“There was a tribe of little ape-like people, like small Sasquatch, who lived in the next valley. They were our enemies, and my people were frightened of them, so one night the people went into the valley and killed all of them with spears and clubs. We still don’t go into that valley.”
I was told this by a respected elder chief of a northwest British Columbia tribe, and as this is fabled Sasquatch country with many reported sightings, it got my attention. I’ve since fished with him several times and have no doubt he was sure of the story’s authenticity.
The story’s origin, as told through generations, like most legends may have some basis in fact. Was there a group of small Sasquatch-like hominids living in this remote and isolated area? Do Sasquatch-type animals exist? Many feel positive of this, but I’ll leave this mystery to others. Could it have originated with a group of particularly aggressive young bears?
Bears? That’s possible and it was the reason I was on a patrol, as a provincial game warden, investigating complaints of grizzly and black bears coming into the village and a neighboring community frightening the residents.
The local people could have certainly solved the problem on their own, but we had entered a new era of cooperation, with a greater appreciation of these large carnivores and their economic benefit to the community through hunting and eco-tourism.
Our plan was to trap and relocate these problem bears to a more isolated area. First, however, we needed to determine why bears were congregating in this particular area, and that soon became obvious.
The nearby community had established their dumpsite a couple of miles out of town and on our first visit we observed twelve black bears feeding in the open garbage pit. Soon the local trash truck, a converted pick-up, arrived at the dump and the driver hopped in the back and started throwing the best morsels to the bears. Some were so well accustomed to the truck they would attempt crawling in the back. This was met with the attendant gently hitting them with a baseball bat he kept nearby.
You can imagine our amazement at the behavior of this “bear man.” There was no more mystery concerning the number of bears in this area and what they were looking for.
As the truck left we were once again amazed as two grizzly bears, a mother and mature cub, arrived on the scene and immediately proceeded to chase the black bears away. They now had the dumpsite to themselves.
We now had our task. Trap and relocate the two grizzlies and see that the community solved its open garbage dump “feeding site.”
While on our way back to town we received a radio call from the local police. A lady had been “attacked” by a bear. We found her unharmed, but certainly agitated and scared.
It seems she was sun bathing in her unfenced back yard. We’re talking bikini and lots of sun lotion, both of which she was still wearing on our arrival. It seems, as she was just dozing off, she felt something wet on her back. A young bear was having a taste of her suntan lotion. There was a scream and the bear went one way and she went the other. I’m not sure which one was more surprised.
Yep, had to trap and relocate this one too (the bear not the bikini-clad lady). The problem is, these bears can be trucked or airlifted to a far and remote site, but often they are back at the dump in a few days. Some become so habituated and accustomed to people they eventually must be destroyed.
In this case the dump was moved and maintained. The grizzly bears were trapped and relocated as was the young bear that had a taste for suntan lotion.
It was a job well done and an adventure for this young game warden. I even got a chance in between bear captures to enjoy some of the best salmon fishing I have ever encountered with King salmon hitting the lure on every cast.
As for the village – all is once again quiet and I heard there was another Sasquatch sighting last year. Who knows?
This story is an excerpt from Sportsman’s Quest-The Book. It could make a great last-minute gift for the hunter or fisherman in the family.
If you enjoy this column, the hardcover book has over 100 wild game recipes and will be available this week. It will take you to places you remember, and places you dream of going. The backdrop is hunting and fishing adventures, but you will meet extraordinary people who you will get to know on a first name basis.
There is Genoval, an Amazon native who was raised in the jungle, but became the well-known river pilot of the Amazon Queen. You will meet Chris Klineburger, who is a pioneer in exploring and opening new hunting regions, introducing the world to international hunting as we know it today — He was the first. There is “Buck” Bedard, a Marine Corp. General who, along with his sons, is a passionate conservationist and sportsman, or the lady librarian who has an extraordinary passion for bow hunting. They and many other friends are exceptional individuals; you will join them, as they hunt/ fish and explore not only the world, but what it means to share in man’s heritage and traditions. They also share with you many of their favorite wild game recipes which they’ve enjoyed around the campfire and in the kitchen.
It’s available at the Pahrump Valley Times office (2160 E. Calvada Blvd.) at a special price, or for more information call Dan at (775) 727-9777.