One time many years ago Augie, Frank and I were hunting in Trinity County. We started north of the small place named Xenia but there wasn't much in the way of deer. It was after one of those hard freezing winters. The deer had pretty much died off. So finally we moved over to Southfork Mountain. It was higher than we had been so we got to our campsite after dark. The north wind was blowing a gale and it was very cold. We finally got a canvas up and tied fast and made our camp for shelter.
The next day we walked on out quite a ways and each of the other men took a route back around the mountainside. It was very pretty country, just below the snow line and easy traveling most of the time because the brush and small timber had been mashed down by the snow.
Then it was just crawling over or under where there were openings in the snow. There weren't many signs of deer, but bear were evidently plentiful. There had been a big crop of elderberries and a bear had eaten the clusters, stems and all.
I had a hard time getting through and out one place. In the middle of this area I came to a little open space just a few feet across with what was left of a big elderberry bush. A bear had been jumping for those clusters and some had been pretty high. They had the bush pretty well torn down and had trampled everything flat. It would have been a rare sight to have seen them jumping for those berries with nothing but brush to jump from and land on.
After a while and quite away further on Frank and I came together and while we were standing there a bear walked out in front of us. After a lot of running and shooting we finally got him down. I only had my 25.35 and didn't seem to bother him very much. He was right close but was in chinquapin brush. There was quite a lot of bear there and he had a beautiful hide.
Soon Augie came up and came into the brush where Frank and I were with the bear. We were sitting there talking about what had gone on when Augie's part-terrier mix "Snooper" caught up with us. That terrier had always been some distance behind Augie as he hunted around. Snooper came running up to us all pleased that he had found us. All of a sudden he realized what he was standing near and he took off up the trail with his hair all all on end, running for his life. After a little while he peaked cautiously back around a bend in the trailer and went, "Woof?"
That bear caused us a lot of hard work and trouble. Frank and Augie and I talked it over and we decided we could carry the bear out and get him in to camp to hang up in skin. So Augie hiked out to pickup and got an ax and some rope. We cut two poles and lashed the bear securely to them.
We put Augie in front like a horse and buggy with the two shafts and Frank and I each took a corner in the back. We had the weight evenly distributed and we agreed to rest often. We soon found that we need to rest more often than we thought.
In time and a lot later we got out to where Augie could get in with his pickup. On the way in we passed a camp that had a nice buck hanging up and we tried to trade our bear for the buck. The boy wanted the bear all right, but it was his first. He just couldn't let it go although his companions wanted to trade. We surely had a nice bear. They had been in that camp for some time and only had the one deer but they had killed an old bear and two cubs. They were very thin and common looking with patchy hides. It's hard to see why they were killed at all.
We hunted another day for deer and went way down on the mountainside in the oaks but we didn't see any deer at all, not even any sign of one. It came time for us to leave for home and I tried every way to get out of skinning that bear but Augie insisted that we should divide the meat so we finally set to and skinned him. Frank agreed to take the hide.
As I said before this bearr had been quite a bear for quite a long time and my family at home were all agreed that it would have been impossible to chew all those steaks. It's been a long time since that hunt. And from that day forward I decided that I didn't want to kill another bear, at least not willingly.