“The ethos used to be: ‘see a bear, shoot a bear,’” Revelstoke Museum & Archives curator Cathy English explains about the early mentality towards our ursine neighbours. “It was meat and fur.” Run-ins with bears were common, often deadly for the bears and, occasionally, humans.
Residents are asked to be extra vigilant this summer bear-proofing their yards after an abysmal last year when 24 bears were shot.#BLACKBEALIVESMATTER
Clarence Viers, for which Viers Crescent is named, had a trapline in the Big Bend area. In November 1946 he went to check it. When he didn’t return home, a search party left in June 1947 and soon discovered his mangled remains. It’s believed a grizzly attacked him at his cabin, where he is now buried.
All in favour of bear arms?
One of Cathy’s favourite historic characters is Hart Munro, a larger than life character who she describes as Edward Bloom in the movie Big Fish. “His autobiography is almost unbelievable,” she says. “He was born a 12-pound baby.” In addition to being a customs agent, he also had a fur-buying business. He was up in the Jordan area checking his trap line when he came across a live bear in his trap. He suggested killing it with his hunting knife but opted instead for his rifle. “A small hole appeared just between the bear’s ears and Bruin passed to the land of perpetual honey,” writes Frank Tillman, who was along for the adventure. The two tried awkwardly carrying the bear before Hart finally said to put the bear on his back, reasoning “I believe he carries easier this way.” They walked the 10 miles or so back into town, but not before stopping for a photo, which quickly made its way into the Canadian Rod and Gun magazine, which published the photo on its front cover in November 1914.