The Bear Hunter
The Story:In the years before the American Revolution, most of the country between the English colonies of the Atlantic coast and the French villages and forts along the Mississippi River was a vast ocean of ancient forests. Here lived people of the First Nations who struggled to keep their identity amongst the encroaching Europeans. Across the Appalachian Mountains and south of the great river Ohio, lay the rich hunting grounds of the Shawnee and Cherokee: “Kanta-Ke”!
Black bear, great tawny cats, and gray wolves roamed the forests with herds of elk, bison, and Virginia deer as well as vast amounts of smaller game. This was truly a hunter’s paradise. Before the pioneers and the surveyors, young adventurers were drawn into Kentucky’s dark forests looking to make their fortunes in the fur trade. They were called “Long Hunters” since their travels took them a long way from home and families. Some would never return.
Though many are nameless, there were those who left their mark in the history books and on landmarks: Daniel Boone, Squire Boone, and their brother-in-law, John Stewart; John Knox, William Carr, Joseph Drake, Casper Mansker, and the Bledsoe brothers, to name a few. They hunted for deer hides in the summer, for tongues of the “wild cow” in the winter, and for the rich oil of the bear, rendered and stored in animal bladders and gourd containers. A long hunter could amass a comfortable fortune in a few seasons. That is, if he didn’t lose his scalp first!
In “The Bear Hunter”, Harvey blends the art techniques of the pen draughtsman with that of trompe l’oeil to tell the story of a hunter and his dogs. The “portal to the past” is a ripped and crinkled print tacked to a panel of gnarly, knotted cherry. The print is flanked by mementos of the hunt: a 1770’s Lancaster County, Pennsylvania long rifle, damaged but serviceable; the collar of a long-gone hunting companion; and a pair of bear claws. The “dog” horn, which called and guided the faithful hound that wore the collar, hangs nearby. Along the shelf below lies a twist of tow with a screw wiper for cleaning the rifle, a small bottle of bear oil plugged by a fiddle peg with a grouse feather for oiling the rifle, and the rifle’s bullet mold.
Having left his fellow long hunters at their station camp, the hunter heads deeper into the tangled forest. Coming upon a long-dead monarch of the woods moldering into the forest floor, the hunter pauses while his cur hounds get a good sniff around the tree. Generations of bears have left their claw marks high up on the up-ended limb, and the two young hounds are excited. The musk of bear tantalizes one pup while an interesting box turtle distracts the other. The wiser elder hound is not concerned with old scent or turtles. Her shredded ears bear the battle honors of previous engagements with old “Cuffee”. She senses something else in the air.
The bear hunter totes a Lancaster-made long rifle. Over his shoulder is slung a heavy pole axe he’ll use to build a dead fall. In his left hand he keeps a tight rein on his companions. A banded powder horn and shot pouch rides high under his arm. A “dog” horn for calling his hounds hangs low on his back. The long shoulder strap makes it easy to bring the horn to his lips for “winding”. Each hunter had his unique call that only his dogs answered.
As the alert old dog silently watches the woods, the hunter watches the woods with her, trusting in her instincts. What does she sense? Bear? Or Shawnee?
Each giclée print is 15" x 18" (image size 11" x 14") on high-quality archival acid-free paper, numbered and signed by the artist. Prints are available in a limited edition of 200 from the original art.
Artist proofs are available with remarque, enhancement, signed and specially numbered by the artist, in limited editions of 10 from each original. Artist proofs are $500 each and available by phone order only.
Each print is shipped in acid-free archival packaging.
Printed by Heartland Printworks of Indianapolis, IN.
The online image is purposely faded and watermarked to discourage online theft. The actual print is rich and vibrant with color and detail.
Hilt & Brand Ink ** Phone: 317-299-1090 ** Email: firstname.lastname@example.org