By Les Plomp – Dryden, Ont.
My family and I moved from Moosehorn, Man. to Ear Falls, Ont. in 1967 where I was employed as mechanical supervisor in a large iron mine. I had never seen blueberries before, so one of my neighbours invited me one evening to pick some. We went in his older half-ton on the Manitou Falls road west of Ear Falls where there is a remote-controlled power dam on the English River.
We had gone only a few miles west when we saw two small black bears in the middle of the road. There were shallow ditches on either side of the road and an open field on each side. My friend Ormal said they must be orphans because there was no sign of their mother.
Ormal pulled over and asked me if I wanted a cub. I told him no, whereupon he grabbed one cub in his arms. I didn’t hear it squeal as the motor was running, but out of nowhere it seemed a giant mother came running straight at the truck. I honked the horn and Ormal dropped the cub on the road and took off.
The mother didn’t chase us so we stopped and watched what happened. She smelled that cub and gave it a mighty blow with her arm and shot her cub at least 15-feet up into the air and it landed on its back. We both agreed it was a cruel mother to kill her cub with human scent on it.
The old mother and the other cub went through the ditch slowly and stopped on the field. After what seemed several minutes, the little cub on the road started to wiggle its feet and slowly staggered in the direction of its mother. To our surprise the mother licked and licked her cub for several minutes, whereupon the cub jumped up and down for joy.
Ormal and I both agreed that the mother knew how hard to swipe her cub and possibly warn it to stay away from man. I remember Ormal telling me if parents were far less severe with their offspring, as that mother bear was with her cub, there would possibly be fewer problems in later life.