One day last November I heard some dogs barking up on the mountain behind our house. Our land is about 30 acres that borders national forest land. It didn’t concern me right away as I knew it was Bear season. During that time of year we have gotten used to having strange dogs run all over our property and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Now, let me just say this, I am not against hunting. I just think some folks’ idea of hunting is misguided. Hunting is not… sitting in your warm comfy truck with an antennae sticking out the window waiting for a pack of dogs to run an exhausted bear to you so you can shoot it in the road!! The only time I think that method of killing an animal would be acceptable is if you depended on that meat to survive to the next day!
Getting back to that November day. Cletus wasn’t feeling to good so I was quietly working around the house. About an hour later I went back outside. I noticed those dogs were still barking and it seemed like they were in the same place as before. So I decided to go up there and see what I could see.
When I got 1/4 mile up the mountain road I saw movement way up a very steep incline. I could tell by the way the dogs stayed in one spot they had something treed. Just what that something was I couldn’t tell. They were up at the top of a very steep hill. l really did not want to climb up that hill, so I decided to hang around a while and see what happened.
Well, it wasn’t long before I heard footsteps in leaves. Somebody was coming up the hollar. Now, I wasn’t hiding, I was just standing there in plain site. A young man climbed up onto the trail. He looked pretty tired. I know that was not an easy hike. It was obvious that he didn’t see me so I spoke up. “Do you know your on private property?” I said.
I know that I startled him and that probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do to someone carrying a gun. But he stayed cool and said no, he didn’t know that. He was a pretty nice and young man. He even called me “M’am” a few times. He said he was from over in the next county & had been running this bear all morning.
I told him that I wasn’t 100% positive, but I thought that the dogs & the bear were on my property. The forest service line was pretty close but I wasn’t going to climb way up there to look. So he gets on his radio to call the chief ramrod of the outfit. He tells him what I said and asks him to come up there and bring the dog leads so he can get them off my land.
While waiting for Mr. Big, we talked a little. He tells me that he and his grandpa hire themselves and the dogs out to folks during hunting season.
He decides to climb up the hill to where the dogs are. I told him that I was going to trust him to be honorable and not harm the bear if it was on my land. So up the hill he went (not as easily as that sounds. Did I say it’s a very steep climb?).
About 15 minutes later I hear the sound of somebody else coming up the hollar. It’s the first fella’s grandpa. He looks kind of elderly and I felt a little bad about making him climb up there. He was real nice like his grandson . We talked a little while he rested. I tell him the same thing I told his grandson about the bear being on my property and not wanting them to shoot it.
After a while, we hear more leaves rustling up the hollar. I looked to see climbing upon the road. It was the Chief Ramrod Hisself! He didn’t look one bit happy and he wasn’t very friendly either.
He started off by telling me that the dogs were on forest service land. Now, how could he know that? I said that I thought I knew my land better than he did. Though, I wasn’t 100% sure and I would trust that he would be honorable by not harming the bear if it was on my land.
He started to asked me, if the bear was on forest service land, could they carry it across our land to the road. Before he got all the words out I shook my head in a definitive N-O.
After that I couldn’t understand what he was saying as he was mumbling under his breath. I did catch something like ” It wouldn’t f!!** kill you let us carry it blah,blah,blah”, as he and grampa are climbing up the hill to fetch the dogs.
Well, after they got up the hill, I decided to walk on up to the top of the mountain. It had been a while since I was up there. I got up to the top where Cletus’ daddy had cleared out a spot for a house.
That’s when I noticed that the dogs had stopped barking. I also could hear something coming through the woods and it was coming in my direction!
My first thought was that it was one of the dogs. But then I thought, “What if it’s not a dog…..?”
Just as I slipped behind a Pine tree the bear came out of the woods and into the clearing!! It kept on running across the clearing and back into the woods on the other side.
My heart! That was so thrilling! He was just 15 feet in front of me!
Right behind him came 2 of the dogs. I realized then that I had only given the bear a reprieve.
He would probably be worn down & killed.
But, I’m glad I did what I did.
It gave me great pleasure to make them work a little for their hunt.
Cletus said it wasn’t a real smart thing to do, confronting men with guns in the woods.
But I stood up to them & didn’t show them any fear.
I also kept my hands in my jacket pocket that showed the slight bulge of the hint of something concealed inside.