How to catch a bear … bare handed

More stories from the Enterprise found in the archives of the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Librarykeeping history alive.

Tuesday, May 13, 1930, Saranac Lake -?”This resort has a new and most interesting baby. It is about six weeks old and before coming to town resided in the MacKenzie Pond region, which has long been famous as a bear country. This tiny member of the House of Bruin was captured by three Saranac Lake fishermen and the cub is now quartered at the home of Vernon A. Lamoy on Balsam Street. Nothing was seen of the mother of the cub which is perhaps just as well for the fishermen.

“Lamoy, in company with Bernard Brown and James Clark, were fishing Saturday on MacKenzie brook in the vicinity of the outlet of the pond. After the noon hour the tired anglers lay down for a little nap. Lamoy was just falling into a doze when his attention was attracted by a noise coming from a log a few feet away. Looking in that direction he saw the little cub at play on the log. The fisherman peered around cautiously for the mother bear.

“Not seeing her he decided to attempt the capture of the cub and started for the little animal calling to his comrades to join in the chase. The bear baby was nobody’s fool, despite youth and innocence. It went up a tree with great speed and grace. The tree was dead and the fishermen were able to fell it.

“However, the plucky little bear was not captured yet. Despite the shaking up the cub received when the tree crashed, the bear went swarming up another one. The second tree was a stout one and it would have been a real chore to fell it. It was decided it would be easier to climb after the little bear. James Clark went up and after much effort finally got above the cub. He then used his feet to push the bear which was gradually forced to descend until Lamoy and Brown could get their hands upon it.

“Even then the little bear was not licked, but fought as best he could against overwhelming odds. He used tiny needle like teeth and sharp little claws in the most vicious manner, but had no chance. His captors were well scratched and bitten and were grateful that their prize was no bigger.

“It was not an easy task of getting the cub to the car as they listened and looked for some sign of the mother. They knew that an Adirondack mother defending her young is a menace not to be trifled with and will without hesitation risk her life in defense of her cub.

“Where the mother bear was at the time the cub was captured is one of the mysteries of the Adirondack forest. The fishermen said they heard dogs running in that section and it may be that the she-bear was being chased by them and traveled far in order to keep them from her cub. Or it may be that the mother bear had fallen victim to a hunter’s rifle or had been held some place in a trap.

“The bear has now taken up residence in a screened box in the garage at the home of Vernon A. Lamoy.”

[It’s too bad that there is not a way to find a follow up story did the state Department of Environmental Conservation step in to care for the cub until it could be released into the wild? Was it illegal to take the cub in the first place; maybe not since it became a feature story in the Enterprise.

I don’t know if any of these names match but I was in school with a Vernon Lamoy, probably this guy was his father. One James Clark was an owner of Ayres Insurance and a Bernard Brown was a Saranac Lake policeman and a decorated Marine hero in World War II.]