Tuesday, June 21, 2011

BEARS--an--More Bears

A good size bear up near Indian River
Bears were quite rampant up at Damsite Lodge (Canadian Adv.org) back in the 1950's. We used to sit in the lodge at night and listen to them as they wandered around the outside and made a mess in our "garbage dump", which we later got rid of. Across the river a man by the name of Horace Deur (ran the power plant) also had a few too many bears. My dad was still only coming up on weekends and mother would not let me shoot at a bear without "your father". So I struck up an acquaintance with Horace and he invited me along on one of his bear "hunts". So I went as an observer as mother would not let me take a firearm with out dad's OK.
 If I remember right there was about a half dozen families living across by the dam and they were  "DAM EMPLOYEES", pun intended. Another crew had just come in by train to build the road south down to the new dam they were going to build down near Hwy17which is about 8 miles.
 Evidently food for the bears was scarce that year so the bears were really scavenging the dumps daily, even in the daylight.
 There were no really young children, (one good looking teenage girl though, in fact it was his daughter) living there but the women were worried anyways. Mother finally ran out of excuses for me not to go and I got away from her about 3 in the afternoon, no gun of course. I'd like to interject here that you should never go bear hunting with out a firearm, or a spear or something. Horace was ready and we hopped in his company Landrover and drove over to the dump site. He was laughing as I was belaying the fact that I had no gun. He just laughed and said "stay close to me", you'll be OK.
 Did we set on the edge of the dump NO we sat right in it on a couple of somethings, I don't remember what, back to back so that we could see everything. We no more sat down and sow with a cub came out and quickly disappeared and a larger bear came into the dump from my view point. I knew how close Horace wanted the bear and didn't say much other than, here's a bear and he said yeah. What I didn't know is he had one on his side also. My bear  kept on coming getting closer and closer as he was stumbling over the cans and his nose up in the air in the testing the wonderful aromas. My bear was about 15 yards from me and I said aren't you going to shoot? He said, no he's not close enough yet. Finally I said something to the fact that I was scared and he was too close. About then Horace shot but my bear just stood there and I said shoot, shoot again!!! About then Horace turned and saw my bear said something to the effect that he was close shot twice and the bear went down. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry or what but I did know that the 12 ga shotgun did wonders on my bear. As we were getting straightened around I said, how close do you usually let them get. He just said not that close! Then it dawned on me he had shot another bear on his side that I'd never seen. Both bears were pretty good size and probably about 250 to 300 pound and they both smelled like skunks or whatever from living in the dump.
 It took probably another hour or two dispose of the animals as he said they're not good to eat. They'll taste just like what ever they've been eating.
 After I got home and cleaned up mother said did you see any bears and I said yes he got two. She just continued on doing whatever she was doing and nothing more was said. Can you imagine being a teenage boy with a story to tell and nobody to tell it to?
  Dad came in that night or the next and I told him how Horace shot 2 bears but again dad said nothing other than he'd brought up my 12 ga and some buck shot. It seems as though Horace Deur had called my dad down in MI and told him the whole story and said he thought I could handle a bear hunt on my own. Later on as Horace and I would talk about our one and only bear hunt we could only laugh.
 The over abundance of bears were a problem there for a couple of years anyway and after they'd break in a cabin somebody would have to exterminate them. BUT that was the easy part! You sure can't dig a hole in the rock so I'd have to get the bear to the river, which can be a terrible job and with an outboard tow the animal up stream where there might be a beach, way up above the waters edge and cover the animal as best I could that could take most of the day. The other bears, wolves, fox and whatever would dispose of the remnants.


Kitt said...

Another great story, Dad! I will be 50 years old this year and this is the very first time I have ever heard about your adventures at the Lodge. For us it was just a vacation when we went. But you got to live and experience a rare adventure. I'm sure What I wouldn't give to go back 50 years and experience my summer Canadian vacations all over again. Thanks for sharing and keeping the memories alive!

Kitt said...

Dad, I never knew you got to do all of these things. I would have hated to leave there to go back to Michigan. I will be 50 years old this August and never knew any of this! I only knew we had been going to the Lodge every summer from the time I was 6 weeks old. For me it was just a vacation, but you got to live and build the Lodge experience. I don't know what any of the other family remembers about the lodge. I imagine everyone's experience was unique and just as memorable as mine or yours. Thanks for sharing these memories. I look forward to reading more!

Darrell said...

Kitt, you know I've had a lot of chances to go back up there BUT without mom and dad, the guides it would not be the same. they say you can never go back and now after almost 3/4's of a century I believe them.