Brian “Bear” Squirrell – Bear Hunting Guide Nova Scotia
Hello, I am Brian “Bear” Squirrell and I am lucky. Okay…lucky in hunting and fishing. Oh, the stories I can tell… and they are all true. Although, some of them seem far fetched.
I am from Halifax Nova Scotia, currently reside in Calgary Alberta, and oldest of five kids. In our family, hunting and fishing was a way of survival. My father tried hard to provide, but with five kids, well let’s say that it wasn’t easy. So instead of going hungry, we were taught by our father, a sharp shooter in the navy, to hunt at the age of ten. Let the hunting begin.
Our very first hunt was on a day when the snowshoe hares were caught in their white fur coats after the snow had disappeared. It was like taking candy from a rabbit. Dad took the time to show us the right way to hunt with the Cooey 22. Hours of practice took place before the rabbit hunt. We went out and the rabbits didn’t have a chance. We limited out and would eat like kings and queens as mom had the magic in the kitchen. It was from that day on that I was hooked.
We moved all over this great country from coast to coast and I was very fortunate to have met some very influential native Canadians who took me under their wing. Funny, now that I reflect back on it, how much a person can learn. Early on in Prince Rupert, I fished and hunted with a young Haidi named Peter, who showed me snaring, hunting and fishing techniques and introduced me to smoking fish. From there to Smithers, BC hunting and fishing again with a Cree, Hector, who showed me how to trap, hunt and fish. My mother became quite impressed with the amount of game that was coming in to feed our growing army.
From here we moved to Northern Ontario to the Kapuskasing GM cold weather test station. Boy what a wake-up call that was! This was where I think I learned most of my survival skills. I ran a trap line and did very well, but those days were cold and long and not easy. There were some very scary moments. Encounters with a badger, bears, and wolves…big wolves.
If you can survive here hunting and fishing then you can survive anywhere. Black flies that carry the moose out of the bush, mosquitoes that you swallow when you talk. Now, I will say one thing, the game was plentiful, the fishing unreal, and the trapping amazing. But reality hit me. It was like living in Alaska – barren and remote – and the weather was extreme cold. It was so cold that the tires fell off the car.
I did have the opportunity to meet an old trapper by accident while checking my traps. Trapper Joe was a man who would forever change my life in the bush. He would show me signs and survival techniques that have proven more valuable than words can say. He just so happened to have been from New Brunswick.
Next stop Peterborough, Ontario at Kawartha Lakes. It’s here that I would meet my native brother, Dave Rose. Our life long bond continues to this day, although his health has deteriorated and he has hung up his rifles and bows.
When I left ten years ago to come West, both of us were lost without each other. Over the years, those stories I eluded to above were witnessed by this man. Forty years is a long time to be hunting and fishing friends. He’s seen the success and knowledge that I was so lucky to have learned by growing up as a gatherer – knowledge that I passed on to him and our hunting/fishing posse.
In closing, I am very blessed to have had the individuals show me the ways to hunt and fish when I was very young. I am thankful to the Creator for giving us the bounty and the beauty of this great country. I lost another brother in John Mills in March of this year. Another 38 year friend gone to bigger and better hunting and fishing grounds. God bless.
I realize now that I must take my knowledge of hunting and fishing and pass it on. You will find that I can show you where the big ones are, but it is up to you to learn the patience that’s required to be successful. I am a very good hunter and fisherman thanks to those that have passed on their wisdom and knowledge to me. Won’t you join us?
From the Squirrell’s Nest at Big Bear Outfitters – Nova Scotia brought to you by Brian “Bear” Squirrell