90-year-old bags another bear

I feel I'm doing the environment a favour'

Sylvia Payne-Gould info@northernpen.ca
Published on June 22, 2010
Ninety-year-old Cecilia Smith with the bear she shot this spring. - Photo by Sylvia Payne-Gould/Special to The Northern Pen

Cecilia Smith is no stranger to hard work - she came by it honestly from her parents, Alan and Mary Offrey of Eddies Cove West.

When Smith was a young girl in the 1930s, her father taught her to take care of herself in the woods and how to trap bear near Deep Gulch Brook.

Cecilia Smith is no stranger to hard work - she came by it honestly from her parents, Alan and Mary Offrey of Eddies Cove West.

When Smith was a young girl in the 1930s, her father taught her to take care of herself in the woods and how to trap bear near Deep Gulch Brook.

He also taught her how to use a shotgun, though these days she hunts bear with a .308 rifle.

Spring was a busy time for Smith. Her garden is planted with rhubarb and her greenhouse is filled with peppers, celery, tomatoes and cucumber.

She and her husband, Roland, have been busy going at their cabin setting up a bait bucket with meat, fish and fat to attract the bear that's in the neighbourhood.

"The worst thing you can ever face is a surly bear, and this time of the year they're hungry and that makes them worse," said Smith.

"They eat up the berries and the grounds and whatever they come in contact with. I feel I'm doing the environment a favour by keeping the bear population down. The bear I killed this week weighs about 500 lbs."

Smith feels times are changing.

"No one visits anymore. You can go a week and not see anyone, and maybe it's because of television. Everyone is sat back watching TV, not getting any exercise and their limbs are stiff. Not me," said Smith, who did a little dance to show how spry she is.

"I get up every morning and don't stop until it's bedtime. I'm busy at something all the time and if God spares me I will celebrate my 91st birthday on Oct. 19, and I'm looking forward to it," she said with a big bright smile.