September 6, 2011
Dennis hunts, but only shoots when the situation is ideal. In 2011, it was ideal, for both moose and bear.
Before the season began, he photographed a legal spike fork bull in the lake. The previous year, a cow and calf had spent lots of time in the vicinity of our boathouse, even when crowds of people were around! We were concerned at the time that if it the calf was male, it wasn't learning an important lesson. Avoid people!
One morning during hunting season, Dennis and a friend returned to the boat to see the same moose in the same place it had been the week before. Dennis didn't want to shoot it in the water, thinking it would be far too much trouble to retrieve, but Rodney, who had been a game warden in another state, said, "Go ahead! Just don't hit the lungs. Moose float."
"What? Moose float?" Somewhat reluctantly, Dennis dropped the moose with one shot. It floated! They used the boat to tow it back to the boat house, where they butchered it in comfort before taking the entrails to the middle of the lake and sinking them. Who'd a thunk it could be so easy?
A few days later, Dennis spotted a grizzly bear on shore fishing for salmon. He raced down to the boat with a camera and a gun, shouting to me as he passed the shower house so I'd know where he was going. I finished showering and returned to the cabin to watch through the scope as he motored up to the bear, taking pictures. I broke away to grab a video camera, then heard a shot. I thought he was just taking pictures, not hunting!
I raced back to the scope and saw him motoring close to where the bear had been, but he was by himself and didn't want to risk meeting up with a wounded grizzly, so he returned for backup. The next day we both learned to "skin a griz". A special friend in Minnesota made its coat into a beautiful rug.
Don't worry. There are LOTS of grizzlies in the area, including two sows with triplets. Too many bears and they might not be able to find enough food. So far, they've never raided our cabins for food and we'd like to keep it that way.
If the situation hadn't been ideal, with an adolescent bear not the least interested in fleeing, we wouldn't have a bear rug. That would be just fine. Dennis figured this was the best chance he'd ever get and he's probably right about that.
Go on to read Ice Cave and Ptarmigan
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