Source John Green
Clayton Mack, Nuxalk guide, Hank Winning photo
Clayton Mack was born in 1910, at Nieumiamus Creek – “place of flies.” He went to a residential school and worked as a logger, fisherman and a rancher before becoming a tracker and hunting guide. Descended from a long line of Bella Coola chiefs, he was a walking encyclopedia of tribal lore and wordsmanship. He spent 53 years on the BC central coast, guiding the rich and famous on trophy hunts that felled an estimated 300 grizzly bears. During this time, he also gained a reputation as one of the best storytellers in the province. He was flown to Hollywood in the sixties for a visit, where he mesmerized the California jet set with his hunting tales. In 1988, after suffering a stroke, he was moved into long-term care at the Bella Coola Hospital. He died in 1993.
Grizzlies and White Guys,
...The Stories of Clayton Mack
Compiled and edited by
Dr. Harvey Thommasen with a colorful chapter on Sasquatches
Note: Grizzly bears and q'unsciwas — white men — were two most mysterious creatures on earth according to Bella Coola's own Nuxalk nation Indian Clayton Mack. Born in 1910, the latter reign of "the great wilderness hunters," he guided the rich and the famous on trophy hunts, captivating everyone from the Bella Coola locals to jet setters with his hunting prowess and mastery at telling campfire stories. He was one of a kind.
Not particularly worldly, Clayton Mack is portrayed as spirited, confident, one with the wilderness or as I call it, "he had back-country smarts" and was at home in the elements among nature's fiercest most unpredictable creatures, the grizzly bear, the black bear and the Boqs — Sasquatches. He loved the British Columbian wilderness where he was known for 53 long years as the "greatest grizzly bear guide" in the world, something you have to respect if you know the Grizzly Bear. Hunters will love Mack's no nonsense-earthy approach to hunting. He was also a spellbinding storyteller. His best tales are collected in the Grizzly book in his own words. The stories he told were recorded in text exactly as he spoke them during tape recorded sessions with the author Dr. Harvey Thommasen, his family physician, who specialized in Native Canadian health issues.
The misuse of language, grammatical blunders and errors, all add enjoyable, smiling color to Mack's remarkable ability to weave wild but true stories. Before I left for the East Indies, personal experience taught me the unpredictable, obstinate and menacing grizzly was the only animal clearly to be feared in the U.S.
The Mack book is short on Sasquatch stories, devoting only one chapter to the subject, but Mack's grizzly accounts are worth the price of the book. I will confine out-takes from the book to his single chapter on Sasquatch related stories. I got the biggest bang out of his Grizzly and Sasquatch yarns, seized of course, from his days in the beauty but rugged and unyielding wilderness region of Bella Coola, BC. I hope you will enjoy it too.
Chapter Seven begins with Sasquatch sightings seemingly routine if not matter-of-fact to the Bella Coola woodsman. He comes off as rather unflappable throughout, but his adventures, as with the rest of the book, become more interesting with each passing page.
Chapter Seven, The Sasquatch
"I was fishing in Kwatna all my myself, in August — nobody with me — and I came home on the weekend. I was getting pretty lonely, low on gas and getting low on grub too. So I went home for a few days. Then I got a fresh start of grub to go back again. I told my wife "I'm going back to Kwatna again." Early in the morning, Sunday, I took off from Bella Coola.
I was probably in my thirties. I had a little boat — about a thirty-foot boat with a single cylinder engine. I got to Jacobson Bay, about fifteen miles from Bella Coola when I saw something right out on the low tide. I saw something on the edge of the water. It was kneeling down-like and I could see his back humping up on the beach. It looked like he was lifting up rocks or maybe digging clams. But there were no claims there. I turned the boat right in toward him. I wanted to find out what it was. For a while there I thought it was a grizzly bear, kind of light color fur on the back of his neck like a light brown almost buckskin color fur. I nosed right in toward him to almost seventy-five yards to get a good look.
Clayton Mack (left) with René Dahinden
He stood up on his hind feet, straight up like a man and I looked at it. He was looking at me. Gee, it don't look like a bear, it has arms like a human being, it had legs like a human being and it got a head like us. I keep on going in toward him. He started to walk away from me walking like a man on two legs. He was about eight feet high. He got to some drift-logs, stopped and looked back at me. He looked over his shoulder to see me. Grizzly bear don't do that, I never see a griz run on its hind legs like that and I never se a grizzly bear look over his shoulder like that. I was right close to the beach now. He stepped up on those drift logs and walked into the timber.
