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  • Bear Story

    It's been a while since I told a story. This story has absolutely no machining content, but you will find it interesting. It is a true story, and I have just written it this afternoon to add to my archives.--Don't get on my case about the paragraph structure, because when I copy and paste into the forum, it loses all of its formatting.--Brian
    Pet Bears
    Everybody who lives up north, be it USA or Canada will have some kind of bear story to tell.—The bear chased me---The bear chased my dogs---The bear wrecked our tent—and so on. I have a very different bear story to tell, so bear with me and I will tell a tale.
    My father was a lumberjack, and in the years between the end of world war 2 and the beginning of the 1960’s, he spent most of his winters in the logging camps, away from home during the winter months.
    One March when I was about 9 years old,(about 1955) my dad and my uncle Charlie Martin were logging from home---that is taking white pine off our own 50 acres instead of being in a camp for the winter. My father fell (that`s ``cut down`` for you non loggers) a big white pine, but instead of falling cleanly, it hung up in the limbs of a dead but still standing ash tree, creating one of the worst hazards that loggers had to contend with. The dead ash had a large and sprawling root system, which was partially frost heaved out of the ground, to the point where it was three of four feet above the snow and surrounding groundcover
    My father climbed up onto the top of this tangle of exposed roots, and began very carefully to notch the dead ash to make it fall in the right direction to bring it down and bring the white pine down with it.
    That was when a very upset and angry sow bear stuck her head out of the tangle, right between my old man`s feet!!! Now after spending five years fighting with allied troops and surviving, it didn`t take Angus long to make a very quick decision. He had a chainsaw---and it was a bear----
    After the bear was dispatched and the tree cut down, they backed up uncle Charlie`s team of Bays to the tangle and hooked the chains to the bear and pulled her all the way out of the den.—(And yes, we did indeed eat bear meat whenever we had the chance). When the bear was removed from what proved to be her den, there were 3 newly born cubs inside.
    My Uncle Charlie picked up all three cubs and packed them away into the pocket of his Mackinaw coat and brought them up to our house.
    As I remember, (and it was a long time ago) the cubs weren`t much bigger than week old puppies. They didn`t have their eyes open yet, and they were very hungry. We didn`t have any `real` milk, but we did have cans of Carnation condensed milk, and we did have honey. My mother mixed up a concoction of canned milk, water, and honey, and rounded up an old baby bottle with a rubber nipple, and it was my job to feed the bears.
    This was very fascinating for me, and when the bears weren`t eating, they slept in a cardboard box with an old shirt in it behind the cookstove to keep them warm.
    After about 10 days, their eyes opened, and they were quite adventurous, spilling out of the cardboard box and exploring the kitchen and surrounding rooms. They loved me, and loved to play, just like puppies.—they weren`t house broke either, so when I hear that old question—“Does a bear $hit in the woods`` I can answer quite honestly “Yes, and everywhere else, too!!” and I was the clean-up boy.
    We kept the bears indoors through the rest of March and April, but by May the snow had melted, and the bears and I began making sorties outside. I had named all three of the bears by this time, and they knew their names and would come to me when I called them. They were very affectionate, and loved to wrestle and play.
    Then disaster struck. Uncle Charlie kept a bag of oats for his horses in our little barn, and I believe that it was a mix of oats and molasses that the horses dearly loved. The barn door was left open, and one of the bears got into the barn, ripped the bag open and gorged itself on the sweet oats. The oats swelled from the moisture in the bears stomach, and the bear was unable to pass the oats, and it died very quickly.—Mind you, we didn’t really have access to any real veterinarys, and even if we had, there would have been no money to afford one.
    I was heartbroken, but the remaining two cubs and I had some wonderful fun that spring.---But---They were bears!! They grew very quickly, and their teeth and claws seemed to grow almost faster than the rest of them. They weren’t mean nor ferocious at all, but they didn’t realize that 9 year old boys weren’t quite as tough skinned as your average bear. After a couple of months, I was beginning to look like I spent my time in a tigers cage. All of my clothes were ripped, and my skin had darned near as many rips in it as my clothes did.
    Finally my father and mother decided that no matter how good tempered the bears were, they had to go if their son was to survive.
    Fortunately, they didn’t go far. Out at the end of our sideroad was a generals store/gas bar/ restaurant that volunteered to keep the bears, as a tourist attraction. The bears were collared and chained to an iron stake in the front lawn, and they did prove to be a great draw for tourists and home-folk too.
    The bears would hold an ice cream cone in both front paws and eat it just like a kid, and they loved to drink bottles of grape pop which they held between their front paws and stood up on their hind legs to drink just like a kid would.
    However, if the treat was taken away from the bears, they got pretty upset.---Remember the teeth and claws?—And they would climb a man just like a tree if the treat was with-held from them. It was too good to last. Eventually some fellow from down south and his 14 year old son stopped to get gas in their car, and the son started to tease the bears by holding an ice cream cone over his head where they couldn’t reach it. Non-plussed, the bears climbed him right to the top of his outstretched arm, and got the ice cream---and the kid lost a pound of flesh in the bargain.
    The bears (which were getting pretty darned big by then) were moved down to Kaladar on highway #7, and lived out the rest of their lives in an iron cage, again as a tourist attraction—but this time with a protective fence around the perimeter of the cage to keep people far enough away from the bears to avoid being shredded.
    The remarkable thing about his all, is that my mother was a picture maniac with her old Kodak camera. I have dozens of old black and white pictures of me and my “pet bears” which I can trot out and show my unbelieveing grandchildren.
    Hope you enjoyed my bear story.---Brian Rupnow---Feb.2015
    Last edited by brian Rupnow; 02-10-2015, 04:39 PM.
    Brian Rupnow

