Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by DaveDetiege; Animation by Bob Matz, Manny Perez, and Warren Batchelder; Layouts by Dick Ung; Backgrounds by Ron Dias; Film Editor: Lee Gunther; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Merrie Melody released on June 26, 1965.
It’s Daffy’s final solo film and he’s going to spend it hunting. He’s excited about it; being on the other side and all. He wants himself a bear. But this forest is a lot more strict than the one’s Elmer used to hunt in. The forest rangers take their job seriously and mark designated boundaries for where you can and can not shoot. The bears rate an 8 on the anthropomorphic scale; being smart enough to talk, but still legally huntable. With Daffy bearing down on their backsides, they quickly take cover on the safe side of the line.
Daffy is more than willing to break the rules to get at those smug bear boars, but the ranger isn’t having it. Strangely enough, Daffy is drawn to scale with the human! So where did he get the adorably sized gun and hat? And more importantly, is Daffy fair game for the bears to shoot during his season? You know, this whole idea has the promisings to make a fascinating R-rated animated movie about “Zootopia” styled animals being allowed to kill each other only at specific times of the year, and having no choice but to starve if they fail. Somebody get on that and put me down as ‘creative consultant’.
Back to our featured attraction. Daffy tries to lure a bear over the line with a bacon lure. No bear can resist frying bacon! But I love how cautious he still is. Creeping up to the line, looking for hunters, barely sticking a foot in, finally crossing and doubling back almost instantly. But that bacon is a cruel temptress and he’s only ursine, so he eventually gives in to his urges and commandos his way over to the meaty treasure.
Just what Daffy wanted! He fires at the bear who is foolishly running deeper into the danger zone. (A hysterically dark joke would be some other hunter getting him. Bonus points if it was Elmer, of all hunters.) Daffy shoots some fur off before the bear remem-bears that, oh yeah, he’s a bear! And he force feeds Daffy his bullets. (Watch for the stray dot of brown that makes it onto the screen.) Makes it kind of hard to believe this guy would care anymore about what side of the line he’s safe on. Daffy swears that he’ll be eating the bear tonight. Do… do hunters normally eat bear meat? Huh. Guess they can. I kinda want to try it now. (Of course, it’s completely feasible that a duck would also want to partake of such a meal.)
Daffy sneaks over the line in stump get-up, but the bear has been trained for this and sounds the alarm. The rangers aren’t ducking around! They open fire on Daffy with a tank and bomber! (And if Daffy makes it out of there alive, a hefty fine.) I love how calm the ranger is about reminding Daffy which side he’s supposed to stay on. Sounding less like he just tried to end the duck’s life, and more like Daffy took one too many cookies out of the jar. Guess it’s digging time! It’s legal to dig in the forest, right? (I’m not looking that one up too.)
Mr. Bear can hear Daffy digging, and uses his the smarts he earned in college to determine exactly where Daffy will emerge. (It’s really quite simple to surmise, really.) He sticks a shed full of dynamite on the emergence site, and stands back to watch the fireworks. Daffy loses all feathers below his bill and now has to reattach them, but finds he only had 512 of them. The rest of which got made into a necklace and head piece by that pesky bear. Resorted to barrel wearing, Daffy is all set to break the law and cross that line, but he’s too late. The hunting season is over, and the penalty for shooting a bear out of season just isn’t worth the hassle. Here’s hoping for Daffy’s sake that the bear won’t die before the next one starts.
Favorite Part: Daffy’s bullets are even willing to follow the rules as one stops short at the border and falls to the ground. A nice cartoony way of explaining why Daffy can’t just shoot the bear, and stay on his side.
Personal Rating: 3