Last Friday I was on my way out to camp for a few days when a friend told me about a bear I’ve known for years. “Big Red” is the largest male bear out there. Nobody messed with “Big Red”!

I looked back into my archives to see how long I’ve known him? About 8 years as it turns out. I called him “Big Red” because of his rear end being reddish in colour. When bears get mange their hair falls out and when the new hair grows back in for some reason its a reddish colour.

“Big Red” was unusual,he would stop and stare at you like a human It was unnerving to be honest! I first met him years ago up in Fortune Channel. Most of the bears are there because of the crabs. After a year of being there he decided to move to quieter regions. It must of been all the bear watching boats? At any rate he moved to Rankin Cove where it was much quieter. Rankin is several miles east of Fortune Channel down Tofino inlet. He lived there year after year minding his own business.

Rankin cove is a old abandoned logging camp. There are 1/2 dozen trucks rusting there. Two of them actually work. (there are no roads to this spot,you need a barge to get a truck there) The West Coast Forest Society owns one. They use it to travel down the logging roads to plant trees. They brought two dogs with them one day. They said they wanted protection from bears. Anyone who knows anything about the bush knows you never ever take a dog into the bush (unless its very well trained and you can keep it quiet).

Big Red got spooked by these dogs. All dogs come from wolves originally. Bears and wolves are like cats and dogs,they hate each other. (A small pack of wolves killed a young bear two years ago at the top of the dock stairs in Rankin cove!) Big Red was terrified by these dogs! Once they left Big Red decided to put a sign up! Bears will debark trees.These trees are meant as a territorial declaration and a warning to all other animals! This is a short video showing Big Red’s handy work.

My friend told me Big Red had been shot! It appears a red neck from Port Alberni drove all the way up to Barryman point with his boat in tow to shoot a bear. They went across Tofino inlet to Rankin cove where they found Big Red foraging along the shore. They unceremoniously shot him dead right there! Than to add insult,they cut his head off and put it on the boats bow as a trophy! I cried when I heard this. I couldn’t believe that such a beautiful creature could be murdered like that and all for ego!

I’d hardly call this hunting btw! All hunting out in the wilds is done face to face! Humans are the only ones that hide and kill from a distance. Hardly hunting if you ask me.


I’m going to miss my friend……

122 thoughts on “MY FURRY FRIEND “BIG RED”

  1. That’s bad news. Terrible. I actually hate sport hunters. Why do they need to kill an animal? Shooting with a camera like you do probably takes as much or more skill and the animal lives on. Aaargh!

    1. If a hunter was going to eat what they killed……OK! But they kill large bears like this for one reason only and thats so the guy can show everyone how skilled a hunter he is and how courageous he is!
      I hope he’s haunted by Big Red or better yet eaten!

      1. Subsistence hunting, or even turning a deer into venison, that’s a different thing. But trophy hunting is despicable. I’m so glad the grizzly hunt has been banned in BC. Hoping for nightmares for those dudes!

      2. I forgot about that Audrey. On the island there are no Grizzly. I’ve heard about men who have nothing but heads of many animals on their walls and wonder why they never advanced emotionally?

  2. So sorry to hear about Big Red, Wayne – It seems that the MINORITY of Humans are Hell Bent on destroying everything on this planet – all for the sake of ‘pleasure’ or ‘profit’ :(

    1. thanks Chris! I had a fitful night of sleeping last night. I’m going to contact the Conservation Officer about this matter. If the guy did everything by the book,so be it but If he didn’t,I want the book thrown at him!

    1. some people are simply brought up with little or no love. They are diverted from their true path to one with thorns and strife. They and all around suffer.
      I am reporting this to the Conservation Officer. Big Red would of wanted me to as he didn’t put up with any BS and nor should I.
      Thanks for your caring Emma.

      1. Are the bears protected in law? So certain breeds? I wasn’t sure. I hate all killing of animals (unless it’s part of the ecosystem, animal eating another for its tea, obviously). I see no “sport” in this senseless killing.

      2. yes and no Emma,Grizzly’s are protected but not Blacks. There is a healthy population of Blacks in BC. Between 120 to 150 thousand but only 15 thousand Grizzly.
        The Grizzly ban came in a few years ago. I talked to a Hunter yesterday and he told me that more Grizzly’s were killed by Conservation Officers last year than would of been normally shot by Hunters. Hunters will obviously use statistics to prove its just fine to kill,but he admitted they supposedly taste terrible anyways but a Spring Black tastes great!
        We all agree that there is no sport in this human activity. Its imagined by the Hunter only.

      3. I just read an article on how it was often difficult to tell Grizzlys and Brown Bears apart (apart from those long claws), are the Conseration Officiers shooting the grizzlys by mistake? I think Japanese whaling ships do something similar when they kill whales for “sctientific research” despite a ban. These then end up being sold back in Japan. Do hunters attempt to eat the bears? Urgh!