  • #2
    Thanks Brian that was a great story, please show us a scan of one of those pictures!
    I have a good bear story too but I dont have the time right now to type it...
    My sisters horse once got into the oat can and it too died rather quickly, though painfully...
    Cheers,
    Jon

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    • #3
      I agree with Jon. Great story, Brian - I've endured some large animal scrapes (mostly livestock of various ilk) but sadly, no bear stories...

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      • #4
        Brian, I clearly remember those bears at Kaladar. When I was at university, (Ottawa U ,) I found that I could get home to Newmarket by hitch hiking #7 highway both quicker and cheaper than taking a bus. I often stopped at Kaladar. I think that the bears were gone by 1960 or '61.
        Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec

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        • #5
          Small world eh!?
          I was born in Newmarket general as was my mom, dad etc. I still have family there.
          Back around 2000 or earlier I spent a January to March in -40 weather putting in underground duct banks for the electrical service to all of the cell towers you see between Peterborough and Perth along 7. We had a giant excavator with a 6' carbide tipped frost ripper to do the trenching. We had to bring in sand for all the backfill as what came out might as well have been rock... I get a chill just thinking about that job...
          Cheers,
          Jon
          Last edited by Jon Heron; 02-10-2015, 06:08 PM.

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          • #6
            There was a priest who was very afraid of walking in the woods surrounding the church where he lived, because of wild animals, and especially bears. But one day his car broke down on the long driveway and he had to walk through the woods to get home. Sure enough, when he was going through the thickest part of the forest, a hungry bear appeared in front of him. The priest prayed, "Oh, dear Lord, please make this a Christian bear who will do the right thing!" And, amazingly, the bear kneeled down and put his paws together and said, "Thank you Lord, for this meal that you have so generously provided!"
            http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
            Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
            USA Maryland 21030

