Tales from Woodhull Lake: Billy and the Bear
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Tales from Woodhull Lake: Billy and the Bear

A tale of un[bear]able humor. Please laugh.

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Tales from Woodhull Lake: Billy and the Bear
Montana Outdoor Radio Show

Many moons ago, my dad befriended a man named Chetty Baynes. Chetty was a crazy guy who did all kinds of crazy things. I guess it would be safe to say that my dad must be a little out there too, to be hanging around with all these miscreants. Chetty had two sons, Billy and Brucey. I know this sounds like some twisted beginning to a fairy tale, but I assure you, this is a true story.

Chetty approached my dad one day and asked him to teach Billy how to fly fish. Billy is about 15 years younger than my dad, and my dad was his hockey coach at the time. My dad took Billy out and taught him all he needed to know to get into fly fishing, and a friendship was conceived. There’s a saying, “give a man a fish, he’ll be fed for a day, teach a man to fish, he’ll be fed for life.” It’s somewhat true. In reality, when you teach a man to fish, you ignite a desire to acquire every possible gizmo, gadget, and general stuff related to fishing. You buy fishing rods and reels, different types of line, different clothes, hats, sunglasses. You invest money in licenses, time learning the water, and (arguably the most taxing) you invest your nerves when you get a huge birds-nest in your line. Billy has all these things, and it carried over into his hunting acquisition habits, as well.

Billy is, at his very core, an extremely curious person. He’s also incredibly smart. Sometimes he just does dumb things that are fueled by his curiosity, though. This is how we arrive at the story of Billy and the Bear.

One hunting season, Dad and his buddies were out hunting an area of the mountain. I think it was in mid-late November and the air was pretty crisp. Dad and Billy are out walking parallel to push anything bedded down towards some of his other friends who are sitting, and Billy stumbles upon a big, hollow log. Billy kneels down, sets his gun down, and peeks inside the log. Naturally, it’s pretty dark, and he can’t see much. I think most of you know where this is going, at this point.

Billy opened up his fanny pack (which he always carries) and pulls out a little flashlight. He shines the light into the hollow log and suddenly hears a low rumbling. Think Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark style. He keeps looking and sees a pair of big, brown eyes open up, followed by the eerie sight of stalagmites and stalactites in the cavern that is a bruin’s mouth. He grabbed his gun, turned, and took off running down the little ridge the log was up on.

If you’ve ever woken up a significant other before they were supposed to, you know what grumpy is like. Instead, though, imagine if they were woken up only a few minutes into a nap, or in this case, a bear woken up at the very beginning of hibernation. It was not pleased. The bear emerged from its den and acquired its bearings. As Billy is running down the hill, he screeches to my dad “There’s a bear!” and my dad yells back “SO SHOOT IT!” Billy has his rifle resting on his shoulder, pointing behind him as he’s pulling the trigger to try to shoot the bear.

Billy fired twice and his gun jammed. He yelled to my dad “My gun’s jammed, Don!” and the smart-ass that is my dad responded, “So un-jam it!” With the bear starting to charge down the side of the ridge, Billy finally gets his gun unjammed and is able to shoot the bear before it gets too close.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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