By Chad Hobbs
Meade County has a rich tradition of hunting and fishing. Long before settlers came to these lands, Native Americans were sustaining on the bounty of the Ohio River, surrounding plains, groves, and woodlands that would eventually become this county. Those who settled here hunted elk, bison and bear along with many of the wild game species that are still hunted today.
Hunting and fishing continue to be popular with many in this county for both sustenance and as a hobby. Whether it is trips to the boat docks in the spring and summer, bank fishing a pond or deer camps in the fall, there are no shortage of fish tales and hunting stories to go around. Some are tragic, some are inflated, and others are down right funny. In my own opinion those that skirt danger, only to end in commedy are the best ones out there.
One of my favorites comes from a friend of mine some years back. He was dating a girl from Northern Kentucky, whose father happened to be an avid hunter. The man traveled the world hunting all types of wild game. The whole basement of his house was filled with taxidermy marvels from his various hunting adventures.
The father told my friend about his first trip grizzly bear hunting in Alaska. After making the journey north, he was flown in by a sea plane to a remote area where he would be hunting along with a guide. As they made camp and prepared for the next day’s hunt, the guide told him, more than once, to make sure if and when they found a bear that the first thing he did was reload his gun after he fired a shot.
As they headed out the next day, the guide once again reiterated the importance of reloading his rifle immediately, if he was fortunate enough to find and shoot at a bear. The guide was a rugged man who had been weathered by years in the Alaskan bush, carried only a bowie knife on one hip, and a .45 pistol on the other.
At some point that day, a large grizzly bear charged up from the backside of a ridgeline directly in front of them. The bear stood up on its back legs and roared at the two men who had invaded its woods. The man took aim with his high powered rifle and took a shot at the gigantic beast standing before him. The bullet found its target, rolling the bear backwards down the ridge and out of sight.
Thrilled at the prospect of killing his first grizzly, the man began focusing more on celebration than heeding his guide’s advice. He would soon understand the importance of that wisdom that had been offered. Suddenly, the bear that he had assumed to be dead came charging back over the ridge. This time it did not waste any time rearing up and roaring. Instead, it charged straight for the man who had shot him this time.
The large, angry beast quickly closed the distance between itself and the hunter. The hunter suddenly realized he forgot to reload and began searching his pockets for a shell. Shaking hands and nerves would not allow the man to reload his gun in time before the bear was on top of them. The guide waited, and then at the last minute, he pulled his large pistol and drew down on the bear with a lethal shot to its head.
The hunter looked the bear over, trying to find where his shot had hit the bear the first time when he thought he had killed it. Much to his surprise, the reason the bear came charging back over the ridge so angry was because what the shot had done was remove the animal's ability to mate.
The lessons to this true story are:
One, always listen to your guide. It could very well save your life.
Two, don’t shoot a bear in his berries and think there won’t be repercussions.