Richard Proenneke shot this Kodiak Grizzly Bear in 1950, some years before he began building his cabin at Twin Lakes. He was living and working in Anchorage, Alaska at the time.
Several of his friends would hunt big bear for sport. They would circle Kodiak island in their boat glassing and scouting for a trophy! Once one was spotted in the rugged landscape and hills, they would dock the boat and begin their long climb to the area hoping to catch sight of their prize. Richard shot this bear on one of these hunts, dressed it and packed the heavy skin down to the boat for the return to Anchorage. It is believed that they also packed all the meat as well according to one of Richard’s reports to a friend in IA.
There the decision was made to have it made into a bear rug and preserved. This was one of the largest bears to be taken from Kodiak Island.
Having no place to keep the bear in Alaska it was shipped to his brother Raymond in Los Angeles. While there, the Kodiak Grizzly Bear was photographed with the help from his neighbor and daughter. He kept it for some time, then shipped it to his parents and sister Florence at Primrose, IA.
They displayed it sometimes on their living room floor for visitors but most of the time it was rolled up and kept in an upstairs room until it needed fresh air.
After Florence’s death, the rug found a home with Dick Hackard, Richard’s nephew, in Illinois.
In 2007 while meeting with Christa Perkins and Roberta Krehbiel of the Geode R C and D organization, a generous offer was made by Dick Hackard to donate the rug to someplace in Lee County for preserving and displaying. He also is loaning another smaller bear rug. They will now find home in the new Donnellson Library when it is built.
Copyright 2013 Friends of Donnellson Public Library-Richard Proenneke Fund-Richard Proenneke Museum. All rights reserved.