Bear Facts

Larry and Lionel came to my room on Friday night. They had heard of a bear that had been bothering the garbage cans of the residents all week at Chalk River. Experienced hunters from the town had tried to track down the bear but were unsuccessful. Larry and Lionel had decided to go out next morning to hunt down the bear and asked if I would like to go with them. “Of course.” We were up early and hunting; near the road was my requested position. After an hour or so, I heard a noise, and I faced in the direction of the sound. No one was more surprised, ‘cept maybe the bear! We were face to face, eyeball to eyeball, about forty feet apart. I assume I pulled the trigger because a bullet left my rifle and lodged in the bear’s head. The bear slouched backward. I wasn’t sure I had hit it and thought that maybe it was crouching for an attack. At this point I was thinking it would pounce forward like a tiger. After thirty seconds I approached nervously. There was no movement, no breathing, just an eerie, lonely stillness.

We had arranged previously to fire three shots in the air in rapid succession if we needed help. (That’s normal for hunters). Larry and Lionel heard my first shot, and my three shots told them I had shot myself accidentally. They had expected even less than I did that I would see a bear from my location. They came rushing breathlessly onto the scene. They had been hunting for years and found it hard to believe that a rank amateur had stumbled into shooting a bear. The bear was smarter than the hunters and took the main road into town, not the trail in the forest, as everyone supposed.

  The bear weighed over two hundred pounds and was difficult to handle. We tied the bear to the hood of Lionel’s car and paraded the trophy through town which attracted a lot of attention. Lionel beamed, and my only regret was that Lionel had not shot the bear himself, he was so proud of the catch. I was such an amateur I did not appreciate just how difficult it was to nab a bear, especially on the first try at bear hunting. Hunting? I just stood there and the bear found me! The other guys showed me how to skin the bear and salt it to preserve the head. We also had bear steaks, prepared by the chef at the hotel, and shared the meat with many friends. Most felt as I did; it was gamey; it was sweet; it had a strong flavor; it was tough and tasted like “old rope” – just awful! I had the head of the bear mounted on a plaque and kept it for years. Since I could not top that experience without going on an African safari, I decided to give up hunting.

  Stan Ostle

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