      4. I’ve always thought Grizzly was a type of Brown bear.
        The best way to tell if its from the Brown family is usually the large shoulder blades. I’ve seen brown Blacks before,as well as white Black bears. (Kermode)

      5. not many species but many bears do abound! They estimate between 120 and 150 thousand Blacks in BC alone.
        What I found interesting was that several types of bears actually make nests in trees like birds!

      6. Well, thank you for that. Sadly I couldnt get those links to work but I typed in “bear nest tree” and I was rewarded with a fabuolous clip of a big black bear (I think) up a tree making a nest.

  3. I’ll “like” this post for the pictures and the video and your association with “Big Red” in the past, not for the tale of the brutal slaying of a beautiful beast. I am sorry for your loss Wayne – even sorrier that a trophy head of a bear is something someone would covet and do such a despicable deed which leaves me feeling sick and shaking my head.

      1. No, he did not deserve such a brutal death – I agree with you. Wayne, please do a follow-up post so all your followers know the outcome of your conversation or e-mail with the Conservation Officer okay? That is unconscionable to have done this – the killing is bad enough, but trumpeting the kill in the way that he did is horrific.

      2. Yes, all of us who enjoy nature and its creatures, will want to know what happens, though it will never erase the memory of such a brutal and senseless act. Grumpy or not, he was not in attack mode … that’s a different dynamic. This was an ambush.

      3. I hope so too – I hope you were spared most of the grisly details. In some respects, it is too bad you had to hear as it was so upsetting to you.

      4. No pun intended because Big Red was a black bear not a grizzly bear, correct? I would not pun about this – it’s a serious matter.

      5. Wayne – I’m a little horrified at myself. After I shut down my computer last night, I was thinking about the “grizzly comment” … I don’t know what I was thinking putting “grizzly” as in a bear, but I guess I was thinking of a bear so that is why … I am sure you know I meant “grisly” … feel free to correct my comment and delete this one. You know that this is why English is such a difficult language for the foreign-born to learn. For example you have “grizzly”like the bear or “grizzly” like the color (gray with flecks); “grizzled” meaning old and weathered; “grisley” meaning ghastly and horrific and “gristley” meaning a tough or chewy meat. And then there’s “grist” as in a grain for flour … a fellow blogger’s blog is called “The Grist Mill” … anyway, no wonder you asked if I was punning.

      6. Well Wayne, I had bears on the brain it seems (of course, I don’t have to walk too far to see bears all over the house either, including my largest teddy bear, who is a Grizzly Bear that I named “Bernie” after Bernice, a friend who sent him to me). I had a wonderful walk this morning – unfortunately I didn’t get a lot of steps in because there was wildlife all over, but I saw a gosling family, a Mute Swan came in for a landing before a little preening, a female Red-Winged Blackbird (rare for that, usually just see the males), another groundhog, and found a Robin’s nest but it won’t yield many shots of the hatchlings once born, as it is too secluded. I want to ensure you saw that I gave you a shout-out the other day as to the Robin listening for worms. You should have received a pingback as I mentioned your site, but likely you were distracted by the Big Red incident. The post is below:

      7. Yes, and he should be called “Big Bernie” as he takes up half the chair he sits on. It was great this morning – I’m going to go upload the pics in a few minutes to see how they turned out. We were supposed to have rain, and this was a nice surprise having sun, and a bigger bonus having critters galore.

      8. I like that……”Critters Galore”! I told you the story about Winnie the Poo? She was not only a Canadian bear but also a Ontario bear! She came from around Deep River. A prospector had shot her mother (and even tried to shot Winnie’s brother/sister but missed). So he tied Winnie up like a dog and took her with him. I guess he was going to get a train as he was sitting there when Harry Colebourn got off the train and spied him. He went right over and asked about the bear cub. Colebourn was a English man over training in Winnipeg during the first world war. He was the regiments Vet. I think he ended up buying the bear cub for $20. He named her Winnie after the city they all had just left,Winnipeg. She became the regiments mascot. Once over in England he couldn’t take her with them to the front,so he “loaned” her to the London Zoo with the understanding that he’d be able to take her back once he came back! However after coming back he saw how happy she was there and the huge crowds and so conceded and left her there ………and the rest as they say is history!

    1. Imagine having to walk around with the fear that there are hunters out there hiding in the thicket looking at all of us humans and deciding which one they are going to murder so they can proudly display the head upon their wall!
      On behalf of Big Red and myself thank you for your concern Anne!

  4. I had a hard time clicking LIKE once I got to the end of the post… Dear God in Heaven, Big Red, we are so sorry for the assholes of the world and that you had to meet up with them. God Bless you.

