January 18, 2022
Sports Column

Youngster’s huge bear is talk of town

A year ago, Jake Smith headed into the woods for a bear hunt and ended up with his first bruin … a story … and (as you may remember if you’re a frequent visitor to this space) a newspaper clipping that documented his hunt.

Since the 12-year-old Brewer boy is such an avid hunter, it wasn’t much of a surprise when his stepfather, Larry Freeman, called over the weekend to tell me (again) that Jake had enjoyed a successful hunt.

Of course, by the time the weekend was over, I’d heard about the Brewer seventh-grader’s hunt from a number of folks from all over Penobscot County, all of whom had seen, or heard, the results of his latest hunt.

This year, you see, Jake Smith didn’t get his first bear. He didn’t even end up with a “nice” bear. He got a huge bear.

“[He and his father, Barry Smith] had seen the bear the week before the season started, and they knew it was a good one,” Freeman told me Monday.

“His dad had shot a 300-pound-plus one a few years ago, and he knew it was bigger than that,” Freeman said. “Even he didn’t know it was this big.”

Jake Smith hunted last Monday and Tuesday and didn’t see a thing. On Friday, he headed back to the Orono stand. Then the big bear arrived.

“Jake saw it first,” Freeman said. “He heard a snap and said, ‘Dad, it’s huge.’ His father couldn’t see it at first and said, ‘Where is it?'”

Freeman, who wasn’t hunting with Jake and Barry Smith, but who has heard the story several times, said Barry Smith quickly agreed with the youngster’s assessment: The bear was huge.

How huge? Without its heart and liver it weighed 442 pounds, and it took six men to carry out of the woods.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Freeman said. “They had told me how big it was, but we got up there and got out of the truck and it was like, ‘Wow!’ I’ve never seen a bear like that, anywhere.”

Congratulations on your hunt, Jake.

If you’re one of the thousands of prospective deer hunters who entered the state’s any-deer lottery, your waiting is over: On Friday, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will hold its drawing, and we’ll all find out whether we ended up with the slip of paper most of us still call “doe permits.”

This year 76,150 any-deer permits will be issued. Holders of any-deer permits are allowed to shoot antler-less deer, as well as bucks, during hunting season.

For those who grew accustomed to checking the newspaper to learn if their name (or, more accurately, their license number) had been drawn, things have changed.

Due to space constraints, the NEWS will not publish the any-deer list. You can find it on the Internet at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s Web site.

Up until 2003, the any-deer permit list was a brief, easily manageable list that we were able to print on a portion of one page.

A year ago, however, an improved DIFW system allowed hunters to list their preference of Wildlife Management Districts. That meant that not only did a prospective hunter have to know whether he or she had been drawn … but also where they’d get to hunt.

And that meant that simply listing the last two digits of a hunter’s license number no longer did any good; complete information, including a hunter’s name, hometown, and the district they’d been drawn for, was required.

And that, we quickly figured out, would have required more than 50 ad-free newspaper pages.

That wasn’t feasible. Therefore, we’re simply passing along the information many of you will need in order to find out if your number has been drawn: Go to the DIFW site at www.mefishwildlife.com.

Collectors and hunters alike will flock to the Bangor Auditorium this weekend for the 27th annual Bangor Gun Show.

The show, which runs Saturday and Sunday, features firearms and equipment that are guaranteed to tempt even the most avid enthusiast.

The show is run by the Penobscot County Conservation Association, and exhibitors will run the gamut from major sporting goods stores to smaller dealers with specialty weapons for sale.

If you’re looking to buy a gun for a first-time hunter, or just looking for a good deal on one that would “complete” your collection, an hour or two spent exploring the aisles would be time well-spent.

The best part: The money the PCCA raises during the show help the organization fulfill its mission. The beneficiaries, in many cases, are children from the Penobscot County area. The PCCA has a long, rich tradition of providing educational and recreational opportunities for area youths.

The show’s hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $6, but NRA members will get in for $5. Law enforcement, military personnel with ID, and children under 12 will get in free. In addition, anyone who joins the NRA at the show will pay no admission fee.

John Holyoke can be reached at jholyoke@bangordailynews.net or by calling 990-8214 or 1-800-310-8600.


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