<*fe A |Ar 4^r^ L. ^V) ^ vv*y ^? r ^ ^ WANT TO CHAfiE A B'Aft? along on a crisp fall morning to the wild wilderness of a northern state where men and dogs gather in the misty, grey light of dawn to put Mr. Bruin up a tree. Wear your runnin' shoes and bring a handkerchief to mop your brow, because this is a hunt with more action than a police raid at the country club. Pioneered by the Michigan Bear Hunters association some 20 years ago, and since copied by Wisconsin hunters, the modern bear chase is aimed at putting more sport into bear hunting. Prior to the chase method of bear hunting, most bruins were taken by hunters who stumbled across the animals' dens during deer seasons. There is little comparison between den-shooting a bear and following a howling pack of dogs through swamp and woods to put a bear up a tree. The hunts are conducted earlier in the fall when the bear are gorging themselves to store up fat for their winter sleep. A typical hunt starts long before dawn, when men, boys and dogs gather in bear country to seek out the sign of recent bruin activity. An "Alley Oop" footprint along a dirt road is enough to set things going. A "strike dog" is turned loose to sort out the track, and when he has done his job and begins to make "bear music" the rest of the pack is turned loose to join in. Bear hounds are bred for stamina, courage and "guts," with the pedigree or breed of relatively little importance. Walker, Redbone, Bluetick and Plott are hound breeds most frequently combined. In Chicago Holiday Package Tour 3 DAYS —2 NIGHTS COME ANY DAY $28" per pmon 4oubU occupancy O32-50 <UUf*n 5 to 14 y*w»— 112.00 «xfc INCLUDES Urailotil Twlo Udtoom wllb lilh Gouiiml SU«k t Ck*fBP*9«t Dinotr 1 fc»»U«iti Coafimlil Stvl* CeclUlU lor 2 in 'Tip Top Up* 2 Tick.n to Dot McNtill'i Club' t. t*UiUg 2 Hr. Crvitf Aboard $.5. M«IC»fY 7. You« Cboic* of • Sc«*lc Oi»y U't In i Tour o) Chicago or I. Nigfcl Tlm» To«f A11ERTQN HOTEL 701 N. Mick. At*. Once the dogs are all on the track— packs of three to six are most common—the hunters plunge into the woods behind them. Only the most hardy hunters, such as those in Michigan who condition themselves with roadwork months in advance of hunting, are able to stay within howling or hailing distance of the dogs. It is the nature of a chased bear to head for the thickest, most impossible cover. A spruce swamp, full of windfalls and black, mucky holes is a favorite place for bruin to lead the chase. Many a hunt has ended in such terrain when the best efforts of experienced dogs and men are not enough to force the bear up a tree. The length of a chase varies from a few hundred yards to the breadth of a county and back again. A Wisconsin chase once went on for 17 hours and ended without a bear because hunting hours were over when the critter was finally treed. The killing of a treed bear is anticlimactic to the rest of the hunt. A hunting code in general use allows the first man to the tree the first shot at the bear, ,but not before the hounds have been put on leashes to prevent their being injured when the bear topples down. While bear hunting with hounds is likely to grow in popularity, most bear will continue to be'taken when the horde of red-shirted deer hunters take to the woods in states that allow concurrent bear hunting. In one such state where about 600 black bear are killed annually by deer hunters, over half of them are shot in dens. While there are those who claim that den-shooting is not sporting, it is not without its thrills. A courageous or foolhardy archer, depending on your point of view, once found a denned bear and decided to roust him out for a cleaner shot at the animal. To accomplish this, he stood on top of the den—a mound of dirt and leaves—and dropped a package of lady-finger firecrackers into the den opening. Mr. Bear came out of the den like a volcano, upsetting the archer and hurtling off into the woods like a big black cannonball. And the black bear does get big. During a Wisconsin deer season several years ago, a 16-year-old high; school girl killed a bear that weighed 635 pounds and held the state record until several days later a hunter killed one near Glidden, Wisconsin that dressed out at 665 pounds. This tremendous size has a modest start. A newborn cub is about the size of a red squirrel. They are born in January or February while mama bear is denned up for her winter rest. The youngsters—usually two to a litter, but as many as four —grow rapidly. Eleven months after birth they weigh an average of 55 pounds.
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