will fish in strategic Locations where her Cubs can climb a Tree to quickly evade predators Adolescent Bears will sometimes fight With their peers for fishing spots only To be chased off by an even bigger foe A dominant male An older bear with the confidence and Size to fish wherever and whenever he Wants Looks very promising to me Here we go I'm already seeing salmon Oh it's unbelievable to see salmon in a Stream like this check it out Oh that's my first good sign the food is Here Oh look at this look at this It's the beginning of their long journey Journey to get back to the exact place Where they were hatched When Salmon hatch in a river that very Location is imprinted into their homing Instincts they'll always be able to Pinpoint this location after years of Migrating far out into the Pacific Ocean

In search of abundant food It's thought that they're attuned to the Earth's magnetic field using it like a Compass This internal navigation system will one Day guide the salmon back to this exact Spot to spawn As the Bear's own instincts drive them Here to feed These fish have been swimming for Thousands of miles Evading sharks and whales and all kinds Of fish to make it here I wanted to face the Bears That's incredible What they're doing here This is all That He's gone in after the guts mostly went For the brains oh that stinks brains Hump on the back and the eggs If bears are being this picky They're eating well here They should be a very productive spot ah Look at that clear example of going After just the eggs perfect example [Applause] See that There they are Bear's done eating Just one of the caviar Left all the meat Ate out the eggs With hibernation just around the corner Black bears have entered a survival

Phase called hyperphagia Their appetites become voracious as they Eat to fatten up as preparation for Seven months of hibernation In this Do or Die stage they can eat up To 20 000 calories a day that's 10 times More than a human eats daily However they don't eat the Flesh of the Salmon to get that much needed energy They target instead the brains The fatty Dorsal fins and the eggs to Prevent themselves from starving to Death through their winter sleep The black bear is remove what they need With surgical precision And move on to the next fish Leaving Telltale Carnage behind And that's how it's done just like that So if I a bumbling clumsy slow humid Can do that imagine what a creature Has been doing this Since its existence Can do how quickly they can get their Mail and lots of it There's signs everywhere Yeah this place was like a salmon Slaughterhouse The only question is will they be coming Back to feed here again I see one there [Music] This mother and her cub is That black bear spend over a year Raising their cubs

Forming a strong family bond Mothers not only feed and groom their Cubs They also cuddle and play games with Their offspring Above all else though mother bears are Constantly vigilant protecting the Cubs From predators which can even include Other black bears [Applause] What an incredible morning of activity Look at this place It's a bit of a bowl like all the area It's like a bowl shaped so if I get up Just sort of slightly up a bit in a Setup camp I have a good view all the way around All right Foreign Let's see what happens Bears are definitely feeding in this Area So setting up my Camp here gives me two Advantages Keeping me off the bear is beaten path And giving me a clear view of any bears That might come through here during the Night Or into the morning Let's just see what tomorrow brings I didn't hear any activity last night No fishing down by the salmon Slaughterhouse Nothing

Black bears can be highly adverse to Humans and their first instinct is Usually to avoid us if at all possible I'm hoping my presence here hasn't Caused them to scatter I guess Good for me Also good for the Bears They're certainly your feet on the Salmon but they're not shy to eat the Berries at the same time That's why there's cat you're so full of It all the time Let's go If I continue to track along the Waterways where the Bears have been Fishing I've got a much better chance at Finding them I can't see I'm just gonna follow this Creek along here The crew has to hang way back of me There Thank you It gets too close to me Lost my cover Because if I'm going to have any kind of Encounter at all I've got to go in alone And I've got to go inside I'm like [Applause] I guess they think I'm a bear [Applause] Ah That's some serious Carnage This really helps the Auntie now

You can see how productive this Creek is For the black bears Fish that are taken out and not even Eaten yeah that's one here Pulled from the creek Not even touched I mean what are they Doing practicing That's a bear that wasn't very hungry Maybe just having some fun One thing is certain if they're leaving Salmon untouched It means this area has more fish than The Bears could possibly eat This is even salmon Row in their Footsteps Bears can travel many miles driven by The scent of food But this abundant fishing spot littered With freshly eaten salmon is all the Evidence I need to tell me that they're All congregating Here It's only a matter of time before I find Them [Music] Here's the thing For the most part the Blackberry How many sounds like here in the forest Make me Nervous right now For the most part the black bear They'll bet down in an area where it can Still see Survey its domain

I'm not too far away not right down in Close but just sort of mid-range and That's what I've got right behind you Right here check this out All right All of that grass is pushed down by Black bears napping maybe even spending The night No that says that a bear at some point Decided this is his meal I just want Anybody to touch it this must be Somebody's favorite spot to sit and eat This might actually make a great place To uh Set of a blind that's it Talk about Goldilocks picking a bed to sleep in Let's hope that it's a nice medium-sized Bear [Music] With bear Trails bare beds and fish Carnage all throughout the salmon Slaughterhouse this is clearly a high Traffic area And from inside this camouflage blind I should hopefully be able to watch the Bears undetected That's perfect As a rainstorm Moves In It's a clear reminder that winter is not Far behind The weather could be an asset A bare sense of smell could cover a Radius of over 20 miles