Stepped on them logs like a man do. The area had been logged before so the alder trees were short, about eight to ten feet high. I could see the tops moving as he was spreading them apart to go through. I watched as he went a little higher up the hill. The wind blew me in toward the beach, so I backed up the boat and keep on going to Kwatna Bay. One evening a year later, I was talking to George Olsen who was the manager of Tallio cannery. I told him about what I had seen, a man-like animal with hair all over his body. George told me he seen the same animal, the same month and the same year as I had but only on the other side of the bay. George and his crew watched from their boat as a man-like creature run across the river. For many years after, I told that story to people. I told Paul Pollard, James Pollard's father and he told me where they are. Where is the most Sasquatch sign he ever seen, Kitlope! I wanted to get into that country some day to see if that was true.
One June, I took two Americans into Kitlope. They had both got their grizzly bear and wanted to see if they could see a Sasquatch. One of these Americans, we called him 'cowboy' was crying all the time and sometimes used bad language. Mad at something. When we get to Kitlope I said, "What is your problem?" He said "my wife left me. She cheated me and she wanted lots of money from me. She wanted thirty thousand dollars from me and she got it. Then she took off. A few days later I got a letter saying she wants sixteen hundred dollars a month for the rest of her life. And she got it." That's what he was mad about.
There was an old house at Kitlope. Oil stove cups, dishes, plates and spoons were all in good shape. I light up the stove. I called the boys to come in, "it's all ready for us." The cowboy was still kind of haywire you know, he pulled out a bottle of Canadian Club Whisky and a carton of cigarettes and put it on the table. Cowboy started right away drinkin' and smokin.' He got me nervous-like after a while.
I was laying down watching him. He was smoking a log of cigarettes; he'd just finished one and then lights a new one again. He keeps going like that. The he'd get up and go to the kitchen and pour himself a drink again. I watched him all the time. I decided next time he goes I would follow him and have a drink and help him forget his problem. Then he went in and I went and patted him on the shoulder. "I'll drink with you on this one." He said "Take a big one, you are way behind" "Damn right," I said. "I'll take a big one so I can go to sleep."
He poured himself a drink and poured myself a drink. I drink that Canadian Club Whiskey and go back to bed. I had my gun right there beside my bed and a big flashlight, A six-volt flashlight. I lay down, Cowboy started in again smoking. I never say nothing, just lay there watching him. Tony, the other American was laying near the foot of my bed on the next bed. I was afraid Cowboy was going to burn a blanket, burn down the whole cabin. Right at once something yelled through a little broken window, "Haaa Ohhhhhhhhh." He yelled right through that hole in the window.
I get up right away and grabbed hold of my gun. That's the big mistake I made. I should have grabbed hold of that flashlight and flashed right on his face to see what he looked like. I grabbed my gun and I tried to go out but I couldn't open the door because it had been raining too long in that country, I guess, and the door swelled up so as I couldn't open it. So I went out through the back door and flashed the light at the broken window. He was gone already. He yelled again by the river, he howl again, "haaaaaaa ha ha ha haaaaaaa" like. I flashed around, it was gone now; walked down to the river to see him, what it was, but I didn't see nothing. So I went back to bed.
Early in the morning I woke up Tony. "Let's go look for his tracks," I said. Yeah, it looked like we saw his tracks all right, but not too good. He stopped too many places. He destroyed his own footprints. The footprints look like our footprints — bigger, that's all.
The second Sasquatch I saw was in Mud Bay, in Dean Channel. Mud Bay is about ten miles down from Brynildsen Bay. It is like a kind of lagoon there, narrow entrance to go in but lots of room once you are inside. I was looking for bear. I didn't want to go into the middle of the bay, so I went to shore and walked along the sandy beaches. I see a man-head; it looked like, behind a tree. It was looking at me. The head was sticking out from behind a tree. I kneeled down and point my gun at him. Gee, he took off fast. He was about two hundred feet away. Not too big, about my size, five foot seven or eight. Had lots of hair all over his face. Almost look like a person, but not a person. I didn't want to shoot him. So I walked up to where he was. And where he went in, I followed him in. I saw tree bark had been peeled off. I guess he was eating the sap of a hemlock tree. I almost caught him eating that. I saw his tracks, but not too good.
