Bears can be a bit strange…a different kind of animal. I’ve handled a lot of different animals from Buffalo to Mtn. Lions. Up close and personal – had both species on the end of a lariat. Even had a bear on the end of a rope. Once. Now, I am the first to admit that I can not rope. I’ve caught a few calves now and then, and a few unbroke horses from on foot in a corral. But bears are just…different.
I had a call that a bear was up a power pole at the JV Ranch, and would not come down. So, I met the neighboring officer there, and sure enough, there was the little s..t, sitting in the pole. It was an old power pole, but quite alive, electrically. Over the years, folks had apparently added on to the place with barns and other outbuildings, and had taken power from the transformer directly to the buildings. Wires went every direction. The bear had climbed up the pole and was trying to negotiate the maze of wires. Sparks would occasionally jump, and the lights in the main house would go out, then back on. Made me wonder if the bear belonged to the IBEW. Probably not…so, he had to come down. How?
Well, I told Jim- ‘why don’t you just back the truck up to the pole, I’ll get in the back, and rope it?’ As I said, normally there’s not much chance of me catching anything with a rope, but this time..sure enough, first throw! Perfect header. The bear didn’t agree. That thing looked at me, and as I tightened the rope, he came straight down the pole as fast as his feet would carry him. I pounded on the top of the truck, yelling at Jim: “Go! Go!” The bear hit the ground running, and as we started off, it came straight toward us as fast as it would run. I don’t know what he thought he was going to do.. But he was determined.
So here we go, bounding off across the pasture, the bear running full out behind the truck, and me inside holding on to the end of the rope, my dog Rodie next to me watching the whole thing with ears straight up…. I told Jim to slow down, and let the bear catch up, just to see what he would do. Worst case, I could just let go of the rope and we could leave him.
The bear went right under the truck… “WHAT?”. Rope still around his neck, he gets it hung up in the axle. Great…now what??? He’s pulling and fighting the rope, and it’s not going anywhere. The bear is only about 120 lbs- he’s sure not going to move that truck. And that’s my rope!
There’s not much to hold a rope on the head of a bear, since it’s kind of wedge shaped, and it was able to finally pull out of it. By now the dog was involved, and I told the Rodie: “Get him!” and he did. The bear decided it was better to be somewhere else .. anywhere else. He headed north with, Rodie right behind him…healing him like he was a bull.
Another time, I trapped a bear that was getting into cabins. No issues with that, but normally when you take a bear somewhere in a trap, and you open the door, they come out like a cat coming out of a washing machine. This time, when I went to release him in his new environs, the bear didn’t want to leave. Standing on top of the trap, I opened the door…. the bear’s nose came out fist, then he slowly stepped out, like he was testing the waters. I looked down and said “Hi”. He went back in. I pounded on the top, and he walked out, then looked up at me. And sat down. I fired a couple of rounds from the pistol, into the ground, and he stood up, walked around the truck in a full circle. The more I yelled at him, the less interested he was in leaving. ‘This is weird’, I thought. He made several full circles around the truck, and sat down and looked at me. Ok, time for the big guns. I called Rodie out of the truck, and told him to take the bear. He did, bear followed by barking healer, over the hill they went. I gave them a few seconds and called the dog back. From over the hill, here comes Rodie…followed by the bear hot on his heals! That was a sight for a cartoon! I jumped in the truck, gave the command “Back” to the dog, and in the back he sailed… We drove a ways, then stopped to look back. The bear had gotten up on a large downed tree trunk, sat down, and was watching us go. As if to say “Thanks for the day’s entertainment!” Or maybe he was wondering why his friends were leaving him. Looking back, I half expected to see hiim waving.
It doesn’t matter how high you are on the food chain, once you inflict pain you FAIL AS A HORSEMAN.
If a horse never fights against you, he’ll never truly fight for you.
“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”
Science, Philosophy and Religion: a Symposium (1941) ch. 13