somewhere in the dew dappled wilderness of Yosemite Valley, California
is a 200-pound female grizzly bear, nicknamed "Chompy" by
a handful of local residents.
the course of a single weekend in 1989, Chompy mauled and indiscriminately
disfigured thirteen separate campers. By all accounts, her victims
were torn apart in ways more horrifying than anyone could ever imagine.
Today these individuals are missing limbs and largely confined to
wheelchairs, and Chompy's whereabouts are unknown.
A unique alliance has taken place: each year on the anniversary
of the attacks, victims return to the scene with rifles and hunting
equipment. They all share stories, and they all seek revenge.
there are more and more victims with each passing hunt. It seems like
everyone wants a piece of Chompy. Mark
Matheny keenly recounts their first date. Running from the bear
was a total mistake. She was like a missile homing in on a target.
could feel my face ripping. I felt her teeth crunching down on my
head. Time just stopped then. I remember thinking my time on
Earth is done.. I'm going to miss my wife and kids. She started
ripping at my arm, shaking it violently. I thought it was going
to rip clean off. The left side of my face was torn open, cheek
Then she grew bored, and veered off into the woods, with
two fuzzy bear cubs ambling along behind. But by then, all Matheny
could think about was taking more pictures of himself. Chompy's
teeth crunched through his eyebrow bone (the area between the brow
and the eyeball), along with the crown of his skull. Total repair
to the head and face repairs would require more than 15 inches
His arms, bruised black and blue, were sore for several
weeks. Severe headaches - nearly constant - would continue for two
| It was David
Lynde who first heard his buddy Joe's cry for help. Lynde knew loud,
banging noises would frighten the bear away, and he grabbed two iron
skillets. He bolted from his tent, wearing only Christmas socks and
a patched-up hunting parka made of Velcro.
thick fur snagged right up against Lynde's coat, dragging him through
the woods for several hundred yards. He was trampled and crushed nearly
to death by the side of creek bed.
I could not get out from underneath her, he
winces. I'd move and she'd claw me. I'd play dead and she'd
sit on my face.
Today, Lynde favors jackets made from hemp. He speaks
through one side of his mouth and clutches a gun in his three-fingered
hand. Now that I'm confined to a wheelchair, I feel like shooting
bears more than ever.
Obviously, not everyone is thrilled with this approach.
Laura Woodrow, 20, is director of the Modesto branch
of Operation Care Bear. She insists an escalating war between gimps
and grizzlies will place the human population in greater peril.
As handicapped people wheel deeper and deeper into
the wilderness, well, that Chompy's territory. You're only going to
see more human injuries.
wonders further how all these amputees are able to get their hands
on weapons so quickly. It just seems like every young woman's
the sudden proliferation of specialty shops in the Yosemite area
hawking merchandise at physically challenged sportsmen has exacerbated
neighborhood tension. Art Rayburn is the owner and general manager
of one such enterprise, and he's quick to claim business has been
This is not one of those fly-by-night back alley
operations dealing guns to the handicapped and exploiting the situation,
he says.We have three easily recognizable mall locations and
more on the way. Just come on down and say hello.
irony and brutality of disabled individuals killing animals is not
lost on most people, the participants find the whole activity a
refreshing escape. The entrepreneurial efforts of Rayburn - and
others - paid off practically overnight.
Handicapped hunting exploded in Modesto and Sonoma counties.
It piqued enthusiasm in the hearts of socially isolated young adults.
It inspired seasoned veterans - even those who hadn't been chomped
by Chompy - to renounce their retirement in favor of one last big
course hunters can be disabled, says Bruce Buckmaster, founding
member of Project Chompy Burger. The whole exercise is just
a lot of sitting around waiting for something to stroll directly
in front of you. Maybe blind people might encounter some problems,
but I'm not blind.
Quad Tibbetts has never set foot inside a Cripple Outlet.
