This is played by half a dozen or more boys. Each has a club about the size and shape of a baseball club, but made of straw tied around two or three switches and tightly sewn up in burlap.
One big fellow is selected for the bear. He has a school-bag tightly strapped on his back, and in that a toy balloon fully blown up. This is his heart. On his neck is a bear-claw necklace of wooden beads and claws. (See cut).
He has three dens about one hundred yards apart in a triangle. While in his den the bear is safe. If the den is a tree or rock, he is safe while touching it. He is obliged to come out when the chief hunter counts 100, and must go the rounds of the three till the hunt is settled.
The object of the hunters is to break the balloon or heart; that is, kill the bear. He must drop dead when the heart bursts. The hunter who kills him claims the necklace.
But the bear also has a club for defence. Each hunter must wear a hat, and once the bear knocks a hunter's hat off, that one is dead and out of this hunt. He must drop where his hat falls.
Tackling of any kind is forbidden.
The bear wins by killing or putting to flight all the hunters. In this case he keeps the necklace.
The savageness of these big bears is indescribable. Many lives are lost in each hunt, and it has several times happened that the whole party of hunters has been exterminated by some monster of unusual ferocity.
This game has also been developed into a play.