At long last - BEAR TRAPPING
I set that first sentence apart so that you can stop reading if this doesn't interest you. Of course, you may be asking yourself, "Why is Tony writing a blog post about bear trapping? Isn't he a writer? Isn't this a writer's blog?"
Yes and yes. I'm writing about bear trapping because bear trapping tied for first place in a recent people's choice poll on blog subjects. Go figure.
So... bear trapping.
But first, full disclosure. I've never seen a bear anywhere other than the zoo. Never encountered one while camping, hiking or hunting other game. I'm not opposed to hunting bear on general principles, but I don't need the trophy and bearskin rugs are actually rather scratchy. Besides, I prefer to kill over-abundant animals like white-tail deer. Mmmm.... fresh venison.
But I digress...
There are three basic reasons to trap a bear:
1) to subsequently approach it from a safe distance and kill it
Why would you want to kill a bear? Lots of reasons. You might want the meat for food, either because you need it or you like it. One or more organs might have religious significance. You might believe that there are medical benefits to consuming, wearing, or otherwise using some part of it. Bearskin is quite warm, so a bearskin coat, boots or cape isn't a ridiculous usage. A necklace made of bear teeth seems tacky to me, but perhaps not to everyone.
You might have a grudge against the bear for having killed your grandpa last winter. You might feel that killing a bear is striking a blow against an oppressive government. Maybe your land can't be sold if there are bears on it. Maybe those idiots who just moved out here from the suburbs are feeding the damn thing, and they need to be taught a lesson about how the rural world works. Maybe you're a psychopath, and killing bears is how you feed the need.
Or you could be trying to impress someone - the chief of the tribe, a girl, your smart-ass cousin, the father who thinks you're a sissy.
There are lots of reasons to kill a bear, some good, some bad.
2) to do something to it, then let it go
You could be a wildlife biologist, studying bears. You might weigh it, measure it, tag it, attach a radio tracking collar. Maybe you're trying to get into a fraternity (or a sorority) and shaving the house letters onto a bear's butt is part of the deal.
Regardless, you don't have a problem with the bear being where it is, you just need to borrow the bear from Mother Nature for a while.
3) to pack it up and let it go somewhere else, perhaps after having done something to it at some point
This is corollary to #2, but in this case, you need that bear moved. Maybe it wandered into the wrong place, a place that was dangerous to it or to some people. Perhaps there's a dam being built, and this habitat will be flooded; rather than letting the bear be driven into somewhere else, where it could cause harm, you capture it for removal. Maybe you're trying to stock a zoo, or another piece of habitat, or a game preserve. Maybe you want a pet, and you think a bear is just the thing. It could be for a circus, or for an illegal bear baiting ring.
You could be planning to tie it with ropes made from human hair, so that you might sacrifice it by the light of the full moon, slitting its throat on an altar of elk bones, adding your cries of joy to its cries of pain as warm arterial bear blood sprays over you, endowing you with the power of the Spirit Walking, just as the same ceremony did for the ancients.
Clearly, you can't just do that sort of thing out in the woods. You have to bring the bear to the sacred clearing.
So, that's bear trapping. Why did this end up in a writer's blog? Because you asked for it, remember?
Now then... other topics you'd like information on?
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Posted Monday, February 14, 2011