I’ve fished some crowded rivers in recent years, vying for limited spaces, and have sometimes called the experience “combat fishing.” But after watching this recent video, I realized I’ve been using the term way too lightly. This is “combat fishing.”
On July 1, 2023, Explore.Org, an organization that operates remote live cams all over the world, documented some truly wild footage — two massive brown bears throwing down on an Alaska river during a salmon run. The big brown bears do some posturing — and then start slamming each other with their paws, sometimes standing up on their hind legs like boxers. Then, after trading blows, the bears stand facing each other. Neither seems to want to continue fighting nor to be the first to back away.
“Brooks Falls heated up last night as two dominant forces went head to head,” explained Explore.Org on Twitter. “No serious injuries reported.” The organization later noted that one of the bears —unsurprisingly—appeared to have a wound on its head. See it for yourself below.
856 vs. Walker: Brooks Falls heated up last night as two dominant forces went head to head. No serious injuries reported. pic.twitter.com/5c2OOsUOcw
— explore.org (@exploreorg) July 2, 2023
Brooks Falls, located in the Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska, is home to the largest sockeye salmon run in the world. As such, it attracts a high number of brown bears—and tourists who want to see them. The brown bears are known to stand on the edge of the falls and nab salmon as they swim upstream.
According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, brown bears are a type of grizzly bear that live in southern Alaska. They’re known to grow especially large, reaching sizes of up to 1,500 pounds. The agency notes that “although generally solitary in nature, brown bears often occur in large groups in concentrated feeding areas such as salmon spawning streams, sedge flats, open garbage dumps or on whale carcasses. Because of this, they have developed a complex language and social structure to express their feelings and minimize serious fights.”
In this case, though, the two bears seemed like they just needed to have it out before returning to fishing.