Jack Pine bear has become Shearstown landmark
Motorists driving through Shearstown can hardly fail to notice an imposing sight in Marion and David Badcock’s garden.
An eight-foot-high black bear stands erect, staring fiercely over the fence, challenging onlookers to come near for a closer look. The riveting object has been there for a decade. “It’s carved out of one piece of pine, called Jack Pine,” Marion Badcock explained.
In 2000, the Badcock children - Jodi, Craig and Jacqueline - hired a carver in New Brunswick to create it as a birthday gift for their father. A thousand dollars later, the carving was ready for presentation.
“ On our way back from Florida, we went into New Brunswick, where Jacqueline lives,” David said. “ When we were turning in her driveway, they had this bear out front, along with balloons and a ‘Happy Birthday’ sign. It was a surprise big-time.”
David and Marion carted the gift to their home in Shearstown in their pickup. The animal, weighing between 700 and 800 pounds, has since become a minor local attraction and a popular site for photographers.
“I don’t have to put up a sign to let people know where we live,” David said. “All I say is, ‘ We live in the garden with the black bear.’ Of course, people always find the animal.
“Over the years, I’d say there’ve been hundreds and hundreds of pictures taken with him.”
Close inspection of the carving reveals an almost unbearable thought ... the animal is clearly showing signs of age. Rot is setting in.
“It looks like the bear’s lost about 50 pounds,” Marion quipped.
“Over the years, ants got into the wood and rotted the bear’s legs,” David added. “So we’ve had to do some repair work on him. I had to skin him out a bit. I took the chainsaw and cleaned him up, took away the mould and removed the rot.”
Rot in a Jack Pine, or Pinus banksiana, is not unusual after 10 years.
During the winter, David plans to make replacement legs for his bear.
One morning seven years ago, he was surprised to see between the bear’s paws a fish on a fishing pole. A friend later confessed, “ The poor bear had no fishing pole, so I added one.”
If David follows through on his intentions, he will be placing an order with the carver for two smaller bears, as company for the bigger and senior one.
David Badcock of Shearstown standing with a birthday present from his children - a black bear carved out of a single piece of Jack Pine.