In 1967 a doctor from Easton, John Reganis, flew to Alaska to go hunting.
This wasn’t just any hunt for the doctor, who had taken an elk while on a hunting trip.
Reganis meticulously recorded his trip, keeping a daily journal of his and his guide’s activities. Whenever possible, he mailed postcards and photos from his adventure to his daughter, who was attending school at Juniata College in Huntingdon.
A photograph was taken right after he found his bear — an 8-foot tall female. Reganis stands next to the bear, posing with his rifle.
There are other photos of Reganis and his guides dragging the bear through the snowfields outside of Pointe Hope, a city on the North Slope region of Alaska, then loading the massive animal into the airplane that would bring her back to civilization.
When Reganis died, the bear — now mounted in a standing position, clawing at the air — was sold at an auction. She caught the eye of Dave DeWees, who for years dabbled in taxidermy, buying and selling premium specimens through his company, DeWees Trading Post.
At the time, DeWees was opening the Woods Creek Grill restaurant outside of Lickdale in Lebanon County, which featured a rustic flavor and food that couldn’t be found anywhere else. The bear, he said, would fit right in with the other animals that adorned the business.