[note: This is a rare report where we read about a dead bear being found.] The third Sasquatch I saw was in South Bentinck, right up the head of the South Bentinck. Past Taleomey, right at the end. Assek River. It was less than twenty years ago now. I had a white hunter with me, an American guy from California. Maybe fifty year old. We were sitting down on a log talkin' together, he told me his bad luck. There was a dead black bear near us. We found that dead black bear the week before and it had been eaten up by a grizzly bear. That American hunter shot and missed a wolf, then later he shot and missed a griz that come to eat that dead black bear!
He told me, "I'm real bad luck! I missed that wolf, I missed that grizzly bear, I lost my son in the Vietnam War." That is what he told me. We were waiting for the grizzly bear that was eating that dead black bear to come back. We waited 'til it getting' dark. So I told this guy "It's getting late, let's get out of here. We'll be back before daylight in the morning." Sometimes when it gets late, dark, and you shoot and you can't see the sights on the gun too good, you will just nick the bear. You won't kill him, just wound him. It is hard to track a wounded grizzly bear at night. So we headed back to the boat and I walked ahead of him. We came into big open flat, about quarter of a mile. It looked like there was a black bear eating in the grass. Looked like it anyways.
I stopped, told this fellow "Black bear over there, let's go right close to him, lets walk right up to him." We were on the dry land about 150 yards from the water. "Black Bear are stupid," I told him "You can get right close to them. See how close you can walk up to him." I started walking up to that black bear. "Just stay right behind me" I told the American guy. The black bear was about a quarter of a mile away when we first saw it. I made a big circle like toward the bear. When I got closer, not too far now, the hunter grabbed the collar of my shirt and pulled me back. "Clayton, that's not a black bear" he said, "that's a Sasquatch." He keeps on saying, "It's a Sasquatch." I didn't say nothing. I started walking again. I said "Stay right behind me." We was only about 75 yards away. "Clayton," he said again, "that's not a black bear, that's a Sasquatch!!" I knelt down on the ground, I turned toward him, "what do you know about Sasquatches?" He says, "I come from Northern California, we get them in that country in the big mountains that get snow on them. Those mountains in Northern California which have glaciers on them. Some people hunt them" he said. I said "How do they look like?"
He said, "well you seeing one there now, that's a what they look like." I started walking again. I get pretty close now. Then that black bear stands up on both legs and he looks at me. I keep going closer. Gee, I was pretty close now. He started looking at me, making no noise or anything. I feel the barrel of a gun against my cheek. I pushed that hunter's gun away from my face. "Don't shoot him," I said.
The hunter whispered in my ear, "Look through your scope and see how he looks like." I turn the scope to 4X and close *#151; four times closer than a naked eye. I looked through that scope, I look at his mouth. Little white thing in his mouth, looked like rice. I look at his lips kind of turning in and turning out, the top and the bottom too. I look at his face and his chest. The shape of his face is different than a human being face. Hair over face. Eyes were like us but small. Ears small too. Nose just like us, little bit flatter that's all. Head kind of looks small compared to body. Looks friendly doesn't look like he's mad or has anything against us. Didn't snort or make a sound like a grizzly bear. On the middle of his chest, looked to me like a line of no hair, hair split apart little bit in the middle. Skin is black where that hair split apart. It was a male I think. I can't, no way am I able to shoot him. I had a big gun too. Big gun, a .308. I aimed, had my finger on the trigger, and pointed it right at the heart. One shot would have killed him dead, just like that. I couldn't shoot him. Like if a person stands over there, I shoot him, same thing. No way I can kill him.
My mother told me don't ever shoot a Sasquatch. If you shoot them, you gonna lose your wife, your mother or your dad, or else your brother, sister and all your children will die. It will give you bad luck if you kill them. Leave them walk away. That's why I don't want to shoot one. My mother had seen them. She hears them too. A lot of Indian people saw them in the old days when there was many boqs. Nowaday, they are dying off, maybe white man's disease, those left alive are moving north. My brother in eastern tribe say they are no more.
