Bear Wrestling

// October 4th, 2010 // Uncategorized

The Bear

This might happen to you all the time, but for me it was a first.  As I was sitting having dinner with my family I received a phone call from a friend – Justin.  He was breathing hard and speaking frantically, almost like he had taken some sort of drug.  He then said “I need your help!”  Immediately a million thoughts ran through my head, then he followed up with a “I just shot a bear!  Can you help me get him down the mountain?”  I looked at my wife, she looked at me and said “whatever you do wear clothes that you can throw away.”

I went to meet Justin in East-Vail where he had been hard at work moving this giant creature, by himself, as far as he could.  I brought up a piece of rope, tied it around the Bear’s front paw (about the size of my face) and then picked up the rope that Justin had been pulling on.  It was now dark and I couldn’t see that his knot had come undone, so when we pulled on the count of “three” the rope came loose and I flew five feet backwards straight into a tree.  The wind was knocked out of me a little and I still wear a bruise on my right rear cheek,  but thankfully there was not a branch down low which would have surely skewered me to the tree.

After what felt like a super-human effort we had this 500lb, 7+ foot beast loaded into the back of his work van.  I’ve lived in the mountains my entire life and have seen my share of bears while on hikes, bike rides, and even on my welcome mat at home.  I’ve always felt that should I encounter one face to face, with a wrestling match ensuing, that I could somehow figure out a way to get free of its clutches even if it meant playing dead.  Now having tried to move one, lift one, even just a leg, a paw, his head, I believe that I will continue to give them space and leave the wrestling to the animal trainers in Hollywood.  With my hands and my clothes stained with blood, I made it home and was forced immediately into a shower.  Justin, with the help of his family and a couple of other friends returned home to to build what will surely become a story for his kids to share on the playground for years to come.

(Hunting is used as a means to control the local bear population and Justin will use the bear to feed his family this winter.)

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