Like HAM radio operators and Internet enthusiasts of days gone by,
he prefers to hack away at shooting rigs of his own design. He gestures
sexually toward his hot rod.
was done simply because I was tired of getting stuck in mud, and
having my tires slip on wet grass, loose dirt and leaves. Basically
just a traction problem. This modification was done in 3 hours on
a Sunday afternoon. I used a set of rear tires I had from my old
Quickie P300 and bolted them onto a second hub bolted on the outside
of the original tires.
His new tires no longer slip on pine needles. Tibbetts
is able to pursue loud, angry bears through the sloppiest of muds
without getting stuck.
I have the traction to drive over more obstacles
such as rocks, tree limbs, and uneven ground, whereas when encountered
before, these objects would stop my chair. My rear tires would spin
and dig holes in the ground.
truth is, most members of the disabled hunting community don't care
if they bring down Chompy, or some other bear, or even a bear at all.
As long as they're out there killing.
As long as your battery's got enough buzz to get up and
over the hill by the crack of dawn, as long as you've got one good
finger left to pull the trigger - that's what it's really about. Roaming
fully armed and free through God's wilderness in a modern,
This is the twentieth or twenty-first century, and
technology has changed everything, remarked Frances Payton,
who suffered a fractured jaw, crushed cheek bones and nerve damage
to his face.
Payton shakes when he speaks, describing twenty hours
of surgery with limited anesthetic.
A steel plate was fitted to repair a hole in his skull,
and he still hasn't regained vision in one eye. Doctors are not optimistic
about his hearing.
Bears don't belong out in the wild, Payton
says. They belong dead or dancing on balls at the circus.
of dancing on balls, other campers that fateful weekend were not so
lucky. Charles Crane is a retired communications specialist who served
in World War II. Chompy lunged at him from behind as he urinated against
a Douglas fir.
off his legs one by one, then pulled him through the snow by his
penis. It changed his life and the way he urinates.
Today, Crane's savings are nearly depleted. Just this
month he moved into a single-room apartment to save on hospital
bills averaging eight thousand dollars a day.
He finds himself subject to round the clock suicide
watch, 24-hour care, and a live-in medical assistant.
She's not even a real nurse, wheezes Crane.
I don't know what she is.
Tales of COURAGE
nursing assistant Freida Blanchett graduated from Gubers
Hospital Academy in Tampa, Florida - but it turned out not
to be a real school. I never received the e-mail containing
my diploma. I never even got a transcript. Since then I've
been helping paraplegics get back on their feet. Or
at least back on the toilet!
he aims and sometimes he doesn't. Blanchett wipes the tank with
a damp cloth, cleans off the patient and cooks breakfast. She
raises and lowers him into the bathtub. She minds the laundry
and the dishes. She even washes and vacuums the living room!
I buy the groceries, do the taxes. Walk the
dogs, mow the lawn, clean the garage. Sometimes we'll get under
the blankets and watch DVDs, other nights after ice cream and
burritos I'll climb in the sling upside-down for sex. I have
sort of a split personality: I'm a woman working with handicapped
hunters and a woman working with mops.
brings us finally to handicapped women hunters working with mops.
They show nothing but support for their husbands and sons off doing
battle. It isn't something you would have expected ten or twenty years
ago, but these days each of Chompy's female victims cleans, straightens,
locks and loads her Winchester as efficiently as her non-disabled
confident beauties wheel around mops and guns just about everywhere
in today's society. American sportswomen enjoy a sparkling, lemon
scented, fully-armed, handicapable, multicultural land of mopportunity
and machine gun power. It's unlikely our country could boast this
description if it weren't for the female grizzly bears like Chompy
making a little noise and paving the way.
And what about
all the gay, handicapped bears currently prowling the
planet? Can they lend anything particularly insightful to the debate?
No doubt when this hunt is over, there'll be one
thing on which everyone agrees. The dangerous animals cluttering
up our nation's parks, streams and wildlife preserves have simply
got to go.
( Posted by Rotten Staff )