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Bear Necessity

HUDSON, IND.(WPTA21)-Fred and LuWana Perkins’s Steuben County home is a pretty little place not unlike others across 21 Country. With one little difference.

People will be coming up the road and their window go down and their camera comes out,” says Fred Perkins, “take pictures as they’re rolling by.”

Where once a 200 year old hard maple tree stood a mama grizzly and her cubs now stand their eyes glued to something, who knows what in the distance.

I used to carve small stuff,” says chainsaw sculptor Jeff Shuler. “But I saw other people doing the chain saw carving and I thought I’d give that a try.”

Angola sculptor Jeff Shuler carved the bears out of the trunk of the old maple using a technique that’s become pretty popular. Years ago when chainsaws were mammoth machines this kind of detail work wasn’t possible. But the modern, smaller, more powerful saws available today are so maneuverable they can be used to sculpt some very impressive art. Jeff Shuler used to whittle walking sticks until he discovered this.

And ever since I started chainsaw carving I quit the small stuff because it ain’t no fun anymore,” he says.

Jeff spent a week on the project carving the big bear out of the standing trunk and the two cubs from limbs. He added this inquisitive little turtle to complete the menagerie with Fred Perkins watching it all take shape.

And he would be carving on it and he’d walk out by the road out there and he’d turn around and he’d stand there for five minutes or so and just look at that bear,” says Perkins. “And he’d go back up and start carving again.”

The Perkins miss their old tree but love the fact part of it still stands, could stand another hundred years if cared for, carrying on the job of that old maple, watching the world go by.

Eric Olson

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