New York Hunter's Blog

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New York Record Bear Taken!

Bear 2008

Having harvested this black bear on the 18th of October, I had to wait the mandatory 60 days drying time before the skull could be scored. That landed me right in the middle of trying to do the holiday stuff and it also meant that any scorer would also be unavailable.

The skull had to be cleaned and I had no clue as to how to do it.  After emailing back and forth between Larry Vielhauer, John Hollander and Collins Kellogg, these guys were finally able to give me the correct information on what was needed and got me onto the right track.

The first thing to do was to put in an order with Van Dykes Taxidermy Supply to get a powdered form of Sodium Carbonate to boil the skull. This is part of the process of what you have to do in order to get all the meat and tissue off the skull. Finally a week passed and the Sodium Carbonate showed up by UPS truck. Off I went to the garage to get the process started.

My first issue was finding a pot large enough to be able to submerge the complete bear skull under water. After hours of searching, all that was found that closely fit the description was my wife’s spaghetti pot that she loved with a passion. Knowing that she would want me to excel and accomplish this goal I simply bypassed asking her for fear I might end up wearing it.

I quickly filled the spaghetti pot  and made a mad dash for the garage fearing she might come out to the kitchen to see what I was up to and try to deter me from my end goal of being added to the New York Record book for a once in a lifetime harvest. See…my wife is not a hunter and always asks as I head out the door to my tree stand in full camo if I am going out to catch deer.

I try to explain that we hunter don’t catch deer….we hunt them with guns and bows….its so much easier. I finally gave up trying to explain this and now tell her now that yes honey, I am headed to the woods to catch deer. I am not quite sure what I would do if I ever caught one, so I just use the gun and bow…seems easier.

After sneaking the pot out of the house with it three quarters full of water, I placed it directly on top of the woodstove that I keep going all winter long in the garage. We had a number of warmer days of were the skull had a chance at being exposed to warmer temperatures causing a distinct order to protrude from it…even my dog wanted nothing to do with it and tucked her tail and ran for the house after getting a sniff.

After placing rubber gloves on and a cloths pin over my nose, I gently picked up the intact skull and placed it into the pot. Looking at the directions and seeing that it would take at least a good thirty minuets of boiling time to get started, I decided that there were other projects around the house that needed completing so off I went to do them.

Here are the directions of what your suppose to do:

In a pot or drum, large enough to completely submerge the skulls, add water and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Sodium Carbonate. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove it from the container and inspect for any residual meat. Trim any remaining meat and return to the boiling water for another 15 minutes.

What I had not expected upon the return to the garage was the extreme strong pungent odor that seeped out through the cracks in the door. The stench was so strong that it had saturated everything in the garage including my hunting clothes that hung on the wall. I looked around an located a long stick and gently reached in the door to hit the garage door opener trying to get the majority of the smell to escape.

After waiting a good twenty minutes, I finally got up the courage to approach the skull keeping my gag reflexes in check. I gently lifting the skull out of the spaghetti pot fearing I would get splashed and have to explain to honey why I reeked of this god awful smell. The majority of meat and tissue simply fell off and after a brisk cleaning, I deposited the skull back in to go another 15 minutes of boiling. This did the trick and the skull was finally ready to sit on the shelf for the sixty day minimum drying period.

I must have gotten used to the putrid smell because as I entered the house, the dog ran in the opposite direction and and Honey met me at the door exclaiming what had died and why had I  rolled in it. She had me step back out onto the front porch and undress to my underwear as people drove by gawking. I did wonder what they were thinking of what was this guy doing in his underwear standing on his front porch, but then I remembered that this is the north country and not that uncommon.

What happened to the Spaghetti Pot? The spaghetti pot was beyond the stages of reusing it. No matter how much dish soap and hot water I used to scrub it, the smell was still there. I made up a story of how I needed it for something else and it had gotten run over by the tractor by mistake. By the way…large spaghetti pots are hard to run over with the hind tire of a tractor. I did end up having to buy her a new one to replace the one now flattened by the tractor.

Time passed and on the morning of the January 6th, I gave Larry Vielhauer a call to see if he would be around to score the skull. He informed me to come over anytime and that afternoon found the skull and I headed to Larry’s Taxidermy Shop. I had know Larry for years with him doing my first White-tailed deer mount back in the late 1980’s. He is one of the nicest people you will ever meet and loves to visit.

He had me bring the skull in and place it on the table. Off he went and fetched his L-shaped metal rulers to be used to mark the distance in-between them. Once he had his measurements, over to the desk we went searching for the correct form to fill out. The measurements from front to back ended up being 11 & 8/16… and side to side ended up at 7 and 2/16th for a total score of 18 & 10/16 inches…enough to get into the New York record books.

18 & 10/16th

GUN 18 0/16
ARCHERY 17 0/16

RECORDS OFFICE,360 McLean Rd. Kirkwood, NY 13795




Greatest Length Without Lower Jaw 11 & 8/16


Greatest Width 7 & 2/16
Exact Locality Where Taken (Town) Hermon County St.Lawrence
Date Taken 10/18/08 Taken With: Gun Bow Gun
Name of Taker Eric J Edie Richville, NY 13681
Address 1444 CR 19 City, State Zip
Guide Name and Remarks
Remarks: He liked mounds candy bars 🙂
Big Game Tag Number:


July 2, 2009 - Posted by | hunting | , , , ,

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