But the rain does help mask my scent In this blind and in the rain Would be hard to smell as I am to see It's thought that the black bear is Nocturnal but it's actually avoidance of Humans when you go to places where they Don't need to avoid humans you know Active all hours of the day you know Black bears need to forage about 20 Hours of their day for food gaining 35 Of their body weight So they do need to be active during the Day so they'll be out there My question is when are they coming back To here [Applause] [Music] While I'm in this blind I'm hoping to Get a good visual on the bears that are Feeding in the area [Music] You can tell the Feet part from the males by their Slightly smaller behinds and they're Less blocky and stocky bodies They weigh about 175 pounds and they're Lighter and sleeker looking with less Rounder faces than the adult males It's the males that'll be the real find And under this camouflage I'm hoping to Spot them while remaining Unseen [Music] My mission to embed myself with Alaskan

Black bears and witness their survival Skills in action Has proven to be challenging The bad weather reduces their visibility Dulls their hearing and even Disadvantages their sense of smell All of this makes them too nervous to Venture out into the open Their sense of smell is one of their Greatest survival attributes Seven times more powerful than that of a Bloodhounds it can detect sense from Miles away But the rain can interfere with this Extraordinary ability [Applause] This rain just keeps getting worse I haven't seen a bear for hours I'm not having any luck here I'm Guessing that this rain is keeping 80 of Them Kidnapped at the forest so I'm gonna Hike the hills and see if I can find Them myself if they aren't going to come To me I'm going to go to them I think it's a young walking through the Bush maybe a young female I'm guessing About a three-year-old [Applause] Hungry It's young around there's a little Chance that there's any big males close By they don't want to mess with a big Mouth so you see a young adult it's

Generally on its own maybe another young Adult it won't go near moms and cops and Won't go in here big mouths With an adolescent You really don't know what you're Dealing with Adolescents and females in the area The question is Where are the larger males [Music] Trying to see a young bear out in the Open But there are other clues that show me a Dominant male is nearby Oh here we go There we go That's some scratches check this out These deep scratches here From there Just like everything else they do It's a point of survival so the Bears Will come here they'll make their Markings just tells all the other bears This is how big I am And whether or not you need to I think You can challenge me [Music] All right And judging by the scratches on this Tree there's a lot of bear communication Going on around here [Music] This persistent rain may be keeping the Bears at Bay but the good news is that

It's also causing the Creeks to rise Bringing the next wave of spawning Salmon rain or shine the Abundant salmon Will eventually be too enticing for the Bears to ignore All this water this rainness runoff Fresh water as it rises from the storms Is a very good thing without the rain The migration of the Sandler wouldn't be Triggered everything would be too dry These salmon are called And they come thousands of miles Back to this one Creek Spawn They were born here they left they made It all the way down to the ocean that's Why I'm thousands of miles [Applause] And when they were ready they came right Back to here Likely to within an inch or three of Where they were born just so they can Lay their eggs and end their life Salmon used nearly all of their energy To return to their spawning sites once They've spawned they die soon after If the black bears are going to make it Through winter they'll need to Feast on The last of the spawning salmon before They perish With the season rapidly closing The Bears are running out of time This weather is incredibly frustrating Soaked from above and soaked from within

That's one right along the Ridgeline now Okay That's my blind That's what embarrassed Black bears aren't territorial Instead they have a perimeter or Critical space wherever they go Any bear or human that comes within this Space Risks confrontation [Music] That's my blind That's where the bear is at This close distance staying still is my Safest bet The black bear can run 35 miles per hour Out in the open here I wouldn't stand a Chance If this black bear approaches I'll need to assert dominance by holding My ground Making myself appear large and by Speaking in a loud commanding voice If This Were a grizzly I'd play dead but with a black bear the Best option is often to stand And fight [Applause] Get right back to me I'm blind again Leave the crew some distance away just Trying to Capture the action of what happens Around me Turn it up

Wait a minute Oh boy Somebody decided to kind of take it out On my stamp It's on its side and it was not windy I take that as a sign that somebody Didn't want me here A tough luck I'm still here Not only was it pushed over but it was Also drag that way away The flipping over of my blind could just Be the work of a curious adolescent Or it could be from a male bear Aggressively defending its space Either way it's likely that there are More bears nearby Time to get inside for now [Music] Thank you So I'm sitting in a blind That very clearly A bear Has pushed over A little upset that was here maybe just A little bit curious Surrounded by dead salmon All around me I'm also actually right on The spot of where a bear sleeps maybe That's the bear that pushes over And I'm eating a salmon sandwich Just doesn't seem wise does it As the rain continues my chances of Finding a large adult male bear gets

