Saturday, November 30, 2013

Game Warden Files--It Weighs WHAT?

It was opening day of the regular North Zone season and Bob Gosson and I were checking hunters on the west side of the hamlet of Wells. We got to the area called Whitehouse, a trailhead on the Northville-Lake Placid Trail and found a group of guys camped on the flat near the West Branch of the Sacandaga River. As we walked toward them, Bob asked if they'd had any luck and one of them piped up that they'd killed a two hundred and fifty pound bear.
For anyone who has never dragged a bear, you must understand that they don't drag easily. It's like dragging a bag of bowling balls, wrapped in Velco across the opposite surface of the Velcro--and going uphill.  It's really that bad. We often have said that a bear doubles in weight for every couple hundred yards they are dragged to get them out of the woods.
After being told about the bear I looked in the direction the lucky hunter had pointed and saw a bear--but nowhere near a two hundred and fifty pound bear. I made some comment about it being "maybe a hundred and forty pounds," and that started a rumbling to the effect of those "Game Wardens don't know nothing about bears." We checked the bear tag and then the entire party, verifying tags, licenses and all the things we would normally do, all the while hearing comments about our lack of knowledge about bears.
When the time came for us to go we had to again walk right past the bear. Just as we were next to it, there was one more disparaging remark about our knowledge of bears. The timing was perfect. I turned, picked the bear up, turned toward them and shook carcass as though weighing it in my hands. I dropped it back where it had been and just waved them off with "Nahhh, a hundred and forty pounds, tops." There was dead silence as we walked away.
Bob and I got in our car and shut the door before we lost it and broke down into laughter. The hunting party was still standing looking at us. If that bear weighed two hundred fifty pounds, I should have been in a Mr. Universe competition, not checking hunting licenses.

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