“Davey” and The Bear
Once upon a time, there was this truck driver named Dave in New Jersey. He met this beautiful young lady, whose name I do not remember, and they fell in love. She had grown up in a well to do family and her father was head of a big national corporation at the time and I suspect there was a trust fund in there somewhere. She was very nice and was a little on the ‘flower child” side and the two of them, (Dave and she) decided they would get out of the big city rat race. That brought them to the Pembroke , Quebec, Canada area and the banks of the Ottawa River.
There they acquired an old 100 year old, three story house, some land and some cabins on the river. They opened up a hunting business along with some other activities, like logging. Like I said, I think there was maybe a trust fund in there somewhere. I have noticed that it is a lot easier to chase your dreams when you have a big pile of cash in a paper sack.
The house they lived in was old and was heated by the wood stove that they cooked on. The stove pipe was routed up through the bedrooms upstairs so as to take advantage of all the heat generated by the stove. They seemed to really love it.
So, somehow my friends Bob and Dave and I decided that we really should go on a Spring bear hunting trip to Canada. I guess it was Bob who found the name of this place on the Ottawa River that offered bear hunting. It was run by the man also name “Dave” and his wife. (The possible trust fund lady). The arrangements were made and we headed out, driving, to Pembroke, Quebec, Canada. We had guns, ammunition, binoculars, clothes and the usual hunting trip stuff. We also had a supply of mosquito repellant coils that were made to be burned to ward off the hoard of mosquitos and black flies we had been warned about. And, we had mosquito nets that were to protect your face and neck. We had this stuff even though we could not imagine needing this much protection. We felt a little silly carrying the stuff.
The drive to Pembroke was long and routine. Dave, (Our Dave) had his usual back problems but we rode in Bob’s pick up with the gear all in the back in bags. We did have one little problem at the Canadian border. When they asked about the purpose of our trip we told them “Hunting”. They asked if we had guns. Of course, we had guns. That was not a problem, so much, until they ask if we were carrying any “automatic weapons”. Now, us ole boys from the South usually had one of three types of “weapons”: single shot, bolt action, or, “automatics”.
Automatic is a term often applied to “autoloaders” .That’s what I had. A 30.06 Remington 742 “autoloader” with a 5 shot clip. To these guys at the border, though, “automatic” meant something like a Tommie Gun. I can imagine Al Capone crossed the border carrying those a few times to protect his moonshine. This reply from me resulted in us having to take our guns inside for inspection. My two friends advised that I keep my mouth shut in the future.
Traveling over to Pembroke was uneventful but I remember stopping on a bridge over the river on the way and looking at the giant sturgeons that were resting there in the shade. I had never seen one and the 6 or 7 foot long fish were quite a sight. We were not too much on cameras and picture taking at that time and I don’t know if a single picture exists of the trip. But we finally rolled up at the “Other Dave’s” place. Somehow, I am not sure of his wife’s name at this point.
They showed us around and were as nice as could be. We then went down and checked into the cabin by the river. I remember it as pretty nice, too, considering it was a hunting cabin.
Now, Dave the Host, had some land available to hunt on. Mostly wheat fields, I believe. And he had baited several spots up with some dead calves and such to attract the bears. He showed us these spots and then we were pretty much on our own to pick a spot, go back to it and sit and wait for a bear to show up. He wasn’t too much on hand holding.
So that’s what we did. And we made a discovery while doing it. There were millions of black flies…………. and millions of mosquitos……………not just in the area but flying around each of our heads!
If we had not brought the mosquito nets to cover our faces, we would not have been able to stay outside! We tried burning the mosquito coils and I believe the bugs really enjoyed the aroma. We got some cigars and tried that. We tied up our pants legs, tied up our shirt sleeves, put on gloves, and burned incense. They really liked the second hand smoke! I’ve never seen anything like the swarms we encountered. But we were there to hunt and by gum we were going to hunt! Walk and hunt. Sit and hunt. Swat and hunt. No bears to be seen.
Now our Dave has that “back problem” from his firefighting injury while on the fire department. He is a great guy and is one of those characters that make life more fun and interesting. Always ready with a back slap and a handshake. But, the back problem seemed to be a lot worse when there was something Dave did not really want to do, like going out and sitting while being eaten up by mosquitos and blackflies. Such was the case that morning. (Someday, get me to tell you about Dave and the Rattlesnake Hunting)
We had been trying to find a bear for a couple of days with no luck. We got up early that morning intent to “get a bear”. But Dave was moaning in the bed and saying his back was hurting. He might sleep in for a while. No amount of belittling him or laughing at him about wimping out could get him to get dressed to go “hunting”. So, after breakfast, Bob and I started out walking to the carrion piles. Black flies, mosquitos, and all.
We had been out for a while when the two of us met back up. Nothing. Not a sign of a bear. As we were standing there talking, we heard the sound of a rifle. It sounded a lot like it had come from the area of the cabin and sounded a lot like Dave’s rifle. But, Dave was in the bed with a bad back, wasn’t he?
Bob says to me, “What do you think that was.” I replied that if I was a betting man, Dave had just shot a bear. Bob agreed and we started back toward the cabin.
While Bob and I were braving the natural elements, walking our butts off, and swatting the bugs, Dave was asleep in the cabin. Our Host Dave was up at his house. Our Host Dave had a clear view across one of the big fields that went up behind the cabin we were staying in. And there he saw it! At the edge of the field a black bear was slowly moving across.
He did not know where we were and we had no means of contact at that time. On a hunch, he jumped in his truck and goes flying down to the cabin. Going inside, he finds Dave lying in bed in only his Jockey shorts. He yells for Dave to get his gun and take a shot at the bear before he gets into the woods. Dave tells him to wait a second so he can put on his pants but Our Host Dave said there was not time! So, Dave, in his Jockey shorts, grabs his gun, steps out on the back steps, gets the bear in his sights and fires. That was the shot we heard: Dave shooting a Canadian black bear while wearing only his Jockey shorts. You can’t make this stuff up.
Dave had accomplished his mission and did not have to contend with black flies or mosquitos and did not have to walk or even put on any pants! By the time Bob and I made it back to the cabin, the two Dave’s have loaded the bear up in a truck and have it hanging up to be dressed out. ( By now, Dave had put on a pair of pants. ) Now, that’s the way to bear hunt!
We loaded up the bear hide and the bear meat and headed back home to Georgia. I think we may have not filled out all the paperwork and sent it in on the bear kill. We had bear hunting licenses but there were some tags and stuff that were supposed to be sent in. We were thinking we might have a little problem at the border with the guns and the bear that was in the back.
At the border, a lady came over to inspect the cargo. I did not bring up “automatic weapons” this time. She wanted to know what was in one of the bags and she might need to look in them. Bob, always quick on his feet, said “go ahead but you might want to watch out since those are our dirty underwear in there.” She decided she would not look. We headed home! Dirty underwear can be a powerful thing!
As a side note, did I mention when Dave’s back as not hurting, he was also a taxidermist. He had a taxidermy shop and he helped out the Fernbank Science Center in Atlanta on some projects. I heard a rumor that, after Dave went to Canada, they got a Canadian black bear at Fernbank that they put on exhibit there. I don’t know if there was an inscription on it or not. If there was, I wonder if it said,” Shot by Dave Wearing Only His Jockey Shorts”. It should have.
While there are a lot of men (and women, too, I suppose) that can claim to have shot a bear, I challenge you to find ONE that has done so while wearing only their Jockey’s. I know ONE guy who’s done it! Our friend, Dave.
© SPT 2016