After we see it, we just leave it. That Sasquatch went in the woods, went in the big timber. He took off fast. Looked like he used his hands when he took off first, like a hundred-yard runner, looks like it. Pulling himself up with his arms, with his hands first, looks like. He never made a sound. Just moved off into the heavy timber like a fast moving shadow.
Next day we had a look again around where that Sasquatch was eating. We wondered to ourselves, "what was he eating?" He pulled that grass and right at the root of the grass is a little round seed. Looks like a little grains of rice. That white boy called it sweet grass. That was what he was eating. That was the last Sasquatch I actually saw but I hear them and lots of stories about Sasquatches. I was happy that American hunter from California saw a Sasquatch. He was happy he saw the Sasquatch too.
I use to own a bigger boat. One time I took a basketball team to Ocean Falls, Bella Bella and Klemtu. Took about 25 boys. They hired me to do this. I have to be careful, don't travel in bad weather or else you get into trouble, sink and lose that many boys. I was coming back from Klemtu, it was getting late, we get past Brynildsen Bay and we hit a strong wind blowing out from South Bentinck. I turned the boat around and go back to Brynildsen Bay. We're going to wait 'til it is nice and take off to Bella Coola in the morning. The boys didn't like that, they wanted to go home that night. "No I'm the boss," I said. The wind was strong and there was too many of us in the boat. I heard Sasquatch live in that bay area. Willie Hans got to the bow of the boat and tied the boat up good. I decided to cook something to eat. We plan to leave early in the morning before the wind came up. Art Saunders, he yelled at Willie Hand, Sasquatch!!" Willie Hans raised his head up high and said "Baaaa qaaaa" — are you there?"
Sasquatch answered right away, "Haii haii haii." Just like he called his name in our language. We call the Sasquatch "Boqs." The thing answered right now. The whole bunch of kids jammed through the door — they can't squeeze through the door fast enough — but that was about 14 years ago. I also hear Sasquatch in Skowquilz River Valley. Not too long ago, a hunter and his wife came in. I took him to South Bentinck. He was a poor shot, he can't hit nothing with his gun. Good gun too, twelve hundred dollar gun he said. I showed him a black bear, bang bang, he missed. Show him a griz,— bang bang, missed all the time. He can't hit anything. One day we talked about Sasquatch. "Ah bullshit," he said. "No such a thing as that in the world." He asked me how it looks like. I told him about the black one I saw in South Bentinck. Look like human being, body like human being. He said, "it's all bullshit." His wife get mad at him, "don't call it bullshit" she said. "You never see one in your life that is why you don't believe?
I bet you never see a wolf either." She was right, he never did see a wolf in the wild. I tried to get him a bear in South Bentinck, we did see a lot of bears but he can't hit them — missed all the time. I told my son-in-law, "let's go to Skowquiltz." It's easy to hunt there, easy hunting, lot of black bears there." So we went to Skowquiltz River Valley. Same as always. It was getting dark in the evening when we got there. Starting to get dark anyways. I took this guy out and I sat down on a log, waiting for a bear to come out. I saw one right away quick. A black bear, he wanted to cross the meadow in front of us. "There should be black bear over there do, do you see any?"
"Yeah, let's take a look-see" he said. We went to a meadow waiting for the bear but he never did show. Lots of bear sign, ground all dug up but no bears anywhere. We went back to the same log and sat down again. Suddenly a sound scared us bad! Real awful noise. Looks like a bluff up above where the sound came from, "Awwwoooo Wooo Wooo." That Sasquatch was talking but I couldn't understand what he was saying. Real deep voice. Then the hunter asked me "what's going on over there?" "You don't believe in Sasquatches?" I said. "That there is one you a hearin' now!" "You're hearing one, but you still don't believe it? That's what it is. Maybe they lost each other, trying to call its mate maybe, it's his wife he's trying to call."
No answer though. Just a big deep voice. Awful sounding voice this time, scared me. Usually I'm not scared in the woods. As long as I have my gun I'm not afraid. But that voice sure scared me! I start thinkin' maybe it's a ghost or spirit or something like that. Cougar don't sound the same as the Sasquatch. I can tell the difference! Porcupine sounds like a woman crying sometimes, but that Sasquatch cry is different than porcupine.
