A quick background. Frank comes to see our band play all the time, and we're good friends. He often tells me stories about Vietnam and his hunting trips, I trust him completely. There ain't no tellin what else he knows but won't talk about for various reasons. What follows is the text of his letter, here goes:
"This fall my ex-partners went back to Kamchatka (I did not go this time, I was tied up-not by a woman unfortunately). I'll try to make this short. J.G. Wells (my main partner and owner of the firm now) shot a huge old boar brown bear! It was not quite as tall (long) as my biggest Alaskan Brown (mine is 10' 4 and a half") at 9', 10", but was immensely "blockie", heavy and muscular. Pictures taken right before the shot, as it looked like an M1A1 Abrams tank with dark brown fur; obviously the King of the Valley.
They had tracked it on and off for 4 days and had come across an interesting site. An area near a creek, choked with strawberry bushes that looked like it was the scene of an epic battle. It was rocky and gravely, so not much in the way of tracks but it looked like 2 bulldozers had gone at each other. Saplings up to 4" in diameter snapped like soda straws, bushes ripped up, scattered fur, etc. They presumed the boss had laid down the law about territory ownership to another boar. They were hot on his track and had to keep going as they did J.G. saw something curious, it was a large tree branch, 4 and a half to 5' long and about 5-6" in diameter at big end 4 feet or so at smaller end. It obviously had been torn off a nearby tree. J.G. said he looked at it twice as they moved through the area because the big end had blood and fur on it. He just assumed, at the time, one of the bears had slammed into it while fighting.
The next day when they caught up w/ the boar, he was bedded in a deep thicket. They circled and got into position at the edge of a small clearing just as the boar came out. He was moving very slowly and stiffly up the mountain.
J.G. got him with two shots from his 416 Rigly, nothing dramatic. But J.G. is a real hunter and insists on helping with the skinning. That's when they got an additional surprise. The boar was really beat up, not fatally but he was one sore battered bear and had some very unusual wounds from a bear fight.
When they rolled him over to skin him there were big areas on his chest and stomach where the fur was pulled out and claw marks. J.G. said it looked like something had jumped on his back and had its arms around him holding on while it bit.
They thought at first a Siberian Tiger (that would be one hell of a fight...a 1400 lb. bear and a 750 lb. cat) but the marks were wrong. A tiger wouldn't pull fur out, it can't clench its paws into fists and the claw marks were wide and shallow. They were spread wide apart-between the "fingers." If you hold your hand out and spread your fingers, they spread pretty far apart, another bear's don't.
Big Brown bears, such as mine, have claws up to 4 and a half to 5 inches long, but there are only 4 on the front paw, the 5th is a dewclaw up where our wrist joint is. There were 5 of these, one in an opposable thumb position. (Opposable thumb Frank underlined w/a pen) In other words marks that appeared to come from a very large pair of hands. (Hands underlined too)
What was just as weird was when the huge hide was off up to the neck. There were several large bite marks on the bear's neck and shoulders. The curious thing is they were not as deep as you would expect from a bear, and teeth marks were more rounded or molar-like. But most strangely the whole bite mark was very horseshoe shaped like ______, (Frank drew the horseshoe shape) whereas a bear's bite mark is much longer and narrower like_______. (Frank drawing of narrower mark)
Well the long and short of it was one of the local guides gave the following account of what had happened. The other guides agreed and looked at the sign fairly closely at the site before moving on. The boss boar had come up the creek into the wind and surprised a female (they used their word for Bigfoot) in HIS berry patch and attacked.
The big male Bigfoot jumped him from cover where he had been feeding. The guides say the big males are 9' tall and 750 to 800 lbs. and immensely strong (well duh! this is my surprised look).
Anyway, the fight was on, horrific but brief. The female did not join in but fled with her youngster. As soon as the female was safely out of danger, the male followed. He had inflicted some pretty severe bites to the bear, but the massively strong boar had got him off his back. The boar, they say, had inflicted a sever bite to probably the male's thigh and several nasty off-balance paw swats. (If his feet had been under him to provide power and leverage, the male Bigfoot would have been crushed.) The local guides say such encounters are rare but do happen when they surprise each other. True? Who knows, but my buddy of 40 years has hunted all over the world, and taken several other bears. He has skinned hundreds of animals and J.G. said those wound marks sure did not look like they came from another bear.
The one other weird thing was that J.G. said that the boar really stunk, especially on his back! Now a bear, in the wild, damp soggy and muddy does not smell like Lilacs in the spring or a freshly showered and powdered woman.
Having carried quite a few bears out I can best describe them as a musty old throw rug that's been laying on an earthen basement damp floor all winter. J.G. agreed, but said this was different. He said the bear's back smelled foul, like whatever was clinging there smelled BAD and possible even urinated on the bear while fighting. He likened it to a cross between the week old napalmed water buffalo I hid behind in Nam for 3 days, and the wolverine scent/stink we smelled in Alaska.
Anyway, that's the story, no proof of any kind, but lots of interesting oddities. J.G. asked about tracking the family, but the guides said there wasn't enough money in the world to get them to do something as foolish as track a mad, wounded, protective Bigfoot.
Besides they said, late in the fall they always went way back from the coast to several super-nasty hell-hole little canyons that have natural hot springs, and winter there.
An interesting footnote: J.G. called today and told me following item: he had called over there to check of status of some large salmon they had caught and left there to be mounted. Outfitters told him that after they left, season was over and one guide rode one of the older Kawasaki snowmobiles back to the area to bring out some personal and camp items left.
He parked snowmobile on the ridge above the fight scene after picking up the things he had come for. He decided to go down to the little river and catch a few salmon. There was not much snow on ridge, mostly ice, but much below, and he snow shoed down about a half mile and fished for about an hour. Caught 4 salmon and climbed back out to discover his snow machine was gone! It had been picked up and shoved down the other side of the ridge, and it weighed almost 500 lbs!!!!
Fortunately for him, as he was 20 miles back in, it hung up on a bush only about 20 feet down the ridge side. After some struggle, fueled by a great desire to get the hell out of there, he got it back on its track, got it started and got the hell out of there with only a mashed windshield and cracked hood. That's a subtle way of saying, "go the hell away and leave us alone for the winter."
January 27, 2006
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