Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Polar Bear in the St. Marys River

Yes, it is true, dear reader, that a polar bear found its way into the St. Marys River located here in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

But it may not be exactly what you are thinking.  It can be cold and snowy up here but it is not cold and snowy enough to support polar bear life.  We have no glacier ice sheets or no groups of seals on which polar bears like to feed.

But a recent news item out of Ottawa County is southwestern Michigan tells the story. Wood TV in Grand Rapids ran the story today.

In 2000, big game hunter, Rodger DeVries, of Georgetown Township near Grand Rapids, Michigan returned from a successful polar bear hunt in northern Canada.

DeVries apparently knew the laws of the United States would not allow him to bring his prize polar bear into Michigan because he had not been hunting with a US approved hunting guide.  Apparently the US laws are stricter than Canadian laws on this point.  So DeVries had to be creative about getting his game home.

So DeVries and his grandsons brought the bear and skull (no explanation why they were separate) to St. Joseph's Island and transported it across the St. Marys River is his personal boat.  They landed in Raber Bay and took the contraband down state.

DeVries pleaded guilty today to illegally bringing a trophy mount across the US border.  He will be sentenced on Sept. 8.  He can receive up to a year in jail and a $100,000 fine.

"Defense lawyer Terry Tobias described DeVries as an "avid hunter" who has acknowledged his mistake in not getting proper U.S. permission, the Grand Rapids Press reports. He obtained permits from the Canadian government, including an export permit, and complied with Indian and province laws."

I've heard for years that the St. Marys River was used during Prohibition to smuggle alcohol into the US but this is the first time I've heard of a polar bear.

I was out yesterday morning for a run and noticed a US Border Patrol truck driving slowly down Scenic Drive  2 times.  We have a quiet road but maybe there is more going on than I thought!


Amy said...

when my family and I were camping at Brimley this summer, i noticed the presence of the border patrol had increased a lot since i was up there two years ago...they were driving through the campground, which i hadn't noticed in the past...they had been to the boat launch but I had never seen them actually drive through the park...the police were too...i guess we can chaulk it up to changing times...sad as that is...

Cathy Clementz said...

THAT is quite a story! Thanks for sharing!

Cosie3 said...

Just sent you an email asking about things to see in SSM. As an addition, I am a retired teacher! Is this where you live full-time or not? Loved the polar bear story! I also loved your pictures. This is exactly what my husband will be glad to see when we get there! And Clyde's hamburgers sounds good!

Sault Boat Watcher said...

Cosie3, Thanks for the comments. I sent you an email answering your questions. Enjoy your visit to the Soo.