Smaller with an intelligence level Similar to the great apes bears are very Clever at hiding themselves But I do have something else I can try For a little bit of this action If there's a big male black bear out There He's much too clever to show himself While I'm around I'm hoping these remote cameras can Outsmart him There are ample feeding opportunities Along this Creek So I'm spacing my cameras out to try to Cover as much of the area as I can That way I should be able to observe When any bear comes out to Feast on Salmon [Music] I'll do With such highly developed sensors It's almost impossible not to alert These Bears to my presence No matter how cautious I am By using trail cameras I can take myself Out of the equation for the night Let's see what happens after the sun Goes down in Bear Country [Music] Check out some of these trail cams after Days of tracking I still haven't seen a Dominant male black bear so I've set up A series of trail cams along the creek To increase my chances of seeing one in

Action Here That ain't right that's supposed to be Closed it was close when I left it Batteries have been pulled out Had them pull down my trail cams before [Applause] I put that in see if I can turn it on Still Yeah there we go Okay play videos Okay Hard not found Good Lord He ate the card Well that's just not fair [Applause] All right next I'll be looking at the footage they're Over here looking at me Okay Nothing Let's go check the others [Applause] Drill cams draw cams what did you find Okay Okay I got one Oh that's awesome Oh that's a beauty This could be the bear I've been looking For all this time This is working but the deal here is That this trail cam is Downstream for me I'm slightly upstream and they're not

Coming up to me what I'm going to do is Take my trail cams and just set them all Up In a bit of a semi Arc and if a bear Comes through the idea is it'll walk Right through my Gauntlet of trail cams Let's see what's going on I don't have many chances left to Outsmart these bears Salmon have almost finished their run Look at that All that white is rot they're literally Rotting while they swim Many of them dying and not even making It up to stream That's going to Signal the end of the Season for the salmon Running on the clock for the Bears Figure it's time to go next level I have to double up on my rain gear For obvious reasons the weather's not Going to quit and neither will I reality Is this is a hotbed of activity I know That by the trail cams I'm tired of Hanging out on the outskirts of my Campus I want to be right on top of These guys So up that tree which is where I'm going It's time for the tree stand I don't want to be too high up I'm going To go maybe 12 15 feet tops Down on the ground my tracks and my Scent betray my presence Up here in the stand I'll have a prime

View of the area And it'll make it a lot harder for the Bears to spot me This should give me the edge To watch them up close All right set for the night So the tree stand with the help of my Crew is in place all I need now Is for my crew to leave And the Bears Too arrive It's a good view from here [Music] It was running over at my drill camp This one is a classically nervous Adolescent bear You can tell this young bear is nervous Through his body language He moves with hesitation Looking over his shoulder and always Anticipating trouble A mature male bear will tend to move With confidence Slow and deliberate He often plays it cool and ignores the Other bears Unless he's forced to act Worried about it So he's jittery It's clear that the salmon are keeping These bears in the bowl But is the end of the salmon run Approaches I'm hoping that the crew and I can find the dominant male before he Retreats for hibernation

In the dark it's not going to be easy to Distinguish a juvenile bear From an alpha male You can't see anything This is creepy It's a big nail [Music] This is creepy It's a big male Size of them So there was a huge I can't track him in the dark Daylight will give me a chance to search For him in the woods and finally get a Close-up look at the bear that's been Avoiding me Up in that direction [Music] I know so if I keep going this dream Should lead into a big saltwater Lagoon Look at this That is fresh It's got this size could be the mark of A large bear It can't be far away [Applause] Eating and defecating as they go [Applause] Cabbage Is there munching on this munching on Barry's head I guess those are the Appetizers and we all know what the meal Is it's swimming in this Creek Plenty of it

[Applause] Further down with a creek empties into a Saltwater Lagoon My camera crew have caught up with our Target He's gonna be about 300 pounds Wow it's it's absolutely Finally a dominant male black bear Feasting on salmon Isn't too noisy okay This huge male is too engrossed in Fishing to notice the crew's camera On its hind legs that bear is likely About seven feet tall And a male that size is not going to be Challenged by any other bears in this Area This is his domain All right Bears keep certain critical spaces all To themselves usually to protect their Feeding grounds And this male has the place all to Himself The salmon are all thrashing around Their last bit of energy exerted on Their final run With seven months of hibernation about To begin This is the last opportunity for this Black bear to eat as many calories as it Can Beautiful [Music]

It's been incredible to witness these Instinctual Hunters at work [Music] They're finally tuned senses are key to Their survival They are the Bear's guidance system Telling it where to feed And its alarm system alerting it to Risks It's these Insect the black bear the amazing Survivalist Of the Alaskan wilderness [Music] [Music]

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