The Hermit's Misadventure

Sometimes, the best-laid bear safety precautions can go awry.

I heard this story from Mike Beedel in November of 1994 when I first came up to Churchill as part of a package tour group to enjoy some polar bear-watching. Most people live in the town proper. One of the best reasons for doing so can be expressed by the phrase "safety in numbers." If you want to live out in the countryside, you need to take precautions.

One old man, kind of a hermit, would nail plywood over his windows every evening during polar bear season and remove them in the mornings. He had also constructed some "welcome" mats consisting of nails, sharp edges pointed upward, that he had run through some kind of wooden base. He had one of these at his front door, one at his back door. The intent was to discourage polar bears from forcing their way into his house.

One fine morning, he had been suffering a bad hangover. In his befuddled state, he had forgotten about those nasty welcome mats and had stepped outside in his stocking feet. His carelessness and bear-safety precautions landed him in the hospital for six weeks.

Go to Polar Bear High Season

Return to In town-Churchill

Return to Churchill, Canada