Last night I was foraging in my refrigerator when I came across a shrink-wrapped package of lunch meat marked B. Sweet Boi. I had no idea who Sweet Boi was, or why his lunch was in my refrigerator. Then Senior told me that one of his coworkers had given him some bear meat. I was impressed. I've never met Sweet Boi, but he must be kind of bad ass to have killed a bear.
Turns out that Sweet Boi went on an organized bear hunt up in northern Ontario. They flew up with a guide who took them to a baited site. The 'hunters' relaxed in an old motor home in the woods and waited for the bears to come to the party. It was pretty much a guarantee that they would get a shot since there was a barrel full of tasty bear snacks - mostly expired Hostess cupcakes and Twinkies - standing outside within firing range. This strikes me as unsportsmanly, but then again I don't have a lot of sympathy for bears after hearing how destructive they can be. Friends of ours have had their cottage decimated by bears on more than one occasion, even though they take great pains to make it bear-proof.
Since it was Sweet Boi's first hunt, the guide gave him some pointers. He told him that most newbies got excited and shot the first bear they saw. Bears are big, right? Even the little ones. So the hunters should use the treat barrel as a guide. When the bears walked by on all fours, if it was as tall as the top of the barrel then it was full grown, and that would be the one to shoot. Sweet Boi hunkered down in the motor home an' purty soon he heerd somepin' go "Wooh!" A bear ambled out of the woods, went over to the treat barrel and immediately knocked it over on its side. Score one for the bears for figuring out the guide's system.
So with no ruler to gauge the relative size of the critter, Sweet Boi did what any good newbie would do and shot the bear dead. Turns out it actually was a pretty good size, somewhere over 300 pounds. I'm not sure what he did with the bulk of the meat or the hide. Maybe Sweet Boi now struts his stuff in a fur coat or spends his evenings lolling around on a bearskin rug in front of the fireplace. But he had some of the meat made into sausage, and was nice enough to share it with Senior.
Now that I knew what was in the package, I had to try it. The meat was sliced thin and had the consistency of salami. It had a really nice smoky smell and looked like a well-balanced meat-to-fat ratio. I rolled up a slice and tasted it, but was surprised to find it was sweet. Really sweet, with not much other flavor. I rolled it around on my tongue trying to pick up some gaminess, but all I could taste was a Twinkie-esque flavor. I wondered how big an impact the bear's junk food diet had on the flavor of the meat. I really did not like it. I turned to Senior and commented on how I was surprised at the strange flavor. He, however, wasn't surprised. "The package is labeled," he told me. "B. Sweet Bol...Bear Sweet Bologna." Ohhhhhh.