Riverkeeper Report: Trail camera catches shot of 600-pound bear

Published 10:03 am Friday, March 11, 2011

Moonpie and I spent the 1st through the 3rd on the Blackwater below Franklin.

The water was low, 53 degrees and normal clarity. Air temps ranged from 31 degrees to 62, and it was very windy. In fact, it was the wind that had blown the water out of the river.

Now people might not think I’m serious about that, but if the wind is blowing right, it will blow the water to the Albemarle Sound some 60 miles downstream.

Trash was not so bad this trip, and I picked up about a half bag. However there is still a lot of trash high up on the east shore of the river near the Franklin storm-water ditch. When the water comes rolling out of that ditch, it blows the trash to the opposite side of the river.

Maybe a boat team will volunteer to get it this coming up Clean Rivers Day on April 2.

The only water quality issue I noticed was a large amount of algae in the river below Franklin. I did not notice if it was upriver or not. The fishing for me on this trip was not too great. I only caught a few speckle and all but one of those was small.

I picked up Freezing Deer the second afternoon in hopes we could catch a shad, but it was not to be. I saw a few people that had four or five, but they just were not doing much. I tried for stripers, but did not have a single hit.

I talked to a friend of mine that had come out to do some pre-season turkey scouting on the river and set up some game cameras. He was telling us how he had gotten some great pictures of all kinds of wildlife on this game-cam.

I thought that was pretty cool till he told me about all the bears he had captured on film. One he said was a 600-pounder! Great I thought; I’ll be thinking about that now all night at camp.

Well, sure enough, Moonpie and I were sitting at camp that night and I really had not thought about the bear thing. All of a sudden I started smelling something, something really bad.

“Whew, Moonpie,” I said, “Dag, what have you eaten? You need to say excuse me at least and probably go take a bath after that toxic release.”

“Twont me,” she replied. “Maybe it was one of those 600-pound Ursula americanus critters paying us a visit.”

“I think bear is Ursus,” I stated. “Ursula was an actress dodo bird.”

Then it hit me; we were being cruised by a skunk and by the pungent proximity of the smell, it was real close. So we sat there for the next hour wondering if we were going to be attacked by a rabid skunkious maximus, but thankfully that did not happen.

Before we turned in that night, Moonpie said, “ You know that kinda hurt my feelings when you accused me of stinkin’ like that. Maybe next time you smell something rotten, you might ought to sniff around yourself Mr. Riverkeeper, after all we both eat the same thing when we’re out here on the two rivers we call the Blackwater and Nottoway.”

JEFF TURNER is riverkeeper for the Blackwater/Nottoway Riverkeeper Program, an environmentally conscious organization that focuses on keeping local waterways healthy. BNRP’s parent organization is The Waterkeeper Alliance. Contact Turner at his website, www.blackwaternottoway.com.