One Man’s Fear Is Another’s Fun

In my previous writing on fear you got to relive an experience I had with bears. Needless to say I have a lingering, shall we say, respect for them. I might be fearful of something I haven’t experienced before, or often. However, the perception of danger, and resulting fear, may be quite different for others. Hence this story about my friend Mark. He was a ranch manager in an area I often elk hunted in and over a few years we became good friends.

One year we had come across a cow moose that was obviously diseased as she could not walk straight and would just turn in circles. After Mark discussed the situation with local game authorities they requested that he put the cow down if possible and harvest certain parts for analysis and research. Thus during a middle of the day break in our elk hunt, Mark, my son Matt and I switched our focus to seeing if we could find this moose. Glassing river bottoms and alders where we had seen the moose previously I spotted a dark spot that seemed out of place. “There she is”, I said. However, upon scrutiny with binoculars we discovered it was not the moose, but a bear. Mark informed us he had a bear license and asked if we would mind if we turned this into a bear hunt. Never having been on a bear hunt Matt and I readily agreed.

We watched as the bear rolled in the mud to cool himself from the midday sun. Then he moved out of the bottom and headed up a trail. He remained in view as we tried to close the distance of maybe 800 yards. With Mark’s scope-less lever action rifle we would need to get close. Needing to outpace the bear up the mountain Mark, being the mountain man he is and Matt and I living at 636′ above sea level in Oklahoma, started leaving us behind as we gasped for air.

Rather than being in the hunt it now seemed like we were spectators watching a hunting TV show. When Mark got within 200 yards, he stopped and took his boots off. As the bear slowed we watched as Mark silently narrowed the gap to about 25 yards. As he stood behind a tree we anticipated watching him slowly raise the rifle, aim and take this bear. What happened next has held Matt and myself in amazement to this day!

Instead of raising the rifle to shoot, Mark leaned the rifle against the tree. “What in the world is he doing”, Matt and I whispered to each other? In an instant, Mark stepped out from the tree, ran as fast as he could right at the bear screaming at the top of his lungs! Dirt, rocks and pine needles flew as the bear frantically tried to vacate the mountain. Somewhat like myself , when scared senseless, the bear found the closest tree and shot up it! Mark grinned and hollered, “come look at this guy”! Matt and I just looked at each other in shock. Mark told us he decided this bear wasn’t one he wanted to shoot, but he wanted us to be able to see it up close. I was really quite happy to see it from a distance.

Armed with experience and knowledge this situation didn’t include fear, for Mark that is! Of course the other knowledge that benefits Mark is that learned from being a follower of Christ. And as the Lord promises, “Do not fear, for I am with you always”. Even in bear country.




2 Comments on “One Man’s Fear Is Another’s Fun

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