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HUNTING ACCIDENT

By Bud Loomis


A man who was a cook, and a young fellow companion came up to Quinault, looking for a claim. They had a little tent, but not enough bedding to keep warm, so they kept a fire all night.

This day they had been out scouting around looking for a claim when they ran into a bear on a hillside. They had a 44-40, long-barreled, with about 16 or 18 cartridges in it. So, they shot this bear and probably killed him at the first shot. But the bear started to roll down the hill toward them so they emptied the cartridges in the barrel into him. They though he was after them. When they skinned him they found the hide full of holes.

Their camp was down in the valley, so they cut some vine maple to keep a fire all night. After seeing this bear and shooting him, they imagined the woods were full of bear. That night the fire burned down and the young fellow got up and went out to rebuild it. The older man had his rifle beside the bed. He woke up out of a sound sleep, saw the boy bending over the coals and thought it was another bear. On the impulse of the moment he let loose and shot him through the intestines.

Realizing what he had done, he took him inside the tent, covered him up the best he could, and came to our place. It was the dark of the night, and he didn't have anything to make a light, so he made what we called a "slut". Take grease, put it into a frying pan, lay a cloth in it with the edge hanging over, light this edge and you have a torch.

He came in while we were eating breakfast and said he had shot his partner. He wanted someone to get a boat and take the boy out, helping to get him outside before he died. I said I'd go to the Lake and get the boat, and that he should go back to the camp and stay with the fellow. He said he didn't want to go back, so he went with me. Father knew where they were camped, so he went up to stay with the injured man.

I started to the Lake, but the man couldn't keep up with me, so said for me to go on ahead. I got the boat and came up the river and found the fellow. Father was still up there, although the boy had died about the time Father arrived.

We rolled him up in the bear skin with the holes in it, and had to go to Montesano for the inquest. My father was the only witness. A post mortem showed the boy's bowels were cut in about twenty places.

The other man who did the shooting went crazy and died in the asylum.