  5. Just despicable! I’ve never understood how this could be called “a sport”. To pursue and kill a defenseless creature like Big Red makes me sick! I am very sorry and sad this happened!

    1. they must of already knew he was in this area as they simply tied up their boat,walked up the ramp,found him there and shot him. How convenient for them! No long hours trudging through the bush! A true hunter!

      1. Cowards, in my opinion! Same as those people who chase and shoot animals from a helicopter. How could someone feel proud of hanging a head trophy on the wall, knowing how they went about it. Is that even legal in your country?

      2. unfortunately bear hunting is legal in Canada but Grizzly hunting is not. Thats a rather recent legal change on the west coast.
        I just got off the phone with the Conservation authority in Victoria. I reported this killing and they are going to look into it. I will let everyone know what the final outcome of this is?
        Thank you for your concerns!

  6. It’s very sad how cruel some people can be to animals. It’s hard to understand. I’m glad you were able to photograph him over the years for all to enjoy.

    1. I think If someone is brought up by someone who hunts,they are more apt to hunt themselves when they get older.
      When you cannot see beauty its easy to step upon. Its part of our own internal growth. Some have not been taught this lesson and so lag behind

  7. So sorry and sad to hear about this. I struggle to understand trophy hunting, I really do. The need to stick a head from a dead animal you shot up on a wall? That is supposed to be brave or skilful? Perhaps if the animal can shoot back, and wants to play pathetic games with guns like a man child… What a stunted person.

  8. Saw my first bear of the season today. Just past the construction at Kennedy, on the way to Port. A good sized single bear, healthy looking, and standing on the safe side of the concrete barrier. Way more interesting than the meeting I was attending!
    I hope you hear back from the conservation authority…

    1. bitter sweet to hear that Adam. A bear and a road are like a bullet and a gun. Bad combination.
      Lets hope it stays away from the road and nobody feeds it.
      People go to zoos to view animals. Many times Zoos will set up feeding stations. You put a quarter in and get a handful of feed. The Zoo saves on feed costs and makes money to boot! People than take that idea (especially children) with them,so when they see a bear they toss it whatever is handy at the time (maybe Grandma if she’s snoring). This encourages bears to hang around roads and we both know how that story ends.

      1. Sadly no. I have never seen a bear in real life, which is why I find your photograph so fascinating. I think the last ice age killed off brown bears in Ireland but I have read there may have been wild brown bear around in Roman Britain.

      2. without knowing the history I’d be more tempted to say humans wiped them out. We do that with gusto!
        You ever come over to Tofino I will introduce you to one of my furry friends.

      3. Cool. Humans are a blight on this planet. When we all die out (due to climate change) all the remaining creatures on earth will do just fine!

  9. My heart aches for the loss of Big Red and for how much this especially grieves you because you got to know him as an individual. Thank you for posting such beautiful photos of him so that his memory lives on.

  10. This post breaks my heart, Wayne. I can’t understand the thrill people get from committing atrocities like this.
    My dad was a hunter, but he only took what he had to in order to feed his family.
    There’s a special place in Hell for murderers- in my mind this is no different. It SHOULD be criminal!

  11. For me, all creatures – mankind and beasts alike, as well as plants down to the smallest grain of sand, and we must not kill each other or anything living except for survival, and even in that, we must use our judgment about whether it is essential or not. If we were not meant to be here, we would not be, and we are all essential to help this world, this universe to survive. I hope that mankind realizes it before it is too late.

    1. I agree Anne. The vast majority of animals living out in the forest wake up with two questions on its mind every morning…..”Can I eat it…..or can it eat me”?
      They all kill to survive. As cruel as it may seem when I witness it,it is what it is.
      We are the only species on this planet (except Chimpanzees and it could be argued they are part of our lineage anyways) that kill for reasons other than survival.
      I find it interesting that the largest animals (Blue whale) eats the smallest creatures,plankton.
      thanks for your input Anne!

  12. So sad, I can never understand the mentality of those who hunt just for the heck of it. It seems to be an act of cruelty. Man imposes his power to subdue nature.

    1. and I hope you never understand….why would one?

      We as a species are always evolving both physically and sociologically. Some of us (usually males) do not evolve as much as the rest of the herd.
      We live outside Nature,not with it.

    1. ignorance and arrogance have been with us from the very beginning I suspect and will be with us to the end.
      Good souls need to see,recognize and act If we wish to save ourselves.
      thank you for caring Bobby!

  13. That’s horrible. Over the years, a few of the people in my mother’s family hunted for survival. But there is no reason to kill a bear just to get a trophy. Hopefully, Karma will get him.

    1. I thank you on behalf of Big Red! Another bear has taken his place and it’s just as big and has a really beautiful coat!
      Will try to get some shots and find out who it is?

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