My brother saw a Sasquatch. (My brother's name is Samson). Standing face to face about a foot and a half apart! He was on the tide flats here. He was working the boom there. Early shift in the morning, 'twas fire season, had to go across to the other side, the Old Town site side, at about three o'clock in the morning. Samson met that old Sasquatch right on the road. Samson stopped, the Sasquatch stopped and they just looked at each other. And Samson, he wouldn't tell anyone about it for a long long time.
Sometimes I wonder what kind of animal is a Sasquatch? Half man, half-animal I think. Just like a man but can't make fire, which seems to be all. You know all the Indians up and down the coast have the same name for Sasquatches, Bookwus, (Bukwas) or Boqs. Many different languages, but same name for the Sasquatch.
I think they live in caves in the winter, hibernate like a bear. I don't think they like fish up here. Sasquatches got strong smell, smell like a pig they say. I never smelled it myself, never did in my life. But a lot of guys smell them. They see them and smell them, I saw one in the South Bentinck up close, but I never did smell nothing on him. Maybe the wind was blowin' the other direction. The way a Sasquatch finds out how far apart each other is, is they pick up a stick and hit a tree with that stick. Makes a spooky noise. You will hear "bong" on one side of a valley then "bong" when another Sasquatch answers from the other side of the valley.
There are Sasquatch hunters, quite a bunch of them. They try and get a Sasquatch. Some of the Sasquatch hunters have come to see me and one guy said to me, "You tell me where I can get a picture of a Sasquatch. If I can get it, I get 125,000 dollars." "What are you going to do with that picture?" I asked him. "Make millions of copies of it and kids they will buy that and put it on their shirt," he said. That guy stayed with me awhile. Look like there is a lot of money in that Sasquatch hunting business. I want to join them someday. One day that Sasquatch hunter, he needed money to buy grub to go back in the mountains. He was hunting back of Salloomt River valley. He wants to buy oranges for bait. He claims that Sasquatches like apples and oranges. He didn't have any money to buy this stuff he wanted so he said "can I use your phone?" "Yeah, okay" I said. And he phoned a man down in Agassiz, who was hunting Sasquatch too. He get through to the guy okay and I hear him say he needs over eight hundred dollars, he tells that guy to send the money to the Credit Union here in Bella Coola. He got it just like that! Over a thousand bucks by the time he traded in his American money for Canadian money.
I think there is still a few Sasquatch families around. Up the Talchako River, Kitlope River, Skowquiltz River and in South Bentinck. They travel long ways, cover a lot of ground in a day. I think someday someone will get a Sasquatch. I could have got one long ago if I wanted to kill one. I just couldn't kill it. I couldn't kill one for a million dollars, a Sasquatch looks too much like a man.
About twenty years ago, I met a guy whose name was Bob Mackie from the United States. He was a young guy about twenty-five years old, from Washington State. He likes to hunt and guide. I met him in Bella Coola. He wanted to come with me to learn how to guide. He said "I don't want pay, just feed me that's all." I told him he would have to get his assistant guide license and they were only sold at the head office over in Williams Lake. The young fellow who wanted to learn how to guide, wanted very much to come, but I just didn't need four guides. My nephew, son and son-in-law. We flew back to Owikeno Lake with two hunters. Dusty took one guy to the Inzianan River. They were gone just short while and I heard an airplane, it sounded like it was going to land. It circled around and landed in the water then coasted up to our camp. I put my gumboots on and went out to meet the plane. A guy waves at me and I pulled the plane by a rope as far as I could to the shore. There on the plane was the young fellow who had wanted to be a guide, with his camera and a gun. He told me he had got his guiding license and all I had to do was sign my name and he would be able to guide for me.
