Earl Kramer got quite the birthday gift this year when he traveled to Canada to pick up a mounted bear that he shot on his birthday in June last year.
After waiting an entire year to get the rare cinnamon-colored black bear in a full-body mount, Kramer finally got to see his prize on his birthday this year.
The bear, which stands up with one paw in the air and on top of a tree trunk stand, is displayed in a picture window in Kramer’s house in Rogers.
Kramer traveled to Bowsman, Manitoba, Canada in early June 2011, where he goes yearly to hunt bear with a close friend and guide, Alvin Sutherland. Kramer used a Browning .308 to bring down the bear on June 2, which is also his birthday.
But before he shot the “beautiful bear,” Kramer had almost shot a regular black bear until his stepson, Rob Jewett, Valley City, had pointed out the cinnamon bear.
“A huge black one came up before (the cinnamon bear), and I just about shot that one, and then Robbie poked me and said, ‘Earl, this one here is coming up behind it,’” Kramer said.
The bear he ended up shooting had become his 14th and most prized bear.
“It’s a beautiful bear — one of a lifetime,” Kramer said.
The mount isn’t the only memory Kramer has from his trip.
Jewett, who joins Kramer on some of his hunting trips, caught the whole thing on camera.
“He got his (bear) with a bow and arrow earlier, and then he went up in the tree stand with me and he videoed the whole thing,” Kramer said.
A taxidermist estimated the bear to be about 20-25 years old, with a 20 inch skull. It weighed 500 pounds and was eight feet long.
A cinnamon bear is simply a subspecies of the black bear with a lighter fur coat — the “brunette” of the black bear family. The rare creatures are native to northwestern United States and western Canada. Their reddish-brown-colored fur is reminiscent of cinnamon, from which the name is derived.
Kramer said the cinnamon bear’s coat is much softer than that of a regular black bear.
Outdoor sporting companies Scheels and Cabelas, both based in the Midwest, are interested in purchasing the bear to display in their stores, but Kramer doesn’t think he’ll sell.
“For the right price I’ll sell it,” he said with a chuckle.
Kramer is an avid hunter, who has spent his entire life in the outdoors going on various hunting trips throughout the years. His house is filled with other wildlife captures, including a mounted timber wolf and several bear skin rugs. He has so many that he’s even given some to his grandson.
The retired car salesman and business owner has hunted in the same spot in Canada for 44 years and plans to visit again in the spring. But he won’t have to wait long to get a taste of the outdoors; he’s going on an elk hunting trip to Montana later this month.