64 Years a Bear Hunter

A Lifetime of Hunting Bears with Hounds

In his younger years, bears were scarce in the mountains around their home. Bear hunting with hounds also looked very different than it does today. The modern technology that has become essential was nonexistent. A lot of people didn’t even have a 4-wheel drive truck and hunted out of cars or cattle trucks. Charlie had an old cattle truck to haul his hounds and sons around. The Hensleys would start a bear hunt in the morning with a good breakfast cooked by Wayne’s mother, Minerva. Anyone hunting with them that day was expected to be there for breakfast and Minerva took offense if they weren’t. Charlie would then decide where the group would hunt that day and most often it was the roughest areas in the mountains. Wayne recalls walking until striking a bear and then following them afoot, always trying to keep them in earshot. Pete taught Wayne to stay high on the mountain above the hounds in order to keep up with the chase.
“I know there are other dogs of her caliber, because I have hunted with some, but she was just that one dog for me”
- Mark Dufresne

Dufresne hunted with Brin until she was thirteen years old. Here are his thoughts on his legendary bear hound: “Her trailing ability was her strongest strength. Her intelligence coupled with that ability enabled her to do an outstanding job. I believe the bobcat hunting, the way we hunt on foot with the dog, helped to develop her natural ability and made trailing tough tracks look easy. In thirteen-plus years, she went backwards on tracks four times and there were extenuating circumstances on each of those.
Running big brown bears with two hounds may sound counterintuitive to most North American bear hunters. In Scandinavia, due to a two dog rule, two hounds has to be enough. The hunters and their hounds have adapted, and the hounds learn to protect each other while doing it.
It’s somebody who is completely devoted to the dogs and is serious enough that it’s not a passive hobby. To be a big game houndsman and a devoted breeder and trainer of big game hounds, you have to be one hundred percent in.