Fred lives up north now, in Maine, near the border of Canada. His first letter ripped through my current reality, tearing me out of the latte foam thick womb of Net Land. It reminded of a different reality, it reminded me of the state I grew up in. The two letters that followed made me want to be in the woods so bad it hurt my head every time I heard a car.
Fred is a poet.
Being a Mainer his words are understatements.
Being Fred they as true as saying sap will run in the spring.
His first note:
>i harvested my first black bear
>what an experience
>any ways very tired from the whole deal
I was shocked, one doesn’t get much email about bear harvesting!
I wrote back:
>Is that legal?
>do you eat it?
>what about the hide?
>sounds like you’re a bear farmer now “harvested” as you put it,
>what’s the next crop?
>very strange to think about being here in cali urban tech land…
>what kind of gun?
>how many shots?
>did you use a blind?
Fred’s reply was in all caps, but not to yell, I know that. It’s another poem full of bear answers, bear facts, and well…just the bear essentials, Maine style…
>BEAR HUNTING IS LEGAL
>MAINE HAS LARGE BEAR POPULATION OF 23,000
>LARGEST IN LOWER 48 STATES
>HIDE AND SKULL ARE GOING FOR BEAR SKIN RUG
>HOW PRIMITIVE OF ME….EHHH
>MEAT IS THE SAME QUALITY OF A FINE ORGANIC GROWN BEEF…
>HUNTED FROM TREE STAND IN CAMOUFLAGE CLOTHING
>CHEWED ALIVE BY BUGS
>SPENT MANY LATE DAYS IN THIS TREE
>WATCHED BEAR MORE THAN ONCE TO DECIDE IF I WANTED TO HARVEST.
>I TOOK THE BEAST WITH A REMINGTON 30.06
>SHOOTING 180 GRAIN BULLET ….LOTS OF FOOT POUNDS OF ENERGY
>THE SHOT WAS CHOSEN WHEN THE BEAR STOOD ON HIND LEGS
>SHOT PLACEMENT WAS HIGH FRONT SHOULDER
>THIS MADE FOR A HUMANE KILL
>I MADE ONE SHOT…BULLET TOOK OUT LUNGS AND HIT BONE
>CAUSING SHRAPNEL TO SEVER THE SPINE
>THE ANIMAL EXPIRED IN LESS THAN 5 SECONDS…
>THIS IS VERY MUCH WHAT A HUNTER/GATHERER WANTS!
>NO UNNECESSARY SUFFERING….
>ANY WAYS ABOUT 100 LBS OF VERY LEAN MEAT
>ONLY 1 LB WASTED DUE TO BULLET DAMAGE.
>TALES FROM THE WILD AND WOOLLY MAINE MOUNTAIN RESIDENT
>P.S. ONLY 1% OF MAINE BEAR HUNTERS ARE SUCCESSFUL
>ALSO THE LEAVES ARE STARTING TO CHANGE HERE
>40 F NIGHTS ARE HERE AND FALL IS COMING ON HARD +FAST
> TAKE CARE ,
I felt like writing a poem as well…
It seems there’s a whole world out there,
full of bear fare,
if you can find their lair,
if you dare,
if you like sinew de bear,
and rugs with bear hair.
Is it fair?
to shoot a care bear?
Do I care?
Yes, I do.
And I’m sad I’m not there,
with my wonderful friend,
honestly gotten bear fare.
Fred in turn sent me a poem of his own…
>there are people out there who deny their predatory roots
>not this dweller of the forest
>respect all that is living
>but also respect your own place in the circle
>the food chain beckons those who go to the meat department
>only to buy styro-surgical wrapped flesh
>with an expiration date not for the creature
>for the predator whose weapon is green backs
>not a long bow or black powder rifle.
>but a squeamish weak predator who won’t deal with the fare
>until the waiter says
>well done …or medium rare
>but not for me i say
>for i gained the spirit of the bear
>with a bite of raw heart
> a short silent pray
>of thanks and forgiveness
>knowing one day i would be there
>in the wind and the trees
>I’ll be food for the bears
>i can only hope they think i taste as good
>as chokecherries and acorns
>when i rest my bones into the forest floor.