“Sure. Sure,” you say, but yes, it is true. Robert L. “Bob” Campbell did spend his boyhood during the Great Depression era in a one-room cabin in the woods with his parents, two brothers and three sisters. Yes, he did walk or run nine miles each morning from Garfield Bay on Lake Pend O’reille to catch the bus for school in Sandpoint. From childhood, he did grub stumps on his father’s farm in the forest. Yes, indeed, Bob’s frugal family’s survival depended in large part on keeping varmints out his mother’s garden and the chicken coop, and on bringing home wild game from the hills around home. A little income from sale of muskrat, skunk and coyote hides from his trap line didn’t hurt a bit either. Life was tough, but the hunting and trapping were great.
No surprise then, that his lifestyle to this day tilts toward hunting, marksmanship, knife sharpening, and varmint eradication. Bob doesn’t think much about why—he just lives it.
During high school, he became a skilled long-distance runner. After high school graduation, Bob enlisted in the Navy. There he contracted polio in the epidemic, spent a year and a half in the hospital but eventually learned to walk, even run, again. Since that time, he has avoided desk jobs but craved outdoor work–in a gold mine, on a lookout, in a sawmill, as a land surveyor. He was a Civil Engineer Tech and crew boss with the Bureau of Public Roads, and then with the U. S. Forest Service. In 1978 he retired from the Forest Service in Coeur d’Alene, ID, due to long-lasting effects of polio.
Bob helped start a local Search and Rescue team. He used his man-trailing bloodhounds to search for lost people, and for some, such as a jail escapee, who did not want to be found.
In 1963, Bob hunted on a cougar-thinning project with Red Sweet and Stan Sweet at Bonners Ferry, ID, for the Federal Fish and Wildlife, thereby earning his “Cougar Bob” title.
In spite of his daily challenge with debilitating post-polio symptoms, he focused on hunting and trapping to control predators for cattle ranchers in the Idaho Panhandle.
Thanks for visiting Cougar Bob’s cabin. Come again!