Monday, February 28, 2011

Bear Claws

Sept 26, 2010

Current mood:amused

As it’s getting near hunting season, I think of the hunting stories of my youth.  I hadn’t thought of the story of my Dad’s friends Lloyd and Larry in a while, but it came to me the other day.  Like Dad and me, Lloyd and Larry hunting in the old Aucilla Wildlife Management Area in Perry, Fl.  Back then, it was wild.  What I mean is that it was old growth forest with bad roads.  It was hard to get in and out.  There were no trails except for the ones made by hunters.  It was only accessible by four wheel drive.  Only my Dad drove a two wheel drive, but he had a lighter weight truck with medium sized tires.
But back to Lloyd and Larry, they were hunting when Larry shot a hog.  They took their treestands and guns back to Larry’s truck, and got their knives and rope to gut the hog.  They went back to gut the hog, and as they were trying to get it hanging from a tree what should happen to come up and investigate what they were doing?  It was a Florida black bear.  It could smell the hog, and was hungry.  If you remember what they taught you in school, bears need lots of food to survive hibernating the winter.  But in Florida bears don’t hibernate.  They have find food to eat over the winter.  One freshly killed hog is just a ton of food for a bear.  Besides, I suspect bears really like pork. 
So here they are with a hog, no guns, it’s getting late, and there’s a hungry bear sizing them up.  Lloyd ends up shining his flashlight in the bear’s eyes, and making lots of noise to keep it at bay.  Remember, their guns were in the truck.  So Larry guts the hog on the ground really quick.  He basically slices it open, and rips out whatever he can, and dumps it out on the ground.  They both grab the hog, and run off with it, and leave the juicy inner bits for the bear. 

I’ve told that story for years, and something just occurred to me.  If that happened to Dad and me I would say, “Fuck it.  Let the bear have the stupid hog.”  I’m not going toe to toe with a bear armed only with a flashlight.  I suspect the bear would be much more appreciative of the hog.  I also wouldn’t gut one in front of a bear, and then leave a blood trail heading right to my truck.
However, as I get older I respect the saying, “Good decisions come from experience.  Experience comes from bad decisions.”  Experience tells me to give up the hog. 

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