Story Written By KATHLEEN PAKARINEN
6/20/13 10:01 AM
Black bear was two miles from the west shore of Mille Lacs and headed for Isle when they spotted him Black bears can be pretty good swimmers and authorities advise, “Do not try this at home.” But this particular black bear was about two miles from Linda Eno’s home and heading for the far shore of Mille Lacs Lake, a trip of about 18 miles, when spotted from a Twin Pines fishing launch on June 17. Linda and Bill Eno own and operate the resort on the west side of the lake. That day, the launch was captained by their son, Mark.
“They spotted the bear when they pulled up to their last stop at about 11:15 a.m. They saw the bear splashing and swimming away from shore [south of Garrison] towards Isle,” Linda said. “He was just swimming in circles around us for about 45 minutes, he had no idea where to go,” Mark said.
The launch docked at noon and, soon after, Mark, his cousin from St. Louis and two young men from Chicago who were staying at the resort headed back out on a 21-foot boat owned by the resort. “By the time they got to him, his head was barely above water, getting deeper and deeper, still heading towards Isle,” Linda said. “We were surprised by how big it was. Actually it was swimming pretty slow,” said Matthew Kopf from Chicago.
Using a net and a life ring, the boys managed to coax the bear into changing course and heading back in the direction he came from. They followed him all the way back to shore – a trip that took about three hours. The bear and the boys in the boat landed at Pikes Point at about 3 p.m. When he reached dry land, Eno said, he scampered up a tree and stayed there until nightfall.
When they checked the tree for the bear on Tuesday morning, he was gone. “I feel good about the rescue,” Linda said, adding, “A big boat going by at full speed could have hit him and caused damage to the boat and injury to both the bear and the people in the boat. Plus, it didn’t seem like there was any way the bear could have survived the trip going the way he was … the kids were thrilled with the way it turned out.” “After being with him for four hours, we had that connection with him of keeping him alive,” Mark told WCCO reporter Bill Hudson who covered the story. Eno’s nephew, Phillip Brown from St. Louis, said, “It was better than going to a zoo.” “I just felt happy the bear just went up the tree and that he was still alive,” said the youngest rescuer, Michael Kopf.
By Al “The Lightweight” Hillmann
2/4/13 10:01 AM
You might wonder what a person would do if his $600 Eye Glasses accidentally fell through one of the ice fishing holes in your fish house. This just happened on Thursday night at Twin Pines Resort, and there was NO alcohol involved, I assure you. Phil “The Flopper” Foss is a witness to that.
Of course glasses don’t want to fall straight down from where they go in, so by lowering a minnow scooper down an adjacent hole and seeing it on the underwater camera we rented for $16 per day (Two days: Friday is one day and Saturday is another day), we were able to calculate which direction the glasses drifted out to by rotating the camera 360 degrees and use our H.S. geometry class skills to make a good guess.
Guessing the distance from the hole was also a challenge. We could see them with the camera from the hole they went down, but it’s hard to judge how far away they were. Fortunately, they drifted about 3.5 feet away from the house. If they would have drifted towards the inside of the house we would have been screwed, unless we could get Twin Pines to move the house, which would never happen.
So, we had two holes drilled outside the house by Billy “The Driller” Bob, and knowing that we were above the glasses by lowering the camera down those holes, put us in a “recovery zone”. Chris “The Chopper” Stark formed the elongated hole which would allow us to do our “puppeteering”.
We then fabricated a weight/balanced (wood handle end wanted to float) Gaff hook with two lines on it (one on each end) and distance markers every five feet or so on each line so we could keep the gaff horizontal while we lowered it. Within 10 minutes, we had hooked the OGA glasses through a small square temple hole near the hinge, which couldn’t have been a better spot.
Our biggest fear was that we would hook them and then on the way up the current or bottom of the ice hole could have knocked them off. They were NOT coming off where they were hooked. And by bringing them up handle first, we could grab the handle when it got up to the top and make sure we were coming up exactly in the center. And just for the record, Billy Bob said, after drilling our holes, that he has NEVER seen anyone recover anything from the bottom of the lake. And another amazing fact…Not a scratch on them.