The very first afternoon, our friend Bob shoots his first bear. He had been sitting in a blind for a couple of hours waiting when the bear came in for dinner. As the bear stuck his head in the barrel, Bob shot. The bear dropped immediately, so Bob walked to the road and waited for the guide to come back.
When we got back to camp, Bob was really excited.
“I shot a huge bear. It filled the entire barrel!” he exclaimed.
We all loaded into the trucks to go get Bob’s bear.
As we walked into the bait site, Tom – a tall, lanky cop from New Hampshire – headed right to the barrel. He lifted Bob’s bear with one hand and slung it over his shoulder.
“You call this a bear?” he asked.
Yeah, he filled the barrel, but it wasn’t a 55-gallon barrel. That was the only place that used a small, 30-pound grease drum for bait.
We picked on Bob for several days. Being a taxidermist at the time, my wife asked him if he wanted her to make a left or a right mitten from its hide.
Bob redeemed himself the following year, when he took a 500-pounder in Canada.
But even a small bear looks big in the woods.
Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. Email him at email@example.com.