Thursday, 3 May 2012

"A Little Slice of Montana Life: Biscuit and the Bear" by John Zunski

    The day was hot when Biscuit – a lab/pit cross – and myself went huckleberry picking. Biscuit’s job – security; mine -  fill the bucket.

    Nose to the ground, Biscuit set about her job as I settled into my favorite patch. Moments later, there was a ruckus. I looked up. Why’s Biscuit running at me, I thought.  That’s not Biscuit, that’s a BEAR!

    Hoping it didn’t see me, I stood. The bear, hit the breaks, it’s hindquarters fishtailing. Like gunfighters, we stood face to face. I could have reached out and flicked its nose. It’s eyes, golden. It’s cinnamon fur, thick and matted.

    My first thought: I’m going to feed a bear a huckleberry. My second thought: He ain’t getting my huckleberries!

    I can hear you: “Bear Spray, get your bear spray!”

    It was in the jeep.

    Everything I ever read about bears clicked. The one staring me down was a sub-adult male. I knew one thing, establish who’s boss. At my feet lay a large stick. Eye on my friend, I picked up the stick, jumped up and down and yelled like Braveheart. At least that’s my story. I probably sounded like pubescent twelve-year old.

    The bear yipped, turned tail and ran into the woods.

    Did that just happen? I asked pacing back and forth.

    Following the bear’s trail came Biscuit, tongue hanging and tail waging, asking her own question, “Did you see that bear? Oh boy, Did you see that bear?”

    Biscuit scored the huckleberries instead of the bear. A reward for a job well done!


John was born and raised in suburban Philadelphia. In 2003, he sailed across the country in a U-haul and settled in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana. He is the Author of Cemetery Street and Shangri-la Trailer Park. Nightwatching, a ghost story, will be released in 2012. He is currently working on Cemetery Street's sequel, Montana Rural.

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