Welcome back to Scary Bear Attacks! Today’s episode takes us to Arviat, Nunavut Island, to a place called Sentry Island in Hudson Bay in northeast Canada. This wind swept land of rock and ice is a nearly inhospitable place but indigenous people have scraped out a living here for untold eons. When the ice melts in the summer, the natives can fish, but in the brutal winters, ice covers the water and land, and the humans frequently come face to face with the worlds largest bear species in competition for a common food source, seals. The polar bear is renowned as being one of the very few bear species who stalks human beings and considers them as a part of the ecosystem. There are no trees to climb here. The only avenues for escape are the open seas or to run across the open ground. The polar bear can run 35 miles per hour and swim for days on end, so neither of those options is viable. That leaves only yourself as a means of self defense, escape or protection. Aaron Gibbons was a 31 year old father of 1 son and 3 daughters and a member of the Inuit community. He was known for being a great hunter and providing meat for needy members of the community as well as being a dedicated family man. His friends would describe him as having never lost his temper which is quite a feat with 4 young children. On July 3rd, 2018 Aaron loaded up his 4 children and his .22 LR firearm into his boat. The group planned to go to Sentry Island to harvest bird eggs and have a fun family day. They departed Arviat, their 2500 person community, and motored the 10 miles to the island. Aaron’s children, who are all elementary school age, piled off the boat and immediately started playing and running around. They were carefree with no stress in their lives, as the warmth of the summer energized them as it does to young people. Their dad secured the boat on the rocky shore and began making his way toward the kids. Aaron instructed the kids on what to look for when gathering the eggs and how to avoid any problems with defensive bird parents and turned the vivacious kids loose! They ran around finding and seeking their seasonal delicacy as if Mother Nature sponsored an Easter Egg hunt a few months too late. As the children amassed a growing collection of bird eggs, Aaron’s mind slipped into a bit of a mental recess, and reflection for a moment. He is hastily snapped out of it when he sees a huge white mass stealthily moving in the direction of his kids. At this time of year, most polar bears are essentially doing what their brown bear cousins do in the winter, a sort of summer hibernation. They don’t find a den or bury themselves but they do lay around and wait for cooler temperatures to prevail while living off of the body fat they have amassed over the winter hunting period. The only polar bears that do not do this are the desperate, starving ones. As the large white mass slowly morphs into what Aaron recognizes as a polar bear, Aaron knows he will have to intervene. This bear is not playing. It is not just curious. It is sneaking up on his daughter while she plays and gathers eggs. Aaron heeds the demeanor of the polar bear. Its head is down and ears are back. It is moving slowly and watching the children as they dart from nest to nest. It carefully examines its most hidden approach avenues and slowly closes the distance between the children and himself. Aaron knows this is a dire situation and immediately puts a plan of action into place. He orders his kids to run to the boat immediately as he runs toward them and gathers rocks. His 22 long rifle firearm is in his boat and that is in the other direction so Aaron utilizes the weapons he has on hand, baseball sized stones. As the kids run toward the safety of the boat, the polar bear starts to quickly close the distance between them. Aaron intercepts their path and lobs the rocks at the bear and yells in an attempt to scare it off. The rocks pelt the side of the bear which stops and looks it all over for a few seconds. The bear is in bad shape and hungry, it cannot be frightened away from a needed opportunity to feed and starts to focus on Aaron. Aaron is a very experienced hunter and knows that this is not a fake or a bluff. This bear is coming to kill and eat him. When Aaron sees that the bear will not be run off, he instructs his eldest daughter to call for help on the radio. She immediately does exactly as her daddy instructs her to do. Then, she watches, along with her https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/polar-bear-management-arviat-1.4904164 https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/polar-bear-attack-arviat-1.4733550 https://nunatsiaq.com/stories/article/65674nunavut_wildlife_officials_investigate_illegal_polar_bear_deaths/ https://nunatsiaq.com/stories/article/arviat-hero-receives-posthumous-star-of-courage-medal/ https://tribune.com.pk/story/1750397/polar-bear-mauls-father-protecting-daughters https://globalnews.ca/news/4312450/dad-dies-polar-bear-nunavut/