Black Bear – Mel Morton – Jenny Eater
Hunting Stories from the Squirrell’s Nest by Brian “Bear” Squirrell at Big Bear Outfitters, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Some things you never forget, especially when they seem just like yesterday. How many of you can share a story about a 7’7″ 390 pound black bear? Probably a lot of you have had close encounters of the not-so-nice kind with a bear. This is one such story.
Me and the Posse, as we were known in our neck of the woods in Cavan, Ontario, were all ready to go bag a few good whitetails. The spot we had chosen, on this day in 2001, was at our longtime friend Mel Mortons bean field. It was surrounded by snarl bush and lots of swamp.
When we arrived Mel was very upset. He said, “Guys, I don’t have a good feeling about this. Jenny is gone – just vanished.”
Jenny was this widowers best friend and companion, his beloved 5 year old shepherd collie cross. “I think there’s a bear back in your deer hunting spot. Be careful and if you see it shoot it for me, would you please?”
That was very unnerving to us all, this area is not home to black bears and close to human population. We jumped into our stands full of excitement and the knowledge that we were in tree stands. If the bear wanted us, he had to climb to get us. So we waited.
The morning produced a nice six point buck and a big doe. We were off to a good start.
As we always did after the morning shoot, we went back and talked to Mel, hung up the game, and had some lunch. Once again, Mel said, “I was out on the tractor and I had the hair on the back of my neck stand up..Something was watching me and Jenny didn’t come home. That’s not like her.”
I assured him that no job was too big for the posse. Hell, everyone wants to shoot a 390 lb black bear with a shotgun and slugs…not. That was the furthest thing from our group’s mind. Mel said, “I know there’s a big bear in there and he got my Jenny.”
So after lunch and a bit of a snooze we set back out. We got to our stands and waited. The afternoon went so fast and we were approaching last light. I was with my stepson, Craig. It was his first time hunting and he was with me in the stand. Rosebud was down in the corner, a smoker that believes that deer get used to that. I said to Craig, “Okay my boy. I think I’ll get down out of the stand and browse the edge of the field for a bit.” I had about a half hour of light left.
All of a sudden there was a big crash in behind me in the snarlbrush. Something was going towards Rosie. Then it stopped and came back and was headed towards us. I was on high alert, excited. I had the good old proven Breda semi automatic to rely on, but what took place next was unexpected.
This big buck came charging right at me. I thought I was about to get run over. Then it stopped for what seemed like forever. As I would soon discover, I was now the hunter being hunted.
I stood there for what was about five or ten minutes. Then I just turned around to look back into the bush.
It never crossed my mind that a Bear could get within a barrel length without being heard. I spun around after I heard a growl and starting to stand up was a 7’7” 390lb Black Bear…son of a bitch…
No time to think. No time for a mistake. I put the barrel of my Breda behind its ear and pulled the trigger. The Breneke slug hit hard and it dropped right there. I was shaking and thought I crapped my pants. Craig from above said, “Did you get the buck?” I went quiet.
Rosebud by this time was well on his way to his safe house, his car, yelling “Did you get em? Did you get em? Did you get the bear?”
MEL MORTON STORY PART TWO:
Craig came down and said, “Say what? A bear?”
“Oh ya a big bear! The Jenny eater and I had supper together.” I said.
I yelled to Rosie, “Yes it’s down” and he came over very sheepish.
I asked, “Why no warning?”
Rosie said, “I was gettin’ the hell out of dodge!”
He then said to Craig, who was only 15 at the time, “Go over and make sure it is dead.”
Craig said, “Hell with that. I’m fifteen you’ve lived a lot longer than me. You go poke the big SOB” I started to laugh.
Now was the time to go make Mel’s day. We went back and got the John Deere tractor. We didn’t say anything to Mel. ”Well boys how did you make out?”
“Well, my friend, we have a big one down, well over three hundred pounds, big and black. I think it’s a swamp buck.” Mel was always excited. He had hunted many years and had killed lots of deer. When he got there with the tractor, he said, “Well where is this monster?”
We had dragged it to the edge of the field. We pointed and he put his lights on the beast. His mouth dropped. A sigh of relief took place and he said, “Son of a bitch…you got the Jenny eater…I knew it just knew it.”
Then with a big smile he said, “Now I can harvest my crops in peace. I am so happy that I don’t have to worry anymore!”
We went back and told the story and had some laughs and rum. Although it’s nice that I’m telling the story alive, I can tell you one thing, I’m glad I didn’t have time to prepare. I am thankful to God that the bear died right there. Jenny, this one was for you girl. Just for you and Mel, a man I love to pieces.
Mel is now in his nineties and still talks about this to this day. Rosie said to us at the farm, “Am I ever glad I’m a smoker… he winded me and went right at you!”
Hey what are friends for?!? Thanks buddy…thanks!!!
A Hunting Story from the Squirrell’s Nest by Brian “Bear” Squirrell, your Black Bear Hunting Guide at Big Bear Outfitters, Nova Scotia, Canada. www.bigbearoutfitters.co