EPISODE 151 BEAR HUNTING ON LAKE OF THE WOODS…BEGAN AS A JOKE, TURNED SERIOUS
This is Terry Wickstrom, a good friend and fellow teacher at Parkdale C. I. during the school year. In the summer he
travelled to his island on Lake of the Woods where he became a very different person. Sort of a Grey Owl character if you will.
And always with a grin and chuckle.
We were eating breakfast when Wick (Terry Wickstrom) said to the boys:
“How would you like to see a bear today?”
They nodded and looked at their mother who smiled agreement.
The plan was hatched the night before when we were having an outdoor supper
around a campfire on a small rock island on Lake of the Woods.
“Why don’t we have some fun tomorrow…take the boys on a bear hunt…make it
sound real…scare the boys but all in fun.”
“A game.? Sounds good to me, Wick.”
“Marjorie wants to stay with the dogs so they do not get lonely like yesterday’s near disaster.
Wick speaking to Kevin and Andrew:
“Boys, how would you like to go bear hunting today?”
“Dangerous..is it dangerous, Terry?”
“No. I will take my gun as protection.”
“Good, let’s go.”
“Jump in the canoe…we must be very quiet so the bear does not hear us.”
“Shhhh! Getting close to Bear Island now…that’s my name for the island because
a bear lives here. Shhh! Silent paddling. Careful getting out. Try not to step on
twigs…be very quiet.”
“Do you know why the bear lives here, boys?”
“Blueberries…lots of blueberries. Long ago there must have been a fire because the
high point of the island is clear. No trees. Just a great swath of blueberry bushes.”
“Is that why dad is carrying the bucket?”
“yes. We may pick some berries if the bear allows us to go berry picking.”
“You won’t shoot the bear with the gun, will you , Terry?”
“No. Just scare him … or her, could be a momma bear with cubs. If we see her,
we will leave fast. Now be very quiet as we climb the hill…step on moss if you can.
No snapping twigs. We will move up slowly. Maybe your dad can get a picture if
the bear if we are far enough away. Shhhhh!”
Bears often appear where you least expect them…except in blueberry patches
where they often claim ownership.
“Wick, look here,” I whispered
“Bear shit…old bear shit.”
“Boys, take a look. What did the bear eat?”
“Blueberries…skins in the shit.”
“Don’t swear, boys. Proper word is Bear Skat.”
“Is the bear near?”
“No, this is old bear shit.”
And so the four of us silently climbed the hill…very quietly. Wick in the lead with the
gun…then the boys…then me with the berry tub. Our real goal was to get some blueberries
…we exagerrated the bear just for fun. We moved silently. Wick looked around and put
his finger to his mouth.
“Shhhh! Boys…we close to the big blueberry patch…don’t scare the bear.”
Then Wick stopped abruptly. No reason to stop as far as I could see. Wick pointed
to the ground at his feet.
“Alan, look here…fresh bear shit…Today’s bear shit.”
“Do you mean there is a bear here on the island….a real bear?”
“Yes. We’ve got to get the hell out of here now.”
“Turn around boys…back down to the canoe…be quiet but move
faster than the climb. We’ve got company on the island. A real bear.”
“But you said there was a bear on the island, Terry.”
“I did…I know I did. Your dad and I thought we would make this trip
into an adventure. We did not expect a real bear.”
“Could the bear be down at our canoe?”
“No…bears do not like people much. I think the bear is on
the other side of the island. But the island is small. Best we
get out of here. The bear may be watching us. Let’s hope it’s
not a momma bear with cubs. Keep moving.”
“Lucky you brought the rifle, Wick.”
“Not really. I did not put 22’s in the gun…gun’s are dangerous.”
“What about berry picking, Terry?”
“No blueberry picking today, boys.”
“No blueberry pie!”
And so the adventure ended. It was a very small adventure in the great
scheme of things but it was our adventure…ours!
This is fresh bear dung.
Here is Wick with “the Devil made me do it” look on his face.
This picture reminded me of another adventure we shared with our friends when some hunters decided to see what they
could kill on our farm. That will be another Episode. Susie and Wick are in picture above beside he ladder. My brother Eric is on the far
left.. And Don Hamilton holding his chin. Louise Joyce is holding the ladder in centre. All supporters in the mini-crisis.