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            • #7
              My wife took the kids to swimming lessons so I have some time now
              Around 1984 to 86 when I was around 10 or 11 we lived outside of a small town called Bragg creek in Alberta.
              I had an ornery horse named Chucka that we got from a dude ranch for glue price because nobody could ride it, my dad figured this would be the perfect horse for me...
              After many trials and tribulations (I could write a book about the trouble I got into with that horse but I am a terrible writer as you can all see ) that horse and I became like brothers and it had nothing but trust in me and I with him. Every day after school I would saddle up old Chucka and take him out riding along the elbow river or wherever we ended up, as long as I made it back in time for supper my folks where happy I was out and about keeping out of trouble.
              One afternoon I was on my way back from the river running chucka at a flat out run down the gravel road, suddenly he started popping his head and feeling like he was going to start to buck (not easy for a horse to buck when they are flat out) then before I could react a mama cinnamon bear and 2 cubs scuttled out into the road about 20 yards ahead of us. Before I could react Chucka jumped in the air and somehow did a complete 180 while I kept sailing through the air right at the bear. I did about a 5 yard lip skid through the gravel to within about 5 yards of mama, I jumped up and did a 180 at the same time the bear did the same thing. I am not sure who was scared more me or the mama but I can tell you I didnt stop running for about 4KM untill I cought up with my horse in a gravel pit.
              The worse part wasn't having to catch Chucka but rather it was having to ride Chucka past the same spot to get back home, horses have a good memory and a good sniffer and ol Chucka buckjumped and snorted all the way past where the incident happened, I usually enjoyed this behavior but my hands and knees where so cut up from the gravel I couldn't hardly post nor hold the reins but ol Chucka and I finally made it home after dark to some very worried parents and bloody pants and reins.
              The hair all stood up on my neck just now telling that story lol
              Anyways in 87 we moved back to Ontario and ol chucka got sold to rodeo rancher and lived out his life as a saddle bronc bucking horse in the rodeo circuit out there... I miss ol Chucka that stubborn son of a bitch.
              Another great story is when I tried to train Chucka to pull a toboggan... another time.
              Cheers,
              Jon
              Last edited by Jon Heron; 02-10-2015, 06:54 PM.

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              • #8
                Great story Brian!! And yes, years ago in N. Ontario anyway, there were lots of bears at business establishments, and they sure did draw tourists from the south.
                Years back the town of Burks Falls had a famous Bear, who lived with the owner who had an Esso station and garage. His name was Pete the bear, and hundreds of photos were taken with Pete.
                The mechanic and garage owner had an old service/tow truck, and the odd time when he got a service call for a breakdown , He would take Pete with him for a ride in the cab, to the total astonishment of the people with the broken down car!! One can only imagine the stories they had when returning home after their vacation, telling relatives and neighbours about this crazy old mechanic having a bear riding with him in his service/tow truck!! Lol

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                • #9
                  I couldn't find the picture of me with all 3 bears in our old kitchen at home, but I did find pictures of me and one of the bears, my dad and I with the same bear, and a picture of uncle Charlie Martin and his horses. My mistake--they weren't Bays. Keep in mind it was 60 years ago---Brian


                  Brian Rupnow

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                  • #10
                    See that little house up on stilts just behind my back in the picture of me alone with the bear? That is where Mrs McGibbon kept her monkey!! She was a great one for anything that would make people stop at her store, to see her latest "attraction" and hopefully spend some money. The standing joke around the village was for any man who left the house, when asked by his wife "Where are you going" responded----"Up to Mrs. McGibbons to look at her monkey"!!!!---
                    Brian Rupnow

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                    • #11
                      I enjoyed your Bear story Brian. I am fond of Bears too.
                      It's only ink and paper

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for the great photos!! Interesting history pics, love it!!

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                        • #13
                          Those old pics still look pretty good!
                          Thanks for sharing Brian.
                          Cheers,
                          Jon

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                          • #14
                            Great story Brian
                            I have had a few bear experiences also, but nothing like that.
                            Larry - west coast of Canada

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                            • #15
                              But the bears had ****ty lives! Or is that not important?

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