Sunday, February 4, 2007

Bear Man

I have a really good friend who would rather hunt than eat, however it's really not safe for him to go in the woods. He has been raised in the country all his life, and he still gets lost. He will wander in the river swamps all day, and eventually blunder back out into civilization. He worked for the state for a while as a biologist and got paid starvation wages to spend his time getting lost and fishing (doing stream counts). He has seen numerous antebellum mansions in the woods, but can't find any of them. He found an unrecorded Indian Mound, a very rare thing indeed, and can't get back. It's really tragic for him.

His real problem is he attracts bears the way a dog draws fleas. We have an ample supply of bears around here. They’re black bears and large enough to get your undivided attention. A friend has a picture of one that fills the back of a Ford pickup, it was dead, not hitching. I have friends who have had yard dogs killed in their yards by bears, a sow with cubs that took exception to the barking. I know of more than one case of bears strolling down the center line of the road. In the area we hunted, at least one four hundred pounder was killed. The man who killed it shot it at a good range with five rounds of triple ought buck, and it still ran a quarter mile. Makes you want some underarm bear repellant. We were scouting some stands in the bays one day, walking through several thousand acres of woods, when he managed to step in a huge smoking pile of bear…stuff. Only he has that kind of luck. He was hunting deer and picked a stand where he could see under the low pines, standing in a drainage ditch. The dogs pushed a bear out of its bed, where did it go? It walked out of the woods and stood right over him in the ditch. They just stood there looking at each other, he was afraid to shoot it was so close. I think they follow him around like big ugly puppies.

One evening he was still hunting way back in the pines when he saw something in the woods, moving slowly around his stand. You guessed it, a bear, except there were two. One of them came out and laid down in the open in front of him. It was almost dark and with a long way to walk out, he wanted to start a little early, after all a deer is unlikely to come out and elbow the bear out of the way. He threw sticks and finally yelled at the bear to make him leave. In doing so, he lost track of the second bear.

Serious oversight.

If nothing else he is a careful hunter, and unloaded his gun before climbing down from the stand. When he got to the bottom of the ladder he turned around, and the biggest bear he had ever seen stood up, at about kissing distance.

My, my, what to do?

First you say it, and then you do It.

It was a clearly a toss up as to who was the most terrified, my money is on my bud. Fortunately they parted ways, at full speed, in opposite directions. I don't hunt with him any more, he's moved away.

I'd really like to go with him again, just to see what’s following him around,
Yeti perhaps, everything else has.

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