Dusty and George both got grizzly that morning for the hunters they took out. Two bears in a morning! "It's all finished now" I said. "We go home now. Close up and you guys can go home now on the plane." It was around the end of October. We were at the Washwash cabin, Owikeno Lake, right up the head near the narrows. They said "All right." Bob was going to come with me and get all the stuff and pack it into the cabin and help me close up for the year. Tents, stoves and stuff were about fifteen miles away. We got to pick all that up. After that we go home too. but like that, he wanted to come with me. Just the two of us and get all the stuff and pack it into the main cabin. The plane came in for George, Dusty and Obie. We packed some stuff in. George and Obie went hoe with them two hunters. After the plane was gone I told Bob Mackie "Okay, let's go. We packed our stuff out of there. " We camped out over night. He don't want no pay, this guy. He wants a grizzly bear for his pay. Okay, I say, we will hunt for a bear and I suppose you want a big one, hey?" "Yeah" he said, "grizzly bear anyway."
We packed our stuff and grub into the boat and we took off. I had a big boat, big flat bottom skiff. Build like a little scow. A big motor on it. We can sleep in this boat if we have to. I run about another four more miles down the Owikeno Lake to the camp. I see something swimming in the water. I looked at it, gee it look like a bear. It was coming toward us. I slow the motor down to a slow idle. This thing was coming right straight for us. I looked at it. Bob was a looking too. I reversed that motor then backed up so we just keep still. That thing still coming toward us. I see his ears, I look at it. Getting pretty close and is about fifty feet away now. Bob said, "It's a black bear, "Yeah, — maybe it's a black bear," I said. Black head, little white around its nose. Bob Mackie picked up his gun. "No, don't shoot him" I said. "Too much like work to drag him up on the beach."We stand together and keep looking at it. That things still coming toward us. And right at once he humped up and dived down under the water. "Black bear??" he said. "No, it's not a black bear" I said. "Something very different than a black bear. Black bear don't dive like that." "Grizzly bear will stick his head in the water but not a black bear," I said.
I have seen grizzly bear dive in with front part feeling around for fish but black bear just don't do that. He went right under and never came up again. We got out of there quick. I don't know what that was. It weren't no bear! It wasn't a seal and it wasn't a sea-lion. [Note: Owikeno Lake monster?] "Let's go!" I said.
We go to the Neechanz River. I ran up the river about a mile in the boat. We landed, packed our grub and stuff. Got a little bit of wood for a camp fire at night. Cooked something to eat. The next day Bob Mackie shot his bear. He finally got his bear, a grizzly all right. Not very big, but he was satisfied with it. A silver-tipped one. Nice silver-tip. We skinned that bear as fast as we can skin him. Packed the tent and stuff in the boat and took off. Take this bear skin with us too. I told Bob, "If we see another grizzly bear, a bigger one, you take it too. I'll take the one you got." We didn't see any more bears though. We went through the First Narrows, then the Second Narrows. Just as we passed the Second Narrows is the Third Narrows. There some pilings there, they look like logs sticking up out of the water. I saw this thing stick its head out of the water, I looked at it. I point it out to Mackie. "Seal playing," I said.
Bob picked up his gun right away. That Bob Mackie had a powerful gun, a .338 automatic. A real big bear gun all right. "If it's a seal, shoot him" I told him. "I don't like them seals in this country. They eat up all the fish and bust up the schools of Coho Salmon. Lot of Coho come up in here. And those seals chase them, then the Coho don't bit for a long time, sometime don't bite at all anymore. Too many seals in this country."
There are quite a few seals in that Owikeno Lake. We looked at it close. It had its head up, way up. Had a long skinny neck, not fat, kinda bent over. Pretty black and dark. Smallish head too. I don't notice any ears. I can see its head sideways. Look like it had eyes, but big eyes. Mouth closed, no teeth. Look like a big snake but had a different kind of head on it. From the head to shoulder I could see it. That thing had shoulders like an animal. Body of an animal, neck to head was quite long, about five feet!! This young fellow aimed, he was a deadly shot, he can't miss. And he aimed and then he looked at me.
"Go ahead," I said. I stood beside him. He had .338 rifle, powerful gun. One shot can kill a griz real easy. He aimed for quite a while. We were pretty close now, about a hundred feet from him. That gun finally went off, BANG! And I kick the boat ahead toward where that thing went down. I think he hit him all right, couldn't have missed. He went down when Mackie shot. Head went in the water. I don't know if he killed it or if that thing just dived in the water. I think he probably killed it, hit its head.
