Treed by a Bear

Hope Shack

I was sitting twelve feet above the ground in my bowhunting stand, deep in a cedar swamp. Twenty-five yards in front of me, three little bear cubs were feeding on a bait pile. Somewhere below and behind me was a large sow bear, intent on protecting her cubs. This was making me a little nervous.  To make matters worse, it was quickly getting dark.

 This was not exactly the best situation to be in. Black bears are normally afraid of man and attacks are rare.  However, most black bear attacks that do occur are when humans get too close to a bear’s cubs or come between the sow and cubs.   That’s exactly where I was.

The sow and the three yearling cubs had come to the bait about an hour earlier. I had become so entranced in watching them, that I didn’t realize it was getting dark. The sow…

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Northern Pike Stories

Hope Shack

Michigan Northern Pike Esox luciusAs I mentioned in previous stories, we live on a lake in the Hiawatha National Forest in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. On a spring day, my wife Linda, had taken the paddle boat and was fishing along shore. She was fishing with worms for panfish and bass. She had hooked a bass about a foot long and was reeling it in when a northern pike grabbed it. The pike was about three feet long.

I was working in the garage when I heard her yelling for me to bring a dip net. She was paddling for the dock with the pike in tow. The pike amazingly still had the bass clamped in it’s jaws. She maneuvered the boat and pike close to the dock. As the pike swam near the dock, I swooped it up along with the bass into the dip net .

As I lifted it free…

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The Storm

Hope Shack

Pictured Rocks Wallpaper

It promised to be a fun day for my wife Linda and myself. We were heading out on Lake Superior in our twenty-one foot Starcraft cuddy cabin. We were going to run up along the Pictured Rocks coast toward Grand Marais. It is a beautiful area with high colored cliffs, waterfalls, rock towers such as Miners Castle and Chapel Rock. We always enjoy the scenery and take too many pictures. Today was overcast so it would not be a good day for taking pictures. Yesterday I had checked the weather forecast for today. Prediction was for overcast conditions with two to three foot waves. Not ideal conditions, but we had been looking forward to today, it would be okay. Before the day was over I would regret not getting a more up-to-date forecast.

We were several miles out when conditions suddenly changed. The wind picked up from out of the…

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Sleeping with Tarantulas

Hope Shack

   It was pitch dark as we returned from a day of military maneuvers. This was a tactical exercise, so no lights were allowed. Days begin early in the military and all I wanted was to crawl into my pup tent and go to sleep.

    The night before I had hurriedly erected my tent over a tarantula hole. We were bivouacking in tall weeds and brush. Tarantulas were everywhere. I had pounded the hole shut. Spread my poncho on the ground, since our tents didn’t have floors. Rolled out my sleeping bag and went to sleep.

    We were in Puerto Rico training on a National Guard base. This base no longer exists, but at that time it was tarantula paradise. Tarantulas holes were everywhere. These holes were easy to distinguish by the web that lined the holes. You could wiggle a piece of grass or stick and the entrance and they…

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A Dog Named Brownie

Hope Shack

  Brown Dog I have owned many hunting dogs over the years. These included retrievers, pointers, and hounds. My first dog was given to me as a pup, by my grandmother. I thought that it had the look of a coon hound. I had friends that hunted coons with hounds and it sounded like fun. Actually Brownie was just a mutt. When he grew up he resembles a Labrador retriever only smaller and brown. Brownie was my buddy and companion growing up. He would protect my siblings and I, when we would ride our bikes past the neighbor’s dogs. He would never hesitate to tackle any dog that came after us regardless of it’s size.

    Having a pet was alright, but I wanted a hunting dog. Particularly a coon hunting dog. Brownie loved to hunt, but he never showed any interest in raccoons. I even took him hunting with other guys and…

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Terror in the Night

Hope Shack

I have had some scary moments in the outdoors. Some close encounters with bears, but one of my most terrifying moments in the outdoors came from the cowardly coyote. I say cowardly because normally they are very afraid of humans. I have hunted around coyotes for nearly forty years. I’ve watched them from the deer stand.  I’ve called them into a predator call when hunting them. I have had them follow me at night, with the occasional howl or yelp. It seems to me that coyotes are much braver at night, and will approach much closer than in the daytime. I don’t usually use a light at night, preferring to let my eyes become adjusted to the dark.  Maybe that has something to do with it.  I think they are more curious than anything.


If you have ever heard a pack of coyotes cut loose, than you know what a…

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Fish-Stealing Dolphins

Hope Shack

Not long ago, I was with my son Greg, fishing for Red Snapper in the Gulf of Mexico. My long time friend, Dave, and Greg’s friend John, were accompanying us. Snapper season had just opened and we were anxious to tie into them. I had been Snapper fishing one other time and I was amazed at how they fought. Therefore, I was really looking forward to catching them.  Not to mention the fact that red snapper make excellent table fare. They are very good eating.

According to my son, who has fished the Gulf extensively, you only find most species of fish where there is bottom structure. Fortunately he has many of these sites programmed into his boat’s GPS, and finding them is not a problem. They all seem to have names, such as the ‘chicken crates’, where a load of chicken crates were lost in a storm. Their owner’s loss has…

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