Democrat File Photo
BRIAN WERNER, RIGHT, and Jim Greier smile as they display the bruin that Werner shot on November 18 in the Town of Fremont at the Little Texas Ranch, which is owned by Jim Greier and his wife, Rita. When this photo was taken the following day, the two men estimated the bear’s weight at 450 lbs. But when they took it to Cochecton Mills to be weighed on the facility’s large truck scale, the bruin’s live weight was actually 660 lbs.
Bear With Us: That Was Some Big Bear
By Rob Potter
SULLIVAN COUNTY December 21, 2007 Everyone knew that the bear Brian Werner of Rockville Center, Long Island shot on November 18 on Little Texas Ranch property in the Town of Fremont was a large bear.
Now they know exactly how massive the bruin was.
Jim Greier, who owns the Little Texas Ranch with his wife Rita, confirmed recently that the bruin had a live weight of 660 lbs.
According to the Greiers, Werner shot the bear when it chased two does into the clearing beneath his stand. The bear turned and stumbled back into the juniper patch where it came from, thrashed around once and died.
Werner then walked back to the Little Texas Ranch and recruited the help of Jim Greier, who is the Town of Fremont Supervisor, and his son, Jamie.
The Greiers said Werner also received assistance from several other hunters who were at the ranch, including Mike Price, Sammy Restagno and the Montefortes (the friends with whom Werner originally came to the Little Texas Ranch.)
After looking at the situation, Jim Greier came home and got his bucket loader. But with too much brush near the bear and darkness closing in, they decided to leave the bear there for the night.
The next day, Monday, Nov. 19, the group tried again and their efforts were successful.
They loaded the bear, which appeared to be about 7 feet tall, into the back of Jim Greier’s pickup truck. Jim Greier and Werner then drove to the Democrat office in Callicoon to have their photo taken with the bruin.
While at the Democrat office, Werner said he hit the bear with one shot from his 30.06 rifle from about 150 yards away.
Greier and Werner then drove to Cochecton Mills to attempt to weigh the bear. They used the Cochecton Mills scale to weigh the truck with the bear in the bed. A couple of days later, after the bear had been delivered to Rod’s Taxidermy in Callicoon, Greier took the truck back to Cochecton Mills to weigh the truck itself.
After weighing the truck and subtracting that figure from the previous amount, Greier said the bear weighed 660 lbs.
“When we got to the mill, Dennis Nearing and his son Scott both said ‘Wow, that is a huge bear!,’” Greier said of the proprietor of Cochecton Mills and his son.
Dennis Nearing said the bruin was one of the largest he has ever seen.
“I knew it was a big bear because it had a massive head on it,” he said. “Everybody stopped to look at it.”
Nearing said the other bear about that size he recalls viewing was a bear shot by Harold Russell III of Bethel two years ago.
“I know it’s not a state record, but I don’t know if it’s a Sullivan County record,” Jim Greier said of the massive bear.
It is unknown exactly where Werner’s bear stacks up statewide among bears taken during the 2007 hunting season.
“It needs to be authenticated,” said New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Region 3 Spokesperson Wendy Rosenbach.
She explained that the DEC only recognizes official weights for bears in Sullivan County that have been weighed at Neves Taxidermy in Bethel or the Monticello Firehouse. Both Neves and the Monticello Firehouse are official weigh stations for the heaviest bear category in the annual Fish and Game Contest sponsored by the Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs of Sullivan County.
Greier said that Werner is having a rug made from the bear. In addition, Werner his having the bear’s head preserved on a separate mounting.
Lou Milucky of Rod’s Taxidermy, who is working on the rug and head mount for Werner, said that as with all bears taken to Rod’s, he extracted a tooth from the bear and sent it to the DEC.
Milucky said that the DEC would send a letter to Werner “in about six or seven months telling him how old the bear was.”