I almost got killed by Polar Bears several times. Once was enough for the biggest fool, so I don't know what that made me if I didn't wise up after the first time. In fact I do.Those bears are very smart and they evolve different techniques on their own (which you can't plan for) for killing large animals like seals, small walruses and the occasional much smaller Viking.
One encounter still gives me chills after a 1000 years. He was huge. The price for the pelts was based on a large polar bear about 3 meters long. For every half meter longer than that the pelts tripled in value.
So I went after the largest polar bears I could find.
Once I hit one with a spear like in hunting polar bear page but he was so big that his muscles were tough amd the spear did not go in very far. The bear ran off the iceburg and into the water. And down he went. I stood looking over the side to see if he might die and then float up to the surface or else come back up on his own.
He was not only very big but he was also very smart and he had his own technique for catching seals. He taught it to me. He waited until I was looking over the side really far and then he shot up from about 50 feet down and he came out of the water like a whale jumps but his mouth was wide open. However, he over shot and he hit me right in my face just as he was opening his mouth and he knocked me back about 20 feet.
His teeth tore through my coat, tore up both my face and my arm and almost knocked me out.
His teeth and his speed and his weight had almost killed me and he never even closed his mouth.
I got some of my senses back really fast and ran backwards about another 40 feet.
The bear got up and he came at me but ran only two steps and then he fell down dead. The swiming had caused the spear to penetrate into the vital region and he died in middle of his final act of vengance.
It still gives me the chills thinking about how close I came to dying that time.
I finally figured out how he surprised me. He was actually under the ice looking up at my silloutte through the ice.
Normally Polar Bears wait on the ice and surprise a seal when the seal first comes out of the water. A polar bear won't eat in the water and if he kills a seal and the seal is in the water he can't get it out very easily. He is pretty stuck waiting on ice for the seals to come out of the water. Seals are pretty safe if they are on ice and a bear is in the water.
They usually stay very near the edge of the ice like this one so they can just slip into the water as the bear is getting out. Seals can swim much faster and easily outswim bears.
This bear was so big that he figured out another way of getting seals. He would swim under the ice where it was thin enough to let light through until he saw the silloutte of a seal.
The polar bear would swim up fast under the ice and just change direction at the last second. He would jump out on the ice and bite the seals head and as the big bear would spill out on to the ice it would twist the seals neck breaking it.
However, my head was not the same shape as a seals so he could not get my head in his mouth. That is probably why it knocked me back and almost out cold but I have to admit I was pretty knocked out and don't remember it.
Polar bears must have been somewhat different.
They were also different in other ways back then. A female would defend her baby and a male would often kill her and then eat her. They would also kill and eat other polar bears whenever they got weak. You just don't hear about them being cannibals these days. They say there are five different kinds of polar bears and maybe there used to be a sixth kind.
© 2003 John Pinil