By Bob Weaver 2001

The Bear Fork Hunting Club with lots of family members and guests chowed down on wild animal meat with lots of fixins' last night at the Arnoldsburg Community Center. The 300 member organization held their tenth annual Critter Dinner and people came from everywhere. The menu often features everything from bear to moose meat.

A spread of wild meat

250 attend Critter Dinner

The current hunting club, which is private, leases 13,500 acres of the Bear Fork backwoods, written about in a ten part series in The Hur Herald.

Bryan Hastewell (L) originally from Australia, now from Frozen Run chats with Pres. Charlie McKown

The highlight of the evening was the performance of Johnny Staats and his group. Staats, according to several people attending the dinner, is "the best mandolin player they have ever heard." At least three local people play in his Delivery Boys band, including Bobby Vaughan from Grantsville, Roger Bush from Big Springs and Robert Shaffer from Roane County. Staats has been able to cut a record deal with a major label and "country music eyes are on him in Nashville," according to a fan.

Johnny Staats and The Delivery Boys under the red light

The Bear Fork Hunting Club actually goes back over 100 years, but has been reorganized at least twice since. The current group has a history starting in 1984, according to President Charles McKown. Current officers include Dip Mace, vice president; Mike Reip, secretary and Lee Reip, treasurer. Some members of the Board include Mike Marks, Gary Laughlin, Terry Willis, Richard Parsons and Ding Altizer.

The club sponsors several family activities throughout the year, including a black powder shoot, shooting matches and a pig roast on Labor Day. "Many of the things we do are for the kids," said McKown. "We also stock trout in Bear Fork."

McKown says there really are bear in Bear Fork. He thinks about a dozen.

"We like the music"

A bunch of critters

Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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