"Bear Country"

 

Well, the bears are out now and will be until late fall, so maybe a bear tip might be in order. As a guide and outfitter emeritus – and emeritus is Latin for “I’m too danged old to pack moose meat out on my back” I’ll talk a bit about ol’ ursus.

If you’re in dangerous bear country, some people tell you to wear a little bell that tinkles, and the bear hears this and says, “Oh, that must be a person, and I’ll bet it’s a nice person, too, so I’ll just amble off this way.”

Well, when I’m in thick cover that bears might inhabit, and I’m not looking for one, I make a lot more noise than that!

One time Jim Kershner and I were going through some willow thickets along a creek at the base of Mt. McKinley … which is a large frozen rock that is now called Denali, and the salmon were running. I was in the lead, and Jim was behind me, beating on a gold pan with a rock. I looked down and saw a four-pound salmon flopping in the trail in front of me. It had toothmarks about four inches apart. And, it was on top of a bear track that measured 10 inches across. I measured it later. Much later. A little guide translation here: A 10-inch-wide bear track means a nine-foot long bear. Well, Jim and I went up one side of that creek and two big sows and a yearling went up the other side. Then we sat there snorting at each other.

So is that bell a good idea? Sure, if you don’t have anything as loud as the London Philharmonic with you.

But the bottom line is: if you’re out messing around in the same country with grizzlies, or with black bears during small cub season or a salmon run, you always ALWAYS carry a rifle.  A .30-06 is a good minimum caliber.



Dave Marash's in-depth HERE & THERE podcasts keep you hooked on today's big news. Listen on www.davemarash.com.

 

 

Newspaper columnist Slim Randles, who writes the weekly Home Country column, took home two New Mexico Book Awards in 2011. His advice book for young people, “A Cowboy’s Guide to Growing Up Right,” took first place in the self-help category, and “Sweetgrass Mornings” won in the biography/memoirs category. Randles lives and works in Albuquerque. Home Country reaches 3 million hometown newspaper readers each week

Slim Randles learned mule packing from Gene Burkhart and Slim Nivens. He learned mustanging and wild burro catching from Hap Pierce. He learned horse shoeing from Rocky Earick. He learned horse training from Dick Johnson and Joe Cabral. He learned humility from the mules of the eastern High Sierra. Randles lives in Albuquerque.

Randles has written newspaper stories, magazine articles and book, both fiction and nonfiction. His column appeared in New Mexico Magazine for many years and was a popular columnist for the Anchorage Daily News and the Albuquerque Journal, and now writes a nationally syndicated column, “Home Country,” which appears in several hundred newspapers across the country.

 

  Huntington Beach News


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