The Line Between Fear and Respect

Fear and RespectThere are lines between fear and respect as an Alaska Professional Guide that quite often are ignored or swept under the rug.

First, you have to understand the difference between fear and respect.

  • Fear: be afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous, painful, or threatening .
  • Respect: admire (someone or something) deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements; to avoid harming or interfering with.

I have been honored to be taught and mentored by some of the most experienced Professional Guided and Big Game Hunters that Alaska and all of North America has to offer.

Fear and RespectIn addition to being Professional Guides, we are horse-Outfitters and conduct 90% of our Adventures and Big Game Hunts on horseback.

There are two fears, that as a trainer for the Survival & Guide Training in Alaska, that I observe, evaluate and educate / counsel about frequently.

  • Horses
  • Grizzly Bears

The Line Between Fear and Respect

Horses. The line between fear and respect. The line here is an important one. If you tend to spend as much or more time of the fear side of things, no matter how well hidden, you will end up hurt. Period. Worse, you could end up getting someone else hurt.

Fear and RespectOur horses are range horses. They live wild and free for approximately half the year. They live side by side and with the wild critters of Alaska. They are tough, sure-footed, know the Alaskan terrain and waters.

They also get tired. They can get cranky and want the work to be done. We occasionally have what we call “explosions.” These usually happen when a horse is being packed. Most typically, a packhorse, already loaded, having his load tied on (“tying the diamond”), goes psycho. An explosion is also usually short-lived and a mess. Once in awhile, they are not short-lived and can be dangerous.

An animal between 800-1,500 pounds, throwing a temper-tantrum (for whatever reason) is a dangerous thing.

Fear and RespectThe safest place to be for a person dealing with the temper-tantrum (if you have to be) is close. I say this, because the tell tale for me is the “reaching” while attempting not to get too close.

Grizzly Bears. The line between fear and respect. For a Professional Guide, the mighty Grizzly Bear is the most dangerous animal in North America.

A magnificent animal, the Grizzly Bear is beautiful, yes, but so incredibly strong and that strength is so blatantly obvious in every way he moves. Canny and cunning there is no bigger challenge to be had than to get closer.

That line between fear and respect is shakier when speaking of Grizzly Bears, and the issues that come up are professionalism and safety.

Fear and RespectProfessional Big Game Guides are there to Guide and protect. Not to kill game. A Professional Guide may be forced to kill a wounded Grizzly on the run or to stop a charge, but to end a Grizzly Bear after a client only puts one shell into that bear is unethical and smacks of fear, not respect and not safety.

The hunting clients that I guide, hunting for Grizzly Bear are all coached all through their hunt until the opportunity arrives that 2 shots are fired first and always. Two shots, one after the other into that Grizzly Bear without hesitation or thought, then we’ll see.

The line between fear and respect is sometimes a very faint line, but the line is there. These are animals that are completely capable of causing incredible damage to a human and death. They are not animals to be taken lightly or the dangers to be ignored.

Understanding and acknowledging your own fears will help you attain a more healthy way of being a Professional (and ethical) Guide, by respecting the capabilities and power of the animals we as Alaskan Guides deal with as a course of doing our jobs.

Related posts:

Finding Your Own Way, with Alaska Chick
It's Not All An Alaska Wilderness Adventure
A Professional Guides Values

8 Responses to The Line Between Fear and Respect

  1. I can sure see where both would be a #1 thing to learn and know, a necessity for anyone in the world you live and guide in! So much to learn and remember for anyone who visits or trains with you!

    As Always ~*~

    • The way I see it and believe it, Ann, is after 20+ years, the lessons I learn DAILY fill journal after journal after journal… Each human that comes to us for training HAS to understand, sometimes you DON’T get second chances. Those are the instances you can’t train for, can’t prepare for… you simply have to act. And you have to do it right. Now.

      I know many new ones think some of what I tell them, show them, teach them is unnecessary…. mostly it is to test and strengthen mind, body and resolve. What we do is WAY more important than simply huntin’ critters. (I know, I say this CONSTANTLY!LOL but people get stuck on stupid and only see a tiny-bitty piece of the whole deal!)

    • Absolutely, Ann.

      Fear isn’t necessarily a BAD thing… you just need to know it fro what it is and allow your brain to take control. Respect is what keeps you alive.

  2. …all the more reason to hire YOU to take me on an adventure! Amazing how much knowledge you have gained that we all take for granted.

    • Betsy,
      There is so much glory and amazing beauty and ….air…here. There are also horrible dangers, as everywhere. I simply want everyone to experience all the wonders…safely and I know that -that alone can be incredibly difficult for absolutely anyone if they don’t understand.
      I don’t take one minute for granted simply because I have looked many of those dangers right in the eye, up close. They are there, folks, but so are people who can guide you through and around and allow you to experience every bit of what Chisana has to offer you and to teach you, about nature, about the world, about people, animals and yourself.
      ~Alaska Chick

    • Betsy!
      That is why I firmly believe that Professional Guides (not fly-by-night) are and should be a must. There is so much that the wilderness has to offer… but it IS (not can be, but IS) dangerous.
      Thank you for being here!
      ~ Amber-Lee

  3. What a fabulous distinction Amber-Lee. Fear can consume us to the point where we lose sight of everything around us – we can be afraid and still keep our sits about us. But as you point out you must be prepared for the moment and have a deep respect for everyone and everything involved when you are choosing to take on the risk of any adventure.

    • Susan!
      That is absolutely right. Any adventure at all has risks. If we understand them, know how to prepare, how to react… then it is simply that… An Adventure! Thank you for popping in!
      ~ Amber-Lee

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