That animal went down under the water and sun, I kicked ahead right where he went down under the water. I looked for blood, or fat coming to the top of the water. When you shoot seals or sea-lions in the water there will be blood or fat or bubbles coming up. But there was no blood. No fat. No bubbles. Maybe we were too close, bullet go through like a pinhole or go right through that thing's head. Maybe the bullet hit a big bone inside. That lake water was kind of clear.
I look where the thing went down to the bottom. I see a black thing down there, a big black thing, just all black. I couldn't make a shape how he looked like. Was big, bigger than the biggest grizzly bear. While I was looking that thing come alive, looked like it. While we were looking down there it started paddling, kicking ahead like a big board backing up and churning the water. The water was boiling, coming up at us. Looked like he was taking off, away from us. Suddenly Bob said "Go on, get going." I put the boat motor in gear and I opened it up wide open and we got out of there. We still had about six miles to go. Just past the Third Narrows, the lake opens up again. Bob said, "Run the boat right up on the beach, I don't want to stay in the water any longer."
I had it going wide open. I ran the boat wide open to the cabin and ran it up on the shore by the cabin. We packed the stove and gear into the cabin. After that I said to Bob, "What was that you shot out there in the Narrows?"
"It was a dinosaur, they were around about a million years ago, but there shouldn't be any more around. You'll see a picture of it someday, you'll see the name of it — dinosaur. Maybe you see it on television," he said. "How come I don't see teeth?" I asked. He said, "there are two kinds of dinosaurs. One dinosaur, a flesh eater, eats meat, he kills animals; this one eats leaves and vegetation like from trees. That is the kind I shot, that is the kind we seen."
When we got back to Bella Coola we don't talk about what happened because we think people will laugh at us, say we are bullshitting them. I never heard of anyone else seeing that thing that year. I know the Rivers Inlet Indians from the Owikeno Village don't want to travel them narrows at night. When they come to our camp, they always want to take off before dark. Get out of there before it gets too late in the day. I hear stories that they are scared of them things. I talked to some relation of David Bernard a Rivers Inlet Indian, after that. That guy told me David Bernard saw the same animal many years before we saw it.
Memo to the reader:
This goes a bit beyond the Sasquatch chapter but thought it was of interest. I tried to disengage the auto-correct system, but at one point I sat here staring at the screen's page as the colorful Mack inflections auto-corrected themselves. I apologize. All the linguistic corrections (though some are quite visible) in Mack's unique delivery takes away from his whimsical quirks and the mettle of the man he was. He died in 1993.
At the end of the stories Mack recounts, you will wonder what was real and what was imagined. According to the foreword in the book, Mark Hume reveals, "it's all true. Every word is true." If Clayton Mack was at all trying to weave an entertaining tale, he certainly lacked the embellishments of the usually storyteller. I'm not trying to sell the Clayton Mack stories one way or the other, but rather leave the conclusion to the reader for whatever they may determine for themselves.
The other point I found interesting was his consistency in noting the Sasquatch encounters happened very late in the day or during the night. That point lends credibility to what has already been established. Mack had no way to know that otherwise.
Sasquatch field researchers (that I am aware of) don't usually pass across grizzly territory unless by accident. At least I don't. I'll walk several miles to avoid known bear ranges. It didn't occur to me the Sasquatch and bear shared the same territory. So I learned something.
Mack does mention that black bear tend to be no where around their usual haunts when they encountered a Sasquatch, in fact in two of his chance encounters, Mack thought he was sneaking up on black bear only to discover they were Sasquatches after the creatures stood upright.
This must have come as quite a shock for the world's greatest bear hunter. We should no longer be very surprised when witnesses confuse bear with Sasquatch, for even at close range, the best in bear hunters could hardly tell the difference until the Sasquatch stood up. Then there seemed to be little doubt in Clayton's mind what the figure was once it stood up.
An overview might suggest there is little to learn from Clayton Mack's experiences in the wild, but I found many instances where there was much to learn from the little he said.
Thanks to John Kirk's Crypto Newsletter for putting me in touch with Mack's book. There isn't that much in them about the Sasquatch, but enough that I will change a great deal of my thinking in the field to include using known bear sanctuaries like he did.
From the files of Bobbie Short.
Dusty Mack - Clayton Mack's son