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Voyageur's Best Features of 2006

Dan Lundell

Lawler bear loves Russell sweet corn
by John Grones  |  September 19, 2006

It was a Sunday evening. “Not a leaf turned. It was perfectly still, and the last time I looked at the clock it was 7:45,” said Cannon Falls resident Dan Lundell.

“Shortly after that, I heard a stick break,” added Dan. “I turned back, and he was coming behind me. I knew he was a big bear, but I didn’t know he was huge.”

The bear actually spooked, and Dan thought he had blown it, but the bear circled around. Dan completed a nice broadside shot and bagged the largest bear ever registered at Jackson’s Hole in Lawler, Minnesota.

Dan shared that this is his first bear kill, and in prior years he used a pistol. This year his wife Mary encouraged him to use a shotgun.

The result was excellent. “It has a lot of knock- down power,” said Dan. “The bear was 20 yards away, and he tried to crawl away into the alder brush. I reloaded and went down after him.”

Following the kill, Dan discovered immediately that he could not lift the bear. “My next thought was how the heck am I going to get him out of here. He was huge!”

Dan went back to a picnic he had attended earlier in the evening. “I went to the Halvorson’s [Lodge 19].”

Dan reported the news and recruited help from family and friends to move the bear.

“I got back to the woods with the Halvorson boys, and they all hovered over the bear and started this whole ohhh… he’s huge.  This is the hugest bear we’ve ever seen.’ They were howlin,” said Dan.

There were a few more “huge” comments before the night was over. The consensus that evening was that the bear was one of the largest shot in the area. Jackson’s Hole reported that it is the biggest bear they’ve ever registered. “We’ve had the biggest deer ever registered,” said Jackson’s Hole bartender Darrell Helin, “now we can brag that we registered the biggest deer and the biggest bear in the area.”

The bear field dressed at 482 pounds. After gutting the bear out, the next challenge was to load the bear into a trailer. “There were nine men and two women out there,” Dan recalled. “It was all we could do to get him slid up on the trailer. After that, we went back to the Halvorson camp, and everybody went nuts.”

News traveled fast, and the bear was eventually delivered to Sam’s Grocery in Tamarack for processing. “Sam and Kathy have been in business for 28 years, and they have never had a bear come in this big,” Dan added.

Dan stated that they got 98 pounds of meat off the bear and the family already fried up some steaks in butter. “I’ve heard that people either like or hate bear meat. We tried the steaks, and they were excellent,” concluded Dan. “We ate bear chops and tenderloins, and they were excellent.”

Looking back, Dan can’t help remembering the moment the bear came in to the bait station. “When you’re sitting there in the woods, and a bear comes in like that, it’s a rush. I grew up in Cannon Falls, and we don’t have bear there.”

At this point, everyone is asking Dan the secret recipe that will draw in such a big bear. “I have a friend back home [a farmer] with an acre of sweet corn,” he said, “so I got the mature sweet corn and used that. The bear had been eating the cobs right up.”

So the secret is out—Russell sweet corn makes great bear bait.

“I’ve had people call me,” added Dan. “‘What are you using to bait?’”

“They all want the edge,” he concluded.

This article first appeared in the September 19 issue of the Voyageur Press.